First, we’ll get to know you
We’ll listen to your dreams and aspirations and get inside the life you see for yourself – and your family – in your new home.
Once we’ve understood what makes you tick, we’ll explain how we can apply our expertise to bring those visions to life – expanding your thinking and encouraging you to look at things from a different angle.
And while we’ll always elevate your ideas and share your excitement, we’ll balance that with a healthy dose of realism when needed.
We have an excellent track record with successful planning applications, with specialist knowledge in local planning for the greenbelt, conservation areas, and listed properties.
Sustainability is a huge part of our value system, so we’ll always take a long-term approach to your home and its place in the landscape and environment.
Connected Architecture is founded on collaboration.
We see ourselves creating with you rather than for you, taking you with us as we go. We want you to enjoy the process, all the way from those first ideas, through development on the drawing board, to the day you walk into your new home.
The six steps of our tried-and-tested process are based on the RIBA Plan of Work, so you can be sure everything is being covered exactly as it should be. We like to keep it simple and easy to follow, and we’re here to guide you through it. By reading through the steps, you can see the specific services we offer.
1. First enquiry
We offer a free initial call to run through the project basics and understand your aspirations, site location, and budget. This is to see if we’ll be a good fit for you and your project before proceeding with a site meeting.
Relationship is the key to the success of an architecture project – for both sides – so we try to find out as much as we can before asking to meet you.
Connect with us here to get started
2. Pre-design workshop & report
We like to meet you on site (or virtually if this isn’t possible), so we can get to know you better and understand what you’re looking for. We’ll assess your site and look at its potential as well as any practical constraints. Once we’ve done that, we’ll write you a report which pulls together a clear brief, summary of planning history with any issues, an initial budget and timeline, and a fee proposal setting out our deliverables with costings.
In many ways this is the most important stage as it’s where we get to meet each other and find out if our ideas and values align. And most importantly, if we’re going to enjoy working together. We’ll charge a small fixed fee for this step, returning it to you if we move on to the next stage.
3. Concept design
Only once we’ve got to know you, and fully understood the brief and site, will we start designing.
We’ll arrange a measured building survey of the whole site, including all the buildings on it. We’ll evaluate the brief from a design point of view to find the most intelligent and creative solutions for your budget.
After the survey is done, we’ll present you with a number of options, having drawn up some ideas and layouts. We’ll sit together and talk you through how they compare in terms of the original brief, budget, and site constraints. And we’ll advise you on planning and budget.
As we talk, we might both find that the preferred choice isn’t the one that first comes to mind. We’ll listen to all your feedback, but we’ll also guide you in making your decision. Your favourite at this stage is the design we’ll develop further, adding all the necessary detail to the outline idea.
Planning can be a minefield and you won’t be alone in finding it daunting.
Luckily, we have an outstanding track record getting our applications approved as well as excellent relationships with local planning authorities.
One of our specialisms is guidance on protected sites such as conservation areas, listed buildings, areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONB), and greenbelt – gleaned from years working in challenging areas of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.
Each project is different, so we’ll advise you on the best way forward whether that’s a pre-application process, outline planning, change of use, or a full application. We can also bring in experts such as heritage, conservation, or ecology for reports and surveys, and we know how to talk to neighbours, parish councils and planning consultants about design and policy.
5. Technical design & building regulations
This is where we produce the technical drawings, which we pass to the building contractor to follow.
These drawings, along with the calculations from the structural engineer, contain all the specifics needed for building regulations approval. They also form the basis of the tender package your builders are asked to price on.
This detailed information allows the project to be fully costed, which means you won’t be vulnerable to hidden costs and delays (one of the main reasons buildings projects can spiral out of control).
Contractors also want to work with us because of the level of detail we provide. We make it easier for them to deliver on time and within budget too, so everyone’s happy! Equally, we know the contractors we love working with – contractors who care as much about quality and finish as we do – so we’ll include them on the tender list if possible.
6. Tender & construction
Clients differ in how much support they need at this stage.
We can run the whole construction tender process on your behalf, collating contractor responses to the tender, reviewing everything and dealing with any questions.
You’ll be responsible for the final selection of your contractor, but we can advise you and help compile the contract documents for signing.
At this point, you may choose to hand over to the building contractor without us remaining involved, dealing directly with them until the project’s completion. Your builder will liaise with building control and any outside consultants, but it will be up to you to manage the project.
Or we can stay on board to supervise the build until the end. In that case, we’ll conduct regular site visits, answer any contractor’s queries, and monitor progress on your behalf as contract administrators.
Then, it’s done. You get to move in to your new home and enjoy the beautiful result of all the hard work!
“Bronwen has provided an excellent service. She listened carefully to our requirements and has provided good design recommendations. She understands the need for a cost conscious approach without compromising results. She has been very responsive and diligent in her working practice and completely open and upfront about her fees, which has not been our experience with all architects. ”