Looking for an architectural services company – what to expect

Advice for when you are appointing an architectural services company for your project


What to expect from Ecclesall Design at the design stage


Appointing an architectural services company for your new project is a crucially important decision. It is very different to purchasing consumer goods or even a new home where you can see exactly what you’re getting before you sign on the dotted line – deciding who you’re going to appoint to provide your architectural design drawings and associated services such as obtaining planning permission and building regulations approval can seem daunting and somewhat of an act of faith, a leap into the unknown.

We know that sometimes homeowners feel that a ‘free consultation meeting’ might help them decide when appointing an architectural services company. Unfortunately, instead of the thorough assessment of your home and its potential that you perhaps thought you would be getting, it is likely that all you get is one or two of our less-busy competitors pitching for business, trying to give the impression of giving ideas but being careful not to give away any magic in case you don’t use them.

Our own experience is that whilst we certainly listen carefully to what you would like when we come for the initial consultation meeting and site survey (we suggest you allow 2-3 hours for this visit), the most meaningful consultation takes place during the presentation and second consultation meeting a few weeks later when we present to you, in fine detail, the first round of drawn-to-scale architectural design drawings for your extension or new build house.

This second consultation meeting can easily take two or three hours and we absolutely expect you to ask questions, raise points and perhaps make suggestions as we work through the various options we have prepared for you with clear explanation about every aspect.

At this design consultation meeting we give you a full set of ‘existing’ drawings and then present several sets of different ‘proposed’ options to showcase the range of possibilities we have identified and drawn up based on the detailed measurements we took during our visit as well as the brief you gave us in that initial meeting.

So many times clients have told us they were quite apprehensive prior to the presentation and second consultation meeting and it is very rewarding for us to get that ‘wow’ moment when we see how pleased and indeed relieved they are to see the drawings as they are presented. It’s such a pleasure to be told that any previous stress and anxiety has been replaced with enjoyment and excitement as the project starts to become real. It can sometimes be a leap of faith to engage us and naturally it is a little nerve wracking to have to wait a few weeks for the drawings to be ready but we promise it is worth it!

Homeowners are sometimes concerned when we meet them for the first time that they don’t really know what they want so are unable to provide a clear brief, although others can be the complete opposite and might already have prepared comprehensive plans ready for our arrival to explain exactly what they hope to achieve. Both approaches are absolutely fine.

When a new client has definite ideas, perhaps honed with the help of aspirational tv programmes and enthusiastic family and friends, the challenge for us as designers is to make the ideas work as flawlessly as possible within the constraints of the existing property, ground topography and neighbouring buildings whilst being mindful of planning legislation and building regulation requirements.

Other clients seek inspiration and creative ideas from us, trusting to our sound professional knowledge and experience to explore and present design options that will provide the solution they desire. Whichever pathway our relationship follows initially, your faith in us is validated during the presentation and second consultation meeting when you see for the first time the drawings featuring your own home and you can truly appreciate the interactive discussion that results.

Our role lies in transforming imagination into reality, shaping your dreams into concrete and stone, and we greatly value your feedback and direction empowering us through teamwork to achieve inspirational results for your home.

Once you have taken time to reflect on the presentation meeting discussion we would expect you to revert to us with your further comments and instructions for revisions to the drawings. We don’t mind if you would like to explore a couple of routes while you decide which option meets your needs and budget best, just let us know and we will provide the drawings you need with as many revisions as necessary until you are truly content with the result.

Designing to a budget is always a challenge as different builders will quote different prices for the same project. Our pledge to you is that, once you have decided upon a builder, you agree a price and a specification with him that meets your budget and we will make sure your drawings, planning permission and building regulation details are correct for what is actually going to be built.

You can feel reassured when you’re considering Ecclesall Design that we have an unbeatable – and possibly unique – 100% success record in achieving planning permission for our residential clients. Our excellent reputation is very important to us and we work hard to maintain it. A substantial number of our existing clients came to Ecclesall Design because they already knew of us, perhaps from previous projects or via friends, colleagues or neighbours who had already used our service or alternatively via social media posts which over time have generated trust and familiarity towards our business.

Others have taken inspiration from their own research once they decided to embark on their building journey and took the decision to place their faith in the integrity and creativity of Ecclesall Design on the strength of what they found out for themselves. A wide range of our many projects are available on our website, on our Facebook, Houzz, GoogleMyBusiness, LinkedIn and Instagram pages and also in our own design portfolio (that you may already have received via email) which showcases the quality and scope of our work.

We have many reviews from previous customers and are more than willing to put you in touch with homeowners who have used our services if a personal reference would help to reassure you that we are the right team to take your precious project forwards.

Moreover, we work with great builders who have commended us for the creativity and technical accuracy of our architectural design drawings and the comprehensiveness of our building regulation details as well as for our efficient and supportive service that extends right through from the very first enquiry contact to successful completion of the construction process. We are available to come to site and provide support and advice to you or the builder as part of the service at no additional charge.

Fees quoted by architectural services companys can vary quite considerably but so can the quality of their workmanship and a more expensive company will usually still be only a relatively small percentage of the overall project value. A comparatively modest extra cost for better design and service could be life changing. In the worst case, a homeowner could end up with a planning refusal that effectively wasted all the money they’d paid to a poor architectural designer or alternatively a basic unimaginative extension might result for what would still be a lot of money on completion. Alternatively, by choosing to go with Ecclesall Design you could have something truly amazing.

We know our clients appreciate Ecclesall Design for the aesthetic qualities of our projects and other thoughtful features that take into account levels of daylight and sunlight direction, defining room characteristics and thoughtful ease of circulation, all achieved via design that maximises natural light, space and storage. We frequently receive praise for our ability to meet (and even exceed) the brief, whether we had to carefully tease out the detail or it was clearly set out from the beginning.

It has been suggested that a good architectural services company should radiate trust, knowledge, advice and understanding and we at Ecclesall Design do our best to achieve these qualities at all times.  Not only is it expected that your investment will have a positive effect on what is probably your greatest financial asset – your house – but the design we deliver will add immeasurably to your quality of life, sense of wellbeing and emotional attachment to your home.

Appointing an architect, new build house

If you would like to start a project with Ecclesall Design, then get in touch with us by clicking here: contact Ecclesall Design. We would love to discuss any ideas that you have for your property.

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