Knowledge Process


By Adam Laskey on June, 20 2019

Getting to your construction start date is often what you're waiting for as this is the time when it really feels like your dream is starting to become a reality. But getting to this point can take a long time and lots of hard work and decision-making. But how long?

Obviously the timeframes for design (and build) will depend to some extent on the size of your project: a smaller extension should be far speedier than a whole house renovation or build. 

To give guidance on the timeframes involved, we've considered a 3-4-bedroom home, full house renovation with extension and based it on the process we follow here at Märraum...


Getting started

Finding the right design and architect team, making sure they can work with your vision and brief as well as meet cost and time constraints, can and perhaps should take a while. Spending a little time at this point will pay dividends later because choosing the right people to work with will make your life easier and your project a more enjoyable experience. To do this stage properly could take about a month: organising meetings with your shortlisted design teams, carrying out research, receiving fee proposals and making the big decision of who is right for you.


Next steps

Once you decide who you want to work with, it can then take up to 2 weeks before an on-site visit can be scheduled. This is where a survey is carried out on the building and site. It usually takes a day to gather sufficient information and then a further 2 weeks to put all of this information onto the drawing systems. All this gives a strong foundation to begin the design process. 

Sketch schemes, massing models, and Virtual Reality (VR) experiences can then take 2-3 weeks to put together before your design is in a position to discuss with you in detail. Then there's likely to be a further 2 weeks of tweaking and improvements.

Märraum Architects_Falmouth_full house renovation_greyscale 

From the moment you make the decision to start a project, getting to the building stage without any unplanned delays can take 5-6 months.

It's not compulsory, but at this stage you may benefit by lining up discussions with builders or a quantity surveyor (QS). Your design team will endeavour to design in line with your budget, however having a second or third pair of eyes cast over the designs can save an awkward conversation months down the line if things don't add up.

Consulting the builders who are going to price for the work or the QS that delves deep into the construction figures, at this stage, can either give you the confidence to take your design into planning or the intel to revise the design before incurring unnecessary additional costs. Working with a third party can take about a month of waiting and additional costs, so if time is not on your side this may not be something you wish to consider.


Planning application

When you're fully happy moving forward, there will be some further design development / refinement on your proposal, to get ready for start the planning application. Putting together all of the drawing packages, necessary documentation, application form and getting final confirmation from you can take 3-4 weeks. Once submitted the Local Planning Authority can take between 6-8 weeks to consider your planning application and make a decision. 

From the moment you make the decision to start a project, getting to the building stage without any unplanned delays can take 5-6 months for a straight forward project. You are likely to see this time frame increase if other consultants are needed through out the designing process and if pre-application enquires with the local communities and council are undertaken.


Building regulations approval

With planning approval granted, the next stage is to gain building regulations approval. The majority of projects will need a structural engineer at this point. From giving them the go-ahead to receiving a final structural calculation package can take 2 months. So it's important to use this time wisely. Pre-construction information packages, asbestos surveys etc can all be run in tandem with the preparation of your building regulation package.

Once your application is submitted to Building Control it can take a further month before a decision is given.

 Märraum Architects_St Mawes_new build_kitchen views


Once building regulations approval is granted, the next stage is gathering information on fixtures and fittings, materials, products, technologies etc. This information, as well as your project specific detailed drawing, are used to put together a tender package to take out to building contractors. This package can take 4-6 weeks to put together, depending on client input.


Securing a contractor

Once the information is out to the carefully selected building contractors, it can take them a month to put together their costings. With a successful contract put in place it can take your chosen contractor a further month to get everything in place before starting your build - and that's assuming they have a slot ready to start a new project. Often contractors can be booked up for the next 6-9 months. To avoid any disappointments at this late stage, we always recommend speaking to some contractors early in the design process to try and get them interested and available. 

Things can happen more speedily than the example given above, but from experience it can take up to a year to design and plan a full house renovation/extension project: with a further estimated 6-8 months build time. 

To conclude, you are likely to be in contact with your design team for around 18 months to design your building project. There is a lot of work to be carried out at all the stages therefore it is important to choose the right team that gives you confidence in successfully delivering your project. Also, don't forget to seek out a team that you gel with as you will be spending a good deal of time with them creating your dream build. 


Keen to know more about us? Find out more about the Märraum process

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