This is a list of frequently asked questions about working with Christopher David Design for architecture, landscape design and interior design projects. The questions cover a range of topics, including services offered, fees, planning and construction processes, and more.

Working with us

What areas do you cover?

At CDD, our services are available throughout all London Boroughs and the county of Surrey.

Do you offer a free initial consultation?

Yes, we do. Our initial conversation with you will establish whether the project is feasible and to understand what exactly you want to achieve alongside an idea of budget. We will also carry out some desktop research to establish what the opportunities and constraints are of the project, including any particular planning policy we should be aware of from the outset. Please feel free to get in touch if you have a project you would like to discuss.

What projects does CDD specialise in?

Our expertise lies in delivering beautiful designs for both architecture and interior design projects with a focus on the residential sector. Some of projects include:

  • Basement Conversions
  • New Build Homes
  • Barn Conversions
  • Country Homes and Estates
  • House Extensions
  • Renovations
  • Listed Buildings
  • Interior Design
  • Landscape Design
Do you take projects on site after planning stage?

As architectural, interior and landscape designers, we follow a particular set of design stages as stated in our process handbook which indicates what should happen during different phases of a project. Whether you are looking for initial ideas, a scheme that will be carried out from conception through to completion or simply to secure planning permission for your project, we can help you out.

How do I know if you are the right fit for me?

We have successfully completed a variety of different types and sizes of residential schemes as shown on our website and have gained a lot of expertise working with local authorities in both London and Surrey. We have also a lot of experience with overseeing work on site and work closely with our clients for architecture and interior design services. Feel free to ask us any questions with a free consultation to see whether we can help you.

Will I need other professionals involved in my project apart from the CDD team?

Projects may require collaboration with various other aspects throughout the different design phases. Our role as your professional is to guide you in determining when additional consultants may be required. Drawing from our experience, we have established relationships with a variety of consultants from previous projects who we can recommend to assist you in realising a scheme that aligns with your goals and that is compliant.

If I choose to work with you, will I still be involved in the design process?

At CDD, our approach centres on collaborating with our clients to make sure that they are delivered the home of their dreams. With that said, the level of involvement in the design process is entirely up to you. Over the years of working, we have accommodated clients varying preferences – where some have been very involved with every phase of the project taking a hands-on approach and others who prefer us to take the lead. We are adaptable and can work effectively with either style.

The fees

Do you charge for measured surveys?

If you do not already have a measured survey of your property, we will carry out one during our first site visit. The fee is included within the first payment you will make to us where we take a 50 percent deposit prior to us carrying out initial visit.

Is it worth the money to hire an architectural designer?

Similar to most professional services, architectural design fees can be significant. It is however worth seeing these costs as an investment – mistakes with design can incur substantial fees and having an experienced architectural designer help you along the way can really save you the headache!

Do you charge extra for interior design services?

We are proud to offer expertise in both architecture and interior design. The fee that we send across to you will be all-inclusive of what you are looking to do with your project so there will not be a separate fee for architecture and then for interior design.

How can I be sure you will stick to my budget?

Transparency and clear communication are central to the way we work with clients and we want you to be sure that your money is being used wisely. We establish the project’s scope from the outset and ensure that at all phases, the budget is always adhered to. One of the most common errors we see with projects is when control is lost over the budget or when one is not clearly defined from the outset.

Our principles when it comes to pro-actively adhering ensure that while designing, we communicate and we are very conscious of how much is being spent at all times.

Our strategies include:

  1. Open and frequent conversations with our client about costs: Transparency and ongoing conversations are imperative and we encourage a candid conversation regarding budget considerations.
  2. Transparency in decision making: As our client, we are committed to steering you in the right direction to ensure that your money is being well spent. We will also offer cost-effective alternatives where we see fit to help you make informed decisions.
  3. Engaging with other professionals for larger projects: We think its always a good idea for larger projects to look into hiring professionals such as a Quantity Surveyor to facilitate effective cost control and ensure the design process runs smoothly.
  4. Rigorous Contractor Evaluation: We will only recommend a contractor that adheres to the highest standards in terms of quality, reliability and value for money. When helping you decide the best contractor to go with, we are very stringent with the standards we are looking for as this process will ensure that your project is a success while also staying within budget constraints.

The Planning Process

Can you guarantee me an approval from my local authority?

With the planning process, nothing is entirely guaranteed. What we can ensure you is that we have successfully navigated complex projects in the past and we will always do our best to ensure that the right decisions are being made to ensure your project is a success.

Can you still help me if my property is listed or within a conservation area?

Yes – we have worked on several projects that are situated within conservation areas. When it comes to listed buildings, we also do have experience but depending on what grade of listing it is, we may recommend that we bring along a heritage consultant to ensure that you receive a successful planning application.

Do I need to submit a pre-application and can you assist me with this?

Depending on the size, scope and particulars of your project, a pre-application may be a good idea to determine what you can get permission for prior to you submitting a planning application. They are an additional cost but they can save time in the long run and help you establish a good relationship from the outset with your local authority.

Will you help me put together a building regulations application?

Yes, the majority of construction projects from new-builds, extensions, change of use etc require approval from building regulations. We will help you as part of our fee to help put together a drawing package suitable to obtain approval from building control.

The Construction Process

Can you recommend a team of builders?

Sadly, the story of the cowboy builder is not a fable and we hear so many problems that people have had with their contractors from poor workmanship, overspending and projects abandoned half way through. Its essential that you find the right builder for your job which is where we can come in to help. We have several builders we have worked with in the past that adhere to a strict protocol with the way they work that we would definitely recommend. We will help you along the way with the tendering process where we usually suggest clients to ask for quotes from 3-5 different contractors. We are also happy for you to suggest people you would like to work with and will happily help you along the way to make the right decision.

Can you help us with navigating Party Wall matters?

We do advise reaching out to a party wall surveyor to assess whether your planned work falls within the notification requirements in the Party Wall Act 1996. It is very important to address any concerns related to party wall matters earlier on to prevent any potential delays to work on site or any additional expenses. We can also recommend party wall surveyors we have worked with in the past to help you along the way.

Will you oversee the work on site?

If we are instructed to help with work on site, we will provide on site support. For full project management services, this will be added as part of our fee.

The Build Process

Do you cover all types of projects including new-builds and refurbishments?

We have a wealth of experience spanning across various project types including new-builds, refurbishments, extensions, conversions and more. This diverse expertise instills confidence in our ability to consistently deliver projects for our clients to exceptionally high standards.

How long does a typical residential project take?

Several factors will determine the timeline of your project, including the scope, the timeliness of client feedback and decisions and the approval processes of the local authority. As a general rule of thumb:

For a simpler, more-straight forward project:

  • Design phase: 4-6 months
  • Construction phase: 4-6 months on site

For a more complex renovation or new-build project:

  • Design Phase: 6-9 months
  • Construction Phase: 9-12 months

You should also allocate some additional time for planning approval (around 12 weeks as a general idea).

I don’t exactly know what I want to build yet? How or where do we begin?

Feel free to reach out to us! We’d be delighted to engage in a conversation with you about any initial thoughts you may have. Let’s explore how we can shape a project together and in the meantime, we can share some preliminary concepts with you to steer you in the right direction.

How much will it cost me to construct a new-build house?

Determining the cost of constructing a house is not a clear cut process as there are a lot of factors to consider. However, if we are looking at London at example, a rough estimate may start at around £2000 per square metre not including expenses to acquire the land and your professional fees.