Frequently Asked Questions

Residential FAQs

Before you meet your architect, try and be as clear as you can about what you want to achieve.

Make some notes: what will the space be used for, what styles do you like, what don’t you like, when do you want the work to start and finish, how much do you want to spend. Your architect will help you develop the brief.

At Townscape, we use those initial meetings to listen carefully to you and what you want. We will produce a draft brief, addressing not only design aesthetics, but also the function of the building.

Timings and budgets for your project will be identified at an early stage and only after you have approved initial sketches will the ideas be developed further.

There are a range of ways that architects charge for work including a fee as a percentage of build cost, lump sum fixed fee or hourly rate charges.

At Townscape we will provide a fee tailored to your needs and the nature of the project. This means our fees are competitive and that you always know exactly what you are paying for, and how much it costs. Our aim is to make sure that the value we add, and the potential savings we can make for you, make us the best investment you ever make.

Architects provide a full array of services to deliver your project, from concept to completion. This may be different for each architect so it is best to check.

At Townscape Architects we provide the following services: feasibility studies, briefing consultations, building surveys, development advice, concepts and designs, planning applications, building regulation applications, 3D visualisations, project tendering, project management, party wall notices.

You may need planning permission if you wish to build something new, change the appearance of your building, or change the use of your building.

There are different rules for conservation areas and listed buildings. We can to guide you through the planning process. Further details, and information on planning permission can be found at www.planningportal.gov.uk

Planning applications are made to your local authority. An application can be made by post or online and should include detailed drawings, design statements, site and location plans.

At Townscape we will prepare and deal with every aspect of the planning application and we will submit it on your behalf. We will liaise with the planning department and we will keep you updated on the progress of the application.

Your local planning authority will make a decision on your planning application, usually within 8 weeks.

All local authorities in England charge the same for planning applications. For domestic extensions the planning fee is currently £172. For new build houses the planning fee is £385.

For change of use applications the fee varied and depends on floor area. Further information can be found here.

You can undertake some property alterations and small extensions to your property without the need for planning approval. These works are known as Permitted Development.

The works that can be undertaken under Permitted Development will depend on the location and size of the works.

Further details can be found here www.planningportal.gov.uk

Townscape can advise you if your proposed works can be undertaken with or without planning approval.

Building regulations are different to planning approval. For significant works you are likely to need both planning and building regulation approval. Building regulations are often required if you intend to alter, build or extend a property.

Building works must be undertaken in accordance with the technical guidance included within the building regulations. Further details can be found at www.gov.uk/building-regulations-approval/when-you-need-approval

When you have selected your preferred architect you will receive a written appointment document.

Our appointment documents will set out your brief, a schedule of the fees and services to be undertaken and our terms and conditions.

Not all architects offer project management services. We offer a full range of architectural services to ensure the smooth and efficient delivery of your project, including project management.

This can also include tendering your project to ensure the best prices are obtained, and setting up the contract between you and the builder.

We do. We offer a construction phase service where we will visit site regularly to inspect that the works are being undertaken in accordance with the drawings, specifications and that high levels of workmanship are achieved.

Some architects may expect you to manage the project yourself, or find your own contractors, or submit your own planning applications.

When you work with us, all you need do is take part in the progress meetings, when we can update you on how the project is going, and answer any questions you may have. Of course, if you want to be more involved, that’s fine too. You can be as involved as you want to be, but we won’t expect you to do our job for us.

At Townscape we use our experience and expertise to be able to give estimates of construction costs from the outset.

Some architects will give you a general support team. At Townscape you will have a named individual member of our team who will be your familiar face and permanent point of contact throughout the project.

About Townscape

The first thing you get is a free, no commitment, one hour consultation. You get to ask us all the questions you might have, and we will ask you any that we have. Very quickly we will both have a full understanding of the outline of your project and can decide how to work in the best way to meet all your requirements.

There is no point developing wonderful plans that are not financially viable. When you work with Townscape you get advice on likely costs and potential budget implications at every stage. Your project is kept on track with budget profiles in place from day one. No surprises, full control.

For Townscape to truly add value to your project, and to give you the best possible return on your investment, we usually work on commercial projects with budgets starting from £100k. We are flexible, and always happy to talk about potential projects, so pick up the phone or send us an email. Get in touch and we will see what we can do for you.

Long before any plans are needed, Townscape can help you with your potential projects. From advice on site purchase and initial feasibility studies, through to providing reports on viability and anticipated return on investment, we help make you sure that your project is going to be a sound commercial venture. From then on, all your project management needs can be met by Townscape.

Your Project

You will have a dedicated full-time project manager assigned to you. Their job is to make your life easy. You will agree with your project manager how and when you want to be updated and involved, and they will make it happen. Our project managers have a range of commercial experience, so we can make sure your project manager is exactly right for your job.

Anything in value from around £100k to projects in excess of £10million.

Our portfolio includes: office fit-out; office blocks; bars and restaurants; conservation and restoration work; multiple housing developments; student accommodation; warehousing; supported living developments; specialist healthcare premises; rehabilitation centres.

Long before any plans are needed, Townscape can help you with your potential projects. From advice on site purchase and initial feasibility studies, through to providing reports on viability and anticipated return on investment, we help make you sure that your project is going to be a sound commercial venture. From then on, all your project management needs can be met by Townscape.

Our Services

Thanks to our chartered practise status you can be assured that we work to the highest recognised industry standards and follow rigorous operational processes throughout your project. For every stage, from concept through to completion and client handover, you will have a dedicated project manager making sure that all aspects of your project run smoothly. Your project manager can work alongside other experts on site, or personally provide all the tender negotiation,contract management and inspection services you need.

Yes. We want you to confident of your return on investment before any major planning and development work begins.

Yes. Our experience can be your experience. As Chartered architects and with an extensive portfolio of successful projects completed, you know when you talk to Townscape you can get the best commercial architecture advice.

Yes. We understand the very specific needs of charities, the roles of Trustees, accountability and the regulations of the Charity Commission.

Awards & Accreditations

We are a RIBA Chartered Practice and we are ARB registered. This means we adhere to the highest professional standards, so you can be sure that:

  • All architectural work is under the personal supervision of an RIBA Chartered Architect;
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance cover is in place which satisfies the Architects Registration Board;
  • A Quality Management System is operational;
  • An appropriate Health & Safety Policy is operational;
  • A written Environmental Management Policy in place;
  • A return is made for the annual RIBA Business Benchmarking Survey;
  • A management system is in place to ensure adherence to the RIBA Code of Professional Conduct.

Yes. In 2013 Townscape won categories in The Northern Design Awards and The Leeds Architecture Awards for the best conserved building. The judges praised a “very fine piece of restoration which deserves top marks for conservation.