Baileybridge provides a full range of Architectural and Structural Engineering services, (including architectural plans and structural drawings) from the initial design/feasibility study through the formal Planning process, Building Regulations and other statutory approvals.
If you are unsure of what you require we can provide a feasibility study service to help pin down what it is you need, considering the priorities for the build and the budget.
We can also assist with understanding what budget should be set and with putting a structure to how you approach the project – i.e. the first thing to think about is not necessarily the wallpaper and you do not want to blow all of the budget on the kitchen if the property needs re-wiring and re-plumbing.
When it comes to Council permissions, Baileybridge has a vested interest in making sure the Council approves the Plans and Building Regulations Applications we submit on your behalf, because if they do not, we do not have a project to carry out. We therefore work very hard to ensure that the Plans we submit are ones you are delighted with and the Council is likely to approve.
Cynical though it sounds, Professional Practices such as Architects and Structural Engineering firms, who are only providing their services at design stage (i.e. their involvement stops once they submit the applications) do not have the same true vested interest as a company such as ours, where our end goal is carrying out the build. They are paid for the work anyway.
We offer Professional Architectural services and Structural Engineering services in order to be able to carry out the build. Therefore we have the same, if not more, interest as our Clients in the success of the applications. If we fail, we have no build to work on and worse, carrying out the professional work will have tied our team up when they could have been engaged with another project.
From our first contact with you we begin to understand what it is you want from your project. The budget plays a large part and costs can range wildly for ostensibly the same thing. Most people understand costs when it comes to fixtures and fittings, kitchens or bathrooms. However when it comes to considering costs for building, whether for materials or the technical approach to the build, for many people the understanding dries up and they take the view that they will leave that to the Architect.
Since we also carry out builds for Clients where they have already got Planning Permission and have the Building Regulations Application approved, we have on a number of occasions, encountered a situation where when we have priced the work it is more than the Client expected. The Client has then said ‘I told the Architect I want this build to cost £X’. Three or four times we have had to re-draw the Plans and re-submit the Applications to the Council because what was approved was so far out of budget it was not possible for the Client to afford it because the Architect had not heeded the advice of the Client on the budget constraint. Even one of our own team used to say ‘people can always find the extra cash’ but of course they can’t and this is not really the point anyway for many Clients. Not all, but for many the budget is not flexible therefore the design does need to be made around what funds are available to carry out the build.
Often Architects do not know about pricing building work, they may come up with a ‘per metre’ figure but this is often meaningless and they do not have an interest in this part of the project anyway. They can be single minded in their task, which is designing a beautiful building. Mostly they will not even register what they are being told about the build cost or if they do, will think this is not their domain and nothing to do with them and that the Client is just ‘chatting’.
How we differ is that from the outset we work back from the budget and even during our initial meeting, if the Client suggests something that will take them over budget we will mention this at the time. The person that takes the initial requirements brief, who will advise on the feasibility of the proposed work, including the budget, is the same person that prices the building work and oversees the build so there is ‘never a slip between cup and lip’ when you deal with Baileybridge.
If the build is to run smoothly it is invaluable that one team – the Baileybridge team – has designed and is building it. This way we know the background to all of the design decisions, what was important to the Client when the design was created and all of the discussions that went on resulting in the final drawings and specification.
During the build we often have questions for our Structural Engineer who of course will answer these immediately. Sometimes when it comes to the build the initial suggested approach needs tweaking, or the Building Inspector arrives and asks for something and we may use our Engineer to satisfy his enquiry – sometimes to question it or argue with him if he is trying to incur extra costs to the Client.
Having our Engineer available and usually for no additional fee, really is invaluable because it can get pretty tricky at certain points of a build, especially if a difficult Building Inspector appears. Almost without exception where the Client has already got the Approvals and we are just carrying out the build, we have not been able to get hold of the Engineer that did the initial drawings and calculations. When we need him it is most often urgent, so quick access is very important. Where we have managed to track the Engineer down, often he has not been very cooperative and/or has wanted to charge just to speak to us.
The importance of one team is perhaps difficult to appreciate unless you have been involved with a similar situation in the past. However you can probably envisage that it is much better if the key parties involved with your build work together as one team, as opposed to working for separate firms all trying to cover their own backs. The hassle and potential costs that delays, mis-information and a critical party ‘sitting on the fence and back covering’ can cause, represent about the worst situations that can occur during a build and one of the original reasons Baileybridge brought Professional Services in-house.
Baileybridge will always provide an estimate for carrying out Architectural or Structural Engineering work based on our hourly fee of £75.00 plus VAT and it is very rare we charge more than this initial estimate.
Once we have taken the initial design brief (which we do not charge for), the next stage is for us to undertake a measured survey. This is where we measure your property in great detail because this information is what enables us to produce the plans. We aim to be correct to within a few millimeters, so this is precise and not quick, work.
Drawing up plans is not just as simple as what you see on the drawing – a time consuming part of the process is for us to understand the structure of the building, ensuring that whatever we draw is structurally sound, so it takes longer than you might imagine. Where we are to provide a Building Regulations Application the detail of the build has to be documented which takes time. (See – What is Involved in my build)
We provide you with two sets of drawings: one set of the existing dwelling and the other of the proposed dwelling showing the new build. You are then asked to comment on the proposed drawings and where relevant we will make alterations.
Once both parties are satisfied that these are correct we submit these with the appropriate applications (Planning, Lawful Development Certificate and Building Regulations) to the Council for approval. The Council normally takes 8 weeks from when they register the Application to when they provide a decision. During this time Baileybridge will monitor the progress with the Council and answer any query they might have.
When we submit the Applications we like to book the date for the building work to commence, since we know this is roughly 8 weeks hence. Occasionally Clients do not want the work to be carried out this quickly, but more often they are champing at the bit so this timeline and process works very effectively.
If you would like to know how we can assist you with your project please call us today on 01825 700 817 or use the Contact Us form below