Working With jhd Architects
Turning Your Building Ideas Into Reality
Our job is to turn your ideas and aspirations into imaginative, workable solutions – and it’s what we love to do. When you contact us, we will run through a “reality check” with you on the phone to establish the approximate size of the project to make sure we can help you. If that conversation is positive, we will make a free of charge visit to your home, at a time to suit you, to discuss what you and any others involved (often your family) want to achieve both now, and in the future. We’ll walk around your building or plot, talk about your own ideas, and often come up with some that you may not have thought of. We’ll give you our outline thoughts on planning, design, budget and timescale, although budget and timescale can only be indicative at this stage.
Proposal For Appointment As Architects
If there is a meeting of minds, we’ll then prepare a proposal summarising our understanding of your brief, and setting out how we can help, including a schedule of the services we recommend for your project. We’ll explain how these services are organised by The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) into Work Stages and give you an estimated Basic Fee for each Stage, as well as an idea of other fees and expenses which you will need to take into account.
Our Range of Architectural Services
We offer the full range of architectural services which are set out, by The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) into Work Stages.
These Work Stages involve:
• helping you establish a realistic brief and project cost to match your aspirations to your budget
• developing designs that imaginatively interpret your needs, add real value, are cost-effective and energy-saving
• presenting your project well to the relevant Local Authority to increase your chances of obtaining planning permission and other necessary approvals
• guiding you through the construction process, including helping you obtain competitive prices and references to find the right building contractor, and advising on the selection of other consultants and specialist suppliers if needed
• preparing clear, detailed construction drawings that communicate your design to the builder
• preparing detailed specifications of materials and workmanship to be used for your project
• monitoring quality and progress on site to meet your high standards, ensure that the design you want is implemented correctly by the contractor and ensure compliance with legal requirements
• reporting on costs so you can manage your budget better
We prefer to be involved in all aspects of a project, seeing it through from start to completion. However, in certain cases, we are willing to limit our involvement to specific aspects. Rather than asking you to commit to a full schedule of services at the outset, we will split the project work into stages and agree the scope and cost of each stage before we carry out any work. You can ask us to stop work at any time
Appointing Us As Your Architects
If you do instruct us to act as your architects for the rest of the project we will prepare a Contract (Agreement) and Schedule Of Services which are subject to the terms set out in the RIBA Schedule of Architect’s Services and Conditions of Appointment.
We review the full details of this Agreement with clients before starting work so they understand what we will do, and how and why we work in a particular way.
3D Architects Saving You Time And Money
We aim to make the design and building process as rewarding for clients as possible. That’s why we’ve invested heavily in special software that allows us to produce a 3D Building Information Model (BIM) for every project we design.
Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a new process used by architects, civil and structural engineers, contractors, sub-contractors and building owners to coordinate 3D design and construction drawings between disciplines and to share electronic data. We believe we are one of very few practices in South East England using it on all our projects.
‘Walk’ Around Your Building Before The First Brick Is Laid
Clients love BIM because it saves them time and money, and can improve the probability of gaining planning permission.
If you work with us, we will upload to your own iPad, Android tablet, laptop or PC, a 3D virtual model of your project that allows you to explore your building inside and out (including where furniture will go and where the sun and shadows will fall) before the first brick is laid.
You get to understand the detail of your design, in the comfort of your own home (or on the train to work), and can suggest, and visualise, any changes you want to make, or ideas you want to try out, in the early stages of the project, before the first brick is laid. With your input we develop and refine the initial design concept so that by the time work begins on site you have a very clear idea of how the end result will look. This is a much more efficient (and cost-effective!) way of working than finding out that you don’t like something once work has started. Your model is updated throughout the project as more and more detail is added.
Watch this video to see what it’s like to ‘walk around’ your building before the first brick is laid. The video features a project involving a residential extension to a Kentish oast house.
As well as helping you visualise the end result, the 3D modelling software we use allows us to present drawings and planning arguments in ways that can make a real difference to whether or not you obtain planning permission.
Our planning submission documents are carefully considered to suit the perceptions of the planning officers, local councillors and the general public, all of whom will formulate their own reaction to the application.
Watch our video that shows examples of projects we’ve obtained planning permission for in areas where restrictions are tight.
Speeding Up Construction And Minimising Problems On Site
Our state-of-the art 3D software also means we produce construction and detail drawings that clearly explain to contractors, engineers and other consultants the arrangement of the building effectively reducing the risk of problems on site and speeding up the construction process.
Here’s a video that explains the benefits of choosing an architect that works with BIM.
Estimating And Managing Construction Costs
We are committed to working closely with you to try to stay within your target budget. However, it is notoriously difficult at the early consultation and ideas stage accurately to estimate construction costs as these will only become clear once the full scope and details of your project are established, and tenders are received. There is always demand for good builders and tenders can come back much higher than estimated.
Ultimately, you decide how much you spend on your project. However, we will give you regular Cost Reports with as much advice and information as we can about the likely costs. Each Cost Report gives you our up-to-date estimate of project costs, the amount you have spent to-date and how much we think you need to budget to complete the project. Our Reports can only be used for guidance as the actual construction cost will be determined by competitive tendering and decisions that you make once the project is on site.
There will inevitably be times when the estimated costs for a particular aspect of the work are more than you want to spend. When this happens we will work closely with you to change the design, revise the scope of work or agree cost reductions. We will always ask you to approve additional costs in advance.
Architect’s Fees And Expenses
The fees we charge reflect the extent of the work we have to do and the size, complexity and difficulty of the project. Fees for new-build houses are generally a lower proportion of construction costs than fees for extensions or Listed buildings. Where the scope of the project is fixed, we can offer a fixed fee. However, most projects don’t have a fixed scope, so we agree a fee based on a percentage of the construction value.
Planning And Other Fees
Fees for planning, building control and other such charges are invoiced at cost.
Appointment of Other Consultants
Whilst we lead the building project, other consultants need to be appointed.
We advise on suitable consultants, help source them and agree their appointment terms. Once work has begun, we review their invoices on our clients’ behalf and recommend the payments to be made. Typically these consultants might include
• Measured Building Surveyor
• Structural Engineer
• Quantity Surveyor
• Services Consultant
How Much Will It All Cost?
We won’t know precisely until we have agreed your brief, produced a Cost Plan and got quotations back from builders. Even then, the final cost of your project will depend on decisions you make once the project is on site. We can however, share with you some examples of Cost Plans we have produced for other clients. You can download them here. Remember: use these for guidance only – every project is different!