Home Building FAQ's
Q - Why do you require a deposit to engage your services?
A - It demonstrates good faith & that the client is serious for obtaining a good design
solution for their building requirements. I am keen to only have clients that are seeking good advice & have a
high degree of trust in my services. This allows me to be selective & only have committed clients.
Q - Some of your observations appear negative or worrying for me - will these issues become a
A - Probably not but Planning is perhaps one of the most wide ranging & subjective aspects of Local
Authority Control there is that is often inconsistent. All I have done is to identify areas of ‘possible’ risk
where the Case Planning Officer may be under pressure to look very closely at certain elements of the design or
neighbour implications. In most cases the Case Planning Officer acts as ‘judge & jury’ with delegated decisions
& the Planning process is supposed to be a democratic system with many external opinions that can affect a
Q - Your fees appear higher than others who have quoted - why is that?
A - There is no set rate for Architectural & Building Design Services. Each professional will pitch at what
they think their services are worth influenced by current work load & success of their practice. You should
also assess whether or not the level of service, quality of information & expertise is on a ‘like for like’
basis or is their an ‘added value’ element that is important for you? Please remember that my fee schedule also
include most other costs & application fees.
Q - Do you negotiate on fees if I find your proposal too high?
A - If I am currently very busy then probably not. If I forecast some spare capacity over the coming weeks then
I will consider negotiating but in the end I do have to feel positive towards a scheme in terms of remuneration so
that you can obtain a pro-active & motivated level of service rather than a ‘half hearted’ approach.
Q - How likely am I to incur extra fees for any drawing alterations?
A - Very unlikely provided your design aspirations do not keep varying. My ‘design stage 1’ issue (survey &
clients presentation scheme) is designed to explore your requirements & other possibilities for your
consideration. I will evolve the design of the scheme with you that may require further alterations &
amendments until we get it right for which does not incur any extra fees. Minor alterations to satisfy Planning or
Building Control issues are also included as ‘good will’ elements of my service. It is only major redesigns that
would incur extra fees but this would be quoted for before implementation.
Q - Your terms for payment seem quite strict - Why?
A - I pride myself on providing an efficient & attentive service for my clients where I normally excel in
their expectations. I even take my work away with me on holidays. I am also a small practice that relies on cash
flow in return for my time & skills. I therefore expect the same level of mutual respect by having efficient
payments when I issue an invoice for work done. The terms for late or none payment would only be incurred if a
client is deliberately being mischievous.
Q - Who deals with the applications to the Council?
A - I act as your Agent which means that I complete all the application forms & covering letters for you.
During the approval processes you should not need to deal with any Council issues.
Q - I notice that you are not an ‘Architect’ but a Technologist - What is the difference?
A - The word ‘Architect’ has regretfully become a generic term used by the public to include for ‘anyone’
offering ‘Building Design Services’ which is incorrect. Only full members of the ‘RIBA’ & who are on their
registration board can be called an ‘Architect’ which is protected by Royal Charter. I belong to ‘CIAT’ which has
also been granted a ‘Charter’ (The Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists) as a full member & we
offer similar services to the RIBA - we compete with them head on & at the same level with most ‘true’
Architects. Other people who you may consider to be an ‘Architect’ but are not part of the RIBA or CIAT or probably
‘draftsmen’ with some experience in completing plans for buildings. These people do not normally have Professional
Indemnity Insurance or follow any professional code of conduct unless they belong to another qualifying body. I
attach a promotional leaflet from my professional institution ‘CIAT’ that will outline our role in the built
environment which I hope will answer any remaining questions that you may have.
Q - Who will own the copyright of my plans & your design?
A - You will once my fees have been paid.
Q - Once you have secured the necessary Council Approvals for me is that the end of your services?
A - It can be but I am normally available to help you with any problems, queries, changes etc. that you or your
builder may have during or after the works on site. This is all part of my backup & support services to my
clients that is normally free of charge provided it is not too demanding on my time.
Q - Can I view any of your previous work?
A - Yes, of course you can. You can either come & see me at my Office or you can view some of my last 100
projects via the Councils Planning web site although these will not show you the detailed Construction drawings.
Simply go to www.wycombe.gov.uk& search for a planning application under the Agents name of ‘Chris
NOTE - These are general discussion articles