Frequently Asked Questions

Commissioning an architect, where do we begin?

You’re reading this which is a good start! There are several client guides available to download for from the Royal Institute of British Architects, read up about commissioning an architect and creating a new space, start gathering pictures (be it from magazines or pintrest) of architecture and interiors you like which will all help in your initial conversation. When you meet your architect for the first time, talk about the process, dialogue and trust with your architect is crucial for achieving a great project.  

How do we make the process not seem daunting?

As a practice, OSA are passionate about making high quality architecture accessible to everyone.  We know starting any project can be daunting, so we take great care in explaining the process and making it open and as accessible as possible.

How much will it cost to appoint an architect?

Architectural fees vary and ultimately depends on the complexity of the project. The size, type and the quality a client requires alongside what kind of service they want from their architect will all have an impact on the architect’s fee. At OSA our fee will be tailored directly for you and what you and your project requires.

What is the process for, for example, a loft conversion - what’s involved?

The process of a loft conversion, is like any other project, as architects and professionals we follow clear and defined stages. These stages are laid out by the Royal Institute of British Architects and run from 0-7; from the initial definition of your brief through to hand over and close out following construction.

Simplified, the stages of work for a loft conversion roughly follow this patten:

  • Initially we will meet with you to discuss your project and arrange for an architectural survey to be undertaken.

  • Once the existing drawings from the survey have been prepared we will undertake a feasibility study or concept design. This is both an exciting part of the design process, looking at how the design of the space might appear, testing ideas and options with you, alongside initial crucial analysis for example looking at how services such as plumbing and drainage might work if a bathroom or shower room is required, or how compliant stair headroom can be achieved. 

  • Following an in-depth conversation with you about the positives and negatives of each scheme we will prepare your chosen scheme for planning and submit to your local authority.

  • Once submitted to planning we can start preparing the technical design information together with  a detailed specification of your building works that can be passed to your chosen contractor.  
What are the stages of commissioning architecture and getting a project built?

Commissioning architecture like creating anything is a process which OSA will develop with you at every step of the way. Architects tend to follow the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Plan of Work which is an industry standard guide to how to structure our work. It’s broken down into 7 stages (0-6). You can appoint an architect for one or all of these stages.

  • Brief Development (Stage 1)

    During this stage we will visit the site, undertake a photographic survey and discuss the project with you. Following this we will undertake some preliminary appraisals to assess options and your ideas for the project

  • Concept Design (Stage 2)

    Using the initial project brief and sketch design from RIBA Stage 0/1, we will develop outline proposals and will present one or a number of initial concepts for you to choose from. The concept design will start to form the final design brief and should reflect your aspirations and provide you with a home that adds value and improves your quality of life.

  • Developed Design (Stage 3) [Includes any Planning Application]

    We will spend more time at this stage transforming ideas into something that can be built. This includes coordinating the work of other consultants into the designs. Once agreed, between you, the design proposals will then be submitted for planning approval (if required).

  • Technical Design (Stage 4) [Including Pricing (Tender) and Building Control Drawings]

    We will prepare the technical drawings and a specification and/or a schedule of works that will be used to price and construct the building. We can then invite and appraise tenders from builders and administer the building contract on your behalf (if required).

  • Construction (Stage 5)

    Throughout the construction phase we can provide architectural support, manage and administer your contract with the builder, this will include the following; carrying out regular inspections, dealing with queries, instructing any additional work required, monitoring progress on site, keeping track of cost, valuing the works and certifying payments due to the builder.

  • Handover and Close Out (Stage 6)

    When the project is ready to handover we will inspect and value the works and issue a certificate. We will be available after handover and during any defects liability period (a set period of time in which the builder has to rectify any issues) to arrange for certifying the final payment.


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