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FAQs

We provide the answers

How long will my project take?

There’s no cut-and-dried answer; we’ll gather information from you when we first talk, before giving you an idea.

 

What you need and want from your home depends on your lifestyle and ambitions. Whether you have family considerations, you need more space, or you want to invest in your most personal asset, everybody differs. We tailor each and every project to the person – or family – in front of us.

 

So the timeline for each project depends. What we can say, is that during our initial discovery process, we’ll talk to you to understand your requirements. This will give us an indication of how long things will take. We’ll communicate with you clearly and honestly, so that you’re aware of the timescales from the outset. If you’re working to a deadline, we’ll let you know if any services can be overlapped.

 

If it looks like there could be delays, we’ll do our best to alert you in advance. We’ll provide a project programme indicating where flexibility is needed. We’ve 14 years of experience in residential architecture, so we’re used to anticipating hiccups!

 

Examples of things that can affect a project programme:

 

  1. Applying for planning and other legislative submissions
  2. Party wall or license to alter negotiations
  3. Complex designs or difficult site conditions
  4. Unknowns – things found on site when work begins
  5. Changes to the brief

 

The unexpected can occur; the most important thing, is not to worry. As architects we’re trained to solve problems. And with an experienced in-house team of seven, plus a wide network of specialists to call upon, there aren’t many hurdles that we can’t find a way over, under or around.

 

If you’re thinking of extending, remodelling or building a new home, get in touch. We might not have an answer straight away; however, we’d be happy to sit down with you and hear your ideas. From there, we can give you an estimate as to how long the project will take.

How much will my project cost?

Imagine seeing a beautiful design for the home you’ve always wanted. The space is inviting and the finish is immaculate. In your mind’s eye, you can see your friends and family gathered around, the bubbly popping…

 

Now imagine that you hear the cost, only to realise that it’s out of your budget. Demoralising, isn’t it?

 

That’s why we at 50 Degrees North recommend beginning with the budget in mind, rather than ending with it. Each and every project is unique; it’s not possible to provide an ‘off-the-shelf’ price.

 

Our approach is as follows: We’ll find out what you need and begin the design work. We’ll explain the key parameters of the project before pausing. At this stage we can seek cost advice from builders or a quantity surveyor and discuss with you the budget, scope and specification before continuing. That way, expectations reflect the reality of the budget – for us as the architects and you as the client.

 

We’re really happy to give you an overview of the fees that may be involved, aside from architects and builders. There are often things that don’t become apparent until further down the line so it’s wise to factor contingencies into the budget. We don’t charge for an initial meeting at our studio. To gain a clearer understanding of what to budget for a building project, get in touch.

What services do you provide?

We design to inspire, transform homes, and help our clients live well. Our service goes far beyond drawing – though we’re skilled at that, too!

 

The core services that we provide reflect the many considerations clients face when undertaking a project:

  • Feasibility and project assessments
  • Design and space planning
  • Managing cost advice from builders and quantity surveyors
  • Sustainability advice
  • Pre-application and planning application submissions
  • Building control drawings
  • Tender drawings and tendering to builders
  • Project management / management of consultants such as engineers, surveyors and interior designers
  • Creating a project team
  • Contract management
  • Advice on interior design
  • Landscape and garden design
  • Lighting design
  • High level design of kitchens, bathrooms and master suites
  • Client hand holding during the build including for site visits and problem solving

We’re here to advise and support you as you make the decisions that will bring your project to life. Our team has decades of knowledge and experience gained from managing projects of all scales and types. Our service gives the build team what they need to complete the work on-budget and to a high quality.

 

Not everyone needs or wants a tailored, full-scale service – and that’s fine. For most people, the help of a skilled professional to develop a brief and deliver a beautiful outcome is a welcome relief.

 

Planning major changes to your home is an exciting journey – though not without worry. We’re a RIBA chartered practice. That means we adhere to a code of ethics and comply with strict insurance, health and safety, and quality control initiatives. Take a look at RIBA’s document which gives an overview of how architects help. How does that sound? If you’ve a burning idea you’d love to make a reality, give us a call on 020 8744 2337.

Which areas do you work in?

Many of the clients we work with are local to our studio in Richmond, West London. Our knowledge of the area, types of buildings found here, and local planning requirements mean that your home is in safe hands. What’s more, we’ve an extensive network of trusted partners and suppliers. Many of these are based in West and Central London; so you can relax, knowing that we’ve worked with these people for years and trust that they deliver work of a very high quality.

 

Beyond Richmond, we work across London, the home counties and West Sussex. We’ve completed projects across the UK, from Pembrokeshire to the Outer Hebrides. Our work takes us to Switzerland, Finland and China too.

 

So if you’re local or international, contact us for an initial conversation. We’re passionate about helping people create their ideal homes, no matter where they are. Perhaps we could help you create yours?

Can you find me a good builder?

Yes, we can. We have a network of trusted suppliers – some have even worked on our own homes. The builders we work with are used to tendering for work. They provide genuinely helpful customer service and are experienced professionals. Usually, we’ll provide you with the details of builders so that you can meet and discuss budget, timescales and practicalities.

 

Our network stretches beyond builders and covers every part of the process. From planning consultants right up to lighting designers, we’ve a ready-made team of professionals who are used to working together. We can liaise with each of these parties early on to gain input and cost advice, so you’re prepared from the outset.

 

Thinking of extending or remodelling and not sure where to begin? We can help. Give us a call on 020 8744 2337 for an initial conversation at no charge.

What happens during our initial meeting?

Your ideal home and what you want to achieve are unique to you. During our initial meeting, we’ll ask questions, listen to you and form a broad picture of what you have in mind.

 

If you’re unsure what to ask for, it’s no problem. We’ve worked with hundreds of clients, so we know the questions to ask to formulate a brief. The meeting is also a chance for us to introduce ourselves and explain how we work. We can show you examples of our previous work and make design suggestions.

 

The aim of the meeting is to establish if we’re a good fit for one another. We’ll gather enough information to provide a fee proposal and scope of work, which we’ll send you shortly after the meeting. Before organising a site survey or starting the design, we’ll agree fees, terms and conditions with you.

 

After that, the fun part begins! Congratulations, you’ve just taken the first step on the journey to your ideal home.

 

If you’ve grand plans for your home, why not pop in for an initial chat? We don’t charge for meetings at our studio and we’d be happy to help you decide if we can assist you.

What other professionals or contractors might I need on our project?

The experts required will vary depending on your needs. First of all, we’ll find out what you’d like to do. From there, we’ll recommend or bring in specialists from our network.

 

Virtually every project will require:

 

  1. A building surveyor, to survey the site or building in its current state
  2. An engineer, to provide structural advice
  3. A building control team, to inspect the site and help ensure plans comply with national building regulations
  4. A party wall surveyor, to prepare and issue party wall agreements for you

Depending on the project, special considerations may need to be taken into account. In this case, other experts may be required. For example:

 

  1. A planning specialist, to assist with the planning strategy and applications
  2. If the building is listed or has heritage features, we’ll need the advice of a heritage consultant
  3. Conservation experts, if the build is in an area of conservation or special protection
  4. Sustainability consultants, either because you want to build sustainably, or because sustainability reports are required by local authorities
  5. A quantity surveyor, to keep track of the budget
  6. Arboriculture specialists, to ensure that works do not interfere with mature or protected trees
  7. Transport consultants, if a traffic report must be submitted with planning

If this list seems a little bewildering, don’t panic! We’ve years of experience in handling projects with many parties involved. Your life is busy enough as it is – managing a large-scale and technical process is daunting. That’s why we manage all of this for our clients – right down to the kitchen or bathroom designers.

 

Thinking of starting a build? Give us a call on 020 8744 2337. We’d be delighted to hear your ideas and explain how we’ll work with our trusted partners to bring them to life.

How long does it usually take to get planning permission?

The length of the planning stage depends on a range of factors. The size, scale and complexity of the project all play a part.

 

For refurbishments or relatively straightforward projects, we recommend clients allow around 8–10 weeks for planning. For more complex projects and for new builds we recommend allowing for several months.

 

Planning is a process. Sometimes that process takes a bit longer, sometimes it’s a little faster. If you’ve heard stories of people engaging an architect, submitting planning and getting on site within six weeks, we recommend taking it with a pinch of salt!

 

We’ve worked with hundreds of clients over the years and have developed a robust process. We design within legislative parameters and we take the advice of specialists we know and trust. This approach gives the application the best chance of success, though it does not guarantee success. If we need to withdraw your application, or resubmit, we’ll do our best to prepare you for this in advance. As with any large or lengthy project, bumps in the road can appear at any time and planning is no exception.

 

If you’re confused about what’s involved with planning or if you’ve heard conflicting tales, don’t worry. Give us a call on 020 8744 2337 – we’d be happy to listen to your concerns and to answer what we can. And if we don’t know the answer, we’ll find out.