Below are a number of questions and answers that we hope you will find useful when planning your next project.

Why do I need my property measuring?

You may have drawings of your property already, whilst these are a useful reference they may be inaccurate or out of date. We only work from primary information so will need to measure your property for ourselves sufficiently to prepare design proposals for you. In some cases a topographical survey may also be required from a specialist surveyor. We will advise you if we think this will be necessary. We may also need to approach utility companies to find out the location and type of incoming services. Some companies make a charge for supplying this information, if this is the case it will be passed onto you at cost.

What drawings will I recieve?

At planning stage we will normally provide you with one paper copy together with PDF files of all drawings and other relevant documents. At building regulations stage we will provide you with the same as above.  Further A3 paper copies can be provided for a small discretionary charge and we take any plans that are larger than A3 to a professional printer with these fees passed on to you at cost.

What if I want to make design changes after planning approval is granted?

We would advise against this if possible, that’s why we take time to get the design you want before submitting a planning application. If alterations to the approved design are made at building regulations or construction stage, you have a legal duty to inform the planning authority. This may be classed as a non-material amendment if it is minor in nature or you may require a new application if it is a more major change, the planning officer can advise you which it will be. We would recommend that even if a change is deemed a non-material amendment by the planning authority that this change is regularized by a simple application.  If a new application is needed, you will need revised drawings, which will incur a fee, but if the revised application is within twelve months of the approval date and is for a largely similar proposal to that approved, the council will not require a second application fee. Failure to comply could result in an enforcement notice being issued by the council. If revised drawings are needed for amendments or revised applications, a further fee will be due to us, normally this will be charged at an hourly rate for the time spent making the changes.

What if I change my mind once I have signed the agreement?

Consumers have a statutory right to cancel the agreement within fourteen days of signing. Simply send a written cancellation notice or e-mail. If any expenses have been accrued in the seven day period we will make reasonable charges for these.

What about copyright and publicity?

We will retain copyright of our drawings and documents produced for your project, and we assert our moral right to be identified as the author of this work. Providing all fees have been paid, you will have a licence to copy and use this information and share it with others for the purposes of completing the project and / or subsequent sale of the property. You may not use the information to reproduce the design for any part of an extension of the project or any other project. We will not be liable for any unauthorised use of drawings and documents. We reserve the right to use photographs and drawings from the project with identification removed for our promotional purposes.

What are my responsibilities as client?

The more information you can give us about what you want, the better the finished design will be. Your basic requirements are essential, but it is also helpful if you can provide examples of the styles you like, photos or a scrapbook of ideas that inspire you, or any specific products or technologies you want to incorporate, will all help us to make your project bespoke to you. We will discuss these with you to help you define what is important to you.  As the project proceeds, we will ask you to make decisions and confirm instructions. Delays can have knock-on effects on the project and late changes in design can be expensive. We will expect you to pay the agreed fees when invoiced within the terms specified.

Will fees go up during the project?

Our lump sum fees are designed to give you peace of mind. Fees will only increase if the scope of the project substantially changes or increases. For example if you decide you want a new design after a design has already been agreed or if there is a prolonged delay in us being able to move forward with the project. If either of these situations arises we will inform you and discuss ways forward.

What happens if I decide to not complete the project?

If you decide to suspend or not to proceed with the project, we will invoice you for work carried out to the appropriate stage of the RIBA plan of work. In this case we would ask you to confirm your instructions in writing. If you suspend the project and do not resume within 3 months, we will consider the project cancelled.

Is Redesign Architecture responsible for an underperforming builder?

In general terms, no. The traditional role of an architectural practice is not to supervise the contractor, but to inspect the works and certify them as stated in the contract. Redesign do not act as a contractor or offer full project management. We will agree the level of involvement on site with you at the appropriate time during our appointment.

What other consultants might be needed?

The most likely consultant to be needed will be a structural engineer who will design the structure and provide calculations to support the building regulations application. If you want particular environmental or energy saving features in your project it may be necessary to engage an environmental consultant. At it’s simplest this would be to provide a SAP calculation if you wanted large areas of glazing above building regulations allowances. If you want your project to meet specific environmental standards and receive certification such as the PassivHaus standard, the PHPP software will be needed. If you require independent costing advice not from a builder, a quantity surveyor may be engaged to provide a cost plan for you. In each of these situations, we will obtain a quote for the work on your behalf and once the expenditure is approved by you we will liaise with the consultants on your behalf. The consultants will invoice you directly on completion of their work.

Do I need planning approval?

Not all projects require planning approval, information about all aspects of planning can be found at We will advise you on whether you are likely to need planning permission, if it seems that you do not, we would still advise that you obtain a ‘Certificate of lawful development’. This is a simpler process and it provides a useful record should you want to sell your property.

Do you guarantee planning approval?

The short answer is no. We will make every effort to give you the best chance of obtaining approval by providing clear and comprehensive drawings and supporting information. Where we think it will help an application we will include 3D CAD views and / or a supporting design statement. We will also endeavour to discuss proposals with a planning officer prior to submitting the application. Once the application is submitted we will monitor progress on your behalf and respond to any requests or comments from the planning officer or consultees.

Are there any other additional approvals and requirements for planning?

If you intend to demolish a building, demolition consent will be required. If you own a listed building or are located in a conservation area, additional applications will be needed. In some cases the council may request additional information to support a planning application :- If you are in a flood risk area a flood risk assessment may be required, for a new development this may involve a sequential test assessment. If there are mature trees near to the site they may have tree preservation orders on them and a tree survey and appropriate protection may be requested by the planning department. In some areas a bat or owl survey may be requested, in other areas an archeological survey may be requested by the planning authority. In each case where a specialist is required to provide an independent report, we will obtain a quote for you and liaise on your behalf with the specialist and the council. The specialist will then invoice you directly on completion of their work.

How much are the application fees to the council?

Usually the planning fee for work to an existing residential property is £206. Building regulations fees depend on the extent and type of work, they are normally split into two parts, a fee when the plans are submitted for checking (approx £190 to £270) and a fee for the building inspector to make his site visits (approx £400 to £525) which will be normally be invoiced direct to you following the inspector’s first site visit. If there is more than part to your project, for instance if you want a loft conversion and an extension, the council will charge fees for each part of the application, but one of them will be subject to a 50% discount. We will assess and advise precise fees in conjunction with the local council at the appropriate time.

What additional approvals and requirements for building regulations may be required?

With increasing emphasis being placed on energy efficiency in houses, there are strict regulations about areas of glazing and heat loss from properties. To satisfy these requirements and give you the design you want, it is sometimes necessary to substantiate the application to a higher level. This can involve providing SAP (energy) calculations, commissioning air testing, producing u-value calculations. If it is necessary to go down this route we will advise you at the appropriate stage and obtain quotations from specialist consultants to carry out the work.

What happens where sewers are shared with neighbouring properties?

In October 2012 Severn Trent took over responsibility for all shared sewers on private land. This means that if you have a sewer which serves more than one property which will be affected by the building work on your project, you have a statutory responsibility to inform the water company and if necessary obtain a building over agreement. This involves you making an application with drawings which we can provide for you, arranging for a CCTV survey to be carried out on the relevant part of the drain before and after the building work, and agreeing to carry out any repair work deemed necessary by the water company to a method statement agreed with your builder and at your expense.

What is party wall legislation?

If the building work you are carrying out is close to your neighbours property or boundary, you will need to comply with party legislation. This can be as simple as telling your neighbours what you plan to do. The government produce a guide which has standard letters you can use, it is available to download for free from the planning portal web site. If you need drawings to show your neighbours, we can supply these for you. If your neighbour is not happy with what you are proposing, party wall surveyors may need to be appointed to monitor the building work. We do not offer this service. Information on party wall legislation including sample letters for you to use is available here.

DISCLAIMER: The above questions and answers are provided for general information only and may not be completely accurate in every circumstance, do not purport to be professional advice, and are not intended to be legally binding on Redesign Architecture or third parties referenced in the questions. Questions involving interpretation of the Planning Laws and Building Regulations should be confirmed with the relevant independent sources.

If you have a question that is not covered, please e-mail it to us, we will endeavour to answer it for you and then add it to this resource.