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The design process begins with the concept design. This is an iterative process where the architect and you the client, interrogate the brief and grapple with issues such are form, scale, appearance, urban context and development approach through a series of sketches, illustrations, ideas, 2D plans and 3D models to satisfy your requirements and suit the urban context. It is also an opportunity for the architect to tease out relevant aspects of your lifestyle not captured in your brief.
Below is a step-by-step guide:


  • Conduct a topographical survey and buildings survey if developing an existing building.

  • Review the project brief and programme.

  • Conduct historic site information & research planning development policies

  • Complete sketch designs that capture the essence of the design and how it resolves cost, aesthetic or site constraints in relation to form, appearance, local legislation and urban context.

  • Consider passive, biophilic and sustainable design approaches to control solar gains, maximise daylight, improve connection to nature and limit your home’s impact on the environment.

  • Depending on the complexity of the proposed design, consult with your local planning authority (LPA) for relevant feedback prior to a formal application for consent. This is called “Pre-application Advise” where the relevant local authority may charge a nominal fee to assess your proposals.

  • Create mood boards and material palettes to direct the exterior finishes

  • Review the final concept design, agree any changes to the brief based on the approved design and freeze the brief.

  • Through a program of review and design team meetings, develop the approved concept design in sufficient detail to illustrate the overall form and fabric of your home.

  • Create preliminary interior design intent including sketches to clarify design direction.

  • Develop the design and coordinate with the engineers’ strategic design to create a spatially coordinated set of information in the form of 2D plans, elevations and sections.

  • Conduct a cost check exercise with your Quantity surveyor to ensure the design is in line with your budget and make necessary adjustments.


  • Produce a Location plan to show the relationship between your proposed development, your neighbours and the surrounding context. 

  • It is good practice to discuss your development proposal with your neighbours before submitting your application. Listen to their concerns and if valid or feasible, try to address them in your design to avoid objections.

  • Produce a Design and Access statement outlining the design principles of your home, precedents, access provisions and how the design of your home responds to the local and national planning policies. 

  • Depending on the nature of your site, you may need specialist input from a flood consultant, tree surgeon, heritage consultant and an ecologist. 

  • Check your local planning authority’s website for other documents they may require.

  • Once you are satisfied that the design and cost meet your brief, prepare to submit your application to the LPA.

  • Complete the relevant application form and submit your application online via the Planning Portal or post them directly to your local planning authority council and pay the relevant fee. This should include the scaled drawings of your location plan, site plan, existing and proposed plans, elevations, sections and exterior material selection, Design and Access statement and other supporting documentation required by your LPA.

  • The LPA will review you application and if complete will validate it and upload all the information submitted to their planning website for consultation with relevant departments and to allow comments and objections from your neighbours and other stakeholders. 

  • All information submitted will be made public so remove any personal information you dont wish to make public.

  • Depending on the number of objections received, your application will be dealt with by the planning officers under delegated powers or reviewed by a planning committee.

  • Your application is usually determined in 8 weeks unless large, complex or by agreement, may be extended to 13 weeks. If it includes an Environmental Impact Assessment the time limit is 16 weeks. These statutory time limits are stipulated by the government which also allows a maximum exception of 26 weeks. 

  • If your application is refused, you can review the reasons and appeal the decision or revise the scheme as advised by your consultants.

  • Once your application is granted, it forms a time limited binding agreement of what can be construction on the particular site unless amended by agreement with the authority. 

  • Read the planning permission and address any conditions as and when required. Some conditions may need to be addressed before you commence construction. 

  • Prepare a Health and Safety File to include all pre-construction information such as design risk control measures included in the design.

  • Once you are satisfied that you can address the conditions move to the next stage.

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