Trimble Architects

RIBA Architectural Services

Phone Number: 020 8538 9303

Mobile Number: 07785711635

Frequently ASked questions

Unless you work in the construction industry, it's unlikely that you will deal with architects on a regular basis, therefore it's inevitable that you will have some questions about architectural services or the construction process. 

From designing to planning to actual construction, Trimble Architects have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions we've come across over the years, which should hopefully help with your query. 

Read our frequently asked questions about our architectural services. We answer questions about planning permission and risk assessment.

If you don't see your question below, or would like more information, simply get in touch via 020 8538 9303 or use our email contact form and we will respond as soon as we can.

Most building work needs planning permission; for example: garage and loft conversions, bathrooms, kitchen rewiring, and new staircases. 

If you live in a listed building or plan to build in a conservation area, you need to take even more care when planning permission. This is definitely the case if you plan to build something brand new from scratch or change your property significantly. 

Read our article to find out: Do I need planning permission?

Due to recent rule changes, you can now build an extension of up to six metres without having to get planning permission from your Local Authorities. 

A few rules depend on the type of your property; for example, for detached houses, you can build extensions of up to 8 metres without planning permission. 

Also, as long as the extension is no more than half the land area around the original house, you can build without planning permission. 

Read more about  planning permission for extensions.

Risk assessments are essential to ensure you have covered all the possible hazards in the workplace. This also makes sure that you cover all the necessary health and safety points of your business. 

These checklists will help you identify all the potential hazards, identify who would be at risk, and what would happen as a result. 

You can also check for all the control measures to improve your documented information. 

Read our article to find out more about the risk assessment checklist.

Step 1- Identify the Hazards
It is so important that you identify all the hazards that could cause harm to people or damage to other surrounding buildings. You must ensure you have thought about all of the following when doing your risk assessments: 

-Physical Hazards
-Chemical and Biological Hazards
-Psychological Hazards
-Ergonomic Hazards
-Electrical Hazards
-Mechanical Hazards

Step 2- Identify People Who Might be Harmed and How they Might be Harmed
Hazards can cause harm to employers, employees, members of the public, customers and contractors. When identifying all the hazards, you must also consider the people that the hazards could harm. Some workers also have particular requirements which you need to take into account, including: 

-Lone Workers
-People with Disabilities
-Temporary Workers
-Migrant Workers
-New and Young Workers

Step 3- Evaluate the Risks and Decide on Appropriate, Proportionate Controls
It would help if you thought of how likely each hazard is to happen and rate it; low risk, medium risk or high risk. Can you reduce the risk by changing anything in your plan? However, it is important to know that there will always be some risks that you can't prevent, no matter what you change. 

Step 4- Record your Findings and Implement
-You should ensure that your risk assessment presents the following:
-A proper and thorough check
-You identified all people that could be affected
-You dealt with the more obvious and higher risks
-You ensured that all your employees were involved in the risk assessment process.

Step 5- Review the Assessment and Update Where Necessary
You should ensure that you review the assessment to check it over and also add any additional risks or take away any risks that you have solved as and when necessary. Your risk assessment must be consistently up to date.

Read more about the  5 steps of a risk assessment.

A chartered architect should write risk assessments for construction sites. They must have expert knowledge and experience in the construction industry, and they also must be qualified to do the risk assessment. 

It is important to involve employees in the risk assessment process to be aware of all the hazards. 

Read more about  who can write risk assessments.

The job of an architectural firm will depend on their specific company and what they are trained and qualified in. It usually varies whether the architectural firm is based in a small town or a large city. 

Find out more about  what does an architectural firm do.

If an architect is RIBA chartered, it means they are professionally trained and qualified. They are there to guide you through your entire construction process, including the planning, construction work, designing and more. 

Read more about  what does a RIBA architect do?

When hiring a local architect, it is so important to choose the right one for you. For example, you need to ensure that the architect is reliable and trustworthy. 

You can do this by checking their reviews online, and you can also check if they are RIBA chartered, as this will mean they have been highly trained and qualified. 

Read more about  hiring a local architect.

Generic Modifications
Eliminating steps near the entry
First-floor bathroom and bedroom
Wider doorways and hallways
Retrofit the bathroom
Adequate lighting
Identify all obstacles
Bathroom Modifications
Walk-in showers
Grab bars
Lowered sinks and countertops
Widening floor space and doorways
Kitchen Modifications
Lowered countertops and cabinets
Touch-sensitive faucets
Entrances and Stairway Modifications
Wheelchair ramp
Mobility modifications for your front and back garden
Remodelling services

Read more about  common disability upgrades to the home.

Here is a list of the top ten safety risks in construction:
-Working at height
-Moving objects
-Slips, trips and falls
-Hand-arm vibration syndrome
-Material and manual handling
-Collapsing trenches
-Airborne fibres and materials

Read more about the  top 10 safety risks in construction.

A project manager will basically take care of the entire construction project. Their main aim is to ensure the project runs as smoothly as possible and just the way you wanted it. Here is a list of jobs that project managers cover:
-Ensure the builders and construction workers stick to a specific schedule
-No unnecessary costs
-Ensuring everything runs smoothly
-Choosing which workers perform which tasks
-Monitor the entire project
-Liaise with professionals 

Find out more about the job of a construction project manager.

Phase 1- Initiation
Assess the conception of work proposed
Do checks to ensure the job is work doing
Make notes for different methods that the team can use
Consider the goals of the project
Produce a PID (Project Initiation Document)

Phase 2- Planning
Assess the scale of the project
Develop clear and professional communication
Evaluating resources
Each planning stage should conform to the following acronyms; SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely, and CLEAR: Collaborative, Limited in scope, Emotional, Appreciable and Refinable.
Find out any specific timescales.
Create a budget for the materials, labour and any other expenses

Phase 3- Implementation
This is where the plan is put into action:
The project manager will ensure the work goes according to schedule and the cost stays within the budget.
The project manager will note any deviations that occur during the process, and they will make solutions. Any parts of the process that could cause problems in the future are identified.
The project managers will conduct regular meetings to track the progress

Phase 4- Performance and Monitoring
Assessment and controls of the work performance
Evaluate and maintain the schedule and timescales
KPIs will be implemented, including effort and cost tracking
Delays will be tracked and sorted

Phase 5- Closing
Deliver the initial goals of the project
Any weaknesses will be identified and rectified
The teams will provide Written notices for any necessary entities
The teams will do assessments and analysis

Read more about the 5 phases of a construction project.


A structural survey will have a few checks on the structure, including internal and external checks. These checks can include floors, ceilings, walls, doors, windows, garages, windows, chimneys, gutters, rot/woodworm, full roof inspection and a few more. All aspects of the property inside and out will be checked and ensure they are safe and up to standards. FROM HERE

Read more about the structural survey.

A chartered civil or structural engineer generally carries out a structural survey. This includes specifically looking at the structural integrity of the property in great detail.

Read more about  who carries out a structural survey.

The difference between a building survey and a structural survey is that a building survey is done by an RICS building surveyor, which includes a full inspection of all accessible parts and points out any maintenance needs or defects on the property. A structural survey is carried out by a structural engineer and specifically looks at the structural integrity of the property inside and outside.  

Read more about the differences.


There are a few ways you can ensure your building is accessible for the disabled. Auditing your building with an expert every few years can help, so you understand where you need to improve or add new access to ensure equal access for all. 

You can also have an access handbook for all staff. The purpose of the handbook to explain the features and facilities of the building and which should be maintained/improved for access for everyone. This can include access to lifts, accessible toilets and accessible parking spaces and more.

Read more about  disabled access adaptations.

Barrier 1- Attitudinal
The five barriers for people with disabilities are Attitudinal (having behaviours, perceptions and assumptions that are discriminative against those with disabilities). 

Barrier 2- Organisational/systemic
Organisational/systemic (policies, procedures or practices that unfairly prevent individuals from participating). 

Barrier 3- Architectural or Physical
Architectural or Physical (parts of buildings that create barriers for those with disabilities).

Barrier 4- Information/communications
Information/communications (When sensory disabilities such as hearing or sight have not been considered).

Barrier 5- Technology
Technology (When a device or platform is not accessible and assistive devices cannot be used).

Read more about the 5 barriers for persons with disabilities.

It is best to have an architect for the job to ensure everything is planned correctly and all details are done to the highest degree, with everything being considered. 

Read more about architects for disabilities.

The cost of the renovations can depend on how much is needed. For example, a stairlift can cost between £1000-£4000 or more. Other features such as walk-in showers can cost between £1500 to £4500 or more. So the cost can depend on the degree of renovations needed and the requirements set, but they can be costly in some cases.

Read more about mobility/adaptation renovations.


According to the Planning (listed buildings and conservation areas) act of 1990, any listed building which includes a grade 2 cannot be demolished, extended, altered or modified without permission from the Local Planning Authority.

Read more about the planning permissions.

Carrying out interior or exterior building works without the consent of the appropriate authorities, you can be liable with hefty fines. This can also make the future sale of the building even harder than usual. The penalty can reach up to £20,000.

Read more about  what you can do with unconsented listings.

Making any changes to the listed building will need to get Listed Building Consent from your local authorities. The changes are anything that changes the appearance or character of the home. This can also include changing the wallpaper. 

Planning Permission is when you wish to make exterior alterations to the property, whether the home is listed or not. It is usually advised to apply for both of these at the same time to make it quicker.

Read more about the differences.

You cannot do many things to a listed building without consent from the local authority. Some of these include Building repairs, Internal alterations and more. They may seem simple, but they can have a significant change in appearance.

Read more about  what isn't allowed.

Before you start building, you should get Listed Buildings Consent from the local authority and planning permission if needed. Try to apply for these around the same time to get them done as soon as possible.

Read more about  building on the grounds.


A party wall agreement allows you to work on a shared wall while protecting the neighbours' interests.

Read more about the party wall agreement.

If you plan on having any changes that can affect the other party, you will have to agree with them. 

Read more about the party wall agreement.

If the extension interacts or interferes with the party wall in any way, you will need to inform them first and consent to the job.

Read more about party wall extensions.

If you have the written consent from the other households involved, then a party agreement is not needed. However, if your Neighbour does not give consent or respond within 14 days, a party agreement will be required.

Read more about the party wall agreement.

The repairs can depend on which side the damage is on, but the cost should be shared between the occupants if the whole thing must be repaired.

Read more about liability.

The one carrying out the work or wants it to be done must pay all costs related to the work and both surveyors.

Read more about the payments.

If you build on your side of the property, you do not need to have consent. However, if you build up to the boundary and affect the neighbours, you should get consent first as this can cause some troubles later on.

Read more about neighbour permissions.

If you want to find out more about our project management or architectural services get in contact today. Please call 020 8538 9303 to discuss your requirements.