We draw on a wealth of experience gained from working on residential projects with values ranging from £25,000 to £1m. These have included one room extensions, loft conversions, through single new homes to multi-unit developments.
Our recently completed Passivhaus retrofit house in Berkhamsted was recognised in the 2020 LABC Awards as a regional winner in the best home improvement and extension category.
We were both complete novices at any type of extension or renovation project, both of us had worries about undertaking such a large project using a significant amount of savings and a re-mortgage. However, we feel the whole process was very clearly explained and managed, with Contour designs. We love the fact our house is tailored to our needs and specifications, it is original in its design but still very appealing to other buyers if we ever decide to sell.
J Hughes, client.
What to expect from us
With each project, our Directors maintain a close personal involvement with our clients from initial contact to the completion of our services.
Following our appointment we undertake an in-depth consultation with you. During this we establish a concise brief and explore various design options in order to ensure the project’s viability and success in terms of design, budget and timescales. We can manage your project from initial concept or feasibility right through to building completion.
We are happy to take your project on at any stage or to any point in the development process, for example to completion of planning and building regulations, or to completion of the building works.
We can manage your project from initial concept or feasibility right through to building completion. We are happy to take your project on at any stage or to any point in the development process, for example to completion of planning and building regulations, or to completion of the building works.
Client and Site Meeting
We will arrange an initial no obligation meeting, preferably at the project location, to discuss the project & to establish your brief. The site visit will allow us to discuss any potential opportunities, as well as possible planning or design constraints.
We will confirm in writing the design brief for the project, based on your requirements, level of service required and budget. This will be accompanied by our fee proposal for the services requested and our terms and conditions. It is important that the brief is thoroughly prepared and agreed at an early stage so that we can develop the design process without the risk of misunderstandings.
As registered Architects and members of the RIBA, we are required to have a letter of appointment in place before proceeding with the commission.
We will explore design options based on the initial design brief to varying levels of detail depending upon the project. The design will be site specific, bespoke to your requirements and will consider issues such as the site constraints, orientation, gradients, neighbouring buildings, outlook and general layout. We have a number of tools available to us to help convey our designs. These include standard CAD drawings, sketch work and 3D computer visualisations.
Planning Drawings and Application
Once a sketch scheme has received your approval, planning drawings, together with a design and access statement if required, will be produced with further detail, focusing on spatial arrangements, elevations, materials and the appearance.
Contour Architecture will act as your agent throughout the application process and liaise with the local Planning Authority on your behalf.
We also complete the relevant application forms, produce design & access statements if necessary and advise you on other required documents (including supporting information that may be needed) to make a planning submission.
Planning Approvals often have Conditions attached which require further information to be supplied to the Authority.
Contour Architecture can work with you and the contractor to discharge any conditions that might be included with the Approval Notice.
Further to the planning approval, a range of detailed information will be required prior to any building work commencing. Depending on the service required this can include drawings for Building Regulations approval only or construction drawings and schedules.
If you require, Contour Architecture can prepare all the necessary information for tender. You may already have a builder or contractor in mind; alternatively we can approach contractors on your behalf.
Contour Architecture offers a full contract administration service. If required, we will make visits to site as necessary during the construction process to assess the build quality, to answer queries from the contractor and to assist with the production of further drawings or provide additional information.
Contour Architecture will inspect the completed building works, if appointed to do so, identify any defects with the building and liaise with the contractor to rectify these.
Why choose an Architect?
A client centred service, value for money, freedom from worry and imagination are just some of the reasons why using a chartered architect makes sense.
Architects Act 1997
Before a person can be called an architect he or she will have completed a minimum seven-year course in the design, specification and erection of buildings and passed the professional practice examination which is the final stage of the training.
A chartered architect is obliged to uphold the reputation of the architectural profession and fellow professionals; to carry out work on behalf of clients honourably, independently and efficiently; and to declare any interest which might conflict with the status of an independent consultant architect. In this way members of the public can be confident that in appointing an architect, they are securing the services of a genuine professional.
If you are in any doubt whether your advisor is a qualified architect and registered with the ARB, please contact them on +44 (0) 20 7580 5861, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The RIBA produce a document titled “A Client’s Guide to Engaging an Architect” which provides detailed advice to members of the public.
A guide to extensions
Do you need more space for your growing family? We can help. It could be more cost effective than moving house to extend, or convert part of your home such as your loft space.
Contour Architecture has successfully delivered numerous house extensions and can advise you how best to achieve your ambitions.
Depending on what you ask us to do, the RIBA suggests that an average fee for this type of project would be between 9-12% of the overall construction cost.
However, we think that it is in our clients’ interests to know in advance how much the professional fees will cost. Therefore, rather than base our fees on a percentage of construction cost, we work to a fixed (lump sum) fee. In that way our fee is totally independent of how expensive the construction cost is.
If you invite us to submit a Fee Proposal for a house extension, we will split the required services up into logical stages. These have a fixed cost and we will indicate the likely timescale for each stage.