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    Improving your home during the lockdown

    With all that’s going on in this strange time for everyone, we thought we should post here some answers to some of the questions we have been receiving. We hope this helps! As always, please give us a call or send an email to discuss any queries you may have.

    Is Formed Architects still working and available for consultation?

    Yes! Though we are working from home, like many other people during this time, we are open for business and well set up for working remotely. Give us a call/get in touch to find out what you can be doing to improve your home for your family or with the view to an uplift in value ready to sell or rent.

    I’m looking to do some work on my home during the lockdown period. What can I do?

    Even though we are stuck in our homes for the most part, there is a lot that can be done working with architects through video calls and conferencing and using existing plans and drawings, for example estate agent drawings, to discover the potential for improvements to your home. At Formed Architects we can still provide a thorough service using the technology we have to hand. And, of course, the old-fashioned method of talking over the phone!

    We have been already talking to people about what they can do around their homes. What is possible and what’s not possible, including the drawing of sketches and plans, using the information we have to hand. We are also able to take this through the planning process remotely.

    This is a great time to, with the help of a friendly architect, explore what is possible for your home, without, necessarily, doing a site visit.

    Like many other people during this time, we are open for business and well set up for working remotely.

    How can we share the existing footprint of our property without you coming to site to measure?

    We can use title deeds or estate agents plans to obtain these measurements.

    And will these measurements be accurate enough?

    The measurements may be slightly out, but that is fine for now. If going to planning, we would add a caveat to say a full survey should follow. Ultimately, existing plans should be accurate enough to push forward with design and to achieve planning. Once a survey has been carried out, these measurements can be adjusted. By the time new plans are drawn, the design is agreed and planning is achieved, we will hopefully be out the lockdown period and ready for surveys to take place and building to start.

    Why would I want to spend money on my house at the moment?

    If you can do so, now is a great time to start pushing forward with plans to improve your home. In theory, you will have a little more time on your hands to focus on this. You will also be in your home and able to discuss and decide what is best for you needs. Consultant fees should also be cheaper/reduced at this time as consultations can be done without a site visit, therefore financial commitments should not be so heavily weighted upfront.

    Are planners still working?

    Yes. Though larger commercial schemes or regeneration sites may take longer to go through the planning process, planning committee meetings are still going ahead. On 3rd April, the Government published new regulations that allow planning committees to be held remotely. According to Property Week, ‘after the passing of the Coronavirus Act, authorities can officially proceed with virtual meetings’. Currently this only applies to meetings held before 7th May 2020, after which time it is presumed business as usual.

    Once we having designs drawn, agreed and planning in place, should we start building straight away once the lockdown period is over?

    There is no reason not to. We can use this time wisely to choose a builder you trust and prepare for work to start as soon as we are able to, following government guidelines on health and safety.

    Can we start work before the lockdown period is over?

    From a health and safety view, we would advise not to. However, the government and various construction councils including the Construction Industry Council are continuously monitoring the situation. Construction firms and their clients are reportedly divided on whether to pause work on projects, however, where social distancing cannot be guaranteed it is strongly advised that work is not carried out until restrictions are lifted.

    How do I choose an architect?

    We would recommend not choosing an architect purely based on price. Go by recommendation or choose someone who has a track record of the type of project you are looking for. Make sure that your architect listens to you. What do you want? What design will suit your needs? It is your home, your project, and you shouldn’t be forced into doing something that’s not right for. Ultimately, you will be working closely with an architect for some time, so pick someone with whom you have a good rapport – this should come across over a video call!