Architectural Designers FAQs

Here, we will be looking at answering common questions related to architects and architectural designers. Learn the difference between an architect and an architectural designer and how much design services cost.

What is an architectural designer?

It’s the job of an architectural designer to design and create compliant plans for development. The designer will meet with clients from the start of a project and follow the same process as an architect to enable them to fulfil clients brief and design a compliant, buildable scheme.

Architectural designers can find creative ways to design new buildings, add house extensions or develop whole plots of land.

The designers achieve this by producing technical drawings which take into account the clients brief and key deliverables and drivers for the scheme. Architectural designers undertake a full range of architectural services, including production of drawings for submission for Planning Approval and Building Regulations’ approval. And go on to provide full construction drawings if required.

Architectural designers are up to date with current regulations and can provide robust technical and environmental advice.

What is the difference between an architectural designer and an architect?

To obtain the entitlement to call themselves an architect, an individual has to be registered with the Architects Registration Board and have passed Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 qualifications from a recognised UK school of architecture.

Architectural designers will have followed other routes to obtain competencies that enable them to be proficient and skilled at their job. For example, Spencer Davey qualified as a building surveyor, has obtained Chartership through the Chartered Institute of Building and has achieved Chartered Building Consultancy status for his company. Throughout his career, Spencer has specialised in design and project management and is pursued this keen interest for the past 25 years.

Overall, architects and architectural designers offer similar services though each individual will have their particular skill set. It is important to find the right design professional to suit you.

How much does an architectural designer cost?

Typically, for a design only service for residential alterations or development, the design fee will be in the region of 5- 10% of the overall project cost. For this, detailed layout, elevation and building regulations standard drawings are produced.

Or, for services such as procurement/contract administration/employers agent/project management services, fees are negotiated.

And for low value projects, the fees will typically attract a higher percentage. And for higher value project, those will feature a lower percentage.

You are of course paying for time and expertise. You can reduce that time spent on your project by providing existing materials, such as drawings for example. We will always consider this and offer a fee that is appropriate to any given project.

Party Wall Guidance

In this section of our architectural designer FAQ, we’re looking at party walls. What are they, what is a boundary wall and what should you tell your neighbours about when renovating your land and buildings?

The Party Wall Act 1996 gives tenants and building owners clear guidelines for preventing and resolving disputes related to party walls. If a neighbour is looking to begin work which is covered by the Act then they must give notice of their intentions. If the neighbours disagree with the proposed building work then Party Wall Surveyors can be used to resolve any issues under the Party Wall Act.

What is a party wall?

There are three main kinds of party wall common in the UK. These are as follows:

  • A wall which forms part of a building and stands on the land of two or more owners.
  • A wall which does not form part of a building standing on the land of two or more owners. This doesn’t include timber fences.
  • A wall or floor belonging to one owner and used to separate the buildings of two or more owners.

Furthermore, the Party Act uses the term ‘party structure’. This refers to wall or floor structures used to separate buildings with different owners. For example, flats and apartments.

What is the difference between a party wall and a boundary wall?

A party wall sits within a building that joins two properties to form a boundary. Whereas a boundary wall separates two parcels of land belonging to different owners, such as a garden fence. If a landowner erects a fence on his or her own land to separate the boundary then that is a boundary wall.

However, if the wall sits aside multiple owners’ land then it belongs to all owners concerned. This is then called a party fence wall. This will usually run along the centre line of the building’s party wall – walls separating two or more buildings.

Essentially, a boundary wall is a one which is constructed on the land of just one owner.

What do I need to tell my neighbour about when building near a party wall?

If you’re planning to carry out any kind of building work near your party wall then you must inform the neighbours under the following circumstances:

  • If you wish to build on or at the boundary of the properties concerned.
  • If you want to carry out work to an existing party wall
  • If you want to dig below and near the foundations of the properties.

So, if you’re planning work such as erecting a new wall, modifying/repairing an old one, or removing a chimney, or inserting a beam into a party wall, then you certainly need to inform the neighbours.

It’s important to remember that you aren’t asking your neighbours for permission to build. Providing the work being carried out is legal and above board, your neighbours can’t stop you from building. Although, it may mean that your plans change, such as how the work gets carried out and when it starts.

What don’t I need to tell my neighbours about when carrying out building work?

You don’t need to tell your neighbours about building work for most common house repairs. This can include electrical work, plastering or installing new cupboards, shelves or cabinets.