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About Starchitect

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  1. Correct, known as the "Final Certificate" in the UK. Typically the responsibility of the builder to obtain prior to completing the job (and getting their final payment)
  2. Hi Kwijjibo! Pete the Architect here, a few things to clear up. Permitted development (PD) allows you to undertake works without applying for planning permission. To ensure your design IS permitted development, we recommend our clients apply for a lawful development certificate to be certain. Note there are other legal issues you could fall foul of such as right to light, easements, party wall act amongst others which is why most employ an architect to assist with the early designs to de-risk your project. There are a LOT of rules to PD (some not in the initial first literature), but in simple terms: 1 - You can extend single storey REAR extension up to a maximum of 3m (or up to 6m in special circumstances) if your house is connected or: 2 - You can extend single storey REAR extension up to a maximum of 4m (or up to 8m in special circumstances) if your house is DETACHED or: 3 - You can extend 2-storey REAR extension up to a maximum of 3m only. The above is a seriously watered down guide! Employ an expert to guide you there are over 172 additional criteria you must achieve for your development to be classed as PD. Architects offer consultations for 1-2 hours to discuss your ideas, sketch options and afterwards create drawings if needed. A few hundred £s spent in an evening can save you thousands in the long run. To answer your question, clear drawings define exactly what you want the builder to build without confusion. Your ideal 2-storey extension will differ from others ideal design, which can be the cause of disputes and leave you having paid for a house you do not love! Which at the end of a build is not what you want. Couple this with a specification for finishes, light fittings, ironmongery, structural calculations, and detailed design and you have a rock solid briefing for the builder to get the house you love! Lastly, whether you go PD or a planning application you will need building control approval or an approved inspector to be appointed to review your design to ensure compliance with the regulations. If you have any further Qs feel free to discuss here or DM, happy to help - we love creating homes you love to live in!
  3. Good idea! In America, some contractors used to create a "house Bible" where they take lots of photos of walls, floors and ceilings to every room before they close/board up. This is presented to the homeowner on completion. That way you can check pipe locations, slack remaining in electrical wiring and other hidden gems. You can also update with new photos as you go - a great little reference book for the homeowner. These days you could purchase a 360 camera for cheap and take a few shots to achieve the same thing digitally.
  4. A structural engineer typically annotates over an architect's drawings as well as providing calculations, but can provide their own drawings at a higher cost. Appreciating you have had two sets of advice already, a 1-hour consultation with a Chartered Architect and Chartered Engineer will give you a set of options to choose from, all of which comply with regulations for you to choose the best-value option. Also worth noting, you can add Velux rooflight windows without needing planning permission in some cases, if Permitted Development rules apply. An architect should be able to advise if this is allowed in your case and a competent roofer may be able to install cheaply, depending upon the number, type and current roof structure.
  5. I would absolutely get an independent structural engineer in if any structural alterations are required to mine or my client's properties. They are not expensive and give peace of mind and additional/cheaper ideas.
  6. Hi Tink, Sounds exciting! I have a few contacts, where are you based? You can save money going to a structural engineer with your own drawn-up plans if they undertake the calculations only - just be certain of your drawings (spans, dimensions, window openings, etc) Otherwise, engineers undertake the survey, drawings and calculations at additional costs.
  7. In most homes, including most modern homes, the existing timber joists that form the "floor" have not been designed to take a significant load. This is doubly-so if there are alterations to the existing roof trusses to make additional space, which may weaken the existing structural design. Hence an upgrade has been suggested by both - the suggestion to add additional timbers on top of the existing is a new one to me, are you confident this will not greatly increase the load to the existing structure? I would be certain as you are gambling your most expensive asset - your home. To achieve building regulations steels may be required to support a typical storage load. You could ask a structural engineer to head round, review the existing structure and advise on your intended design if you are looking to DIY yourself and save costs?
  8. Hi Dave, Do you have any photos? may be able to review and advise. Cheers, Pete
  9. You risk council enforcement action which could require your building or change of use be demolished/removed. Not ideal! Also, the "four-year rule" is a bit of a false guide, the statute is 10 years if the development falls outside of the permitted development for the area. The four-year rule applies to alterations and additions and changes of use to a single dwelling house. If the work involves a change of use to something other than a single dwelling house then the time limit for enforcement action is ten years! And that is irrespective of concealment. ie your construction will always be at risk of demolition/enforcement action. Retrospective planning permission is rarely given as it sets the dangerous precedent for developers to build what they like and then attempt to apply for permission afterwards. Planning departments take a dim view on this practice and as such, there is a serious risk to a building project if commenced without planning. No competent Architect or construction professional would put their client at risk by proceeding without it. That said, and contrary to the above, in some unique cases, you CAN proceed with certain types of work/development without applying for planning permission through "Permitted Development" currently. A series of pre-approved criteria allow you to proceed without submitting a full planning application. You may/should apply for a lawful development certificate to be absolutely certain, however. If you have any specific queries for a project you have, consult an architect or architectural technician you trust.
  10. With regard to your main question as to whether you should stay and create the house of your dreams; or move out and travel the World, this is a decision only you can make as only you know your priorities in life and what you want from it! However, whether you chose to stay or leave it may be worth approaching an architect to either suggest alternative ways of using your existing space if you chose to stay; or helping you best prepare your house should you chose to leave and travel the World. For example a colleague of mine engaged an architect to obtain planning permission for an extension to her house in order to increase its value when selling. If you obtain a valuation both before and after the planning permission is obtained, you will be able to gauge the added value of the architects designs. Lastly, as the point has been raised about selling your house in its existing condition, it may be worth consulting a local estate agent who should be able to offer you advise on selling as is, bringing the house up to a habitable standard or completely upgrading the major elements you discussed - roof & garden etc. Whichever option you decide upon, do let us know how it turns out.
  11. Pinders of Sheffield have a Large-Format Printer and copier. http://www.pinders.uk.com/
  12. I am interested in people's experiences/opinions of installed underfloor heating in a domestic setting. Have you had underfloor heating installed in your house? if so, why underfloor heating and not an alternative?
  13. I've been commuting to work every day for the last 4 years and have had only one crash of which the fault was half my own. Apart from the one pretty major crash, I've had a couple of incidents of cars cutting me up and pulling out in front of me, usually along Ecclesal Road. Provided you keep your wits about you, cycle safely and confidently (read defensively!) you are unlikely to encounter the experiences noted above. I'm not saying you will never experience them; it is, in my opinion, highly unlikely. Don't EVER let a few scare stories put you off perusing anything you want to do - even if the Daily Mail says "cycling causes cancer" (tongue-in-cheek) Get on your bike, smile and enjoy the ride!
  14. Squiggs, you just made me a very happy commuting cyclist!
  15. That's odd, we've use bethere and only pay 17.95 for 8MB download and unlimited download and uploading. And that's REALLY unlimited, no fair user policies or owt. Not sure why his is 33!
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