Frequently asked questions
1. Why are you so much cheaper than architects?
Architects charge for their time spent on each project, a lot of this time is spent on drafting, site visits and meetings. This process is much more complex and not entirely necessary. We streamline this process, providing only what is necessary. Your local surveyor is on hand 7 days a week and can perform a measured survey in as little as 24 hours. We do not have to charge for multiple site visits and because a lot of the work is done virtually, we can start work on your plans immediately.
2. How is the fixed price guaranteed?
The majority of architects work on an hourly rate or a percentage of the build costs which makes it impossible to offer a final price until works have been completed. This can lead to unforeseen costs and an unexpectedly high final invoice. We have streamlined our service to provide you with only that which is necessary. We charge for your drawings only and will give you the finished price before you appoint our service.
1. How do I prepare for my layout and design sessions?
Once you have instructed us to take on your project we will invite you to take a detailed questionnaire which will help our designers understand how you use your space, we will then assist you in setting up an inspiration board where you can add as many layout inspirations as you wish. The more you can decide during your Layout Discovery, the richer the floorplan proposals will be during the design session.
2. When is the last point at which I can make design changes?
Design changes requested after completion of the design approval document will result in a change order. A change order is work that is added to or removed from the scope of work in this document, which alters the cost and the completion date of the drawings. Any changes made after this point will incur an additional 20% Hutch services fee.
3. Do I need to have plans drawn up?
For minor jobs, there’s no need to have professional plans or to use an architect. For anything requiring planning permission, this is a prerequisite before permission will be granted.
4. Are your plans the same as an Architects drawings?
The drawings we provide are created to the same (if not better) standard as your local Architect. Our plans are created by an experienced member of our design team and will include everything the council require to process your planning or permitted development application. By streamlining our process and removing the unnecessary site visits we can provide the same detailed plans at a much cheaper price.
Planning + Approvals
1. Do I need planning permission for my project?
The team at Hutch can help you determine if your build project falls under something called ‘permitted development’. If it does not, you’ll need to apply for planning permission.
Under UK planning policy you are able to build on your property without planning permission if the proposed development falls under certain rules which will be well documented by your Local Authority.
Even if you can build under permitted development, we still advise that you apply for a lawful development certificate, we will arrange this on your behalf.
2. How long does it take to gain project approvals?
Most London Authorities will consider your application within 8 weeks of application, however, each council has its’ own process and the length of time will depend on the simplicity or complexity of your build. Are there any submissions from neighbours, has your renovation builder included shadow diagrams, have they addressed light and privacy, floor space ratio, etc. Resolution of disputes will impede the process, so the more work done upfront to identify and address potential issues, the quicker the process will be.
3. What happens if my application is refused?
In 99% of refused cases the council will provide you with an explanation. We will analyse the issues that have been raised and advise on solutions to satisfy the council’s requests.
We will then resubmit your application and also alert you at this point if there are any additional costs.
It is not unusual for planning permission applications to be refused, but with proper research and the correct plans and elevations this likelihood can be reduced.
1. How long will the project take?
This will depend on individual projects; during pre-construction we will create plans which outline the key timeframes and milestones. This can be used as a guide to completing your project. We will agree a time schedule in advance. We never cut corners, and, unlike some builders, we never go away halfway through a job to work on something else.
2. How much will construction costs?
This depends on the complexity of the build, materials used, and geographic location. Your Local Build Partner will be able to give you an indication of construction cost. Planning drawings will be able to provide a better estimate but ultimately, it won’t be until your technical details are established that an accurate quote can be reached.
3. How do Hutch source builders for clients
Once we prepare all of the drawings we will create a tender package containing all of the details for your project.
Hutch will distribute the tender within our network of contractors based on your requirements.
Once bids are received we will explore these and all contractors will go through our 9-point verification check to ensure you have the best team delivering your project.
- Builder Interview
- Skills Test
- Director Qualifications
- Client Reference
- Director ID Check
- Company Credit Check
- Previous Project
- Hutch Standards Compliance
Once a builder has passed our 9-point check, we will negotiate all contracts on your behalf to ensure you are fully protected.
4. What is building control?
Building control is responsible for checking and approving your building regulation drawings, specifications and structural engineering documents. You can opt for either the local council or a private firm that will appoint a building inspector to liaise with your builder and visit the site throughout construction to ensure building regulations are being complied with. A building control application must be submitted prior to the commencement of construction works for all building projects.
5. Do you visit the site during the build?
We are specialist in contract administration. If you opt for this service, your dedicated project manager will perform a pre-construction survey with your designated builder prior to the project commencing. Once you break ground they will visit the site frequently to track progress and solve any issues you may encounter along the way.
Utilising a project manager is an effective method to save on cost and also ensures that your project is being delivered to the right specification. Your dedicated project manager will have years of experience and can provide guidance on all aspects of your project right from design to choosing the right builders, picking materials and managing your budget.
6. What do building control do?
Upon approval of your planning application your building regulation drawings and engineers’ calculations will be submitted to building control for an application, this is to ensure all the information we have provided is double-checked and compliant by a third party before work commences. This also goes for the builder too, the inspector will ensure the builder has followed our plans and installed them correctly resulting in a certificate, signing off the project. Once the application has been submitted you will receive the name and number of your assigned inspector who your builder can contact to arrange the different site visits.