southfield loft conversion advice

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tamadot2012
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southfield loft conversion advice

Postby tamadot2012 » Fri Jul 18, 2014 4:00 pm

Hi All
Need some advice please, we are planning a loft conversion to an upper floor maisonette in Southfields, hoping to add 2 bed 1 showerroom, L-shaped Mansard type.
The format is fairly standard, as a lot the maisonettes here have had similar conversions on the same template.
What we are unsure about is whether to go with:
1. one stop shop loft company or
2. Architect, surveyor, get plans and party wall approval and then get builder quotations from those recommended by architect/surveyor or
3. Skip the architect, and just get surveyor to draw up plans etc. given the template is very standard and lots of plans/reports available on wandsworth planning portal

We are on a very tight budget but obviously dont want a cowboy job either. We have had quotes from the main companies, A1 lofts, Nuspace, Landmark, Leighwood etc. They all sound fine and are giving similar quotes around the £45-55k mark including decorating but without fittings etc. Our concern is that once it gets underway, the costs may start escalating.

Has anyone in Southfields used any of the above, with costs sticking to quote and happy with product?

Would anyone recommend going down option 2 or 3 as a more cost effective route and if so, any recommendations of individuals familiar with the Southfields maisonette loft conversions and Wandsworth planning?

Thanks , in anticipation of any advice....
belld
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Re: southfield loft conversion advice

Postby belld » Mon Jul 21, 2014 9:49 am

www.atelierdb.com
we do lofts well - as our clients are well informed on the important aspects and options.
happy to meet up to talk through your options if you wanted.
we are architects close to southfields.
emilybarnes
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Re: southfield loft conversion advice

Postby emilybarnes » Tue Jul 22, 2014 6:27 pm

Hi there,

I'm an architect myself and (after working with a lot of builders myself!) would urge anyone to re-consider skipping the design process in a home renovation project... whatever the size. There are many, but here are a couple of good reasons...

1. A designer can produce a comprehensive set of drawings and specifications. These are important to communicate the design to the builder and this will ensure that the builders’ quotations are competitive and easy to compare. The drawings then form part of the building contract, resulting in less chance of surprise costs (and disputes with the builder) later on.

2. If you would like, your designer can help manage the construction phase of the project. They will ensure you have a good contract with the builder, and will oversee the work to make sure it is carried out in line with the design and specification.

3. The right designer will find the best solution for your brief – whether this is to create more space, stamp your own style on your home or add value. A home renovation project can be a big investment and a good designer will help you spend your money in the best way possible.


AND architects/ architectural designers aren't necessarily as expensive or unobtainable as you'd think...
I recently started a website called Design for Me http://designfor-me.com/ which matches your project and requirements to the best architects and designers for you. It works a bit like a dating site. You shortlist your favourites and then invite up to 3 for a consultation. This is when you'd get their quotes for the work. You can choose to take one on... or not, that's up to you!

If you are trying to keep costs down, on the site there are students/graduates, freelancers and 'architectural designers' (who are not registered, and so cant officially be called an 'architect')... and their fees would probably reflect this.

We will also handpick and recommend some suitable designers for you. Let me know if I can help further.. my email address is emily@designfor-me.com

p.s Oooops, sorry for writing an essay (i'm v. passionate that people get a designer as well as a builder!)
tamadot2012
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Re: southfield loft conversion advice

Postby tamadot2012 » Tue Jul 22, 2014 11:21 pm

Thanks for the replies..
agreed Emily, our gut feeling was that we would like an architect to ensure the designs are suitable - our main dilemma was whether to go for the one-stop loft companies with their in-house designers/architects, or to go for the architect/planning process first, and then with drawings and planning permission in hand, look for quotes from building companies. We would prefer doing the latter, but our fear is that we won't be able to find a building company that will be reliable and straightforward to deal with, as we both have busy jobs and would need to get some kind of supervisor on board to manage it all...we will definitely check out your website!
emilybarnes
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Re: southfield loft conversion advice

Postby emilybarnes » Wed Jul 23, 2014 9:30 am

tamadot2012 wrote:our main dilemma was whether to go for the one-stop loft companies with their in-house designers/architects, or to go for the architect/planning process first, and then with drawings and planning permission in hand, look for quotes from building companies. We would prefer doing the latter, but our fear is that we won't be able to find a building company that will be reliable and straightforward to deal with, as we both have busy jobs and would need to get some kind of supervisor on board to manage it all...we will definitely check out your website!
Tamadot 2012,
I would advise would be better to go with a designer/architect who is completely separate from the contractor.

Most architects will have a great deal of experience managing the building process, and acting as 'supervisor' (this involves compiling a tender list, getting references, choosing the appropriate contract, making regular inspections, and ensuring that you are only paying for the work that has been carried out so far)

Qualified architects have gone through 7 years of training - part of which is project managment. i.e. they are able to be the intermediary between you and the builder and ensure that the job is done on time, on budget and to the quality and design that they have defined in the architect's drawings/specifications.
tamadot2012
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Re: southfield loft conversion advice

Postby tamadot2012 » Wed Jul 23, 2014 4:46 pm

Thanks Emily - I think we are likely to be heading that way...although a couple of the architects so far have suggested that it is such a small project that usually they don't provide a supervising/project management aspect to it....awaiting some more quotes from others....
Presumably we would want to use a building company that the architect has worked with before/can recommend, rather than formally tendering it out - because we may end up selecting one that can't get to grips with the architect's design? Or is it the case that once the plans etc. are drawn up, any building company worth its salt should be able to accurately interpret and work according to the plan (but if the architect doesn't monitor this, who would?)?
belld
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Re: southfield loft conversion advice

Postby belld » Wed Jul 23, 2014 4:54 pm

make sure you know the difference between Architects, and Architectural Designers. Sounds pompous of me - but Emily is referring to Architects that have trained for 7 years. Anyone can call themselves an Architectural Designer etc.
if in doubt, visit www.arb.org.uk and put in their name/company name.
Make sure you appoint someone who really knows the best way to max out loft potential, and is well versed with party walls etc.
lofts are important to get right, yes they are small - but this makes it all the more important to get it all right. an architects fee is 'got back' in added value to the property by getting the fundamentals right.
http://www.atelierdb.com/architect-skil ... onversion/