FAQs

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1)  If I want a new house/extension etc, what is the procedure?
2)  Can you give me an idea of the construction costs?
3)  Is it cheaper to build or buy?
4)  How much will the plan cost?
5)  Are their any other costs?
6)  When would I need to pay?
7)  I know what I want my house to be like, but is it feasible?
8)  I know very roughly what I want, but I can't decide on the details. Can you help?
9)  Would the building work add value to the property?
10) Would the appearance of the building be improved?
11) How should I go about finding a good builder?
12) Will I be able to get planning permission, and how long will it take?
13) How long will the building work take?
14) Could there be any building problems which would unexpectedly increase the cost?
15) How can I make sure the building work is guaranteed?
16) Will I/we be able to live in the house whilst the building work is going on?
17) Are there any sensible preparations I could make before the start of the building work?

1.  If I want a new house/extension etc., what is the procedure?

Every job is different, but you may find the following checklist a useful guide:

 2.  Can you give me an idea of the construction costs?

There are a number of ways to get an idea of the costs:

The quickest and easiest way is to calculate on the basis of the floor area to be created, and taking account also of any alteration works which may be required for an existing building. Sufficient detail for such an estimate is usually available at the stage of applying for planning permission. It must be emphasised that a calculation of this nature will produce only a very rough guide.

The most accurate price can be obtained from a builder after all relevant detailed drawings and specifications are available.

 

3. Is it cheaper to build or to buy?

Generally speaking, it is cheaper to build. As an example, compare the cost of building with buying a similar property in a similar location, and you will almost certainly find that to construct is less expensive than to buy ready-made.

 

4.  How much will the plan cost?

The cost of design work depends on the size and complexity of the project. There are recommended fee scales available - these are prepared by professional bodies for the use of their members as a guide. These scales often recommend a fee calculated as a proportion of the total construction costs. Consideration is also given to the complexity of the design work, which is not infrequently greater in smaller jobs. Homa Design estimates are given after the initial meeting with a client, when the nature and extent of the work is known .

   

5.  Are their any other costs?

Local Authority Fees

Fees are charged by the local authority for applications for Planning Permission, and for Building Regulations . The local authority has a system of set fees depending on whether the application is for a new building, a commercial building, extension etc. As an example, the planning fee as at 1 Jan 1998 for an application to build a new house would be £190.00.

Service Connection Fees

If you are building a new building on vacant land, the service companies (water, electricity, gas, and telephone) have connection charges. Some local authorities also have charges for connection of drains to the main sewer.

Specialist Fees

The services of a structural engineer may be required in some circumstances. For example, on bad ground, it may be necessary to obtain special designs for items such as foundations, beams, posts, special floor joists and roof structural members.

 

6.  When would I need to pay?

The payment for the design work can be in stages. A common arrangement , for example, is a part-payment at the planning stage, and the balance at the detail design stage.

The payments for building work are usually stage payments. The payments should reflect the value of the executed work. For example, the first payment could be made at damp-proof course stage, and another at roof level. The timing of the client's payments to the building contractor can be agreed in the contract document to protect both parties.

 7.  I know what I want my house to be like, but is it feasible?

In the majority of cases the client's ideas are feasible and can, as far as practicable, be converted into a design.

The building should fit in with the local environment: it should not constitute over-development, nor should it overlook surrounding property. It must satisfy the planning requirements for the area.

 

8.  I know very roughly what I want, but I can't decide on the details. Can you help?

Part of the service offered by Homa Design is to assist clients in making decisions about their building project by offering a number of suggestions, and outlining the advantages and disadvantages of these. Clients are encouraged to set priorities to assist their decision-making.

 9. Would the building work add value to the property?

Usually, over a period of time, the property would gain in value. The location and potential of the land or building are vital factors, however.

 

10.  Would the appearance of the building be improved?

A design which is careful and sympathetic will usually add interest to the building. The shape of the building is obviously important and a change to the external appearance is normally relatively easy for clients to visualise. The visual impact of different construction materials ( e.g. bricks, roof-tiles) is occasionally underestimated by clients. This aspect is a major consideration of the architectural planner when preparing the detailed drawings and specifications.

11.  How should I go about finding a good builder?

Clients are advised to seek personal recommendations of particular contractors, and to inspect examples of their work before coming to a decision.

12.  Will I be able to get planning permission, and how long will it take?

The Planning Act is a very comprehensive piece of legislation and there are very large number of factors to be considered by the Local Planning Authority. A careful study of the area in advance should however give some idea of the chances of obtaining planning permission. The applicant should bear in mind that the decision is made by the Local Planning Authority / Planning Committee, and their decision is beyond the control of the applicant and/or his agent.

Generally, the decision on the application takes 8 weeks from the date of submission, but this is not always the case. The Local Planning Authority should, for instance, consult other authorities such as the Highways department, drainage etc. This may delay the decision by weeks or even months. For a reasonably straightforward development, however, the decision is usually made in approximately 8 weeks.

 

13.  How long will the building work take?

This depends on the size and complexity of the building. As an example, the construction period for a new 4/5 bedroom house with 150 - 200 sq. metres (1500 - 2000 sq. feet) floor area should be 20 - 24 weeks under normal circumstances.

 

14.  Could there be any building problems which would unexpectedly increase the cost?

With new buildings, the only unforeseen element is the ground conditions. With a soil investigation report, the situation can be assessed, and the likelihood of further unfavourable discoveries is minimised. Any resulting costs depend on the nature of the problem.

Work to existing buildings can be more subject to unexpected problems. This is because certain elements must necessarily be exposed prior to an assessment e.g. floors, walls, foundations. Homa Design advises clients to allow an additional percentage of the estimated cost as a contingency for the purposes of funding unforeseen costs where applicable.

 

15.  How can I make sure the building work is guaranteed?

Homa Design carries a professional indemnity insurance to cover our design work. Most other consultants, such as structural engineers, are also insured. Prior to appointing any consultant, The client should ensure that an appropriate professional indemnity insurance is held by the consultant.

With regard to builders, clients are advised to employ a reputable contractor.  A possible approach is for a client to inspect examples of their work before coming to a decision. Another useful indicator is to appoint following personal recommendation of a particular contractor.

   

16.  Will I/we be able to live in the house whilst the building work is going on?

If you are undertaking extension/alteration work, and depending on the nature of the work, you may be able to live within the building while the contractor is carrying out the building work.

  

17.  Are there any sensible preparations I could make before the start of the building work?

There are some clear priorities:

1) Ensure that your finances are in order
2) Check your legal situation with regard to all aspects of the property /land .
3) Arrange the work programme with your builder.

Please note: The information given on this page, and on all other pages of the Homa Design Site, is up-to-date and accurate to the best of our knowledge. Homa Design cannot accept responsibility however for individual decisions or actions taken as a result of consulting these pages.

If you require individual assistance for a specific project, please contact Homa Design to arrange an appointment.

Tel: (01206) 272247

Or, if you prefer, give brief details using the form below.

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Email Address: homa@homadesign.co.uk

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