Project type

Frequently asked questions

Partnering with us

Yes, we do - but it’s worth letting you know that we often have a waiting list of people wanting to talk to us. Our first conversation with you is the start of establishing whether what you want to do is feasible, viable and commercially sound. As experienced London architects, we understand how stressful this process can be and can help you navigate the complex process of seeking planning permission and designing and developing your property.

Please use our contact page to get in touch with us and start your journey.

As London architects, we may call London home, but our work takes place all over the UK. We work throughout London and the UK and further abroad on occasion.

Please note, though, we can only provide planning advice in England.

At Urbanist Architecture, we deliver incredibly successful projects for national housebuilders and seasoned property developers right through to first-time investors and homeowners. And our clients hardly ever fail. That is because what we do derives from methods we developed based on practical experience, not only theory, while working on over 700 projects in the UK during the last nine years.

You are our ideal client if your construction budget is in the range of 200k-10m. You are our ideal client if you want to work with people who can take all of the complexity in planning permission and simplify it so that you can achieve constant growth. You are our ideal client if you want to work with people who can add aesthetics, functionality and value to your project so that you can achieve ROI-focused results or the home you’ve always dreamed of.

We work across the entire residential architecture spectrum with construction budgets of 200k-10m (in certain particular circumstances, we will work on projects with a lower budget). With a proven track record delivering home extensions, flat conversions, HMOs, new build houses and flats, we also have extensive experience in luxury interior design projects in central London and sustainable urban design projects for green belt land developments in the UK.

As one of the top London architects, we’ve created incredibly successful projects for national house builders and seasoned property developers as well as first-time investors and homeowners. Every project, whatever its size or location, receives the same professional care and attention, meticulous focus on exemplary design and streamlined project management to achieve your goals and objectives.

Every year thousands of homeowners face disaster due to unregulated practices, misleading advice, hidden third parties and cowboy contractors. Only chartered architects offer unrivalled training and experience in the design and construction of buildings. When you use a chartered architect you’re employing someone who has undertaken seven years of professional training, the longest in the building industry.

Anyone styling themselves ‘architectural consultant’, ‘architectural designer’ and so on is unlikely to be an architect and does not have comparable skills or knowledge. At Urbanist Architecture, our RIBA chartered architects demonstrate all-round design experience, in-depth residential architectural knowledge and proven track records of delivering results in construction projects.

As a Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) chartered practice, the architectural and town planning services we offer follow a set of guidance stages outlined here.

Whether you’d like the full architecture service from conception to completion – or just want planning permission for your project, you can trust us to deliver measurable results.

Our process is meticulously crafted based on practical experience, not only theory, while working on over 700 projects in the UK, and successfully executed by hundreds of national house builders and seasoned property developers right through to first-time investors and homeowners.

It’s not unusual for a project to require the input of other consultants at some point during its progress. We’ll advise you on the required steps to ensure compliance with the law relating to construction work and the need where necessary for specialist advice. We can recommend professionals we’ve worked successfully with on previous projects and will liaise with them to deliver a compliant scheme.

Yes, we guarantee you will have a dedicated project leader to deal with your case from start to finish. This will make the process easier, simpler and quicker for you and will avoid unnecessary repetition and delays.

Due to both the nature of the planning system and the interdisciplinary process of design and construction, there are significant parallels and interconnections between each discipline. So most projects require a range of design activities and the involvement of a variety of professionals and specialists.
As a multidisciplinary practice of chartered architects, planning consultants, urban designers and interior designers, your designated project team will handle any challenges that arise throughout the process, whether at conceptual or building stages or concerning planning conditions and building regulations. Our collaboration, creative vision and practical delivery enhances built environments, inspires vibrant community identities and adds enduring value with successful and sustainable results.

This structure of our architecture firm enables us to obtain high-quality and extraordinarily personalised results for you. This is possible because by dedicating ourselves to a smaller number of clients, we work side by side with you to achieve precise attention to detail. This level of professional care and attention, which you can see in all of our projects, is more difficult to find in other architecture companies. To do so, however, we only take on a limited number of projects at a time.

As one of the leading architectural firms in London, we’ll commence your project with the concept design stage, when we explore and develop ideas for your project. During this phase, a range of ideas will be considered, redeveloped and reconfigured until finally we arrive at a definitive concept. With rigorous analysis, thorough site appraisal and insightful brainstorming, we’ll identify the most suitable solutions to fulfil your desired vision. You’ll have at least two rounds of design revisions unless otherwise stated in your agreement.

As a well-established architectural practice in London, we understand how important your project is, and the hard work necessary to meet it. For this reason, we'll listen to you, understand your aspirations and design buildings that complement and enhance their surroundings.

We undertake every project with pragmatism and ensure that we always anticipate practicalities that can often be overlooked. It’s crucial to us that our adaptive, responsive and client-led approach strives for aesthetic refinement and technical excellence. We’ll painstakingly and meticulously go through every detail to ensure that your design is bespoke and unique to your requirements.

You can choose how much input you’d like to give; whether you wish to be completely hands-on and add a touch of personality to every aspect of your project, or prefer to take a back-seat approach and let us do the hard work; it’s absolutely fine with us.

Architect fees

You should expect to invest at least £3,000 in a project. Other than feasibility studies (which range from £1,000 – £10,000+ depending on the scope), there’s virtually no project we would take on that would come in below this rate.

Our services for preparing, managing and submitting planning applications start from £3,000 unless otherwise agreed. When you hire Urbanist Architecture, you can count on a project-specific rate with no hidden fees. We will give you a quote based on your actual needs and a realistic assessment of how much work will be needed to get you to where you want to be, We will provide you with a clear, fully itemised proposal that shows you where your investment is going.

Purely as an indication, charges for our full service, from conception to completion, can be calculated as a percentage of the build cost, and range between 10% and 15% depending on the scale and scope of your project. You can choose the services you require, whether you want our comprehensive full service from conception to completion, or just want our help with your planning application.

We all want to get the most for our money and It’s possible that you could find similar services for less elsewhere. But in our experience cheaper rates often don’t work in your favour. We probably all have examples of cutting costs and then having to live unhappily with unsatisfactory results for a long time.

It’s important to clarify whether the other architect is providing a like-for-like service. We’re always happy to review competing quotes to see if we’re able to reduce our scope of services to match. However, when you’re investing large amounts of money on a construction project, it’s not worth reducing the level of service you receive for such a tiny saving of the overall project costs.

Whether it’s during the design or the construction stages, our clients typically find that our services deliver savings in total project costs equivalent to any uplift in fees over our competitors. Any saving would also be in addition to the peace of mind you’ll get from knowing your dream project is in safe hands with the best possible people for the job.

And remember: can you afford the consequences of cheap architect drawing services or cheap online architect drawing services?

Planning permission & building regulations

Yes, our clients often ask us to provide professional pre-acquisition advice and opt in for our Feasibility Assessment and Planning Appraisal services. We always begin with a thorough site analysis to evaluate all aspects of the project site in terms of planning restrictions, development opportunities and design criteria. Our aim is for each pre-acquisition study to make the most of the opportunities that your site presents, and maximise potential with sustainability and longevity while minimising client risks.

Nobody can guarantee a successful outcome as these decisions rest with the planning authority. So there is no guarantee that planning permission will be given - or that it will be obtained quickly. When submitting an application, your architect must consider local authority guidelines and statutory requirements so it has the best chance of success. So be wary of anyone claiming they can guarantee planning permission.

Although it’s not possible to offer guarantees, there are certainly ways to maximise your chances. As chartered architects and planning consultants, we can maximise your chances by finding the sweet spot between your council’s planning policies and your project guidelines and what is commercially right for you.

We have proven processes in place to ensure we can gain planning permission for tricky sites and complex projects. Our unique six-step sequential model of planning system incorporates safeguards for many of the pitfalls and failings of typical planning applications. With a dedicated focus on developing good design with our clients and seeking collaborative negotiation with planning officers, we secure planning permissions for unprecedented and quite exceptional projects.

Our rigorously tested system allows us to specialise in crafting creative planning application strategies for residential developments with sensitive planning conditions and restrictions. These include complex projects such as alterations to listed buildings, developments within conservation areas, challenging multi-unit residential schemes and new dwellings on Green Belts. As our client, we’ll maximise your chances by finding the sweet spot between your council’s planning policies and guidelines for your project and what is commercially right for you by using our unique approach.

If your project is contentious - such as alterations to listed buildings, developments within conservation areas or new build homes in Green Belts - seeking pre-application will help you increase your chances. Following the pre-application meeting, your architects and planning consultants can develop your case further according to the planning officers’ input. By doing this, the planning officers will be more likely to offer their support when the time comes.

Don’t forget that if you work with architects and planning consultants with no experience in multi-faceted projects, you may spend weeks putting together a design scheme, only to find that you’ll need to make countless modifications. What’s more, once the officer has flagged your initial design as being out of character with the area, they may continue the process with a bias against your project which is very problematic.

Planning permission covers the principle of development by assessing whether a development will accord with local and national policies and whether it would cause unacceptable harm, for example, to neighbours’ amenities. Building regulations cover the structural aspects and progress of a development throughout construction.

The difference between the two processes is that when you apply for planning permission you’re seeking permission to undertake your project development; and when you make a building regulations application, you’re seeking checks and approval of the details of your development in compliance with construction standards.

Most building work - whether for new builds, alterations, extensions or change of use - requires building regulations approval. Examples of when building control approval is required include but are not limited to: building extensions and loft conversions, converting garages into habitable rooms, carrying out specific structural alterations, installing cavity insulation, changing the use of a property, underpinning and carrying out drainage works.

There are two ways you can make a building regulations application, either by making a full plans application or by submitting a building notice notification. A full plans application consists of detailed plans and full specifications of the construction details together with the appropriate fee. A building notice application is used when you’re doing simple work on a domestic building and doesn’t generally require the submission of detailed plans or full specifications of the construction details. However, you won’t receive the protection and reassurance that an approved plan would give you, and the whole process of making sure your work complies with the building regulations is carried out at the site inspection stage.


The client first appoints architects and consultants to design their project in detail and then to prepare tender documentation to invite contracts to tender. The 'traditional' route remains the most commonly used method of procuring building works in the UK.

The client appoints a single firm, usually a contractor or builder, to design and construct the works.

Working with an architect through a traditional contract means that you’ll obtain the best or lowest price through competitive tendering as all the contractors (builders) will produce a tender submission (price) based on the same information. Construction costs will be more accurate since the tender is based on the complete design and specifications. You’ll also achieve high-quality results since you and your architect will have closer control over the works.

Going straight to a builder through design & build means that you miss out on the most important design stage. It sounds obvious but builders specialise in building and architects specialise in designing functional and beautiful spaces. By using an architect you’ll create a development that is right for you with no regrets. You’ll also ensure that you will have more control over your project and get the maximum return on your investment with the finished project adding value to your property.

Sadly it’s very common to hear stories about problems with builders, such as construction costs spiralling out of control, poorly constructed houses collapsing and sites left half-finished. For this reason, it’s essential to choose builders with proven skills and expertise to match your expectations and deliver your desired results.

We can confidently recommend reputable builders with proven experience for your project, and working throughout London and the UK ensures that we can make suggestions local to you. In our experience, the majority of builders are professional and cooperative but we usually recommend tendering your project out to 3-5 builders to assess their credentials. You can suggest options or we can introduce you to builders who’ve worked with us and our clients successfully in the past.

We recommend that you contact a party wall surveyor to check whether the proposed construction work will be notifiable under the Party Wall etc Act 1996. Since this act came into force, homeowners in England and Wales must follow strict procedures should building work involve a party wall or party fence wall, excavations close to neighbouring buildings or new walls on the boundaries. It’s essential to address any party wall-related issues at your earliest convenience as overlooking this could lead to delayed works and significant costs.

A schedule of condition (SOC) report involves an experienced and qualified surveyor visiting the adjoining owner’s property prior to the building owner’s construction work commencing. The surveyor will prepare a comprehensive report that fully confirms the condition of the property and all of the elements within it. This report then acts as a record of proof in advance of the construction works commencing.

The schedule of condition report not only adds clarity to a potential damage claim, it also avoids a potential dispute between the respective property owners, thereby ensuring that no strain is put on the all-important neighbourly relationship.

Building cost

Every project is unique and it’s impossible to give an accurate price without tender and construction drawings. So we designed and developed a sophisticated Build Cost Calculator to give you a sense of your anticipated budget.

Our build cost calculator will help you quickly calculate the construction cost of your extension, renovation or new build project. It's fast and easy, the whole process takes just 30 seconds! Best of all, it will give you the insight you need at the preparation and planning permission stage of your development.

We recommend allowing between £2,200 and £3,300 per square metre for extensive renovations including substantial changes to layouts, significant structural works, re-plumbing, re-wiring and full redecoration.
For areas of less internal renovation not requiring significant layout changes or substantial structural works, but requiring full redecoration, re-plumbing and rewiring, we recommend allowing between £1,700 and £2,800 as an estimated cost per square metre.

If areas only need minor renovation such as replastering and painting, installing new floor finishes and minor electrical and plumbing modifications, we recommend that you allow £1,100 and £2,200 per square metre.

We recommend allowing between £2,000 and £3,000 per square metre for rear, side, wraparound and side return extensions. For basement extensions, which are the most expensive way to add space to your home, we recommend that you allow between £3,300 and £3,900 per square metre.

When it comes to roof extensions, our experience shows that for loft conversions with windows, build costs start at £65,000 and for mansard roof extensions they start at £100,000.

Building a new house from scratch is often called a self-build and we recommend allocating between £2,800 and £3,800 per square metre for projects in and around London.

In order for us to refine initial estimates, we need to assess key parameters such as whether or not a basement is required to achieve your target floor area, likely construction methods, corresponding structural approaches and desired levels of fixtures, fittings and material finishes.

Another key parameter that must be considered from the outset is the level of sustainability that we’re aiming for, if you’re satisfied with baseline requirements as defined by current building regulations, or if we’re aiming higher.

Ready to unlock the potential of your project?

We specialise in crafting creative design and planning strategies to unlock the hidden potential of developments, secure planning permission and deliver imaginative projects on tricky sites

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