Allow enough time for the design and planning stage. This will allow you to minimise the risks involved and maximise productivity and results.

The design and planning stage of your project is crucial. This is where you can explore the different layout and design options available to you, assessing their suitability and cost. Below are a few points to consider:

Abortive design fees

Waiting for planning permission to be granted before progressing the technical designs and spending time getting your design right at the outset will minimise the chance of any abortive design fees further into your project.


Of course you can make changes when on site, but these can often carry additional cost and time implications. Spending the time to think through your designs before starting can help keep these additional costs to a minimum.


Visiting your neighbours’ and friends’ houses and researching on Pintrest and Instagram, can give you some great design ideas. Undertaking this research early in the design stage of your project will allow you to make sure it is carefully and cost effectively integrated into the build.

Design details

The more detail you can provide at tender stage the more accurate the pricing will be. If you’ve got a specific tiling pattern in mind or want a recess to hide a curtain rail then let the builders know when pricing your project. You can also ask contractors to price various options to facilitate your decision making.

Cost advice

If budget is a key limiting factor for your build, make sure you get some detailed cost advice before progressing the designs too far. Make sure your budgeting includes everything your build may need, and includes VAT. Obtaining cost advice from the outset will help you to design to your budget.

Best value

Rushing the pre-contract stage may also mean that you miss the opportunity to review your overall project costs and assess whether you are getting best value. Often, spending time researching products and materials and looking for offers online will mean that you can achieve the same results while spending less. This process can be especially important if your project budget is tight.

For some of our clients, getting their build underway at the earliest opportunity is the most important criteria. It is, of course, possible to push through the design stage quickly, overlapping the various processes to save time. Being aware of the risks associated with this approach and setting up processes to manage and mitigate these risks, will increase the likelihood of your build going smoothly.

If you have any questions about or would like to discuss your building project, please do not hesitate to get in touch.