The Benefits of Choosing an Experienced Architect over a Cheap Drawings Company

Making your dream home a reality can be a costly process and understandably many people try to
keep their costs as low as possible; and stick to a budget – whether this is £5,000 or £500,000. The
first step in this process is to arrive at a scheme that gives you what you want. However, it also has to be possible structurally; so, you can then make the decision whether to go ahead with your project.

Therefore, the first point of call is making contact with either an architectural practice or alternatively, a drawings company that offer a fixed low-cost package. Whilst many people think that by choosing the low-cost package drawings firm, they are saving money this is often not the case. We wanted to show you why this is not always the cheapest option and the pitfalls to look out for when choosing a company to design your house alterations.

What are your requirements?
As an experienced architectural practice, once a potential client makes contact with us, we would always start with a Feasibility Scheme. This is a fixed fee service and involves visiting your home at a time that suits you, to listen to your requirements. The visit normally takes about two and a half to three and a half hours.

Which is the best scheme for you?
Following the visit and survey we will produce a number of schemes for you to consider and will work with you until you are happy that you have the best possible scheme for you. It also needs to have the best chance of being approved by planning. Once you have a chance to evaluate our schemes and give us your thoughts, we can then further explore a particular idea and alter it as necessary.

The Planning Application Stage
The second stage is the Scheme Acceptance which is where we proceed with your chosen scheme. A Planning Application is then submitted to the Planning Authority, preparing the Building Regulations Application and then Project Managing your scheme to completion.

How do we save you Money in the Long Run?
Whilst this may sound fairly simple and you would think that any company could offer this service; it is rarely an easy transition. There are always queries and issues that pop up along the way and this is where an experienced architectural practice has the advantage over a fixed fee drawings company. They know every detail of your agreed scheme and can tweak it and liaise with the different bodies along the way from planning through to building control/regulations.

As an architectural practice, Building Tectonics have close relationships spanning over 30 years with the local planning authorities. We therefore, know what is likely to be approved and where you may run into problems; therefore, saving you time and money in the long run.

Over the years, many clients have come to us after choosing the cheaper option and then later regretted it. They have found that the company in question just didn’t have the knowledge or expertise when they ran into problems or they simply didn’t like their design concepts. They therefore, end up coming to us to try to sort it out. We are always happy to take a client on at any stage but it can sometimes take a while to rectify what has been undertaken already by the previous company.

Many of these package drawings companies may also say that they include all fees; but often further down the line you will find areas crop up that are not included. The fees may also not include you making any design changes at a later date. Whilst they can do the basic drawings they won’t think outside the box and give you alternative options that you may not have considered and find a solution that really suits you, your family and your lifestyle.

These services tend to focus on speedy transactions and quick turnover as this is how they keep their costs so low. They just don’t offer the personal architect/client relationship that architectural practices have, where we aim to find the best solution for our clients whatever it takes.

Building Tectonics will design and develop your ideas and work with you to guide you through the whole process step by step. We always go the extra mile to find a scheme that gives our clients the best possible fit with what they desire. Not all clients know exactly what they want and during the exchange of ideas and two or three different schemes, the brief can often get altered several times until the perfect solution is reached.

If you would like to know more about the services we offer and how to take the first step towards achieving your dream home; please do give us a call on 01908 366000 to see how we can help.

Connect Your Home to Your Outside Space with a Garden Room

Garden Rooms are often thought of as being a separate cabin style building down the end of your garden; which you would typically use as an office, craft room, a spare bedroom or as a separate summer only additional living space.

However, did you know that a Garden Room can also refer to a fixed structure that is part of your house? This can be from designing a new structure to extend your existing living space, or by altering a conservatory into a more usable room that connects your living space to your garden as a conservatory does; but with the benefit of being able to use it all year around not just in the warmer months.

Whilst conservatories have their uses and in the summer are great spaces to relax in and make the most of the sunshine streaming in; they can become too hot at the height of summer as the heat becomes trapped inside and they are difficult to cool down. At the other end of the temperature scale; come the winter, they then become too cold so people end up shutting them off from the rest of the house and using them as storage; as they are simply too cold to even open the door to let alone use the space. This is a shame as it is often a good-sized space that is not being fully utilised and thereby restricts your overall living space during the winter months.

However, there are a number of options available to make this space more useable. These range from swapping the glass/polycarbonate roof to an insulated tiled roof to help maintain a consistent temperature; through to swapping the structure for a more permanent structure that can be put to full use throughout the year.

Additionally; many clients are now asking for a garden room to be added to their house when they have no existing structure there in the first place. They love the idea of having a room that they can relax in and enjoy the garden views from whatever the time of year; making the most of the summer or winter sunshine but with it still being part of their house rather than separate.

Whichever route you are considering, replacing a conservatory with a permanent structure that can be used all year round will not only add value to your home but will make it more attractive to sellers should you decide to move later down the line.

Here are some examples of Garden Rooms we have worked on for previous clients:

Garden Room – Milton Keynes
Our client wanted a garden room which could be used all year round without costing a fortune in heating bills. Therefore, we produced a light airy room that connected with the garden and the rest of the house. We also advised on the reshaping of the garden and rebuilding of a garden wall to create an adjacent outdoor sunspace. They were very happy with the finished outcome and said “The project was delivered on time to a high spec. Building Tectonics engaged with us throughout the process ensuring that any changes were managed and we would highly recommend them”.

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Conservatory Conversion – Milton Keynes
When Tony, our company director, brought his house it included a conservatory so one of the main upgrades he made was to put a ‘proper’ roof on it.  This required getting builders to form a foundation outside the conservatory, construct the necessary steel-work, remove the old plastic roof and replace it with a new traditional roof. The glass sides and floor were left as they were but it had a super insulated roof installed. Although the conservatory was already there; Planning and Building Regulation approvals will often still be necessary for this type of work.

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House Remodel – Bedfordshire
Our client had bought a very tired 1960’s house which they thought needed remodelling. The house had a very un-inspiring appearance, an outdated internal arrangement, very poor insulation and lacked connection with the garden. An architect had produced some plans but the client thought these were unsuitable. Therefore, we were asked to perform our magic and remodel the house and make it a home fit for the future. We are pleased to say that everyone has been delighted with the results.

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Do you have an existing conservatory or outbuilding that you would like to make better use of and to connect it with the garden for all-round year use? Or would you simply like some ideas for how a new garden room structure could be added to the back of your house? Please do get in touch to see how Building Tectonics can help you.

Garden Room in Bletchley.

Our clients wanted to replace a conservatory with a room that they could use all year round. The old timber conservatory was in need of replacement as it was rotten in places, but rather than opt for a newer plastic conservatory (which would still have a limited life expectancy) they wanted to invest their money wisely by extending their house and create what we would call a ‘garden room’. They believe, as we do, that this would be a longer lasting asset. They also wanted to create a more integrated layout so that the ‘garden room’ became a space to be used in conjunction with the kitchen, and also formed the ‘hub’ of the house, connecting with the lounge and the garden.

The exterior was intended to be simple, unostentatious and blend in with the existing building.

The clients are delighted with the results as it gives them everything they required.

A ‘hot’ topic

Traditional Conservatories are cruel!

DSCF6585

We have completely transformed the conservatory into what we call a garden room. To us this means a room looking out on the garden that can be used all the year round. It involves putting a proper roof over the glazed area. We can often retain the glass perimeter and floor too, although sometimes some changes to these elements are needed. Our technique does not involve any light weight insulation layer as sold by some companies who have, like us, realized that there is a general dissatisfaction with conservatory owners. We advocate an independent structural system and a traditional roof. If done correctly, it shades the space in the summer, keeps the heat in during winter and gets rid on the nasty, dirty looking, creaking, badly insulated security risk that is the polycarbonate roof.

Ok, you would have been well advised to do it properly first time around, but nonetheless we may be able to help so that this space can truly be regarded as part of the house and yet create that all year around connection with the garden.

It may be too late to save all your conservatory plants but stop this cruelty now! Put them out in the garden and promise yourself that you will get the situation resolved before the poor little things have to suffer the biting cold of the mid winter conservatory freeze.

Written by Tony Keller – Building Tectonics Ltd.

Enjoy your garden.

This particular project was completed without any drama (which is the best way in our opinion), and so we have another satisfied client.

VID rear before VID

Our client wanted a garden room that could be enjoyed all year round without it costing a fortune in bills when winter shows up (which in the UK could happen at any given time, regardless of the time of the year). The challenge, as always, was to produce a light and airy room that connect with the garden and the rest of the house, without disturbing the aesthetics of the overall look of the property.

VID side best enhanced VID best inside

 

We also advised reshaping the garden a little to accommodate this room, and rebuilding of a garden wall to create an adjacent outdoor sun space, creating something with the feel of another room.

Written by Tony Keller – Building Tectonics Ltd.

 

I’d like a roof on my conservatory please.

If you have seen the Building Tectonics blogs or the Facebook page, you may know that Tony is not exactly a massive fan of conservatories, so when he brought his house a few years ago (which happened to include a conservatory!) he decided that this would have to go.

The previous owners had probably spent a fair amount of money on this, and had tried to make it a more appealing area by removing the windows and doors between the kitchen and conservatory. This made the first two winters at his home horribly cold, so as soon as he had the funding for it, the project to change this space was underway.

One of the main differences he made to this area was the fact that he put a ‘proper’ roof on it. The team of builders Tony brought in formed a foundation outside the conservatory, constructed the necessary steel-work  and when the right moment presented itself (a dry day), the old plastic roof came off and a new traditional roof went on. Making this weather tight took mere hours, and the interior of it was finished within a few days. The outside of this conservatory could be worked on at a more leisurely rate. The glass sides and the floor were left as they were, but now that he has a super insulated roof installed, there are no more worries about cold winters. Planning and Building Regulation approvals will often be necessary for this type of work and so you need to know what you are doing but it is worth the effort.

A conservatory roof being changed to a proper roof.

Written by Jade Turney – Building Tectonics Ltd.