Where to start?
Making good choices for the planning process.
What would we consider at the point of starting a design and planning project?
It is always great to hear from potential clients and we are often able to help establish a useful starting point in our initial discussions over the phone.
Any project has to take into account these three key questions: -
1. What is aim of the project? What is the desired end result? How big? What should it feel like?
2. How much will it cost? Is it affordable?
3. Will it obtain the necessary planning permissions? Is it a realistic prospect with the planners?
Most people will have a good idea for the first question and communication of dreams and aspirations between client and designer is important.
The second and third questions relating to costs and planning consents may be a little more difficult to answer. These are however, important conversations to have early on in any design and planning process.
1. How would we ensure the design fulfils your vision?
The client brief is an important part of any design process. It is often helpful to write down a key list of objectives for the project. Conversations help build up a picture of what the end result should look like, feel like and how it works in terms of its functionality.
One of the real advances in recent years in the design process is Building Information Modelling (BIM), it has been used over a number of years on large scale projects, but is now starting to be a technology available to smaller scale projects.
A few Kent architects have adopted this useful technology, we saw its potential early on and it's been beneficial for ourselves and clients.
A big advantage of BIM is that it is a 3d modelling software which allows us to produce perspectives. These can help provide additional information about what the end result might feel like to be there. This aids understanding of the scheme and we have found that clients and planners alike respond well to having more visual information.
2. How much does a building project cost?
Following initial discussions, we provide a carefully set out cost proposal for design works to the point of and including submission of a planning application. Our fees are worked out on the complexity of the application rather than a percentage of the overall build.
We are able to provide a budget specification and costs for the building work based on the planning drawings with a clear cost structure.
You can then choose to instruct us for a design and build contract1 and we will work through the detailed design, planning conditions, building control, structural engineering as well as provide a full on-site build service.
Our BIM process allows us to price projects with greater speed and accuracy.
1 Neither party is obligated to proceed to build and you are free to take submitted planning drawings elsewhere for prices. Whether or not we can build your project will also depend on our availability at the time, so if you have a timescale in mind, please discuss it with us.
3. How would we obtain planning permission for your project?
Every project is different and the chances of obtaining planning consent will vary with each local council and their particular planning policies. Some aspects require subjective assessment from planning officers, experience in dealing with local authority planning departments is crucial to navigating the complexities of the process.
Our approach is to use our experience to design so the project works on every level, realising your brief, bearing in mind your budget and maximising your chances of application success.
There are no guarantees on a successful planning outcome of course, but we have good track record when it comes to obtaining planning and listed building consents.
Why embark on a design project with Vernacular Homes?
With the ability to offer both design and build services we understand what it takes to make a project a reality.
Embarking on a design project is an exciting time, and chanelling the excitement and opportunity is important. The decisions made at this point will determine the success of the end result.
We believe that a holistic approach is needed to the design process to fulfil the client brief, obtain a good planning outcome and arrive at an affordable project.
Many clients come to us with projects which have been poorly designed, didn't get planning permission or with build costs vastly more than expected. We have a proven track record in resolving these issues and revitalising a stalling project.
What do we enjoy about working in Kent and East Sussex?
We work throughout Kent, East Sussex and the Eastern part of Surrey.
Stretching from the North Downs across the Low Weald and High Weald landscapes and down to the South Downs, this is surely one of the most beautiful parts of the world to work in.
Our nearest large town is Ashford, Kent a former market town - now popular with commuters due to the High Speed 1 train line to London. Tonbridge, Maidstone and Sevenoaks are also popular with commuters.
Kent and East Sussex are full of delightful towns and villages, each with their own unique character and architectural traditions, these include Faversham in the north (Part of Swale Borough), Crowborough to the West (part of Wealden District) and Rye to the South (part of Rother District).
Our knowledge of the local landscape, with its history and architectural traditions is ideal for informing our approach to the design and planning process, respecting the local context even when working with contemporary designs.