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Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need an architect?

An architect is not essential on budget schemes where there is little design input required, and where you have found a trustworthy builder.  An architect is advisable on schemes where the project requires some design input, or where the project requires a formal application for planning permission.

How should I find an architect?

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) offer a ‘find an architect’ service where you can search for Chartered Architects in your area, and filter them based upon your project criteria.

Which locations do Holmes Architects cover?

Holmes Architects are not limited by location, however out focus is in and around the UK counties of Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Herefordshire, Warwickshire, and Wiltshire.  Projects outside of these areas are possible, however we may offer a reduced number of visits to the site.

Who are the Royal Institute of British Architects?

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) are the leading professional body for architecture in the UK.  RIBA Chartered Architects and Practices are held to a higher level of professional standards and are required to meet Continued Professional Development (CPD) criteria every year.

Who are the Architects Registration Board?

The Architects Registration Board (ARB) oversees the registration and education of architects within the UK.  The title of ‘Architect’ is protected under Section 20 of the Architects Act 1997, and only people and practices that have undertaken the required training can legally call themselves architects in the UK.  It is advisable to check the ARB’s register of Architects to make sure that the professional you are considering working with has the right and competency to use the title of architect.

How much does an architect cost in 2024?

Architects’ fees in the UK vary a lot depending upon the project.  As a percentage of the construction build cost, you can expect to pay between around 5-15%, with the lower percentages common on larger projects, and at less established architectural practices.  You can get an estimate of our architectural fees by visiting our architectural fee calculator and inputting the details for your project.

How much does a new build home cost in 2024?

The cost of a new build home will vary depending upon the level of finish that you are looking to achieve.  A high-quality design and finish can be achieved for £3,000 /m² excluding VAT, whereas £1,500 /m² excluding VAT is achievable on a tight budget.

How much does an extension cost in 2024?

Extension costs vary a lot depending upon their size and the number of internal alterations to the existing building.  Metre squared rates are more accurate on larger extensions, whereas smaller extensions tend to cost more per square metre as there are some building costs that apply to every project regardless of its scale.  If the access to the extension is difficult, then there may be additional labour costs.

If you are unsure of what can be achieved within your budget, then please do not hesitate to contact us.

What is Permitted Development?

Permitted development rights allow homeowners to make small changes to their property without the need to submit a planning application.  Please be aware that planning conditions and planning policies can revoke permitted development rights, so it is worth checking that your proposed development complies.  An optional, but advisable precaution is to apply for a Lawful Development Certificate to get formal confirmation from the local planning authority that your development complies with permitted development rights.  This may be a useful document to have should you ever decide that you would like to sell your home.


Guidance on complying with permitted development rights is available at

What is Passive House?

Passive House is an internationally renowned low energy building performance standard.  Buildings are designed with lots of insulation and with minimal thermal bridging.  The performance of the building is predicted in the Passive House Planning Package software at the design stage, which evaluates the different design iterations.  The high standard of design ensures the completed project works as it should, and there is a commitment on all sides to complete the project with no defects or snagging.  Even if you do not pursue a Passive House design, there are many benefits from working with an architect that is experienced in Passive House design, as much of the knowledge and attention to detail will transfer itself to conventional homes.

What is a Certified Passive House Designer?

The Passive House Institute provides a certification scheme for Passive House Designers.  A Certified Passive House designer must have either passed a Passive House exam, or must have a completed Passive House project.  Every five years the certification must be renewed either through the completion of a Passive House project, or through logging approved Continued Professional Development training.  The Passive House Designer Certification is registered to the person with the qualification rather than the company that employs them.  The Passive House Institute provides a searchable directory where you can search for a Certified Passive House Designer by location.

Matthew Holmes is a Certified Passive House Designer, which ensures we have the expertise to design high quality buildings with excellent thermal performance.

Which building contracts do Holmes Architects administer?

We typically administer contracts from the Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT) as these have a long-standing reputation as being fair to both parties.  On simple residential work this would typically be the JCT Minor Works 2016, whereas on more complex projects the JCT Intermediate 2016 may be more appropriate.  The Royal Institute of British Architects also provide the RIBA Domestic Building Contract 2018, which we are happy to administer. 

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