Frequently Asked Questions
We are a small but experienced Manchester based architectural design practice that offers a professional service with imagination to a design, while providing a practical solution from your initial brief. We are professionals with knowledge of the design and build industry and its organisation, working methods and standards. We can advise and guide you through the complex web of rules, regulations and contractual obligations connected with planning and building.
● We have the mindset and experience of a developer as well as an architect.
● We offer a personal and professional service exceeding your expectations.
● For your convenience, we visit our clients at their home/property.
● We offer a very fast turnaround on drawing packages.
Most of our client base is within South Manchester and Sheffield. To be more specific, we cover Manchester, Stockport, Altrincham, Sheffield, Chesterfield, Rotherham, Dronfield,. However, we are always willing to consider projects further afield depending on the project brief. If you wish to discuss the details of a particular project or generally would like advice on a particular project, please contact us by filling in the online enquiry form.
We charge only a nominal fee for a consultation where we will visit you for as long as you feel necessary and you as our client have some direction for your project. If you proceed with working with us, we will deduct the consultation fee from our architectural fees. We ensure you get the most out of the consultation so ask as many questions as you like and we would only be happy to advise!
Our architectural fees do not include costs for planning and building regulations applications. Normally, we pay the local authority on your behalf and expect to be reimbursed.
Planning Permission is usually required if you intend to alter your home in any way such as an extension, loft conversion, changing the use of a building (from a house to a shop, for example) or dividing part of your house for use as a separate dwelling (two storey home into separate flats). Planning Permission is also required in many other situations so it is well worth contacting NADA Architects to discuss your ideas and plans and for us to advise accordingly. Even a simple case of adding a driveway to your home may, in some cases, require planning permission. Planning applications normally take up to a maximum of 8 weeks before the local authority provides a decision notice. However, this can take longer depending on the type and scale of the project.
There are also other approvals that are required, the most common being for listed buildings, properties in conservation areas, sites with Tree Preservation Orders (TPO’s) and Party Wall Agreements.
Not all projects require planning permission. If you have never had extensions on your property before, and do not live in a listed building or in a conservation area and fitting other criteria, you may qualify for a Lawful Development Certificate. There are many scenarios where you many not require planning permission.
When the planning dept looks at each individual case the proposals are judged on their own merits and planning policies as local authorities change frequently. Therefore, a certain completed proposal on a neighbours property may not necessarily mean you can do the same, depending on the current planning policies at the time of consideration. However, NADA Architects will ensure we maximise the potential for your property in terms of adding value and ensuring your proposal has the best possible change of obtaining planning approval.
No. Building Regulations approval is a separate matter from obtaining planning permission for your building work. Similarly, receiving any planning permission which your work may require is not the same as taking action to ensure that it complies with the Building Regulations. In simple terms, planning drawings are deemed as ‘Design Intent’ which demonstrates the concept of the proposal. Building regulations drawings are a detailed set of construction drawings demonstrating how the extensions are to be built with details of physical materials and specification.
When a home extension or loft conversion is designed it needs to comply with Building Regulations, which are a set of minimum standards for design and health and safety in Building works. These standards are enforced by your local authorities building control department and are largely related to; Structure, Drainage, Plumbing, Ventilation, Materials, Insulation, means of escape for fire. Building Regulations are critical to ensure your extension or alterations comply with current British Standards. NADA Architects will ensure that all proposals are in accordance with current regulations.
With most projects you have three possible methods to obtain a Building Regulations approval:
a) Full Plans Submission. This involves submitting detailed construction drawings, detailed specification and structural calculations which is approved before you start work on site.
b) Building Notice application. A building notice allows immediate site start with a full plans application not being required. If you decide to use this procedure you need to have confidence in you appointed builder that his work will comply with the Building Regulations or you will risk having to correct any work you carry out on site. In this respect, you do not have the protection provided by the approval of ‘full plans’. We strongly advise a set of plans are produced, agreed and checked prior to any building works commencing to avoid site error and unwanted additional costs. The local authority fees are largely the same for both Full Plans submission and a Building Notice.
c) Regularisation application – The lack of a completion certificate can affect your ability to use or sell a property. It may also affect your insurance and may put you at risk of legal action. However, if you have previously carried out work without a Building Regulations application you can apply for a Regularisation Certificate. Regularisation applications can be a lengthy process, especially if extensive work is required to bring a building back up to standard. You will need to provide full details and architectural plans showing the work that was carried out along with payment of the relevant charge. Once this information has been provided you may be required to open up and expose the work so that it can be inspected and checked by the building control surveyor. Provided that the work is satisfactory a Regularisation Certificate will be issued.
If you are thinking of altering or extending your home, this Act may apply to you. The Party Wall Act provides a framework for preventing and resolving disputes in relation to Party Walls, Boundary Walls and Excavations near neighbouring buildings. Anyone intending to carry out work of this kind is described in the Act where the building owners must give adjoining owners notice of their intentions. Therefore, we advise that prior to considering any form of extension for your home, contact your neighbours (who may be affected) and inform them of your intentions as this normally is of great benefit for you as the homeowner during the planning process.
A Party Wall notice will be required if you wish to build onto or within 2m of your boundary line, or create any structure that comes into contact with a shared wall, even if you do not alter the shared wall. We will work with our recommended Party Wall Surveyors to submit the necessary notices to the neighbours and will provide you with the details of this requirement. You wont be left out!
Click here to download the Party Wall Act 1996 Explanatory Booklet.
A Right of Light is protected in England and Wales under common law, adverse possession or by the Prescription Act 1832. Unlike right to freedom from smell and noise, a Right of Light has to be acquired before it can be enforced. One of the most commonly misunderstood legal issues relating to property is the `Right of Light’. Your neighbour may object to your plans to extend your home by claiming they have a legal `right to light’ to one or more of their windows. There is such a thing as a legally established right to light, usually established automatically `by prescription’ after 20 years. However, it is only relevant in limited circumstances. A right to light is a type of easement, like a right of way, and overrides any planning permission you might have and your Permitted Development Rights. Therefore, it can in theory, prevent you from blocking out a neighbour’s window.
NADA Architects are registered with the Architects registration Board (ARB) who is the independent statutory regulator of all UK registered architects. ARB has a dual mandate to protect the consumer and to safeguard the reputation of architects. To achieve this, they:
● Keep an up to date Register of all architects
● Promote good standards both in the education of architects and in professional practice
● Provide consumers with an accessible service in cases of complaint
● Investigate and prosecute unregistered individuals in business or practice who unlawfully call themselves an architect
This provides our clients with the peace of mind that they will receive a professional service from a competent practice. It is always worth asking whether your architect is actually registered with the ARB and if they hold adequate Professional Indemnity Insurance. If not, please do not appoint them! They are not qualified to offer this service, and it could cost you a substantial amount of money should anything go wrong.
Before proceeding with any building contractor we strongly recommend the following is considered:-
● A list of suitable builders can be obtained from The Federation of Master Builders and the Construction Employers Federation.
● Select a number of builders and establish their track record – ask what previous jobs they have done – look at examples of their work – ask if you can speak to former customers (ask them if the builder is tidy, punctual, meets deadlines and if they would use him again).
● Obtain itemised quotations in writing from at least three builders and have them checked by NADA Architects – ensure you are being quoted “like for like” (a detailed specification may be appropriate).
Ask the builder: –
● About his expertise in your particular type of project
● How he wants to be paid – on completion or in stages
● Will he give you itemised invoices?
● Is he happy for you to hold some of the money until the job is satisfactorily completed?
● Will he give you a final completion date?
● Will he accept a penalty clause on failure to complete on time?
● Will he agree to independent arbitration should there be any dispute?