Why should I hire an Architectural Designer like Tendring Design?
The main benefit is to help you get what you want and importantly to
avoid costly mistakes and to help save you money.
We have many years
of experience in helping our Clients achieve their ambitions and maximising
the potential of their building project. Spotting any issues at the outset
is critical as well as being able to ensure that the project is feasible and
Without knowing exactly what to build is leaving
yourself and your cheque book open. Planning and Building Control
Authorities will only accept detailed plans for approval in the vast
majority of cases. Embarking on a building project without having the
statutory approvals in place can leave you exceeding your budget and could
leave you open to prosecution. Quite often Builders will tell their
customers that plans are not needed and they are able to handle the design
themselves. This may be the case for very small jobs but you should be sure
that the designs are being taken care of by someone competent to do so to
avoid problems later. We at Tendring Design can take care of that for you to
work on your behalf to obtain the necessary approvals and provide you with
the approved drawings and design details, ready for you to undertake your
We have many years of experience of working on projects such
as house extensions, new build houses and flats, loft conversions,
conversion works to form flats and houses and internal alteration projects.
We also undertake works on commercial projects such as shop fitting, office
and retail/shop buildings and industrial units.
Why is it important
to choose an Architectural Designer who is Professionally qualified?
need to be satisfied that whoever is designing your building project is
competent to do so. This we can demonstrate by the following:
qualified to degree level e.g. BSc (Hons) and BA (Hons)
membership of the Association of Building Engineers and the Institution of
Fire Engineers. Our affiliate Chartered Surveyor is a member of the Royal
Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
- Abide by the code of conduct and
ethics as set by our Professional bodies.
- Hold Professional Indemnity
- Have obligations of continuing professional development (CPD)
to ensure our knowledge is up to date.
- We have many years of experience
in our field.
Any advice on choosing a Builder?
one. Unfortunately Building Contractors are not regulated in the UK. The age
old tried and tested method is to choose a known Builder or from a reliable
recommended source. There are some Builders who are registered with the
Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) but these tend to be the larger firms
who have degree qualified staff and concentrate on large projects only.
Membership of trade associations is better than nothing, where some bodies
claim to check applicant's accounts and credit worthiness, but it is not
fool proof. The only exception to our knowledge are Gas Safe (for Gas
Installers) and the NICEIC (National Inspection Council for Electrical
Installation Contracting) which have rigorous checking and monitoring
procedures and can initiate legal action against interlopers. However there
is nothing in place for the general Builder.
Some useful advice is to
check where possible on the Builders credit rating and past work. Also be
careful if the Builder only works in cash payments to avoid paying tax. Also
check whether they hold insurance for their work and also public indemnity
insurance. When obtaining tenders the industry standard is to obtain a
minimum of three and no more than six. You should also be aware of the
difference between an estimate and a quote. An estimate is a ball park
figure subject to change whereas a quote is a more defined figure. Having a
full set of approved plans and specifications will help you to pin down the
Builder on price with a quote, which we at Tendring Design are able to
provide you with. Otherwise the Builder has to factor for the unknowns which
inflates the overall price.
When considering tenders it is worth
bearing mind this maxim:
"It's unwise to pay too much but it's unwise
to pay too little. When you pay too much you lose a little money, that is
all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything because the
thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing you bought it to do. The
common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot.
It can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it's well to add
something for the risk you run. And if you do that, you will have enough to
pay for something better!" – John Ruskin
Are you able to manage my
Project on site?
At present we do not offer this service. If you
would like a Professional to supervise and manage your project we can put
you in touch with someone who could do this for you. In the vast majority of
cases our Clients arrange this for themselves.
Any advice on how to
manage my Project myself?
Although not exhaustive the following is a
brief list of considerations:
- Agree at the outset the scope of
works. Having a set of approved plans which we at Tendring Design are able
to provide, will help but you should agree on any extras that you may
- Agree on stage payments, payable at satisfactory completion
of each stage. Late payments can adversely affect your Builders cash flow
which in turn will affect your project.
- Ensure that the necessary
approvals are obtained from Planning, Building Control and Listed Building
Consent (if applicable) before you start work on site. We at Tendring Design
will supply you with copies of the consents and the approved drawings and
specifications once they are made available.
- Make sure you obtain
copies of the installation certification required for Building Regulations
approval before handover at completion e.g. Electrical, Gas and heating
- If the works stop on site check the reason
why. The Builder may be overstretched on other projects they may also be
undertaking or there could be a serious financial cause.
entering into a form of contract. There is a homeowners contract which is
published by JCT which is a standard off the shelf type available to
purchase by members of the public.
How can I keep the cost of my
building work to a minimum?
Some additional advice to what's already
been discussed is as follows:
Avoiding VAT – Generally you can't.
However one widely used method is to choose a Builder who is not VAT
registered, thereby not paying VAT on their labour. You normally end up
paying the sub-contractors and for materials directly which means you are
then responsible for them, unless there is a contract set up which says
Certain types of projects are exempt from VAT such as
charity works, works for disabled persons, school projects and for new build
self contained dwellings. Also approved alterations to a listed building may
be exempt, on the proviso that the works have listed building consent.
Note: Whilst we have researched the validity of this advice we strongly recommend
that you check with HM Revenue & Customs or a qualified Tax Consultant first
before proceeding any further.
Obtaining a grant – You may be in line
for grant assistance which in some cases covers the whole cost of the works
including our design fees. Examples are if you live in social housing that
needs adaptation, if you or another occupant in your home is disabled or has
"special needs" and your home requires adaptation you may be eligible.
Grants nearly always come with conditions that must be met which you need to
be aware of.
What areas do you work in?
Whilst Tendring Design
is an Essex based Architectural Design Company, we do take commissions for
projects outside the county. We have recently undertaken Architectural
Design Services in East London, Kent, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.