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Architectural Services Questions

Our expert architects have kindly agreed to share their wisdom on such topics as planning permission, structural surveys, hiring the right architect, architectural drawings, saggy roofs, removing walls, extensions, building plans and much more.

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288 Architectural Services questions

Cavity wall insulation

When building a masonry wall with an insulated cavity, is the cavity meant to be fully filled with insulation or is it meant to be partially filled with an air gap.

My builder has fully filled a 75mm masonry wall cavity with rolled insulation, same kind you put down in loft floors. A friend told me that there's meant to be an air gap to prevent water transfer between layers.

Please advise

Many thanks

drawings and planning

i have seen some land with planning approved for a dwelling that i want to buy. if i meet the criteria approved in the plans what is the likelyhood of it being fully approved? is it like a small percentage that get accepted if there is outline planning approved? really cant afford to end up with something useless! and before i buy the land, if i get the drawings made, how can i submit them for approval before i buy it? really considering buying something "made" already.. *sigh* ...really confused by it all.

thanks in advance to anyone crazy enough to give me some sort of answer :D


EDIT: 23rd december
i decided against the land as the solitary tree has grown since the outline planning and cannot be moved or anything built near it... the plot is now too small.

thanks for all the answers. :D

I want to extend over 3 meter's deep and have semi detached house

On the left side the neighbour has a 3 meter extension already so from his mid point at a 45 degree angle I could go to 3.8/4 meters without blocking his view. On the other side the neighbour has confirmed to me he would not object as he wants the same, I understand only 3 mteres falls within permitted development what are the chances of me getting 3.8/4 given the new relaxed laws

Also if the neighbours don't object could they still refuse?

do I do a 45 degree angle from their extension or original window?

This extension is within 2 metres of the boundary and size will be 6.5 metres wide 4 meters deep

Demolition of wall


I just bought a house and would like to knock down one of the walls that creates a hallway between the front entrance and the reception room to the right. The wall is solid, but on the floor plan there is no wall above it on the same line (as there are for the other surely structural walls). I am trying to figure out if the wall is structural / how I can be confident that my builder can knock it down. Do I need to have a structural engineer come and look / Or could someone tell from the floor plan?


I am looking at a brand new house just built that has a shower cubicle in the corner of the bedroom?

does this meet with building regulations it is not within a separate en suite and it does have a sink as well .I have seen this in older properties where they have been fitted years later and i am concerned that condensation may be an issue etc ,

two storey garage conversion

Hi there,
We would like to convert our garage in to a chill out/sleepover room. And also make the 3rd (6'2 by 6'5) in to a decent sized (14ft by 10ft) master bedroom over the garage. Our neighbour has two large trees directly next to our garage. Would the trees be a problem?? How deep would the foundations need to be??
Would we need a lot of work doing??
Thank you for any feed back, its greatly appreciated! Thank you in advance for your time!

Dutch staircase & split level landing

Hi, we have purchased a mid terrace victorian house that has what I would class as having a dutch staircase, that goes onto a split level landing. To the right you step up about 12" into a bathroom, and to the left another 2-4 (sorry not accurate as not in the house as yet, so just guessing) steps up to another landing for the bedrooms. is their a way to remove this without making the stairs too steep, the problem is, firsty the dutch stairs are at the top, very little foot tread space, then the step up to the bathroom is quiet high, also the step down from the upper landing the distance is quite short, so people do have a tendency to try & jump straight into the bathroom entrance from the top landing.. We can make the bathroom level with one of the steps up to the upper landing, but the problem is on the top turn on the dutch stairs part as it would make it higher to step up to new level. Any idea's please? Michelle

unfinished conversion of a semi-conservatory to a room with a bath

I had hired a builder through this website who, unfortunately proved to be a fraud. he was initially very polite and seemed very helpful and developed good rapport. when about 10% of work was left, he asked me full payment, pleading that he have to make some payments. In a view to help what seemed a good man, I trusted him and made the payments. After that he I have seen him only once, he did not take most of my calls or reply to messages, whenever contact was made he promised to come and complete the job till one day his website went offline. I am now left with a room without building control certificate, the utility/washroom he made is leaking under floor which I cannot use and laminated floor he put on is moving under feet at places. Please tell me how can I get the building control certificate (contact details) and what would be the best way to get all these problems fixed i.e. whom shall I hire now, a plumber or a builder.
secondly is there any way to find out which regulatory site a builder is registered with???
Many thanks

Things to do before buying new flat

Hi, we're in the middle of flat hunting, and have seen one or two flats that we like but think would be improved by knocking down a wall or two. How do we go about this now? We want to make an offer on the property, but only if it is feasible (and within our budget) to knock down these walls. Otherwise we'd be stretched beyond our budget or stuck living in a house that doesn't match our requirements. Can we hire a surveyor or someone to give us an opinion on whether these walls can come down, and how much it would cost, before we make an offer? Help soon please since we need to make a decision in a few days! Thank you all very much in advance.

Smoke smell from neighbours house

Why can I smell cigarette smoke in my built in wardrobe, sons bedroom and sometimes near the boiler in my kitchen from my next door neighbours house. How can I stop it

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