We can provide a comprehensive architectural service from project inception to completion. We also provide interior design services when required by our clients. In addition to this standard plan of work we offer a full range of specialities (see below) from which you can pick and choose.

1st Architects act as your consultant and are required to act only in your interests. We cannot have business arrangements with contractors, suppliers or other consultants without making this absolutely clear to clients. Consequently we are required to be absolutely transparent about our sources of income. Appointing an architect therefore gives you peace of mind when budgeting for your project: there will be no hidden costs.

Our specialities

  • Appraisal, brief development and feasibility studies
    Don’t feel you have to come to us with a clear brief. Often the first step is for us to examine the possibilities of a site or project. Only after this is carried out will the brief develop. This sometimes becomes a formal stage in the process, known as a “feasibility study”, in which we identify your needs and objectives, business case and possible constraints. The assessment of options may enable you to decide whether to proceed or not.
  • Measured surveys
    We can produce plans, sections and elevations “as existing” of the property that will form the essential basis for further stages.
  • Research
    We can undertake research as necessary to assist you with your project. We can look at precedent, markets, planning policy and other legislation as appropriate.
  • Concept and design
    Our varied portfolio demonstrates our ability to assist you with the complete design of your project, from original concept to completion, inside and out.
  • Technical design
    We will provide all technical architectural and interior design information as required. We are skilled at discerning appropriate and cost effective construction details, specifying materials and drawing up schedules of work.

Choose our comprehensive services or pick and choose from our long list of specialities

  • 3D modelling
    We can construct 3D computer-generated models of your project. This is often necessary for planning approval and we can model sunlight and shadows which can be an important part of the process.
  • Sustainability
    Our designs are informed by environmental sustainability at every step, and we attempt to maximise this as far as feasible on each project. When appropriate we are able to adopt a more intensive sustainable approach and can incorporate features such as ground source heating, air source heating, solar water heating, photovoltaic panels, heat recovery ventilation.
  • Interior and fitting out details
    We can take our own concepts, or an interior designer’s, for bespoke bathrooms, joinery, staircases and so on, and apply our construction experience to provide full construction drawings. We integrate audio/visual, lighting and ventilation requirements into the designs and liase with specialist contractors if required.
  • Unique project overview and design team management
    We will provide you with a unique overview of your project highlighting timescales, risks and opportunities, and requirements for other consultants. On smaller projects additional consultants will typically be a structural engineer and buildings surveyor, but on larger builds you may require assistance from a building services engineer, a health and safety consultant, a drainage surveyor, a soil surveyor or a lighting consultant. We will partner these contractors for you and can assist you with, or manage, their integration into the project by acting as “lead consultant” at the head of the design team.
  • Cost assessments
    We understand that budget is all-important whatever the size of your project, and will assist you with costings, seeking advice from quantity surveyors and contractors as required.
  • Planning applications
    If required, we can make a planning application for you. We are experts in town planning and experience of many projects where we have obtained difficult approvals for our clients. If need be we will personally attend local authority planning hearings, and have lots of experience of delivering reports to counteract objections.
  • Planning appeals
    We have successfully challenged planning refusal at appeal on many occasions.
  • Building regulations
    Our designs meet all the relevant building regulations and standards, and we will make an application for building regulations approval where necessary.
  • Tender documentation and action
    Taking our production information, we produce tender packs and will manage the tender process. We will assist you in compiling a list of suitable contractors, available to undertake the construction work. We issue and receive tenders and compile a tender report after analysis. This provides you with an indication of the comparative value of the tendering contractors.
  • Contract administration
    We offer a contract admin service. This involves advising you on a suitable form of building contract, and facilitating its agreement between you and your contractor. The contract controls the specification, quality, timescales and cost and we take on the role of contract administrator. This role is defined in the contract and enables us to stand between you and the contractor, to make instructions, assess appropriate payments, and respond to progress and problems on your behalf.
  • Project management
    We are able to oversee your project even if you have other another designer appointed as contract administrator. On complex projects a project manager will assist you in managing timescales, specification and cost.
  • Listed buildings and conservation
    1st Architects are specialists in the conservation of traditional, historic and listed buildings. The team are expert in the use of traditional building materials, a key factor in preserving buildings from a previous age. Our project have include A, B and C listed buildings (grade I, II*,II) dating from the 15th Century.The service includes
    • Restoration
    • Conservation
    • Adaption and reuse
    • Assessment of historic sites, conservation and management plans
    • Churches (conservation and reordering)Recent projects have included the restoration and extension of The “A” listed James Melville Manse.
  • Employer’s agent
    We are able to act as an employer’s agent on projects where you are too busy to attend site meetings and liase with the design team effectively yourself.
  • Project recovery
    Some of our projects have been taken on after clients have encountered problems, sometimes with other designers or if contractors have defaulted. For example, we were recently appointed to re-design and manage a bespoke new build house after the clients had been let down by both the original contractor and designer. This was completed successfully to a very high standard.

Well Conceived Design

"Thank you for attending the planning hearing. The unanimous vote in favour of the design is quite an achievement considering we added nearly 100sqm to the property." P Winter

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Get in touch

Contact your regional office to discuss your project and how we can assist you.

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