FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I CONTACT MOTHER ARCHITECTS?
We will give you a call or email to talk through your project and arrange a date for an initial consultation. This is free of charge and essentially forms stage 0 of the RIBA plan of works - formation of the client brief.
We will come to you at a time to suit, during office hours, to have a chat and a look around your house, land, office or whatever it is you want us to quote for. A few days later, we will write to you with a formal quotation.
If a project is quite complex, or loose in its scope, it may be that we may invite you into our studio for a second meeting prior to issuing a fee bid just to ensure we have everything nailed down.
WHERE DO OUR FEES COME FROM?
There is no hard and fast equation for calculating fees. We work to both RIBA current guidance and historic fee scale calculators which are tried, tested, and relied upon by many practices up and down the country. Almost every fee bid we issue is a percentage-based method as outlined below, but we have also discussed other ways we work too.
Percentage based/flat rate: This is the method we use for most work - costing using a flat percentage rate. It’s a simple as taking the project final value (contract value) and charging a percentage of this. This percentage is dependant on the nature of the work – an extension to a listed property within a conservation area is more complex, and attracts a higher percentage, than say a small steel portal shed on an existing industrial site.
Once we have the percentage and work out the total cost we divide the total amount into parts reflecting the RIBA work stages, this typically happens as follows:
0-3 Brief, design, and submission of a planning permission = 35%
4 Clearing planning conditions and making a building control application =30%
5-6 Preparation of tender documents, clearing planning conditions and detail design = 30%
7 Final inspection and handover = 5%
This is how your fee bid will be structured when you receive it. It may only be that we initially price for stages 0-3 because the final contract value is unknown or only estimated due to planning variables etc.
Pay per hour: On occasion it may be beneficial for a client to just pay for some of our time, which we are happy to do at a set hourly rate. This is usual just to carry out a land appraisal or talk through some ideas for a project. We try to offer as much value as possible in doing this, as it benefits no one to ‘withhold’ information or ideas as it stops everyone moving forward.
Percentage based and success fee: On a larger site it may be that to reduce upfront costs for developers we can marginally reduce our percentage-based planning fee. In return, we would agree a success fee for obtaining a permission. This figure is agreed between ouselves and the client.
Success fee only: Very rarely we take on jobs based on success fees only. This is an agreed figure, usually well in excess of what the percentage fee would be. We only work like this with established clients or in very specific circumstances.
I HAVE MY FEE BID AND WANT TO ACCEPT, WHAT NEXT?
Next, we will request the non-refundable deposit amount for the first work stages. This is set at 25% of the total amount quoted. This covers our project setup costs including surveying, mapping, meetings and time spent on your project already. Payment of this deposit amount enters you into an agreement with us for the stages of work paid for.
Once paid, we will then arrange a date to come out and take a measured survey and begin to get your project moving. We would be looking to book you in for our initial design reaction within 2 weeks of this point. From this point, we continue working in a linear way towards the final set of drawings and documents.
WHAT ARE YOUR PROFESSIONAL ACCREDITATIONS?
We are a Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) chartered practice and have a Local Authority Building Control (LABC) partnership in place with North Lincolnshire Council.
Jo Hodson is registered with the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and we have all relative professional insurances in place.
CAN MY PROJECT BE DONE UNDER PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT?
We don't advise any client to proceed in building anything with the assumption of permitted development in any form.
If we believe your project should have permitted development rights we will still be looking to obtain a 'certificate of lawful development' from the council, which is essentially a short version of the planning process where a simple 'yes/no is given based on the plans submitted.
The RIBA what? Our guide to RIBA plan of works.
This isn't to be taken as gospel, as it varies from project to project and we will do what is agreed in the fee bid. However, it gives a good overview of the plan of work our chartership asks us to work to. It's a complex beast, by necessity, as this is appliable to both a small extension to your home right up to building a new hospital!
Click on the image below to download the .pdf.
'A client’s guide to engaging an Architect' from the RIBA.
Another super handy document that the RIBA produce is 'a client’s guide to engaging an Architect'. This short document gives a decent overview of what we do as a Chartered practice and what we expect from you as the client. It's useful to go through this before making contact with us as it will mean you have a few of the initial consultation questions already answered, meaning we can spend more time talking through your ideas.
Click on the image below to download the pdf.