Words and Meanings
A few key definitions and explanations

irst Contact
We will visit you to discuss your ideas. This is the appraisal stage to identify your needs and objectives and consider if there may be any possible constraints on development. There is no charge for our first exploratory visit to your property or site.


esign Brief
Development of your initial thoughts on your aims and requirements identifying key elements and any key constraints.


ee Proposal
After our discussions, a Fee Proposal will be sent to you outlining the
* individual fee for each of the 3 stages which generally comprise a project,
* the total cost of all 3 stages combined,
* the estimated approximate building costs according to typical prevailing building costs, and
* details of other costs which you would pay directly, (planning fees), and
* a recommendation for contingency amounts on the basis of the preliminary estimated cost of the building project.
At the point you wish to commit to the project, a Client Fee Acceptance Form will be sent to you.  You retain one copy and return the other signed copy to Alan Foster Architects.  Figures in a fee proposal will generally be held for 6 months from date of issue, provided the scope of the project does not change. If the project is reduced or enlarged, then the fees proposed could vary accordingly.


To establish the scope of the project we generally need to carry out a measured survey of an existing building for example.On the basis of this survey your architect can develop a sketch plan to establish the feasibility for the project, that suits your ideas  and its’ likely building cost and general suitability as a basis for a planning submission. Depending on the scale and complexity of your project at this crucial stage we can establish a fee to carry out feasibility work based on the standard Alan Foster Architects hourly rate. This arrangement might also be used where your decision on whether to proceed is less clear cut.


esign Development
To develop the design your architect will prepare outline design drawings which could include assessments of structure and any building service systems. There could at this stage be a further appraisal of approximate building costs. Preparation of a full set of planning drawings to support a detailed planning submission would include plans of the existing structure or site and the proposed project.  Typically this will include an ordnance survey map of the plot and its’ environs.


Fee Stage 1

Site and measured building survey of the site as it exists currently ( including levels and drainage where appropriate),
draft design work prepared on the basis of client feedback, a sketch scheme where applicable and
knowledge of typical planning issues,
preparation of presentation drawings,
submission of planning application,
advice on budgets and time-scale
liaison with Planning Officers (and Conservation Officers) as appropriate.


Fee Stage 2

Preparation of  fully-annotated working drawings (at 1:50 scale),
submission of Building Regulations application, preparation of “Outline Specification and Schedule of Work“(describing the quality and extent of building work),
joinery details (doors, windows, new stairs, eaves details etc.),
lighting & electrical layouts, radiator/heating, drainage layouts and kitchen/ bathroom layouts.


Fee Stage 3

Preparation of information in sufficient detail to obtain competitive tenders [where appropriate and/or negotiate with contractor(s)],
appoint contractor having first seen examples of their work,
preparation of further information for construction required under the building contract,
administer JCT Building Contract, inspect the work on site (typically 1 site visit per week) and answer on-going queries,
certify Progress Payments to contractor on the basis of regular site visits to identify the progress made,
agree value of Variations to the contract should these occur. A variation is a change to the agreed design or specification as stated in the contract drawings and specification which may cause the contract sum to be revised. The variation can be either an addition or an omission of an item and result in an extra cost or a saving, accordingly. 


For advice on the planning process and particular information in your area, please use the links below to access your local Planning, Building Control and Conservation departments.
Ashford Borough Council
Canterbury City Council
Dover District Council
Gravesham Borough Council
Maidstone Borough Council
Medway Council
Shepway District Council
Swale Borough Council
Thanet District Council
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council

You may also see other general information explaining planning, building regulation and development control at
Direct Gov


onservation Department
Conservation areas are places which are desirable to preserve as a result of special architectural or historic interest.  We  have many years of experience in making planning submissions to alter buildings in conservation areas. Developing a scheme which delivers your aims and which crucially satisfies the significant demands of a local authority (whose statutory role it is to defend and preserve buildings within a conservation area), requires knowledge, experience and dedication.


esign and Access Statement and Heritage Asset Statement. These  statements are an integral part of a planning submission. The relevant, key statement is prepared by the practice  and then submitted with all appropriate drawings and application forms to the Planning Department. The statement must justify and explain the design approach involved.


Competitive tenders from building contractors may be requested as the best way of obtaining a best value price for the project.


This document is written by the practice, but arises out of discussion with clients. Since the document describes various detailed aspects of the project, this specification document accompanies the package of working drawings which are sent to contractors at tender stage and to the local authority’s Building Control department as part of the Building Regulations Submission.


ractical Completion
As stated under the contract, practical completion is the stage at which the project (building or extension) becomes complete in practice, sufficient to be used by the client. At this stage half of the retention monies due to the contractor can be paid. All responsibilities for buildings insurance now fall to the client.