Project Stages 

Working with a professionally qualified and registered architect should be an enjoyable and creative process. Design is also a two-way process into which you will feed not only your aspirations and requirements but also your constraints of budget and time. A good working relationship is essential to the success of a project.

Use the tabs below to read through the following 7 stages of working with Kenneth Hennessy Architects.

The Brief

At the start of your project we will meet you to discuss in detail your requirements and aspirations. It is important that you advise us of your budget, time frame and any other parameters, as these will impact on the design. The information that you provide is called ‘The Brief’. Time spent at this initial stage is invaluable as a design is only as good as the brief. There are many possible design solutions for each project and a detailed brief will enable us to identify the most appropriate for your needs.

In preparing for your initial discussions and the formulation of the Brief, draw up a list of priorities and ask yourself a number of important questions:

  • What do you want to achieve with this project? Why do you want to extend or renovate?
  • Describe your current home. What do you like about it? What’s missing? What don’t you like? Do you want to change the space you have?
  • What do you envisage in your extended or renovated home that your present home lacks? What functions/activities will he housed in a new space?
  • What is your lifestyle and what kind of spaces do you need? For example, are you at home a great deal? Do you work at home? Do you entertain often?
  • How much time do you spend in the living areas, bedroom, kitchen, study, utility space, garden?
  • How much time and energy are you willing to invest to maintain your home? Do you have strong ideas about design and materials?
  • What do you think the extension of renovation should look like?

Initial Design

We will analyse your brief requirements and present initial design proposals. To develop an initial design, we will draw up a measured survey and make an appraisal of your house and its architectural possibilities. The design may still change at this stage or we may provide you with a number of alternative proposals in the form of drawings and sketch designs. There are likely to be several discussions between us about these proposals. Drawings can be sometimes difficult to understand but this is an important stage in the design and a two-way process into which you must feed your concerns and requirements.

Stage Payment: 25% of fee

Developed Design

Having translated your brief into a design, we will develop the initial proposal into a more developed design. At the developed design stage, we will need to finalize the layout of spaces, the materials for construction and incorporate the work of any specialist consultants, such as a structural engineer who will advise on the structure. You will also need to decide on the renewable energy sources (ie. solar panels) you wish to use, as they impact on the design. We will present the developed design to you and discuss its implications, for example on timescale and project cost. If planning permission is required for the project, we will prepare the drawings and make the application your behalf.

Detailed Design

Once you have instructed us to proceed with the developed design, we will produce full construction drawings, including site works and specification finishes. A technial and quality specification also forms part of the detailed design to ensure that the project requirements are clearly formulated for the contractor. The detailed dsign will have to incorporate any changes as required under a Grant of Planning Permission. We will also liaise closely with specialist consultants, such as the structural engineer, to incorporate their designs contributions.

Tendering for a Contractor

We will prepare Forms of Tender for main and specialist contractors. It is advisable to have at least three contractors submit costings (tenders) for a project. As each contractor will base their costing on the same information, tenders can be compared and analysed and the best price found. We should both be satisfied, however, that each of the contractors is competent to carry out the work. For example, you should ask a contractor to see samples of previous work and speak to previous clients. The successful tender may not necessarily be the lowest one. If a tender is very law, the contractor may have missed something. In some cases, we both may agree to negotiate a tender price with just one contractor. We, and your QS (if applicable), will use our expertise to help you evalutate the tenders received.

Stage Payment: 25% of fee


For the client, the construction stage is often the most daunting as your home is being altered and considerable expenditure is involved.

During construction, we will act on your behalf as an independent advisor, inspecting the building work at intervals to ensure that it is being carried out generally in accordance with the contract documents. We will administer the contract and advise you on stage payments during the projects. We will not certify payment unless work complies with the specifications. It is best that you do not give instructions directly to the contractor, because what can seem a simple change may have cost and time implications. Discuss your changes with us to make sure that they are necessary and so that an additional cost can be established and controlled. Please remember that we are not builder and do not supervise work – that is the builder’s job. We adminster the building contract as your agent and are legally required to act farily between you and the contractor.

Stage Payment: 25% of fee

After Construction

Our work continues until after the building work. Part of the payment due to the builder – the retention – is held back for up to twelve months and is only paid out on our instruction, after any defects have been rectified by the contractor. Remember that our Opinion on Compliance with Planning and Building Regulations is subject to work not being changed during construction.