SNOW architects have gained a strong reputation for producing buildings of a high quality through rigorous design in all areas of manchester, didsbury, stocketon heath, alderley edge, hale village, bowden, altrincham.
SNOW architects work with developers and domestic clients on all types of projects and have developed specialised knowledge of working with listed buildings along with new houses, barn conversions and house remodelling.
Through listening to the client and developing ideas, SNOW architects recognise the importance of sticking to a client's budget in order to create a deliverable project. Contemporary style and sustainability remain at the forefront throughout.
If you're planning a renovation or refurbishment project on the Manchester, or if you hate your house but the market means you can't move, then get in touch. SNOW architects are looking for people with a budget of anything upwards of £40k but in addition you'll get a free* initial consultation and expert architectural design and project management from SNOW architects as they explain how to remodel your Manchester home to better suit your lifestyle and needs.
Highly respected in this field, SNOW architects have produced a series of free* guidance documents, for you to download, which explain why you should employ us, what service SNOW architects will provide, the statutory requirements you need to comply with and advice on appointing a builder, drawing up contracts and specifications.
SNOW architects offer a free initial consultation* whilst raising money for our chosen Liverpool and Manchester based Charity - Henshaws Society for Blind People.
*See terms and conditions of free consultation
SNOW architects cover Liverpool, Manchester, Merseyside, Wirral, Cheshire, Denbighshire and Flintshire. However, we regularly undertake projects throughout the rest country and on occasion in Europe.
As architects based in Liverpool we deliver professional quality architects in Manchester at affordable prices. The Directors of SNOW Architects ltd have been designing buildings since 1987. Of the hundreds we have designed and developed, no two have been exactly the same. Therefore, we price each project for architects in Manchester separately. The advantage to you is that you only pay for what you need.
If you already have in mind what you would like, you can visit our main website and send us a brief of what you want your building or home in Manchester to look like by using our contact form. The more you let us know about your requirements, the more we can help you achieve the most from your project, brief, site or home.
Complete the Contact form and we will provide you with a proposal tailored to your exact needs, priced accurately and written in plain English.
Alternatively, to find out what SNOW Architects ltd can do for you today, how much your Building Design in Manchester will cost and when it will be done by, give us a call now on 0151 703 0500, or use our Contact Form on our main website and we’ll call you.
Our office offers services starting from a basic drawing service to a comprehensive architectural service including on site supervision. We offer the full range of RIBA services, however, these can be tailored to each individual client’s or project’s needs.
Architects’ services can broken down in to the following four broad stages of work:
1. Scheme Design and Planning Applications
2. Building Control Drawings and Specifications
3. Project Pricing
4. Overseeing Works on Site
Detailed RIBA Work Stages
A. Project Appraisal
B. Project Briefing
C. Outline Proposals (Scheme Design)
D. Detailed Proposals (Planning Applications)
E. Final Proposals
F. Production Information (Building Control Drawings and Specifications)
G. Tender Documentation
H. Tender Action (Project Pricing)
J. Construction (Overseeing Works on Site)
K. Post Practical Completion
If you would like to discuss our services related to a potential project, it is often useful to email us a photograph, sketch plan and/or description of the project or site in advance. Alternatively, we can schedule an initial consultation and briefing prior to preparing a fee estimate for further architectural services. This initial consultation usually lasts between 45 minutes to an hour, and results in our drafting a rough project appraisal, client brief, and fee estimate. Because the site consultation usually results in project related advice and/or work being produced for you, there is usually a small charge for such a visit. Please feel free to contact the office for more details or to arrange an appointment
A step-by-step guide to extending your home
things you need to know about... building an extension, renovating or building a new home, self build or eco home.
1. Decide on your budget.
Working out the cost of a house extension or loft conversion yourself is difficult because each one is different and costs often relate to the size of the project. A good source of costing is the Building Cost Information Service of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors which publishes The Property Makeover Price Guide, or you could get some idea from www.whatprice.co.uk or try the free estimator on www.growyourhome.com When you are working out the cost of extending your house, most advisers suggest building in a contingency of, say 10%, in case your budget overruns. And don’t forget the fixtures and fittings which can add to the cost considerably.
2. Consider how you are going to cover the cost of extending your house.
If you need to borrow the money you will normally have the choice of either increasing your mortgage or taking out a personal loan. You will pay a lower rate interest for a further advance on your mortgage but bear in mind that if you spread your repayments over the rest of your mortgage term you will probably end up paying more interest overall than with a short term loan. Make sure to shop around for the best loan deal or if you do decide to increase your mortgage, consider re-mortgaging (see www.moneyfacts.co.uk for the cheapest loan and mortgage deals). You may be able to get a cheaper mortgage deal, which will help to cover the cost of the increased loan.
3. Speak to your neighbours about your plans, you may need their agreement.
The Party Wall Act 1996 covers work involving party walls, boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring walls. You may need your neighbours written consent for the work, otherwise they could go to court to stop you proceeding.
4. Speak to your local authority to find out whether you need planning permission for your extension or conversion and whether it will need building regulation approval:
*Conservatories or porches built at ground level which are less than 30 square metres in floor area are exempt from building regulations but may need planning permission.
*House extensions will normally require planning permission and building regulations will also apply.
*Loft conversions only require planning permission if they alter the size or external appearance of your property, such as through the installation of dormer windows. However, they always need to comply with building regulations and if a loft conversion has not been approved you will not be allowed to use it for living accommodation or to describe it as such.
*Basement conversions which involve changing the structure of the building will also need to be approved under building regulations.
5. If you do need planning permission,
decide whether you are going to employ SNOW architects to draw up your plans, find a builder and oversee the project, or whether you just want a professional to provide the plans and intend to do the rest yourself. Naturally, doing it yourself is the cheaper option, but if you don’t have a lot of time on your hands, having someone to supervise will spare you considerable hassle.
6. If you have to apply for planning permission
the fee is around £150. It will generally take around eight weeks to get a reply from your local planning department. Check with your builders that they are dealing with building regulations compliance, otherwise you will have to submit an application and arrange for an inspector to carry out the required inspections. You will also have to pay a fee for these visits which will depend on the size of the project. Check with your local authority.
7. If you are appointing the builders yourself
get three itemised quotes in writing – not estimates. (A quote is a fixed price, an estimate is only an approximate price.) Ask friends for recommendations. Ask for your builders’ address and landline telephone number, don’t rely on mobile numbers. Choose traders who belong to professional organisations such as the Federation of Master Builders which have dispute resolution procedures. Look out for those using the Government-backed TrustMark logo which means they are obliged to meet certain standards. Don’t choose traders because they can do the job immediately. Bear in mind that good builders are likely to be busy so be realistic about time scales.
8. If your builder does not supply a contract,
you could draw up one yourself setting out the work to be undertaken in as much detail as you can, with timescales etc. to be signed by both you and your builder. Or you could download a contract free of charge from the Federation of Master Builders website . If you ask for extras after the work has started, check how much they are going to cost before proceeding.
9. Be wary of paying in cash and always make sure you get receipts.
If you can, it is worth making an initial deposit with a credit card as this will give you added legal protection. For work costing between £100 and £30,000, your card provider will have equal liability with the contractor for making sure the work is done properly. Do not pay the full price for the job upfront, pay as parts of the work are completed, holding back at least 5% until the whole job is finished.
10. To keep costs down you may want to do some of the finishing off work yourself.
such as decorating. Steer clear of the electrical work, though, as new rules which came into force in January 2005 mean that work must be carried out by a competent person and will be covered by building regulations. If you use a registered contractor, you will be sent a building regulations compliance certificate by the registration scheme operator.
11. If your extension needs approval under building regulations, remember to keep the final certificate to confirm that the work is okay so you have it available for future purchasers of your property.
things you need to know about... building an extension
1. Before extending your home, check with your local authority whether you need planning permission.
If you don’t get permission you might end up having to pull your extension down again. As a general rule, planning permission is required in England, Wales and Northern Ireland if an extension to a detached property exceeds 70 cubic metres or 15% of the original volume of the property, whichever is greater. The limits for terraced houses are lower. Planning permission may also be required if the extension is closer to the public highway than the original building, or if any part of the roof is higher than the existing roof of your property contact us for advice.
2. If your property is listed, it is a criminal offence to extend it or alter it internally or externally
in a way which could affect its character without obtaining listed building consent beforehand. Planning permission may also be needed if you live in a conservation area.
3. Even if you don’t need planning permission, your home extension plans will need to comply with building regulations.
If you don’t get the work approved, this could cause problems when you come to sell your property and you may then need to obtain a regularisation certificate to confirm that the unauthorised work is compliant. You can also fined thousands of pounds.
4. Be wary of attempting a major home improvement job such as a loft conversion or home extension yourself unless you are qualified for the job.
You may see this as a way of saving money but it could be a costly mistake according to Halifax Home Insurance which says that DIY disasters cost Britons £670m to fix each year. Trying to tackle jobs you are not qualified for such as electrical work or plumbing could also invalidate your home insurance and leave you liable for the cost of any subsequent damage.
5. Making sure you are using properly Qualified tradesmen.
registered electricians (you can find out if they are through www.competentperson.co.uk) or gas engineers (they will be if they are corgi registered, see www.corgi-gas-safety.com) means you don’t need to get building inspectors to check their work
6. Foreign builders are ubiquitous nowadays.
Over 76,000 foreigners registered in Britain as self-employed buildings in 2006, most of them came from Poland. Many are hardworking and charge less than their British counterparts but there are growing reports of jobs done by Polish workers that have gone horribly wrong. So if you are considering employing non-British builders, make sure you visit a couple of previous clients to check out the quality of their work. Doing this also helps you avoid home grown cowboys.
7. If you are thinking of using your loft conversion or home extension as an opportunity to install some renewable energy technology in your home
such as solar water heating, wind turbines, or ground source heat pumps, you may be eligible for a grant for part of the cost of up to £2,500 in England and Wales or £4,000 in Scotland.
8. According to the Office of National Statistics, UK households spent an average of £25 a week on housing alterations and improvements in a year.
9. Three quarters of 30 and 40 years olds would rather extend their properties
than buy a bigger house because of the cost and hassle of moving according to Standard Life Bank. They are increasing their properties by an average of 150 square feet by adding extra rooms through a loft conversion and extensions.
10. Converting ‘dead’ space to living space is particularly popular among homeowners,
according to AA Home Insurance. The most popular option is a loft conversion with more than half (52%) of all home extensions heading upstairs. Garage conversions are the second most popular choice with nearly a third (29%) of homeowners preferring to put their family there rather than their car. Other ‘dead’ spaces being converted are sheds, outhouses and basements. With more adult children continuing to live at home well into their twenties, almost a fifth of extensions/conversions are done to make space for them says the AA.