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FAQ

Ensoul Frequently Asked Questions

We hope you find the below useful. Please feel free to get in touch if you would prefer to ask us a question in person.

Planning Applications & Other Permissions

Whilst larger home renovations could require planning permission, some building projects such as rear extensions, side extensions, some loft conversions don’t always and can be done under ‘permitted development rights’. These are subject to certain allowances and a list of conditions. You should always check with the Local Planning Authority to ensure that what you are proposing does or does not require planning permission, as in some cases permitted development rights may have been removed. If you’re thinking of selling the property in the future, then it might be best to obtain a Certificate of Lawful Development, confirming the project falls within PD.

Planning Applications & Other Permissions

If your extension / building works project needs planning permission and you do not get it and start works, you can be served with an ‘enforcement notice’ ordering you to undo all the changes that you have made. So it is important to make sure you know the status before you start works and complete the planning application process where required.

Planning Applications & Other Permissions

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 is the principal order. It enables you to perform certain types of work without needing to apply for planning permission. These rights are more restricted for some areas that are ‘designated areas’ such as Conservation Areas, World Heritage Sites etc.

Planning Applications & Other Permissions

No, anybody can make a planning application. You will typically need existing and proposed plans and a certain amount of supporting information to make it clear what you are proposing to do. See your local planning authority website for specific requirements in your area.

Planning Applications & Other Permissions

Architects and architectural designers specialise in:
-Delivering beautiful architectural design
-Bringing in light
-Creating a space plan that makes your home flow
-Ensuring that space both inside and outside is optimised
-Designing to planning rules and building regulations
-Factoring in the practicality of designing your home for build-ability
-And are experts at navigating the planning process.
So if you have the money to include architectural fees in your budget it should deliver you a better result with less stress.

Planning Applications & Other Permissions

You should have a decision within 8 weeks from formal receipt of your application. Large or complex applications can take longer in which case the time limit is extended to 13 weeks.

Planning Applications & Other Permissions

Yes, the process is exactly the same. There will be some additional information that you will need to provide and there may be tighter restrictions on what will be allowed, especially if the area has an Article 4 Direction, which further restricts development.

Planning Applications & Other Permissions

Yes but you will require Listed Building Consent from your local authority. It is a criminal offense to carry out works without consent.

Planning Applications & Other Permissions

A legal agreement produced by party wall surveyors which agrees works between two neighbouring property owners that are to be carried out on or near the boundary / party wall. It will usually comprise drawings of the proposed works; information around how the proposed works will be done; a schedule of condition of the adjoining property with a set of photographs.

Planning Applications & Other Permissions

A home owner must give two months notice about building works that will affect a party wall (shared wall) or boundary, or one month’s notice for the digging of new foundations / excavations.

Planning Applications & Other Permissions

Certain types of building works do require building regulations approval such as structural alterations, insulation, drainage and others. These works are deemed as notifiable and an approved inspector must check the works and sign them off as being concurrent with existing building regulation requirements.

Renovations & Refurbishments

As long as your house is not listed, you should be able to remove internal walls in your house
without any planning permission. However, you will need to know if the wall concerned is structural before ripping it out. Some internal walls are fundamental to the structure of a house whereas others just divide up space and serve no structural support. When considering removing walls,
ensure that you comply with building regulations and consider the impact of fire safety.

Renovations & Refurbishments

A new trend to replace open plan living. It is a phrase coined to describe open spaces which feature different levels or retain some walls to create distinctive zones and areas with quiet or privacy.

Renovations & Refurbishments

This is a very personal question and depends largely on

  • whether you are looking for a design-led result
  • how creative / confident you are at having a go yourself
  • your budget and whether you can afford an interior designer’s fees
  • how much time you have available to get involved yourself vs having someone do it for you

Interior designers are creative professionals that should present you with both design and lay-out ideas, specify finishes and fixtures and fittings. You can also commission interior designers to source and buy furniture, soft furnishings and accessories. Most interior designers will also style your home for you. Despite their title, interior designers often get involved in landscape and garden design as well.

Renovations & Refurbishments

Interior designers and interior design firms charge in many different ways. Some choose to bill a day rate; others price by the mood board; some take commissions on purchasing; a few invoice a percentage of your refurbishment spend and there are those operating a combination of these elements. Ensoul creates a detailed scope of services and offers its clients a fixed fee approach.

Renovations & Refurbishments

New kitchens generally break-down into three key cost areas: cabinetry, worktops and appliances. The cost of your new kitchen will vary hugely depending on volume, materials, quality and whether you are choosing an expensive brand name, budget kitchen or going for a bespoke, hand-made kitchen.

Renovations & Refurbishments

At Ensoul, we always run a tender process with at least 2-3 builders to ensure that clients receive best value for their works. In order to take this approach you will need:

  • Referrals to builders that have delivered excellent work. Ensoul has a little black book of trusted builders for both basement works and fit-out so talk to us if you’re looking for recommendations.
  • Plans and detailed drawings of your planned works.
  • A detailed scope of services and a list of which fixtures and fittings you expect the builder to supply.
  • Ask at least 2-3 builders to quote on your job with a breakdown of costs.
  • When they return their pricing, ensure that everything you expect is included. And that they have all responded on a like for like basis.
  • Take out client references and make sure their project was completed a while ago and not just finished. I.e. you want to know that there has been no problems since living there. In addition to speaking to clients, ask to see an active job and a complete client project. You get a great feel for how a builder works by looking at an active project. And you can inspect the quality of their work on a finished home.

Basements

This is the question we get asked the most. There are typically three key cost buckets for building basements:

  1. Professional fees: £60,000-£120,000+VAT.

This will vary depending on the scope of services and scale of your basement conversion and includes specialists such as: architectural designer, structural engineer, geotechnical surveyer, drains surveys, party wall surveyor, interior designer, project manager.

  1. Basement shell and core construction: £2,700 to £3,700 +VAT per square metre. This is the dig-out and creation of your watertight concrete box including perimeter walls, underpinning, concrete floor slab, roof slab, staircases, waterproofing, ground and foul water drainage and architectural glazing. This should also include insurances and guarantees from the basement contractor.
  2. Basement fit-out: £1,500 to £4,000 +VAT per square metre. This is for all the internal elements of your new basement e.g. flooring, electrics, lighting, AV, tiling, sanitary ware, built in storage etc.

For more information on basement costs please read our blog article entitled “How much does a basement cost?”.

Basements

  • Basement Architectural Design For Planning Purposes: 6 Weeks.
  • Planning Application: 8 Weeks With Most Planning Authorities.
  • Structural Engineering & Technical Design To Build To: 6-12 Weeks
  • Party Wall Award: 6-12 Weeks
  • Watertight Shell And Core Construction: 5-8 Months Depending On Size
  • Fit-Out: Depends On Volume And Complexity But Allow 2-4 Months.
  • All In, We Recommend That You Allow Approximately 15 Months.

Basements

In most cases, the answer is yes, depending on scale of basement and site access.

Basements

You can often go under the entire footprint of your house and up to 50% of your garden. Subject to local planning rules and your site.

Basements

Yes, in most cases you do need planning permission for a basement.

Basements

Yes, in most cases. This is because a party wall agreement is required if you are constructing within 3 metres of your neighbour’s property.

Basements

With the right team it shouldn’t. However, basement waterproofing is complex and you need to make sure that you have experts designing it from the start and builders that understand the precision it takes to install it and follow-it.

Basements

You should be looking for an Insurance Backed Guarantee for the “basement watertight shell and core”. This is an independent insurance policy that you can call on if your basement requires remedial works and the builder is no longer in business to fix it under their “10 year builder’s guarantee”.

Basements

  • If You Need Additional Floor Space And You Have Already Extended As Much As Possible
  • Above Ground. Basements Add A Significant Amount Of Space To A Property, As You Are
  • Often Able To Go Under The Entire Footprint Of Your House And There May Be Opportunity
  • To Dig Under Your Front And/Or Back Garden.
  • You’re Looking To Add Significant Value To Your Property. Although Basement Conversions
  • Are Expensive To Do, If Your Property Is Worth >£750 Per Square Foot, Then You Can Expect
  • A Return On Investment Of >1.3.
  • Extending Your Property And Staying There Will Provide You With An Investment For The Future And Save You The Money On Moving Costs And Stamp Duty.

Basements

  • Cinema room, games room, kids playroom
  • Bar, dance floor, bowling alley
  • Nanny, granny, teenage flat
  • Gym, Ppersonal trainer space, yoga or pilates studio
  • Swimming pool, sauna, steam room, spa, massage room
  • Wine cellar, wine tasting room and cigar room / walk-in humidor

Basements

The creation of a basement room by excavating/removing the earth and ballast in your front garden and/or rear garden, constructing a concrete box with roof-lights and then landscaping your garden or drive on top of it.

Basements

  • Brighter and lighter: By building a basement under a garden or driveway, we can design-in walk-on roof lights, lightwells and terraces to maximise natural light.
  • Fresher: With lightwells and lower terraces you can throw open the doors to bring in fresh air and, with some planting and furniture you can even enjoy a small subterranean garden.
  • Less disruption: If you have good side access to your garden, installing a conveyor belt is much easier and could save you time and hassle on your construction.
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