We provide a full and varied range of services for a wide range of clients. Below are some of the main services we offer as well as some guidance and information about how we can help at each stage. Services for individual clients often cover a range of those described below, so please contact the office or complete the quote form to discuss your specific needs and how we can help.
We work on a wide range of projects, both large and small and in domestic, commercial and public settings. We have a wide range of experience in;
• Domestic loft conversions, dormer roofs, extensions and refurbishments
• Miscellaneous one-off works to domestic properties
• Concept design
• Feasibility studies
• Condition reports
• Sustainability assessments
• Funding applications
• Change of use applications
• Planning Permissions
• Building Warrants
• Contract administration
• New-build homes
• Developer housing & flats
• Office buildings
• Educational buildings (schools and higher education)
• Industrial and agricultural buildings
• Church restoration
• Works to historic buildings (refurbishment, extension & restoration)
• Graphical brochures, branding, logos and website design
We produce a variety of condition reports on existing buildings that are adaptable to a variety of purposes from grant funded repair applications to the initial stages in coordinating and valuing a suite of refurbishments works.
Our condition reports provide a comprehensive recorded report with visual evidence and analysis of the existing fabric. They can include sustainability assessments of the existing building and provide detailed information on where works are required or where improvements can be targeted to achieve the maximum impact with the minimum cost or work. This information can be supported by a cost plan from one of the quantity surveying firms we work with to provide a detailed record and cost report on the condition of an existing building or site.
There are several different grades of ‘listing’ for a building which enforce a suite of additional requirements on the building owner. These requirements apply to both building work and to general maintenance of the building. On the plus side however, listed building status may also mean that you are entitled to apply for grant funding to help with any building or maintenance costs. The best source of information on listed buildings is Historic Scotland who can advise you if you think you’re building may be listed. They also have a range of useful guides on their website to help listed building owners.
We have many years extensive experience of working on listed buildings all over Scotland and have supported both domestic and commercial clients to navigate the process of listed building consent and gaining planning approval for adaptions and modifications to listed buildings. We also have considerable experience of working on historically significant buildings with especially stringent listing criteria.
Due to the unique nature of this type of work we would seek first to discuss your project with you and visit the building so that we fully understand the project before providing a quote. We offer this service for free so please contact the office by phone, email or through the quote form to arrange a meeting.
The purpose of a feasibility study is to review your project in terms of its general likelihood of success. Following the production of a study you should be clear on whether the project is likely to progress through all of the legislation, any technical issues in completing the project and be aware of any significant risks to successfully progressing the project.
A standard feasibility study would look at items such as;
• Services to and from the site
• Planning related issues
• Building Control issues which affect the site
• Any additional technical issue critical to any proposal
• General access issues
• Brief compiling and documenting
• Initial spatial exercise to assess brief against site area
• Construction and maintenance issues
• Whether the project is achievable with the resources available
• Proposed next steps
At LH architecture we provide comprehensive feasibility studies for people who own, or are about to purchase, a site or building. Feasibility studies are completed through research and site visits at minimal cost to the client.
Many people are concerned about the sustainability of their project, either through concern for the environment or about the cost of heating and powering their homes and businesses. The information available in this area is often confusing and contradictory, however, and it can be difficult to be sure about what will have the most impact for minimal investment. At LH architecture we provide a range of services that can help you with all aspects of the sustainability of your project.
If your project is an existing building we would suggest an initial sustainability study which can be carried out for a minimal fee. A sustainability study would assess the current demand and propose a range of solutions to make your building and project more sustainable. Any proposals generated would be accompanied by a cost/benefit analysis that lets you see the costs of investment against the money you would save on utility bills. We carry out our sustainability studies in conjunction with our technical partners to ensure you have the latest information available and any grants for the works proposed are taken into consideration.
In terms of new-builds we can advise on a range of construction methods and materials that can impact on sustainability. We have significant experience in working on new-build projects that exceed current legislatory requirements and achieve the levels of the Ecohomes standard.
There are a range of measures we can employ in both new-build and existing buildings to improve sustainability. However at LH architecture we would always suggest that passive measures to reduce the initial energy demand should be considered first as these are often the most cost effective for you and can often have the biggest impact.
Examples of passive measures we would seek to employ are;
• Building orientation
• Window positions
• Window and door quality and thermal values
• Insulation levels
• Draft lobbies
Once these passive issues have been explored we have a range of experience in the following technologies and can advise on their suitability, proposing the best system for your circumstances;
• Improved and more efficient heating systems
• Under-floor heating and super efficient boilers
• Solar panels
• Ground source heat pumps
• Air source heat pumps
• Small scale hydro electric schemes
• Wind power generation• Heat recovery systems
A large part of an architect’s remit is to assist with the actual design of new buildings or proposed works to existing buildings. A critical part of this is the briefing stage, your architect should be able to work with you to create a detailed brief that covers not only the spaces or rooms that you want but incorporates all of your ideas and thoughts on the project.
At LH architecture we believe that the architect is there to bring the technical expertise that enables you to translate your ideas onto paper and to help you explore options that may improve the proposals or make them more efficient and elegant. We invest significant time and effort in working closely with you to develop a detailed brief that truly represents what you want.
We have a wide range of project experience however because we believe our role is to support you to achieve your dreams the finished style of our projects is very much led by our clients through the brief. If you are concerned that you do not see anything of the style you like on our website, please still get in touch as we have many other styles of projects and our approach is very adaptable to your requirements. If you would like to discuss a project with us and have a very clear idea of how you would like it look, it is often very helpful if you have pictures or photographs of anything similar as they can act as a great starting point for our discussion together.
The purpose of the planning system is to protect the built environment and to promote the correct sort of development in any specific area. New-build projects and most large scale refurbishments and extensions will require you to apply for Planning Permission from the local council before you can proceed to make sure that your project meets national legislation and local area policy. Outwith this there are some small domestic works, such as small extensions and garages that can be approved through ‘permitted development’ rights. Effectively this means you do not need to apply for planning permission for these projects although your project will still need to meet the design criteria and development rules of the local council for your area.
Achieving planning approval is a key concern of many people, regardless of the size or scale of their project. We offer a free site visit and consultation and can propose ways to address any planning risk as well as begin initial discussions with the planning department for you. We can carry this out even if you don’t yet own a site to give you a much clearer idea of what would be approved without the investment in preparing a full planning permission.
For many people achieving planning approval can increase the value of their site or property prior to sale. If this applies to you, we are happy to work with you on this basis and can give a quick turnaround on your application if required by the conditions of sale.
As a final note, Planning Permission can only be refused if a project contravenes planning policy in some way. Therefore a detailed understanding of the development regulations can prevent you from costly design revisions and resubmissions. At LH architecture we have this understanding and have considerable experience of successfully achieving planning permission for people with sites that have historically been very difficult to get approval for. With this experience we are certain to be able to propose a solution for your project and help navigate the planning maze.
** [click here] to see our Planning, Warrant & Construction example drawings.
Achieving a Building Warrant is the key stage which follows a successful Planning Permission, however it is a distinctly different exercise. Most building work will require a Building Warrant, even work which is classed as ‘permitted development’ under Planning policy. Building Control and the Warrant process are primarily there to ensure buildings are safe, efficient and sustainable for all. The Scottish Government set the Building Regulations, against which the local council will assess your project in order to award a Building Warrant. The Building Regulations cover many wide ranging issues such as; access, insulation levels, numbers of toilets, structure, stairs, handrails, drainage, electrics and corridor widths. The information required to gain a Building Warrant is submitted in a range of specialist, technical drawings and specifications that communicate how the proposed building meets all the regulations.
We have successfully achieved Building Warrants for people with a wide and varied type of buildings, both domestic and non-domestic in nature. Some of our clients ask that we take their project up to this stage only and we are happy to provide this service for clients to ensure that all the legislatory requirements are met, allowing them to progress the remainder of the project coordination themselves.
** [click here] to see our Planning, Warrant & Construction example drawings.
The stages of construction information are carried out after the Planning permission and Building Warrant are granted and are the stages where all the other products, materials and technical details are recorded and coordinated together. During the Planning and Warrant process there are many parts of the building confirmed on drawings, however it only represents about 50% of the technical information required to communicate exactly what you want to build to your selected builder.
Many of the horror stories that permeate about building work over-running or escalating in cost stem from this stage not being carried out correctly, leaving significant gaps in the information that is passed to the builder. This is where errors, mistakes, cost increases and problems occur.
At LH architecture we believe in ruthless organisation at this stage to ensure everything is clearly documented and coordinated together on the drawings and specifications before speaking to builders. This helps to ensure that the build runs smoothly, on time and for the agreed price. Not only this, but by enabling the builder to program the work much more easily and preventing the need for them to await decisions from the client or architect it can actually speed up the build process. It also gives you the confidence that everything is being built exactly as you want and have agreed with your architect prior to construction, allowing you to be confident of the finished product.
** [click here] to see our Planning, Warrant & Construction example drawings.
Many people are unaware that building contract administration is part of a qualified architect’s training and is the best route to manage your risk during a build. There are a suite of contracts in the UK specifically designed for use between a builder and client, with different variants for different types of work both small and large. These contracts stipulate a ‘contract administrator’ as arbiter of issues that arise during the building work and provide a pre-prescribed process for dealing with issues such as; poor quality workmanship, time delays and penalty clauses, payment arrangements, what happens in the event of liquidation and on site design revisions.
We always recommend the use of a building contract, as without the prescribed processes for dealing with issues that arise on site relations between builder and client can easily break down. This is often to the detriment of the finished project and inevitably results in costs to both parties in time and money. As qualified architects LH architecture can act as contract administrator between you and your builder to ensure there are no additional complications during your build that cannot be resolved in a timely manner, thus ensuring the smooth progress of your project.
If you have an existing project that is onsite and you are struggling to resolve certain issues, whether these are between yourself and your builder or technical issues onsite, we are able to offer a service to attend site and help resolve these issues. We are equally comfortable carrying out mediation between parties or resolving technical issues on a wide range of building situations. Through our wide range of past experience on building projects and the issues that can arise, we are always able to find a tenable route forward to resolve your current issues. If you have some specific building issues that you think we might be able to help with, please contact the office by email or phone to discuss these and arrange a confidential meeting to see how we might be able to help.
The Scottish Government describe Conservation Areas as;
"...areas of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance."
As a result of this, nearly all work affecting the outside of a property or any proposed site development within a conservation area will require Conservation Area Consent and Planning Permission before it is permitted. Conservation Area Status also enforces some additional restrictions to some of the works you can carry out which affect the external appearance of your building including tree removal, window replacement, chimneys, etc.
We have experience of working in several Conservation Areas and have successfully built contemporary buildings within many of these. If you are considering developing a site within a Conservation Area, please contact the office to discuss the various options for your project.
Masterplans are generally larger plan drawings of layouts of groups of buildings required at planning stage. They often include information on building uses, sizes and street design. We have experience of preparing masterplan drawings for public bodies to coordinate works as well as experience of working with private developers who hope to develop sites with multiple units. These pieces of work are often only required for larger developments, however we can provide the information you need for your specific purpose.
Due to the variety of the nature of this type of work please contact the office in order that we can discuss how we can best assist you.
Aside from conventional architectural work, we also provide a range of complimentary graphical services. In-house we can prepare, compile and produce all manner of graphical brochures, logos, reports, pamphlets and leaflets to suit your specific needs. This type of work is often carried out in the pursuit of funding or for promoting business however is adaptable to a variety of uses.
We are able to design and produce logos, graphics, business cards and a full range of branded products for marketing your building project or business. Alongside the service of branding and logo design we are able to design and produce websites for your project to ensure it gets maximum exposure.
If you think we might be able to help with your graphical requirements, please contact us to discuss how we might help you.
We are based in Bridge of Weir and provide architect’s services across the whole of Scotland. A project is rarely too far away for us to be able to give a competitive quote and we routinely cover all of the following areas;