"I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Apse Architects, their professionalism, expertise and attention to detail is exceptional."
Nick Evans, Collaton St Mary

Architectural Services

We follow the RIBA Work Stages:

RIBA 1 – Site Assessment and developing the brief with you. This stage may include various surveys, including measured and condition surveys if not already done.

RIBA 2 – Concept Development, in the form of sketch designs.

RIBA 3 – Planning and Listed Building Consent stage, which may include seeking ‘pre- application advice’ from the local authority.

RIBA 4 – Building Regulations ‘plans’ approval, detailed technical design and preparation of tender documents.

RIBA 5 – Procuring a contractor, contract administration: attending site, providing design revisions where necessary and certifying the works and interim payments.

RIBA Stage 1 - Feasibility, Site Evaluation and Brief Development

Within this stage we will usually explore your brief with you to assess the overall scope of the project and assess the suitability of the site for the brief as identified at this stage. This will include a preliminary review of the hard and soft surfaces, planting, including trees, aspects, views out, and overlooking of neighbours, sun, wind, rain and other climatic data. We will also make a preliminary geological assessment, consider highways issues, access, parking and public transport, and the availability of mains services. In order to make an artistic response to the site we may make a study of the feel and qualities of the site and a look at local materials which are available in your area. Our initial assessment will allow us to advise on any specialist reports that may be required, either at an early stage or as the project develops. Some of these we can provide in-house (for an additional fee), others may need to be sourced from other consultants. We work with a trusted local network of consultants and are happy to make new connections if you wish to introduce your own.

The following list is just an indication of the types of additional services may be required.
  • Topographical Study and measured survey of any buildings.
  • Heritage Statements
  • Arboricultural Assessment
  • Flood Risk Assessment
  • Ground Investigation
  • Phase 1 Ecological Survey or occasionally an Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Contamination Report
  • Archaeological Appraisal
Some of these may be required for the design process, others may be requested by the planning authority.
In parallel with our assessments of the site, we will develop the brief with you, taking into consideration:
  • Functional and spatial requirements
  • Interconnections and relationships between spaces
  • Patterns of use throughout the day and the seasons.
  • Qualities of space and light
  • Relationships between indoor and outdoor space.
  • Needs of pets, children and other users of the building.
  • The types and styles of architecture that you feel a connection to.
  • Your response to a number of ecological and ethical ideas and options.
  • Your budget.
At the end of this work stage you will have two short written reports, one for the site and one for the brief, and a number of ancillary documents.
Changes to the brief after this stage may incur additional costs. Expenses may be incurred in gathering some of the data, for example some utility companies may charge for plans of local cable or pipe routes.

RIBA Stage 2 - Sketch Design

The sketch design frequently develops in parallel with the brief and site analysis and is a way of testing out the feasibility of the proposals. Sometimes a single design solution is clear from the outset, at others we may need to produce a number of options and discuss the merits of each, but from these initial ideas and discussions, we will develop a single scheme which will show the overall layout of the building and the rough modelling of the building in space. This may be explored using a number of media including drawings, physical models and CAD modelling.  

At the end of this work stage we should have produced a simple layout of the building, and an understanding of how that building relates to the site and to your brief.  You will have our ideas on how we feel that energy might best be managed within the building, and the pallette of materials to be used in construction along with a preliminary assessment of any unusual health and safety risks and an indication as to whether the project will require you to appoint a CDM consultant (not usually required for wholly domestic projects). We will provide an approximate floor area and a very approximate assessment of build cost. 

For some examples of sketch designs click here.

RIBA Stage 3 - Planning and Listed Building Consent

We will take the sketch design and tighten up the design in anticipation of producing an application for planning permission. This will include: 

• Careful consideration of how the building sits on the site.
• Production of detailed floor plans.
• Production of detailed elevations and sections as required.
• Perspectives or other 3D images as required.
• A Design and Access Statement to a standard as required by your local planning authority.

At this stage we may require the services of an environmental engineer - to provide heat-loss, daylight and ventilation modelling etc. and/or a structural engineer - to provide preliminary guidance on any unusual matters generated by the site or the sketch design. We will probably discuss your scheme with a local planning officer, either with, or without your attendance, at your wish. We may also discuss your scheme with a Building Control Officer, usually from Devon Building Control Partnership, with whom we have a partnering agreement. This ensures that any major concerns which may later affect the design are addressed before the planning application is submitted. 

We will consult you once the drawings have been drafted and you will have at least one opportunity to discuss our proposals and make amendments before the final drawings are produced. You may like to engage a Quantity Surveyor to provide a cost check on the building prior to our finalising the scheme.
We will submit the application on your behalf, acting as your agent, and liaise with the authority throughout the application process, typically at 3-week, 5-week and 7-week stages.  Negotiation is included, but amendments required by the authority may incur an additional cost. On rare occasions, should the application be refused, the cost of an appeal is not included. We will advise on the merits of this should the situation arise. Discharge of any conditions, and negotiation of section 106 agreements etc, are additional. Other costs may be incurred, including completing any site reports not provided in Stage 1, or in producing assessments under the Code for Sustainable Homes or similar, if required by yourselves or the planning authority. There may be an independent fee for the application, charged by the local authority. 

RIBA Stage 4 - Building Regulations and Procurement

4A Building Regulations

We will initially pass the design to engineers as required to provide detailed information on structure and services requirement. They will need to be appointed by you under separate engagement.  Once we have their input, we will develop the constructional systems, pallettes of materials, details of energy management, sound control, means of fire prevention and escape and other technical information as required to submit an application for approval under the latest Building Regulations. We will consult with you as required, and submit the application on your behalf. It is likely that an approval will be granted subject to a number of conditions. We do not encounter refusals of Building Regulations Applications due to the early involvement of the determining authority.  
Additional costs will principally be the fees for the engineer’s involvement, which will vary according to the complexity of the design and site. There will be a submission fee charged by the inspecting authority.

4B - Pre Tender Action

This consists of the detailed design of the scheme and production of specifications, schedules, constructional drawings, and detailed setting-out drawings, sufficient to allow one or more contractors to provide a fixed price sum for the works.  Prior to embarking on this stage, we will have discussed with you the procurement and job management options, including any elements of self-build you would like to undertake. Our quoted fee includes for preparing a basic information set, which may include a number of provisional sums where details of the design (for example bathroom or kitchen fittings), are to be deferred until the building is part complete. 

RIBA Stage 5 - Construction

5A Procurement
Our quoted fee includes for sending out tender documentation to up to four contractors and managing the tender process, reporting back to you and discussing the options before you. Should other procurement routes be selected then we will advise on any fee implications during these discussions.
If some re-design is required in order to bring the project within budget, then we normally, at our discretion, include this at no additional cost.

5B Contract Administration
Our quoted fee includes for the administration of an industry standard building contract, often "Minor Works" or "Intermediate" as appropriate. This will include:
• Producing any additional detailed design information.
• Liaising with relevant authorities over discharge of Planning or Building Regulations conditions.
• Attending monthly site meetings and producing valuations of the works as completed on site.
Additional fees may be charged if:
• The contract build term becomes extended for reasons beyond our control (this is usually reclaimable from the contractor).
• The contractor defaults.
• Site conditions prove to be other than expected.

5C - Contract Finalisation
This will typically include final negotiations on construction costs, action on construction defects, and adjustments following the bedding in of any low-energy services or systems.

Consultancy Services

  • Surveying – We are specialists in building condition surveys for historic buildings and Quinquennial Inspections. We can also carry out measured building surveys and topographical site surveys.
  • Heritage Statements – We are accredited to undertake Heritage Statements, which are required for a Listed Building Consent application. With Listed Buildings, we advise commissioning a heritage appraisal before starting design work to understand the historic significance of a listed building.
  • Feasibility Studies and Masterplanning – For larger projects, we can provide conceptual designs and options to help you decide how and whether to proceed, and provide artist’s impressions to assist with fundraising and community consultation.
  • Specialist Ecclesiastical Consultancy – We offer dedicated advice to church PCC’s on how to carry out repairs, seek permissions from the Diocese, raise funds and source suitable conservators and craftspeople.

Working With Us

We work with an established network of consultants ranging from topographical surveyors, quantity surveyors, planners, artists, technicians, interior designers, landscape architects, structural and service engineers, archaeologists, arboriculturalists, ecologists, highways, environmental consultants and others. We have also worked with many skilled artisans and reputable building contractors. This allows us to provide a reliable and seamless service from start to completion.

"If you want really well thought through innovative designs accompanied by an excellent service, I would recommend getting in contact with Julie. We were absolutely delighted with the process and outcome."
Andrew Collenette, Dartington


Swete Sigford
Newton Abbot
TQ12 6LD 


Email: apse@apse-architects.com
Phone: 01626 824979