FAQS | Ashleigh Clarke Architects
Ashleigh Clarke Architects


Are you planning an architectural renovation?

Building a new house of any size or extending or renovating an existing structure 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 based on traditional or contemporary architecture design, an architect ensures that you do so legally and safely. They may suggest ideas you hadn’t thought of, or spot potential obstacles or permissions required for your project that you were unaware of.

Involving an architect opens up the opportunity to create something unique, as well as something beautiful and functional. When you engage an architect, you will see a visible difference in the quality of the design and the materials.

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

Architects also know how to run and manage 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 Planning Architects.

You cannot legally call yourself an Architect unless you have degree level training (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 very closely with other professionals such as construction companies, quantity surveyors, structural engineers and Heritage officers and fully understand 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. The ARB and RIBA set the standards of ethics and best practice.

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 ARB 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.

Are you considering making changes to an existing traditional architectural structure? You’ll need Planning Permission if you want to build something new, make a major structural change such as an extension, a renovation, or 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, especially with Heritage and Historic properties.

You may be able to get 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 might not need Planning Permission, check with us and also consider how your proposed building will affect your neighbours and also the environment and 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 new cupboards in a kitchen or a fitted wardrobe in a bedroom, you can use a builder or carpenter whose vision and expertise you trust. Anyone can call themselves a designer, but only a fully qualified architect can call themselves an architect.

You are not legally obliged to use an architect, but it is a very good idea to use a trained architectural technician just in case your planned work will 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 refurbishment, an architect will be worth the money.

Once you have decided to engage Ashleigh Clarke Architects, each project is costed on an individual basis. The brief, the budget and the client’s wishes all contribute to the costing, so costings can vary. We guarantee complete transparency of costings at all stages and build in a small contingency ‘just in case’. We will always offer you a choice of high-quality materials and finishes of differing prices, but we do keep sustainability and quality of materials front of mind.

You are in charge of our involvement at all stages. Sometimes we are engaged up to the Planning or Building Regulations stage at other times we concept, design and oversee the construction of the entire project. If you choose to take over the construction and site management stage, we can visit your site just to check progress. This is charged at an hourly rate.

As Cotswold based architects, we are specialists in alterations to Listed Buildings Grades I and II. 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 The Heritage Advisory.

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.