Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I use an architect?

some, or maybe all, of the following reasons:

  • you require some initial thoughts to steer your project in the right direction
  • you want advice on what changes you can make to your house
  • you want a professional, trustworthy contact for your project
  • you hold quality above ease of construction

...and why a chartered architect?

Colony Architects as an entire practice is a member of the RIBA. Their aim is to promote excellence in the building design and construction industry, and architects who have RIBA membership are chartered. This provides you with an extra level of security and comfort that your architect will be professional, skilled and intelligently creative.

What is the difference between an architectural technician, and an architect?

  • Qualification. You must have passed a good deal of rigourous exams to be an architect. Anyone can call themselves a technician or designer.
  • Insurance. Only architects are required by law to carry suitable professional indemnity insurance for all their work.
  • Trust. Architects are professionally obliged to place their clients' interests above their own. Like Latin? Credat emptor, not caveat emptor.

My builder says I don't need an architect.

That's good! You've found a builder!

The question is if you would prefer the builder to choose your construction materials and methods, over an independent professional. It is not in our interest to make savings on quality or design just to make it easier to put together on site. It may be in theirs. We are always happy to work with your builder to design a project that suits all parties. Our main objective is to deliver the perfect building for you. Which might make it tricky to build.

Where do I begin?

We are friendly. Drop us a line!

Do I need Planning Permission?

If you are changing the outside of a building, then probably, yes. But we are able to tell you for certain if it is. We can also design to avoid the need for planning permission, for instance by maximising your rights under permitted development. Our specialist planning consultants give great advice.

How long will my project take?

Longer than you think, probably. There are several factors:

  • planning permission takes 8 weeks minimum, from submission to decision.
  • everyone is busy. finding builders that want the work is tough at the moment.
  • many building elements need to be ordered.Lead times can be over 6 weeks.
  • selling as well? Add 6 months.

How much will my project cost?

Projects can be designed and built to meet a specific financial budget. For domestic work, you might calculate the cost of the job at £2000 per square metre, so a new 4 x 5m garden room would cost £40k to build. Adding 8-13% to cover fees, and a further 10% for contingency and extras is recommended. We know ways to save on costs, and how to plan the job to suit your finances. For specific costs relating to your project contact us.

What if I change my mind?

Changes are a natural part of the design process. We actively encourage you to consider a range of alternatives duing the project development to avoid later "if only we'd have...." moments. It costs nothing to rub out a pencil sketch, but changes after construction always cost time and money.

Do you have insurance?

Yes. All architects are required by law to carry adequate Professional Indemnity insurance. A copy of our cover note is available on request.

Tell me a story about an architect.

Frank Lloyd Wright said "at least a doctor can bury his mistakes; an architect can only advise their client to plant vines".

Do you know the one about Lutyens and the black marble fireplace?