Our method of working is designed to reflect The RIBA Plan of Work and to align with our clients’ needs. We understand that trust and clear communication are essential in working partnerships. Our collaborative and flexible approach ensures that we can take on even the most unique briefs however big or small.
Our design process here at L+ Architects is fluid, and we are passionate about taking a Biophilic design approach which puts quality of life and wellbeing of the end user in the centre. We have the experience to understand complex structural and engineering challenges that can arise when trying to create a clean and functional space and value all the expertise and insights from our trust list of contractors and suppliers.
We value the opportunity to have creative freedom but appreciate how important it is to have a shared ethos and design aesthetic for every project to be a success.
In Stage 0-1 we spend time understanding you and your brief and define the projects aspirations.
We collect information about the project site to create clear picture of the constraints and intentions for the project. We perform an internal photographic survey and instruct an independent supplier to carry out a topographical and measured building survey.
We are now on our way to creating a 3D site model and survey drawings of the existing buildings and site on application to planning from this process. In this alchemic process we start to present you with a variety of ideas and options to explore.
Stage 2 is an exciting stage, when we collectively explore the potential of your residential development or commercial aspirations. L+ Architects explore concepts, sketches and computer models, and work with you to bring your vision into something resembling reality. At this stage, you can expect to see a full set of scaled plans, hand sketches and 3D models which bring your dreams to life.
Additionally, at this stage we discuss future procurement methods which may affect the schedule of work. We begin to liaise with external consultants in relation to structure, ecology, energy, building regulations, planning restrictions and opportunities for local interested parties that also may need information. All this new information helps us to refine the brief and develop a building model. Sometimes for highly complex sites and listed buildings, we may also prepare a pre-planning submission to gage the local authority’s receptiveness.
Stage 3 is the final stage we follow to get to the planning application (or permitted development rights). At this work stage, the client approves their chosen sketch and the design matures into a solid concept. This results in our planning submission. We finalise plan arrangements, materiality, and positioning on site and recommend engaging the services of a cost consultant (Quantity Surveyor) so that budget is realistic and in line with expectations.
We liaise with consultants to produce information for the planning application – taking into account local policy, and additional reports that may be required. You can expect AutoCAD or BIM plans, by pdf format, sections, and elevations, as well as a Design and Access Planning Report. We also produce Interior Design Concepts (these are only outlined to check the space) at this stage. We will produce a detailed 3D computer model and commission photo-realistic renders and physical models, if required.
For more complex or unusual applications, we will recommend the services of a planning consultant and either we or if needed they will act as your agent and submit to the local authority. The planners usually take a week to acknowledge the application as ‘validated’ and then planning approval can take a further 8-10 weeks.
In Stage 4 we home in on technical design and this becomes information manual for construction. With details on the materials and methods used to build it. The level of detail here is crucial as any omissions or errors will leave the client open to contractor interpretation which could lead to failures, the use of inferior materials, or not following the design intent and generating too many ‘extra’ costs. It takes time as we are now working closely with the structural engineers and other consultants, and we cannot complete our stage until they have completed theirs.
L+ Architects’ work closely with the rest of the design team and client to ensure that every detail of your project is considered and co-ordinated. We produce detailed packages and schedules, so that the project can be accurately tendered, costed and ultimately built. The method of procurement depends on the overall outcome, and previously at stage 2-3 we would have explored and represented your options.
Once technical is ready, we then prepare the tender package and schedules. We usually go to a maximum of three contractors who we use in a regular basis or who the client recommends, and we then carefully review the tendering returns which should then lead to a formal appointment. We estimate this stage will last 12-24 weeks
From dream to reality. On the commencement of Stage 5 the contractor will start on site, and we will be working alongside both parties to fairly administer the design administration and ensure that the intention of the design is correctly interpreted on site. This is where all our collective hard work and dreams on paper start to take shape in built form.
Depending on the procurement method our role may change. Firstly, we aid with mobilising the contractor to start on site. Additionally, whilst the work undertaken at Stage 4 aims to provide a complete solution from which the contractor can build, there will of course be submissions from specialists, suppliers, and sub-contractors that we need to check and co-ordinate. Design and construction are not linear processes and require intense management and coordination.
L+ Architects will be at hand to advise and answer queries from the contractor and work with them to resolve site issues which is called Request of Information (ROI) and we may spend many hours every day or week dealing with these queries and drawing as a routine part of the construction process.
A Contract Administrator (CA) will manage the building contract and certify any sums of money to be paid to the contractor in conjunction with the Cost Consultant. Then either we will carry out this CA role, or the Cost Consultant can take this on.
Stages 6-7 are following completion of the design and build. We will manage the relevant certifications and create snagging lists. We value our clients feedback at this stage and are passionate about providing a forum of discussion that ensures your needs have been met. We welcome the opportunity to find out what our clients have learnt throughout the process.