L+ Architects

Prioritise Quality When Budgeting For Your Renovation

As you may be aware, construction prices have significantly increased over the years due to various global factors, including supply chain issues and economic volatility caused by complex global politics. This makes it more challenging than ever to accurately forecast a budget when clients ask us about the cost of a project. Additionally, high-end finishes can further increase the cost per square meter, and many clients in upscale properties desire these finishing touches to enhance their lifestyle.

New home buyers are increasingly interested in “Smart Homes” that feature automated lighting, blinds, sound, Wi-Fi, and other modern amenities. They also desire features such as home gyms, garden offices/rooms, landscape design, swimming pools, saunas, high-end kitchens, lighting design, feature stairs, interior design, and more. However, these additions can add hundreds of thousands of dollars to the total cost of a build.

At L+ Architects, we find that involving a Quantity Surveyor (QS) as early as possible in the Architecture and Design process allows us to create the most cost-effective plans that align with the client’s budget and brief. This approach is crucial in managing client expectations and keeping the project on a realistic trajectory. Our skilled architects offer a range of design options for clients to choose from before the planning phase, allowing them to make informed decisions and enabling us to value engineer our designs. In collaboration with Quantity Surveyor Owen Drury at ODQS, we have compiled a list of top tips to help you make the most of your renovation budget.

The image above of ‘Studio House’ features second hand Poggenpohl kitchen units installed into a luxury kitchen extension in Richmond Park.

Opt for Second Hand Kitchen Units

Get a top of the range recycled kitchen on hold as early as possible and ask the designers to incorporate it at the sketch phase. You can take it to the next level with natural stone worktops and bespoke lighting.

The flooring at ‘The Lake House’ became a key design feature adding luxury, comfort and breath taking style.

Utilise Our Flooring Expertise
Flooring can be one of the most important design features in a space. Designers understand the huge variety of options and understand the balance between style and function. Utilise our professional trade prices and knowledge with suppliers such as Dinesen.

For the ‘Brodrick Road’ kitchen above we incorporated sleek built in appliances which became a feature of the design.

Research Your Appliance Brand
Don’t save money on things like shower valves: buy a top of the range brand that has a long warranty, take a photo, and keep it safe. Beware of cheap knockoffs that have been mass produced and probably have a quarter of the life span and energy efficiency. Refitting appliances (for example) showers is very costly.

Windows are a key feature of our designs in terms of style and function.

Upgrade Windows and Insulation
These are vital to the success of a build. Don’t be tempted to cut corners and get 3-5 price comparisons. Think about their long-term durability and how much money will come off your energy bill each month. Those windows could pay for themselves sooner than you think.

Image: From the Buster and Punch Blog: ‘A Dwelling Full of Charm’

Attention To Detail
Plug sockets and electricity hardware add an elevated level of finish to a house as does door hardware. Our Interior and Landscaping team L+ Living have teamed up with Buster and Punch and offer their wide range of their stylish fixtures and fittings to our clients. Like a top surgeon or craftsman, the devil is in the detail and clients with a discerning eye can see the difference in the level of quality finishes, space planning and technical know-how that makes architects true masters of their craft.

Image Above: Our luxury new build of Roedean Crescent features a swimming pool that will be built to last.

Don’t Cut Construction Corners
Work with a Construction specialist and be wary of any builder who suggests cutting corners. For example, with Swimming pools: don’t be tempted by a cut price offer from a builder: swimming pools are high maintenance, and you need the warranty and guarantees that a reputable specialist swimming pool installer can offer as well as regular maintenance from them.

Our ‘Origami House’ is designed to Passivhaus Standards and features a light catching roof.

Focus on Sustainability
Is important to our design philosophy, and we weave in as many sustainable features as possible trying to future proof the build from changes that we believe may happen in years to come.

We work with external consultants to establish the best way for each project to achieve a sustainable future. Some examples are green roofs and walls and rainwater harvesting systems.  The costs of air, ground or water source heat pumps and solar panels, high quality insulation and thermal windows does all add to the initial costs of the build, but this will pay back steadily over the years and help to safeguard our planet.

Government Grants
There are various grants for ‘green’ home solutions. Typically, these can apply to insulation materials and installs, low carbon solutions and energy efficient windows & doors.

Our ‘Origami House’ is designed to Passivhaus Standards and features a light catching roof.

Alternative materials
Swapping materials such as swapping crittall for aluminium or timber look-a-likes and using more economical brands for paint can help with incremental saving. Engaging with material specialists early on can optimise your budget potential i.e., speaking to joinery companies who can advise on cost and design savings, or speaking with builders who can look at things from a buildability or technical perspective.

We can also guide our clients with knowledge on getting VAT free or reduced construction in some cases and using prefabricated Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) buildings which can be assembled more rapidly on site, saving labour costs at this point.

At L+ Architects, we work on bespoke projects closely aligned to a clients’ brief and add that sparkle and magic in the finishes that the client would not otherwise get from a standard design and build company.

For more information contact office@lplusarchitects.com or call 020 8274 9933

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