FAQS | Ashleigh Clarke Architects
Ashleigh Clarke Architects


Are you planning an architectural renovation?

Are you building a new house of any size or extending or renovating an existing building so as to alter its structure or exterior? Or planning a barn or garage conversion, a basement or loft conversion, an extension to your house or home office?

Whether your project is a traditional or contemporary architecture design, an architect ensures that you approach your project legally and safely. An architect may suggest ideas that you hadn’t thought of, or flag any potential obstacles or permissions that may be required for your project that you were previously unaware of.

Involving an architect opens up the opportunity to create a design which is both unique, as well as beautiful and functional. When you engage an architect, you will see a visible difference in the quality of the design, the materials used and the progress throughout the project.

Architects are highly trained professionals who translate your ideas and aspirations into 3D form. They can visualise your reconfigured spaces and see beyond the current finishes and flooring. Plus, you have the reassurance that the technical, legal, safety and structural aspects of a project have been thoroughly investigated and complied with.

Architects are also adept at running and managing building contracts on site and can demystify the legal complexities of building regulations.

A RIBA-trained architect can draw up all the plans, technical and to scale, to accompany your Planning Permission application. We are experts in dealing with applications within conservation areas and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and we work in partnership with specialist heritage consultants on historic and heritage Listed buildings. We are experienced Planning Architects.

You cannot legally call yourself an Architect unless you have completed degree-level training of 5 years and a minimum of 2 years practical training affiliated to an architectural practice. Architects sit professional exams to qualify.

A professional architect is responsible for the planning, design and construction of a building or extension. They work collaboratively alongside other professionals such as construction companies, quantity surveyors, structural engineers and Heritage consultants and have a thorough understanding of building regulations.

Ashleigh Clarke is a fully qualified and registered Architect with the ARB (Architects Registration Board) which regulates the profession and a member of RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects). Both the ARB and RIBA set the standards of ethics and best practice within the industry.

The RIBA or Royal Institute of British Architects is the Professional Body representing Architects in the UK and abroad. There is an annual membership for RIBA registered architects which entitles the member to be called a “Chartered Architect”, in addition Architects’ practices can be registered with the RIBA and be called a “Chartered Practice”. RIBA is committed to the highest standards of professionalism and ethics.

We are a RIBA Chartered Practice, which means that we are endorsed and promoted by RIBA, proving that as a business we are committed to excellence in design, service and delivery.

The ARB (Architects Registration Board) allows us to use the title ‘architect’ and protects our clients by ensuring that they are using a qualified architect. You can search the ARB website register to ensure that you engage a qualified architect.

Are you considering making changes to an existing traditional architectural structure? You will need Planning Permission if you want to build something new or make any major structural change such as an extension, a renovation, or to change the use of your building – from residential to retail, or from barn to residential.

Obtaining the correct Planning Permissions, and other permissions you may need if your building is Listed or in a Conservation Area, is part of our process and we are expert Planning Architects, particularly with Heritage and Historic properties including Listed buildings.

You may be able to obtain permission to build “an exceptional one-off house on a site where refusal would normally be expected.” This is covered in Paragraph 79 – the country house exemption clause.

If you think you may not require Planning Permission, we are available to advise. It is always worth considering how your proposed building or renovation could affect your neighbours, the environment and the surrounding landscape.

We cannot guarantee that planning permission will always be granted, but we can reassure all of our clients that we will have provided the best reports, drawings, plans and guidance to accompany the permissions procedure.

For some smaller, interior renovation projects such as installing a new kitchen or adding fitted wardrobes into a bedroom, you can appoint a builder or carpenter whose vision and expertise you trust. Anyone can call themselves a designer, but only a fully qualified architect is legally allowed to call themselves an architect.

You are not legally obliged to use an architect, but it is always a good idea to ensure that you use a trained architectural technician just in case your planned work could potentially interfere with the structural integrity of the existing building. If your building is Listed, you should always engage an architect. If you overlook a neighbouring property, or if you are rethinking best use of space in a planned renovation or reconfiguration, an architect will always be worth the additional cost and the peace of mind that comes with engaging a professional with years of expertise.

Once you have made the decision to engage Ashleigh Clarke Architects, each project is costed on an individual basis as every project is bespoke. The brief, the budget and the client’s wishes all contribute to the costing and as such, costs can vary. We guarantee complete transparency of costings at all stages of the process and build in a small contingency ‘just in case’. We offer our clients a choice of high-quality materials and finishes of differing prices, however we always keep sustainability and quality of materials front of mind.

As our client, you are in charge of our involvement at all stages of the process. Sometimes we are engaged up to the Planning or Building Regulations stage, and at other times we produce the initial concept drawings, the design and oversee the construction of the entire project. If you choose to take over the construction and site management stage, we can still make site visits to check progress and ensure that everything is going to plan. There is an hourly rate charged for this service.

As Cotswold-based architects, we are specialists with extensive experience in alterations to Listed Buildings. Many of our projects are either Listed or Heritage sites and we offer expert professional advice on sympathetic, architectural alterations to traditional Cotswold buildings. Ashleigh Clarke works in close collaboration with specialist heritage consultants.

You will need planning permission and change of use permission for any barn conversion. You may not need full planning permission and should apply for Class Q Permitted Development if:

  • the building was in agricultural use on or before 20th March 2013
  • it is not a Listed Building, or in an AONB, National Park or a conservation area.