Carter Designs is an Architectural Practice that was established in South West London in 2013. Since 2018 we are also present in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. Having recently obtained planning permission Harrogate for a two storey side extension , a 2750sqft extension and loft conversion to a house in Alwoodley, Leeds and two storey side extension in Otley.
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How to find the right architect/designer
Looking for the right architect or designer for your project can be a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be. You may be looking for a house extension and thought the first person to contact is a builder or to google residential architects, local architect or architects near me. Or you may have a commercial project and are looking for and office fit out or shop refurbishment. We would advise you to seek references and review images of their work to see what you like. Look at interior images, if you see a lot of boxing out with downstands in the ceiling on every project then generally that’s bad co-ordination between the architect, structural engineer and builder. The best way for architects or designers to find work is by word of mouth and with that approach it’s vital forus as a business to ensure you are happy with the services we provide. We take a view that design is personal and therefore apply the same approach to our working relationship with you. We provide a professional pragmatic approach to all projects with fresh and innovative ideas that meet
your budget requirements. We feel that meeting face to face from the initial outset at your project
can really help you determine who is right for your project.
“A doctor can bury his mistakes but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines”
Frank Lloyd Wright
how much does an architect cost
Architect or designer fees are always difficult to advise on. Most architects will charge based on a percentage of the cost of the work. So for example if you have a project that is estimated at £500,000 then the architect may charge around 15% resulting in a fee of £75,000. If you are paying fees based on a percentage then there is no incentive for your architect to develop the most cost effective design that meets your requirements. We do not feel this is the correct approach and charge on basis of how long it will take us as business to complete the necessary works. We assess each project individually and will go through in detail with you what services are required so our quotation is tailored to suit your needs and budget. We advise clients to shop around and not necessarily base their decision on who is the cheapest but who can deliver the best service for the best price. You could appoint a design firm that is the cheapest but they could end up costing you thousands of pounds in the long run. If they produce bad designs or have little or no construction experience or knowledge then it could mean significant errors or delays to your project resulting in higher build costs.
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Why choose us
We are design focused, rather than just produce electronic drawings. We believe in designing both inside and out to ensure the property not only looks good but also works functionally. Having both a strong passion for design and excellent technical knowledge (over 20 years). We also review how the design will be constructed at an early stage not as an afterthought.
Cost control - we can assess the cost of your build vs the cost of return of your investment and advise what the long or short term benefits/risks are. We assess and monitor works completed/spending on a project to ensure your budget is managed.
One piece of feedback we hear time and time again is the quality of our drawing packages, they are second to none. Whether its clients, consultants or builders we are always told our drawings are very clear, accurate, concise, detailed and well presented.
No project is the same and therefore we treat every client and project individually, tailoring our services and the property to suit your needs.
Time - we are focused and committed to turning information around as quickly and as accurately as possible.
Fees – Unlike other design firms or local architects Harrogate or London that quote a percentage of the build costs, this can give you cost uncertainty, we assess the time taken to produce the required level of information and quote on that basis, providing you with a more
cost effective service.
We believe the quality of our work surpasses our competitors. We provide well thought out designs with consideration of costs and construction to ensure you get the best possible service.
What is our style?
One of the questions we are often asked by clients is what is our style? In short, we don’t have one! If you apply the same design across the board to all projects, then how do you know that design is right for that project? If an architect or designer is applying a “cookie cutter” approach to every project then chances are, you are not going to get the best results. We view each client that approaches us, presents a new opportunity to provide a unique outcome. We assess every client’s requirements individually and find the right style that suits both you and the property.
We have recently seen a rise in the number of clients coming to us after they have paid another architect or designer for services. Unfortunately the services that were provided failed to meet expectations or worse were unable to build from. Communication is key, we try to ensure that you understand the design proposal and cost implications. We do this by providing sketch designs, concept images, face to face meetings etc. We will always present new ideas and designs that we feel are right for the project or explore various options you may not have considered. Most importantly we listen to your feedback to ensure that you are happy with the end results rather than push a design that you really are not comfortable with. It is your development after all!
Once we have arranged to meet with you at your potential development, the first and most important detail is to establish the design brief. By meeting with you and assessing the site, we can gain better understanding of your goals, design ideas and budgets etc. The more information we can gather at this stage can save a lot of time and money later. Once we have established the design brief, we will put together a competitive free no obligation quotation with an itemised list of services and costs we can provide. We will also advise if other consultants maybe required for the work, an estimation of costs to be aware of and any potential pitfalls that should be avoided.
Once appointed, we will compile a set of preliminary sketch designs with illustrations and images. If required, to help you see how your project will turn out, we can put together 3d visuals that can either be just a single room or an overall view of your entire building. We can then meet with you again to discuss the proposals and ensure the designs meet the brief. We will also listen carefully and take your comments on board. Once the final design has been approved, we can submit to the Local Authority for Planning Permission (if required).
Building Regulations are a statutory requirement and a certificate of compliance is necessary for most building work carried out. With our vast technical experience, we produce detailed drawing information that will meet the current Building Regulation requirements. If you’re an experienced developer then you may only require a basic set of drawings, however, if you have little or no experience then we would advise a more elaborate working drawing package that will cover the finer details. The more detailed information you provide a builder with, then the more accurate your quote will be. A more in-depth drawing package will also benefit your contract which we will come on to……
We can approach builders of your choosing and manage the tender process for you, we will write to engage with each builder setting out the parameters of work, programme, the contract and payment terms. We recommend approaching at least 4-5 builders in this current climate as a lot of builders can be booked up for months at a time. We will then go through each quote and assess with you to help guide you in finding the right contractor for your project.
Once you have chosen your preferred builder, we can set them up on an appropriate contract. The Building Regulation or more elaborate Working Drawings provided to the builder will form the basis of the contract. The more information provided then the more contractual certainty you have that will remove any ambiguity from the works. Once on site we can monitor the works for you, we will:-
• Regularly attend site through-out the build
• Ensure the building work is co-ordinated with the drawings
• Carry out valuations of the work completed and recommend payment
• Deal with any unforeseen issues on site
• Compile a snagging list on completion
• Ensure final handover and certification is completed
Above all, we take the stress, anxiety and headaches out of the process for you providing you comfort in that you have an experienced professional dealing with your project. We go to great lengths, often without client’s knowledge, dealing with situations that may arise from planning, party wall, client/contractor’s variations, building issues etc. From the 1st meeting we are assessing how we can get the best out of your project from concept through to completion.