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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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259 Architectural Services questions

Major house alteration

I would like to change our semi from 525 sq ft to approx 900 sq ft by adding extensions to the rear (3m or more) and side but I would also like to change the shapes and sizes of the rooms too, basically re-designing the whole layout. This would involve moving supporting walls (they all seem to be supporting) and knocking down a central chimney breast which may support the loft conversion floor). Could anyone tell me is this even possible? Would it just be too costly to be worth it? We have a very large back garden but limited space at the side ( 7 ft increasing to 11 ft). Thank you

Structural calcs for RSJ - Trade advice

Dear all, we have employed structural engineer to do the calcs for the steel lintel to be inserted into boundary wall of our bungalow. We would like to have bi-folding doors installed. The span is 4100mm. What is really confusing me is the fact, that he suggested what RSJ we need for this, but he is also suggesting to use 150x200mm bearing beam and plate one side and 250x200 bearing beam and plate the other side. Is this normal? I thought that the RSJ is normally supported from the brickwork. Thanks for your help

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

Expectations of an architect

We've moved into a 4 bed semi that we wish to extend quite a bit - couple more bedrooms and bathrooms, utility room, cloakroom, bigger kitchen and living room. The house seems to have plenty of potential - room to go back and sideways and also an internal double garage that could be converted.

I've drawn up a floorplan that seems to work and checked the feasibility/costs with a builder, but I imagine a professional could do a better job.

But I've never worked with an architect and don't know what the norm is - do you have to commission them and commit to their fees before you get any kind of drawings from them, or would they come round and do a back-of-the-fag-packet floorplan sketch in order to win my business?

My concern is that I don't want to commission an architect and pay out a few grand only to find they draw some plans that are no better than what I've already come up with.



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

Can I convert a large 4 bedroom flat into two separate units?


I'd like to know if anyone has had any experience with converting flats within purpose built blocks to create additional units? Will the council even entertain this idea? As well as the freeholder (the property is a large 4 bedroom flat within a lambeth housing bock ) and the idea is to convert it into 2 bedroom flats. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!.

Kind Regards,

Single storey extension which is next to a tree with tpo

I am planning a single storey extension but have a tree in my back garden which has a tpo, will building regs still be suffice or do i need to go down the road of planning permission because of the tpo

How long does it take to draw architectural plans?

After the initial consultation, how long should it take an architect to draw up plans for a simple kitchen extension 4 x 2 metres?

Extension Foundations Close to Another Building

I have given my neighbour a Party Wall Act form to sign for an extension I have planned for January. He's worried that the foundations will be dug too close to his house. What's the safe minimum width between foundation and house?

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