When working with Studio Arkell, most residential projects are divided into clear stages of work:

Architectural & Landscape Design:

  1. Initial Consultation
  2. Concept Design
  3. Planning
  4. Technical & Structural
  5. Project Management

Interior Design:

  1. Initial Consultation
  2. Concept Design
  3. Project Management

Studio Arkell can be involved at every stage from start to finish, or be called in to help with just one or two stages of work, depending on your individual needs.

With the exception of the complimentary one-hour, initial design consultations that Studio Arkell offer to all new clients, prior to the commencement of each stage of work, Studio Arkell will send a fixed fee quote and contract, clearly outlining exactly what work will be delivered at that stage. (See HERE for more on Fees)

Studio Arkell finds that this transparent and clear method of working allows for complete understanding of exactly what you can expect to be delivered at each stage, when the work will be delivered, how much that stage will cost and when you are required to make payment.

Each stage of work tends to build on the previous stage. For example, at Concept Design you may be quoted to receive two or three various designs, from which you may pick an array of features, ending up with a further hybrid design. This agreed iteration can then be taken forward to planning, (if required), with the drawings already produced at Concept Design forming part of the planning pack to be submitted at the Planning stage of work. Once planning is achieved, the Planning drawings then go on to inform the Technical & Structural stages.

Getting Started

Studio Arkell can work with you for part or all of your project. Here you can see how a typical residential project might progress from Initial Consultation to Concept Design, and decide at which stages you would like our help:

Initial Consultation
This is where we get together to discuss your ideas and outline a brief, budget, time line etc. It’s also a great opportunity to see if we are a good fit for one another. At this meeting we can decide which stages of work you need help with too, i.e., do you need planning, do you want a Project Manager etc?

Quote and Contracts
After our Initial Consultation we will send you our Fixed Fee Quote, outlining exactly what we will deliver at that stage for the price quoted. Along with this will be our Contract for you to sign and return in order to engage us for the quoted stage of work. 50% of the total quoted fee is payable on signing the Contract, with the balance payable on our delivery of the quoted work to you.

Site Survey
Prior to putting pen to paper for Concept Design it's important to have the sites vital statistics, (dimensions, floor levels, aspect etc), and this is what a survey will produce. Usually, two of the team at Studio Arkell will visit the site and spend an hour or two drawing and measuring. On return to the offices, the survey notes will be used to produce scaled drawing of the existing site in plan and in elevation. These drawings will form the basis from which to create the new designs in accordance with your brief.

Design Review
We will meet with you again to review the various design drawings that we have produced to meet your overall brief. It is important to take time at this stage to carefully review the design options and discuss them thoroughly to ensure you are happy with a final design iteration that can be taken on to the Planning Stage.

Pre-Planning Application
Occasionally, for larger or more complicated schemes, it is prudent to discuss the design proposals with the Planning Department prior to formally submitting the Planning Application. The way to do this is through the Pre-Planning process. This allows you to gain an insight into the Planner’s views on the Design and will indicate whether or not they would expect for it to gain Planning Approval. This can be helpful in order to amend the design accordingly without the full cost of a Planning Application. Any advice given by the Planning Department at this stage is only advisory and is not equivalent to a Planning Notice.

Site survey graphic
Example of a site survey, map and images

Securing Planning

Studio Arkell can work with you for part or all of your project. Here you can see the planning stage of a typical residential project, and decide if you would like our help with this process.

Following the final design concept being agreed upon, Studio Arkell will issue a Fixed Fee* quote and Contract to you in respect of the Planning Stage.

Once the signed Contract engaging our services has been received, Studio Arkell will prepare a formal Planning Application with your agreed design. If you have already submitted a Pre-Planning Application, this will most likely take into account any observations and design amendments raised during that process.

A Planning Application can consist of many detailed drawings, documents, surveys and background information, as well as the application itself, for example: -


  • Location Maps
  • Site Plans
  • Building Plans
  • Roof Plans
  • Elevation & Section Plans
  • Roof Plans
  • Drainage, Bin, Parking, Cycle Plans
  • Sketches & Details


  • Design & Access Statement
  • Heritage Statement


  • Environmental
  • Archaeological
  • Trees
  • Wildlife

The Application:

  • Planning Application Form
  • Planning Application Payment

Often, if specialist knowledge is required for the preparation of a report necessary for the Planning Application, a consultant will be employed. Studio Arkell regularly works with a range of Planning Consultants, so will be able to recommend one, or equally are happy to work alongside a consultant of your own choosing. Specialist Consultants have their own fees and fee structures, and will invoice you separately to Studio Arkell.

Once Studio Arkell has prepared the application and had it agreed by you, we will submit it to the relevant Local Authority as a formal Planning Application on your behalf. Whilst the Application is in process, we will regularly monitor its progress and keep you updated.

Once your planning application has been submitted, the Planning Department will issue a letter of receipt including your Planning Reference Number, a Target Decision Date and advise which Planning Officer has been assigned to your case.

A planning decision is usually made within 8-12 weeks of receipt, which can vary from one Local Authority to the next. However, there is no guarantee that all Decision Dates are met, sometimes complications or extenuating circumstances can lengthen the decision period.

During the period leading up to the Decision Date, Studio Arkell will liaise with the Case Officer, and, if necessary, with your prior agreement, be able to make small amendments or additions to the application, to aid the likelihood of being granted approval.

By the time of the Decision Date, a Planning Notice should be received outlining whether the Application has been granted or refused Planning Permission. If granted there are sometimes Planning Conditions to be met, such as the use of particular materials in the build. If refused, there is usually an opportunity within a specified time frame to amend the plan and have it reconsidered under the same application.

Even if your application is refused planning permission, there will be a number of reasons given to explain why it failed to reach approval. If you wish to still pursue Planning Permission, you will need to address the issues in any subsequent application. If, however, you believe that the application was erroneously refused, there remains the Planning Appeals process to investigate.

*(Please note that additional costs would be incurred should you have a change of heart about the agreed design at this late stage once the planning application has been prepared or submitted, or if the planners require additional detailed drawings, documents or surveys outside of the application pack documents quoted for at this stage of work.)

Planning drawings example, plans of victorian terrace house
Planning drawings example, elevations of victorian terrace house

Technical Drawings, Structural Calculations & Building Regulations

Once planning consent has been granted you will be able to use the set of approved plans to seek estimates for the building work. An estimate is an educated guide to the cost of the works and not the same as a quote, which is an exact cost, for a quote you will usually require Technical Drawings.

Technical drawings are are a further, different set of plans specifying the construction method, structural requirements and material choices for the build. These are required by any builder and Building Inspector, on all but the simplest of schemes, for safe and successful completion of the build to Building Regulations standards.

The technical drawings also contain all the necessary information to acquire fixed quotes for the works from builders. Studio Arkell recommend meeting with and getting quotations from three or four building firms. It is as important to engage a builder who you feel comfortable with, as it is that they present a reasonable quote. If you are unsure of which builders to ask for quotes, Studio Arkell are able to recommend a number of local builders who we have previously worked with, and know to be thorough and professional.

For projects where structural calculations are required, for example, where supporting walls are being removed in part or in whole, Studio Arkell regularly work with and can recommend local Structural Engineers who will make the required calculations to specify which materials are required structurally to meet current building regulations. Equally, we are just as happy to work with Structural Engineers of your choosing. Studio Arkell then incorporate the structural information along with the rest of the technical detail in the Technical Drawings. Please note that any Structural Engineer appointed to do this work will have their own separate fees and fee structure.

Most building projects will need to be overseen by a registered Building Inspector to ensure compliance with Building Regulations and Standards. Each Local Authority has their own team of officers who you can engage to undertake the necessary inspections, alternatively there are also private firms that offer the same service. In either case there are fees to pay for this service.

If you would like to continue to work with Studio Arkell for the completion of your Technical Drawings, or would like to appoint us just for this stage of work, we are very happy to provide a no obligation Fixed Fee quote.

With these very detailed drawings in place, equally detailed costings can be drawn up in conjunction with your builder of choice, along with a Plan of Work.

Managing the Build

Studio Arkell is delighted to be able to offer a turn-key solution, from Concept Design, through Planning Consent to Completed Build, with our in-house Project Management.

This is a particularly useful service for larger scale, multi-faceted projects, where additional experienced co-ordination of trades and regulations alleviates pressure and stress.

A very detailed Plan of Work would be drawn up and agreed with you, this would include agreeing on schematics for all details such as electrics, plumbing, lighting, landscaping etc, consulting or appointing specialists where required, and would include meeting Building Inspections & Regulations.

Then, using either your builder of choice or choosing from our own portfolio of experienced contractors, and working hand in hand with the main contractor, the project would be costed, timed and overseen, with regular site visits from start to finish from Studio Arkell Project Management.

Studio Arkell would liaise and update you regularly on progress and developments in the design and build. This service offers peace of mind, removing a great deal of the stress and strain that any building project inevitably brings, by having experienced and reassuring hands at the helm.

Interiors Only

Studio Arkell is very happy to be able to offer in-house Interior Design. This service can be added to any building design we may have drawn up for you, beautifully completing your project, or could be a project entirely on its own.

We have many years of experience in creating interior schemes ranging from a simple colour palette for a single room, to complex whole house reconfigurations and renovations, including kitchen and bathroom design, soft furnishings and bespoke furniture pieces, and just about anything in between!

We can offer design only, where a bespoke scheme is designed for you to implement yourselves, or we can deliver the design and the implementation from start to finish, using our own portfolio of experienced contractors.

Quay View interior design project kitchen shot
Quay View interior design project, dining table shot

Please contact us for an Initial Meeting to discuss your requirements.

Garden Rooms and Landscaping Design

Studio Arkell is delighted to be able to extend its design offering into your outside spaces to include Landscape and Garden Room design.

Connecting your living space with the surrounding land is a continuation of design that completes a build of any kind. Creating an indoor/outdoor connection is great for extending usable space as well as enhancing general wellbeing.

Studio Arkell can help design your outside space, with social areas, outdoor kitchen, garden rooms, beautiful hard landscaping with accompanying and softening planting schemes, pergolas, pools or patios.


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