Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a charge for an initial meeting?
There is no charge for our initial consultation which will typically be on site to more fully understand the issues and opportunities.
What size of Project does Shape Architecture undertake?
We work on small and large projects and much in between. A small project might be the design of a new bathroom or the planning application for off-street parking to a listed building. A large project would be our community centre presently on site in Colchester. In between would be variety of extensions and refurbishment and basement extension for example.
What types of project does Shape Architecture undertake?
Shape Architecture works in the Residential and Community sectors with the bulk of our work being in the Private Residential sector. We work on projects of all sizes and enjoy this diversity. We believe all projects and Clients benefit from this approach.
Where does Shape Architecture work?
We work throughout London and in Brighton. In London the most popular boroughs for our work are Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster, Wimbledon, Ealing, Putney, Clapham and Barnes. We have worked in most London boroughs. In Brighton and Hove we work throughout the city and nearby towns along the coast.
Do you work on Listed buildings?
Shape Architecture has worked on many listed buildings, and this is a sector where we always have several live projects in our office. Our listed buildings portfolio id extensive both throughout London and in Brighton and Hove.
What services do you offer?
Shape Architecture is happy to be employed for either a full or partial service. We also offer interior design, furniture design and garden design services.
How does Shape Architecture charge for its services?
Our fees are a fixed lump sum and not a percentage of the construction cost to ensure our clients are clear at the outset how much their architect will charge. We then further divide our fees into each of the RIBA work stages for further clarity and flexibility of service. The only change to fees will be if the nature or scale of the project changes and this will be discussed with the Client.
How long does it take to obtain Planning Permission?
Planning permission should take 8 weeks. It is preceded by a process of Validation that is likely to take 5-10 working days, as the planning department assesses that all the drawings and supporting information they require has been supplied.
What is Permitted Development?
Permitted Development rights allow the improvement or extension of homes without the need to apply for planning permission. A Certificate of Lawfulness may be sought to confirm that the Permitted development rights have been correctly interpreted and followed. These rights are typically waived in Conservation Areas and Listed Buildings and National Parks via an Article 4 Direction. To enjoy these rights you should be a homeowner and not the owner of a flat nor maisonette. For a further explanation please follow this link: https://www.planningportal.co.uk/permission/responsibilities/planning-permission/permitted-development-rights
What are Conservation Areas?
Conservation Areas are defined by local planning authorities. By statutory definition a Conservation Area is ‘an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance’. The local authority will have a Conservation list and supporting statements for each Conservation area. Permitted Development rights are likely to have been waived in these areas too. Many of our projects throughout London and Brighton are in Conservation Areas.
What is the Tender Process?
The tender process is the route by which a Contractor provides a figure to undertake the construction works in competition with other Contractors. The works are described in the Architectural and Structural drawings and supporting documents plus any other Consultants work that the project required. On Larger projects we would ask a Quantity Surveyor to undertake the role of running the tender. For most of our projects we are fulfilling this role.
What Contractors do you work with?
We enjoy well established relationships with a number of Contractors in both London and Brighton. This provides many benefits to Clients throughout the Construction process. We do seek to evolve our list of Contractors and are always happy to meet new ones.
What Consultants do you work with?
As with Contractors we enjoy long established relationships with a variety of engineers and other consultants. Many having been for over 15 years.
How do you achieve sustainable designs?
Through its Director, Jason Wren, Shape Architecture brings over 25 years of experience in sustainable design to our projects. Over its 16 years Shape Architecture has explored appropriate low energy designs over a vast array of projects types and both big and small.
How do you communicate with your Clients?
Shape Architecture communicates very clearly with our Clients. All projects benefit from a 3D computer model which is the clearest way we can communicate a design. This is supported by freehand drawing and we draw a lot. As with all architects we will also be producing 2D plans and elevations.
How does the design process work?
Shape Architecture will typically explore 4 or 5 design proposals stemming from the Client brief. Each will be described in 3D computer graphics, free hand sketching and 2D CAD drawings. All will be put together into a Design Proposals Brochure and issued to the Client. Once the Client has had a chance to review, a Director from Shape Architecture will visit and discuss all design options and what is liked or not liked and from this a preferred design will evolve.
What does an Architect do on site?
Shape Architecture will visit site on a regular basis. We will also hold monthly site progress meetings to an agenda. Questions arising from the Contractor and Building Control will be answered. We will support our Client and manage any changes. We will also deal with payments to the Contractor.
How do you survey our project?
We carry out our own site surveys either with the equipment we have or else rent out if the scale and complexity of the survey demands this. In this we quickly get an understanding of the existing building.