10 Gouldings Avenue
Walton on the Naze
Essex
CO14 8QL

T: 01255 446254
M: 07902 454160
E: tendringdesign@gmail.com
W: tendringdesign.co.uk
  • Measured Site and Building Surveys
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Scheme Design Proposals
  • AutoCad Designed Plans
  • Planning Drawings and Applications
  • Specification Writing and Construction Drawings
  • Design submissions for Building Regulations Approval
  • Liaison with the Planning Authority and Building Control Body
  • Construction Cost Consultancy

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 cost effective.

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 project.

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?

You need to be satisfied that whoever is designing your building project is competent to do so. This we can demonstrate by the following:

  • Staff qualified to degree level e.g. BSc (Hons) and BA (Hons)
  • Corporate 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 Insurance.
  • 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?

A difficult 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 require.
  • 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 installation certification.
  • 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.
  • Consider 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 otherwise.

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.