Aren’t all professionals who design buildings architects?

No. Not all businesses offering “architectural services” are architects. Architects have particular training and skill in high quality design, construction and the professional delivery of projects. The title “architect” is protected by law however the word “architectural” is not. All qualified “architects” are registered in the UK register of architects which is maintained by the Architects Registration Board and can be checked here

Only someone who has successfully completed a 7 year course in the design, specification and construction of buildings and has passed the professional practice examination is entitled to use the term “architect” and will become registered. Thereafter, an architect can become registered with one or both of the professional bodies listed below which entitles then to use the term “chartered architect”.

  • Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland
  • The Royal Institute of British Architects

Can HYVE Architects advise me prior to purchasing my property?

Yes. We are often asked by clients to give advice prior to purchasing a property. We can advise on possible ways to improve the property by alteration, conversion or extension. This helps our clients understand the full potential of the property they are considering and informs their decision on whether the home is likely to meet all their requirements. We can also give you some basic guidance on the likely costs of the work required.


Do I need planning permission?

For domestic properties, planning consent mainly relates to either changes in the external appearance such as an extension or to changes to the use of a building such as the conversion of a derelict steading into a dwelling. Planning should not be confused with the Building Warrant which is entirely separate application.

Planning Permission and the details of the current local plan policy need to be given consideration from the start. Whether a project gains Planning approval is soley in the remit of the local council, however, we can advise you on the possibilities and restrictions imposed by current planning policy and we can guide you to a design solution which is most likely to gain consent.

Planning policy does develop over time. A common misconception is that because other houses in the street have, for instance, dormer window extensions, this will automatically mean that yours will be allowed. This is not always the case as current planning policy may have changed. For small extensions and alterations, your proposals may fall within your Permitted Development Rights which means that planning permission will not be necessary. We will be able to advise you of this on an intial consultation. Planning Permission, once granted, is usually valid for 3 years. You will have three years in which to begin your development form the date of consent.


How long does the design process take?

This depends on the size and complexity of the project. However, for most small, staightforward domestic projects we allow around 4 weeks to produce a design in close consultation with you. Once a planning application has been submitted to the local Planning Department, you ought to have a decision within two months of registration of the application. However many factors can delay this process, for example, if complex consultations are required or objections to the proposals are received by the Council.

The Building Warrant process takes a similar amount of time, approximately 4 weeks to prepare detailed construction drawings followed by an application to the local Building Standards office which can take from 4-12 weeks to process. Thereafter, the programme for progressing your project will depend on the availibility of suitable contractors to carry out the work. Once you have a contractor ready to start, most small domestic projects take around 8 to 16 weeks to complete.


How much do you charge?

Fees depend on a number of factors such as the size and complexity of the project and the scope of services required (see services section). Generally we charge a percentage of the construction cost of a project (excl. VAT and fees) for a full architectural service i.e. if we are involved from design through to completion of works on site. For a more restricted scope of service we charge an hourly rate or occasionally a fixed fee for very small commissions.

All architects are obliged to agree in writing the terms of their appointment, the services to be provided and the fee. There are several standard appiontment documents which can be used depending on the scale of the project. At HYVE Architects we use the standard appointment document prepared by the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland so that the scope of services and the associated fee is clearly defined before we commence work for you.


What is a Building Warrant?

Building warrant applications are required to ensure that all the technical aspects of your building will be done correctly to the minimum required standard. Issues such as structure, insulation, fire escape, disabled access, ventilation and drainage, amongst others, are considered and designed. In addition to our services, at this stage, you will usually require the services of a qualified Structural Engineer to advise on the structural aspects of your application.

Building regulation matters are handled by Building Standards Office in your local authority. There are some works which can be done to a building without a Building Warrant, and the full list is included in the Building Standards Technical Handbooks. We can advise you on this at an initial consultation. Once your building warrant is approved, you have 3 years in which to complete your project.


How much will my project cost?

The cost of a building project is extremely difficult to predict particularly before it is fully designed. There are many factors which affect the price such as geographic location, size, scope and complexity of the work, amount of structural work involved and level of specification required. We will be in a better position to give you an idea of costs once you have discussed what you would like to achieve and we have seen what is involved.


What is the architect’s role during construction?

If you choose to employ HYVE Architects for the building stages of your project we will advise you on the appointment of a builder and an appropriate building contract which we will administer on your behalf. We will help you with any variations you might feel necessary during the works and instruct your builder on your behalf. At regular intervals during construction we will inspect the works to check that your contractor is building the project according to the approved drawings and technical specifications, and that the standard of workmanship is acceptable. We aim to ensure that your finished project is of the highest quality.


What type of work can I carry out on a Listed Building?

Buildings of particular architectural interest are often officially “listed” and are thereby protected. In Scotland, listed buildings are graded by Historic Scotland as Category A, B or C depending on their particular architectural importance. If your property is listed, in addition to other consents which may be required, you will also need to apply for Listed Building Consent. Making a Listed Building Consent application is similar to making a planning application – but with a few differences. The process may be handled by a conservation officer within your local planning department or might be referred to Historic Scotland and there is no application fee. At HYVE Architects we have experience with this type of application and can assist you with this.


What will happen in my initial consultation?

At an initial consultation we will visit your property and meet with you to discuss in detail your requirements. We take time to understand the brief that you have in terms of the space requirements, the style of design you envisage and your budget for the works. The more information you can give us, the better we can understand your brief.

We will explain the design process, the statutory applications needed for your particular project and the building process. We will also agree with you which of our services you require. Following the consultation we will prepare a detailed quotation for your consideration.


Why should we employ a chartered architect?

For most clients their home is their biggest single investment. When you appoint a Chartered Architect you can be confident that you are employing an experienced professional who has undertaken a minimum of 7 years’ rigorous architectural training. A self styled “building consultant” “architectural consultant” “architectural designer” is unlikely to be an architect and does not have comparable skill or knowledge.

An architect must maintain professional indemnity insurance for your protection, will follow a strict code of professional conduct and is obliged to maintain his/her knowledge through continuous professional development. Nikki Ritchie, principal of HYVE Architects Ltd. has been a Chartered Architect since 1993 and has over 20 years experience in the architectural profession.


Why use HYVE Architects?

We provide a high quality service that delivers value for money; we can help you make the most efficient use of your space, we pay careful attention to detail, help you to select the best materials and finishes for your project, and we can create energy efficient buildings which keep your running costs low. We do much more than simply produce a set of plans. Using our experience, skill and knowledge we can lift your project out of the ordinary and help to create a design that meets all your needs and aspirations.

Our professional service gives you freedom from worry. We offer a comprehensive range of architectural services from initial design through to completion of a project on site. Undertaking a building project can be a daunting experience, but we offer over 20 years of professional experience to guide you through this complex process.

We pride ourselves in our client centered approach, our imaginitive design flair, our attention to detail and our ability to deliver cost effective solutions to every project.