Architecture is essentially about people. People who seek exemplary design, irrespective of project size.
While you are familiar with the space you occupy, and the reason for your proposed works, an architect can offer a fresh perspective, bringing a knowledge of viability, what could be achieved under permitted development, and what might be approved by the local authority.
Your architect will suggest ideas through a structured design process, some of which may turn your original assumptions on their head. Your architect will also be able to advise on any building authorisations that might be required in order to meet your obligations as a property owner, such as planning applications, building control applications, party wall and health & safety responsibilities. They will also provide advice on the types of building contract open to you. The earlier your architect joins the process, the better: they will be a vital member of your design team, for the extent of your project. A compatible personality is critical.
You need bring nothing with you in order to investigate an architect’s services: MiRA offers a no-obligation initial consultation to discuss your project.
In order to legally practice as an architectural practice, we are bound by a mandatory professional code of conduct, set by the Architect’s Registration Board (ARB). Membership of the The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), in contrast, is optional. As well as supporting architects themselves, the RIBA produces useful information for clients.
In the first instance A Domestic Client’s Guide to Engaging an Architect or A Commercial Client’s Guide to Engaging an Architect both by Nigel Ostime, may be of interest if you are considering building works.
The RIBA Plan of Work outlines the type of activities that need to be undertaken in order that your project reaches a successful conclusion.
At MiRA, we break these down into four phases: Concept Design, Detailed Design, Technical Design and Construction.
The following information will give you an indication of the way we work, and what you can expect at each stage. You give us express instruction to proceed at each stage, so you will never be presented with an unexpected bill.
We will meet with you at the property and discuss your requirements, including your proposed budget, and timescale if you have one. We may also take some measurements of the spaces concerned. Following this meeting we will give you a quotation to prepare a concept design report.
If you accept this quotation, we will prepare a concept design report that describes the work you would like to do, and provides you with two or three options demonstrating how this might be achieved. We will meet to discuss this report once you have had time to review it. The result of the second meeting is often one further option which is a combination of the previous options. We will also give you an indication whether you will require planning permission at this stage. You will receive an updated concept design report at the conclusion of this process, accompanied by a proposed schedule of deliverables. This will advise you what architectural services we recommend or have agreed with you, what these will cost, and what legal processes you will need to undertake.
With your express agreement, we will prepare design documents next to describe the project. These usually include floor plans, sections and elevations. These can be used to obtain a estimate for the project, and will also be used to submit a planning application, if this is required.
It takes approximately 8 weeks for the local authority to determine a (straightforward) planning application. Assuming a positive decision is reached, we can then progress with the Technical Design.
The technical design will constitute the detailed information pertaining to your project. At this stage we will decide on the technical standards your project will meet (most of these will be determined by the Building Regulations) and on colours, finishes and fixtures such as flooring, light fittings, ironmongery and sanitaryware. At MiRA, we are very keen on certainty. Surprises during a building project are unpleasant, and usually costly. Part of our technical design includes individual room elevations, to ensure we know where every light switch and plug socket will sit, because in our opinion, the devil is in the detail. It will surprise you how firm an opinion you on something you have rarely devoted contemplation time to.
With all aspects of building design, it is far less costly to change ink on paper, than to punch new holes in walls.
We strive to cover all aspects of the built environment, so you are not irritated (for life!) by an overlooked detail.
Construction & contract administration
The final stage of your project is the physical build. We offer two levels of service at this stage: full contract administration including inspecting progress on a weekly basis, valuing the works, and tracking changes through a change control process, which enables you to keep tight control of the project. Alternatively, we offer an on-demand call-out service, on an hourly rate, to address a particular aspect of the project.
We also offer the following services:
- CDM Regulations compliance
- Clinical planning (acute, imaging, specialist, dental and primary healthcare)
- Expert witness services
Please contact us to discuss any of these in more detail.