Residential 3D Architects
Over the years, we’ve designed and built many contemporary new houses in Kent and Sussex, many in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and greenbelt where planning permission is hard to get. While every project responds differently to the individual site and client’s aspirations, all our new house designs are inspired by our passion for creating modern, elegant, energy-efficient architecture for easy 21st century living. Past clients have said how much they value the fact we design all our new houses in 3D, as it helps them visualise their home and get all the details in place before the first brick is laid. Of course, finding a building plot is the first challenge…
Finding a Building Plot in Kent, Sussex and Greater London
Many people dream of creating their own grand design but are often put off by the challenge of finding building plots in Kent, Sussex and Greater London as they are extremely rare and it can take years to find the right combination of location and affordability. If you are lucky enough to secure one, the rewards of working with an architect to design and build your own new home are fantastic both emotionally and financially.
Get as much advice as you can before bidding for a plot. The vendor’s estate agent will obviously provide basic information, but an architect will add huge value at this stage by giving you ideas on designs to suit the site, an assessment of the potential for obtaining planning permission, information on timescales and approximate costs and other hints and tips that can help you price, present and secure your bid to maximise your chances of success. We have advised many clients in this way over the years, often spotting details that have helped either to clinch the deal, or lead them to conclude not to go ahead.
Think about how to finance the purchase of the building plot before you start looking. Most vendors are interested in a quick sale so may be put off your bid if you need to sell your own home first. Many people sell first and rent thus becoming “cash buyers”.
Obtaining Planning Permission for Contemporary New Houses
Nearly every plot is different when it comes to planning policies. Most plots in Kent, Sussex and Greater London have some kind of existing building on them; obtaining consent for a house on a “greenfield” site in the South East of England is very rare. Architects can review the planning policies applicable to the general area in which the plot is located, and then give you advice about how these policies are likely to be applied to the plot’s specific location. See our post about obtaining planning consent in the Weald of Kent.
Hiring An Architect For Your New House
Hiring an architect to design and oversee the building of your new home will:
- Give you a design that maximises the plot’s building and financial potential
- Ensure your dream ideas are fully realised
- Take away the hassle of dealing the planning authorities regarding planning policies, and issues to do with greenbelt, Areas Of Natural Beauty and Conservation Areas all of which are common, especially in Kent and Sussex!
Contemporary New Home Design
Starting with a blank canvas can be scary but liberating. Our role as home design architects is to help you:
- Make the most of the plot by locating the house well with a good access route
- Take advantage of the views, the sun and the ground levels or contours
- Decide exactly how you want to use the house now and in the future so that it suits your current and changing needs
Our 3D design process makes it much easier for us to work with you to create a scheme that responds to these various, sometimes competing, requirements.
Planning Details and Timescales for Your New Home
Once you have obtained planning consent, you need to get down to detailed project planning including:
- Choosing building materials and methods – timber frame? Block work? Slate or zinc roof?
- Specifying insulation levels that reduce your energy bills but don’t compromise the design
- Deciding whether to go for quality components (windows, doors, stairs etc) that give years of maintenance free service, or for cheaper alternatives
- Reviewing renewable energy options that keep your energy costs down but are affordable in the first place!
- Considering water saving features – rainwater harvesting solutions that cut your water bill and keep your garden going during hosepipe bans are now an integral part of our designs
- Thinking about landscaping which ranges from basic planting of lawns, beds and trees to more sophisticated schemes that enhance the views from every angle
You also need to consider timescales and cost. A typical timescale to design and obtain planning consent is about six months, but this can be significantly longer if problems arise when obtaining planning consent. Once you have consent it takes between 12 and 18 months to prepare working drawings, agree a contract with a builder and construct the house ready to move in. Our ethos is always to spend the time needed to deliver the best result, and not to rush things. Prepare to be patient!
We have written a longer blog post about this here. Take a look and see our latest ideas and tips for saving energy.
Estimating Costs For Your New Home
Typical costs vary widely but the absolute minimum that developers build for is around £1,000/m2 and most self build projects cost between £1,400 and £2,000/m2. This can be much higher if you choose expensive fixtures and fittings.
We aim to control costs right from the start by giving clients the choice between our jhd Bespoke service where costs are higher to reflect the bespoke nature of the design and higher quality materials or our jhd Lite service where we use simple design and standard materials to keep costs down. Call us to find out more.
Also take a look at our page about who takes the financial risks on your build.
During the construction process we are on hand to help you monitor the quality and progress of the main contractor and the other building specialists and trades people involved in your project. We assess how much to pay the builder and when, check the quality of the work and agree any variation costs.
Living In Your New Home
We remain involved once your new house is finished to help you learn how it works, advise on niggles like minor cracks, help with landscape ideas, and give guidance about routine maintenance.