Our process for design and renovation of buildings in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire

How we work

The Royal institute of British Architects (RIBA) Plan of Work provides an industry-recognised standard across all disciplines.

The whole architectural process can initially seem daunting. We work to our client friendly simplified 5-step process based upon the RIBA plan of work for all our projects as set out below,

  1. Initial consultation
  2. Survey and initial design
  3. Planning application
  4. Building regulations and detailed design
  5. Project Management

Ian isn’t just your normal architect, he goes above and beyond, coming up with inspirational ideas, helping where he can, in all aspect of the build process. Ian has a fabulous work ethic and is always really responsive! Would absolutely recommend his services - Michelle Niziol IMS Property Group (via Google)

1. Initial consultation

(RIBA Stages 0 & 1)

I will meet with you to establish a design brief. This is one of the most important stages of the process as it influences all future decision making.

This is a no-obligation meeting which is free of charge, (provided that the site is in Oxfordshire or Buckinghamshire) I can offer initial advice about possible planning requirements and any other regulatory approvals. I can also estimate construction costs and discuss how to get the project underway.

Following this meeting, I will prepare the fee proposal and timescales for the project.

Feasibility Study-Optional

(RIBA Stage 1)

We offer a modestly fixed priced feasibility study to our clients so you can get a better idea of what your proposed project entails and what options may be available. We will deliver an initial set of drawings which can then be taken to the next stage of detail should you wish to proceed. This will require you to have some record drawings which could be estate agent plans and aerial photographs.

Example feasibility drawing

Example feasibility drawing - Sketch drawing looking at all the ideas subjectively.

2. Survey and initial design

(RIBA Stages 1 & 2)

Once formally appointed we’ll agree a time to carry out a full measured survey of the existing property/site to enable me to prepare digital CAD drawings as existing. For larger sites we may need to engage a survey company to prepare digital survey drawings. I will then use these drawings as a basis to prepare a proposed scheme for your approval.

3. Planning application

(RIBA Stage 3)

I will prepare the detailed drawings for the Planning application and supporting documentation such as design and access statement, reports and schedules to form a full set of Planning application documents. Once you have approved these, I’ll submit the Planning application package to the local authority on your behalf.

Following submission, I will liaise with the planning department and keep you up to date with any discussions or amendments that are needed to ensure the best prospects for approval.

Planning drawing to support planning application

Example planning drawing - showing clear key minimal information for the planning officer to make an informed decision.

4. Building regulations and detailed design

(RIBA Stage 4)

Having obtained Planning approval, the next stage is for me to produce a set of more detailed construction drawings for a Building Regulations application. These same drawings are used to obtain accurate quotations from building contractors and any other remaining requirements such as sewer build over applications, party wall notification.

If required I will prepare further construction details of any complex areas of construction, bespoke items such as joinery, stonework or window systems.

This information can help in obtaining a fixed price from building contractors.

I have good working relationships with several local, professional, experienced building contractors which I can recommend if you wish.

Example drawing for building regulations

Example building regulations drawing - showing more detailed information demonstrating compliance with the Building Regulations which will form a basis for construction.

Example drawing construction detail

Example construction drawing - showing detailed information for coordination and site construction.

5. Project Management

(RIBA Stage 5)

To help ensure the smooth running of the project, we can manage the construction phase for you. Our experience of building projects will help ensure that delays are minimised, no details are missed and that your project comes to a successful conclusion.

ICF Nudura Site Blocks Little Yeats

Little Yeats Barn Conversion to 3 new build houses using Nudura ICF system. Further details can be found here https://www.nudura.com/

Ora Design Architecture has been an exceptional practice to work with on our eco-build project. Ian is technically brilliant, he listened to what we wanted to achieve and translated that into a design and technical drawings that have met our ambitions, all while being a joy to work with! As a team, we would like to thank Ian for his patience, diligence and openness to new ideas! Dawn Muspratt (via Google)

Read our guide to choosing an architect for thoughts and ideas of what to look for when choosing an architecture partner. This is an important decision for the success of your project, whatever the size.


Hourly rate – is applied to suit the complexity and scope of your project to an agreed number of hours.

Hourly rate is typically used where the scope or value of the work is uncertain, or a part services is required, such as you may just want a feasibility service to explore options, or maybe only require Planning or Building Regulations drawings.

Fixed Fees - is based on a percentage of an estimated build cost and is usually between 8 – 12% for a full architectural service depending on the size and complexity of the project.

(Residential build costs are approximately calculated at £3000 per m2 (as of 9/2/23) + approx. figures for high-cost items such as kitchens and bathrooms etc)

Our fees exclude VAT and expenses, such as travelling and printing.

Fees are broken down into our workstages as follows,

1. Initial consultation

2. Survey and initial design

3. Planning application

35% fee

4. Building regulations & detailed design 35% fee

5. Project Management 30% fee