Architecture and Design

About Us


Looking for an architect? Carter Designs provides architecture and design services for residential and commercial projects in Kent, Harrogate, and London.  First established in South West London in 2014.  Since the practice was formed, we operate from Canterbury, Harrogate and London, covering projects in Leeds, York, Kent and West Sussex and most of the UK for our larger architect projects.  As an architecture and design practice, we have vast experience working from small scale to large scale commercial and residential projects.  The practice was formed with a focus to achieve high-quality innovative design whilst meeting target deadlines and budgets. We really enjoy taking a site or building and completely transforming the space into an amazing piece of architecture.  Whether it’s a house extension or hotel development we are passionate about design.   Any project we undertake should respond to the local vernacular, provide function, form and value.   Our architectural firm is dedicated and work with our clients closely to deliver a project from concept to completion by providing a professional friendly service that exceeds your expectations and guides you through your project development.


Carter Designs are a registered practice of the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists 

How to find the right architect or designer?

Looking for the right architect or designer for your project can be a daunting task.  You may be looking to extend your house and thought the first person to contact is a builder or to Google house extension or architect near me.  You may have a commercial project, looking for an office fit-out or shop refurbishment.  A good place to start is the planning portal, there are lots of easy to use interactive guides that help explain what needs to be applied for and what falls under permitted development.

Once you have found an architecture firm or design practice, we 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 coordination 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 for us as a business to ensure you are happy with the services we provide.   Design is personal and therefore we apply the same approach to our working relationship with you. Carter Designs 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.

Check if they registered with a professional body, such as RIBA or CIAT.  You can check a member’s credentials through the RIBA website or CIAT website

How much does an architect or designer cost?

Architect or designer fees will always vary between practices. The main purpose of appointing an architect or designer is to add value to your project.  In most instances, an architecture and design firm will also be able to save you money on your build and avoid costly mistakes on site.  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.  At Carter Designs Architecture and Design, we try to work out the time spent as a business to complete the work rather than quote a percentage.  In Kent, Harrogate or Leeds, or other areas outside of London, architectural fees may be slightly lower, however, whilst you may feel you are getting a bargain you really need to check what they are supplying.   Obviously, it depends on the project, but If you are paying £500 for architectural services for a typical house extension then this could leave you completely exposed, costing you more money in the long run.  For £500 you are not going to get a carefully considered design or concept because it doesn’t allow the architectural firm enough time to fully assess the site, most likely they will copy a scheme or put together an ill-considered proposal.   If the design is bad then you may start making changes whilst the build is in progress leaving you with costs going into thousands of pounds.  How many times have you seen Grand Designs and seen the couple blow their budget or hit severe delays? The best way to avoid all of the pitfalls is to ensure you start with the right architect that can deliver your project from start to finish.  Trying to save money on designer fees from the outset is actually going to cost you more in the long run.  For you as the client, the more information you provide at the initial stages to form the design brief can help to reduce overspend and negate the need for quoting percentages.   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 an architect firm in Harrogate 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.  We will always carry out an initial site meeting and provide a quotation free of charge.

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 it’s 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 architects or design firms 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.  For us, we like to take time assessing the site and to determine what is an appropriate approach.  It’s important to understand the local palette of materials and provide a design that complements rather than conflicts.  It is also important to appreciate what is likely to receive planning consent and what will receive stiff opposition.  Not everyone’s style or interests are the same and therefore style can be very personable.  We produce numerous ideas and concepts to tailor which approach feels right for the project whether traditional or contemporary.   We will also steer you to a style that you may not have to consider before.  Part of the process of appointing an architecture and design company is to present ideas that you would never have considered before and to build on those ideas to provide a design that you will truly appreciate.


We have recently seen a rise in the number of clients coming to us after they have paid another architecture and design firm 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!

Our approach

Following our meeting 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 a 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 may be 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, 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 throughout 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 the 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 architecture and design out of your project from concept through to completion.