Architects Richmond

Architects Richmond

Architects Richmond

Architects Richmond About us

Richmond is that unique of London neighbourhoods: a true village within the city. Its heritage landscape covers London’s most gracious architectural eras – Georgian, Regency, Victorian – and the built fabric is fiercely protected. Walking the cobbled, lantern-lit streets from park to park feels like a throwback. And yet, if you want to update a home in Richmond, there are many ways to alter a dated floorplan or a poky kitchen.

Expanding or improving a home in Richmond requires permission from the London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames. Over 10 years, Scenario Architecture has forged successful relationships with planning departments across London, and will be able to see through a renovation or expansion with a deft hand and compassionate eye. We are one of the most coveted boutique residential architecture practices for our contemporary treatment of heritage London homes.

As young graduates of the Architecture Association, we formed Scenario in 2007, bringing a unique vision for a truly collaborative architecture into being. With our fresh approach to residential architecture in historic homes, we’ve built up a portfolio of striking projects that speak to the changing lifestyles of today’s Londoners. A highly functional home is the product of a deep understanding of each client. Scenario’s tailor-made homes tell a story about their owners’ needs and ambitions – not about ourselves.

We were already considered one of the top practices working in London when our landmark project Scenario House was shortlisted for the RIBA London Awards in 2018. A Victorian conversion with sweeping spaces, soaring ceilings and singular details, it demonstrates our commitment to period properties and the modern needs of Londoners today. Homeowners seeking architects, Richmond based, should examine its fresh, customised approach to a typical London heritage home.

Projects

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Architects Richmond

Contemporary and sustainable new build project

Architects Richmond

Kitchen and dining area leading to the garden

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Architects Richmond

The Scenario House, Stoke Newington during NLA Open House

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Architects Richmond

Bespoke staircase with steel handrail and timber treads

Architects Richmond Your Richmond project

Are you looking into architects for a residential project in Richmond? Scenario can help. We’ve put together an illustrated rundown of the architectural process to help you understand what it entails, whether you’re planning to extend your home or renovate – or even build a new home entirely.

Home renovations and extensions must be approved by the London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames. Our successful track record securing planning permission on behalf of our clients will be of use when you set out to navigate that process. We will work collaboratively with Richmond officials to see through your application.

Tip

Discover if your chosen architect has had success steering planning applications through your local council. Visit the Camden Council website, click on “Planning and Building Control”, go into the search engine for planning applications and type in your agent’s name.

Architects Richmond

Architects Richmond

Scenario is an established architecture practice focusing on contemporary residential design. We take on projects of every scale and scope, from home refurbishment, renovation and expansions to new-builds.

Architects Richmond Working with Scenario Architecture

At Scenario Architecture, we tackle residential architecture of every scale and scope. We’ve taken on interior refurbishments and full renovations in the most historic homes, establishing a logical contrast between old and new. From our London studio, we offer a totally bespoke service with our team of highly skilled architects.

We collaborate closely with all our clients from the initial meetings and drawings, through planning, tender and construction. We complete all our projects on time and on budget. If you’re searching for an architect, Richmond based, check out our portfolio of high-end residential projects.

We use 3D design technology in all our work. This Chartered Institute of Building case study – featuring a Scenario Architecture project – demonstrates the benefits of this advanced technology for domestic architecture. As a RIBA Chartered Practice, Scenario complies with RIBA’s strict health and safety criteria.

Architects Richmond

Architects Richmond In our client's words

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Architects Richmond Further Reading

Though its neighbours the Sheens were mentioned in the Domesday Book, Richmond came into being during the reign of King Henry VII, the former Earl of Richmond in Yorkshire. He built Richmond Palace on the River Thames, only a few remains of which survive. Ever since, the neighbourhood hosted some of the most recognised names in British lore: writers like Alexander Pope and Virginia Woolf; actors like Richard Burton; royals back to Queen Elizabeth I, who stayed at Richmond Palace en route between Hampton Court and Woodstock.

The allure of Richmond’s location cannot be overstated. It is surrounded by green and blue: deer parks, heaths and golf courses. The spectacular Thames, which dips toward the neighbourhood on both sides, is where sculls and pleasure-boats glide all year long – to stroll along the river on a sunny morning is to be thrust back some 300 years. Just upriver is Sion Park, with its 16th-century crenellations. Downstream is Marble Hill, one of a handful of grand, old houses where wealthy city types stayed centuries ago. Abutting the old deer park is Kew Gardens, which recently reopened Temperate House, a hanger-sized Victorian glasshouse. Some say there are 2,500 deer living in the park today.

The District Line will whiz you into the City, yet breaking away from the bustle of town is easy when you’re living in Richmond, with Heathrow Airport barely 30 minutes away and all of the West Country beyond. Old Windsor is closer to Richmond than Soho.

The elegant Georgian townhouses abutting the park and lining the river bear special heritage status – they deserve it, having escaped the worst of the bombs during the Second World War. If you were after a home with history, though, you’d find a wealth of them, resembling the finest in mien and stature. A brown-brick cottage with a white picket fence, a Regency terrace as graceful as any in Kensington, a detached Georgian with a park view… they’re all available in Richmond, and each can be tailored to the needs of a growing family. Not only are the houses protected by conservation rules, but the bakeries, the schools, pubs and hotels. So even if you’ve opted to live somewhere new, your views will forever be “period”.

Architects Richmond Frequently Asked Questions

    • As a dynamic practice operating in London’s premium residential market, managing projects remotely and conducting virtual meetings was a very familiar territory for us, long before the pandemic began and ‘working remotely’ became the norm.
    • Our clients have very busy lifestyles and may move between several different locations, both within the UK and beyond, during the lifecycle of a typical project.
    • To accommodate such client needs and enable us to run their projects smoothly we had all the technology and know-how associated with remote working in place for several years.
    • Read our full (Virtual) Process

    Architects Richmond

    FAQCan I start a project during a global pandemic?
    The scenario design process was developed, tested and perfected through over a decade of extensive delivery of residential projects within and around London, some of its key features are listed below:   
    • Scenario based design – We start each and every project with a meticulous analysis of our client’s vision, requirements and aspirations. We do this by asking our clients to imagine their everyday scenarios living in the completed house and describe their desired interaction with it. 
    We then translate the resulting high definition brief into an informative and revealing 3-dimensional simulation, illuminating aspirations, requirements and patterns of habitation. 
    • Uniquely interactive - Our client’s deep involvement in the process does not stop with completion of the brief. Our design meetings are highly interactive, informal and fun. 
    Sitting together in front of a real time 3D model of the proposed design with realistic materials, lighting and textures we push and pull the proposed scheme together to explore its full potential and drag and drop different materials to explore various options. hen we invite our clients to take a virtual reality tour through advanced equipment that is always available in our practice for our clients to explore their projects at different stages of development. 
    • Designed to reflect you – Based purely on your lifestyle, aspirations and requirements and free from externally imposed concepts, metaphors and pre-conceptions, a completely fresh and unique design will gradually emerge and it will tell your story not ours. 
    It will not look like an image cut out of a trendy architecture magazine and not designed to intentionally impress anyone. It will feel familiar, warm and inviting and you will recognise yourself in it because it will be a genuine expression of the unique way in which you and your family wish to interact with it and enjoy it for many years to come.

    Architects Richmond

    FAQWhat is unique about the Scenario design process?
    Any architectural project comprises three main aspects, Creative design, Technical design and Project Management. A successful architectural project can only be achieved when all three aspects are properly performed and harmoniously integrated by an experienced professional. But can we really except a single person to specialise and shine in all three aspects and furthermore skilfully negotiate and balance the often contradictory challenges these aspects present? The basic assumption underlying the common structure of almost all other architectural practices today is that it is possible and this is precisely what is expected from the lone and often junior Architect that would typically be assigned to run your project start to finish. Scenario works in a completely different and new way, we believe in specialism and teamwork and therefore assign three experienced specialists for each and every project. A project team in Scenario is composed of a Project Director, a Designer and a Technical Designer, seamlessly collaborating to deliver results, which are noticeably superior to anything that a single person, skilful as they may be, could ever produce.

    Architects Richmond

    FAQWho will be assigned to work on my project?
    A key aspect, absolutely necessary to ensure successful delivery of your project is appointing a suitable and competent professional team. If we work together on your project we would be appointed as your Architects and Lead Consultants and help you to assemble the rest of the professional team. Most projects in and around London will require at least four additional consultants, a Structural Engineer, a Quantity Surveyor for cost control, an Approved Inspector to ensure and certify compliance with building regulations and a Party Wall Surveyor if any work is to be done to a party wall or structure. For some projects, depending on scale, complexity and your specific aspirations it may be recommended/required to use the services of additional consultants. Including but not limited to: Planning, Heritage, Right of Light, Landscape Designer, Audio Visual and Building Services Engineer. When appropriate, we will discuss these options with you and obtain relevant quotes for all additional consultants for you to consider.

    Architects Richmond

    FAQWhich additional consultants are required for my project?
    Planning in the U.K in general and in Greater London in particular is admittedly a tricky business. It is a complex maze of policies, standards and regulations that requires specialised and up to date knowledge and skills to navigate successfully.  Over the years we developed a strong approach and an effective methodology, allowing us to maintain an outstanding track record stretching over more than a decade. Successfully securing planning permission for our clients across Greater London and the Home Counties.  The key aspects of our approach to planning are listed below: 
    • Collaborative – We start the conversation with planners early and advise most of our clients to seek pre-planning advice prior to submission of a full planning application. Our experience shows that when properly consulted and liaised with, most planning case officers will be receptive to conduct a professional dialogue, increasing chances of successes. 
    • Strategic – We tailor a custom planning strategy for each project based on its circumstances such as planning history, local context and specific challenging elements. We sometimes split applications or introduce minor tweaks to the scheme during the consideration period in conversation with the officers to prevent one contentious element from jeopardising approval of the main scheme.
    • Professional – Our experience shows that the quality and clarity of the submission in terms of background research, planning history of the property and context, precedent and of course the arguments presented to support the case has a tremendous effect on success rate. 

    Architects Richmond

    FAQWhat is Scenario’s approach to planning?
    The standard consideration period for a residential project is eight weeks, this is the official time frame for your local council to carry out consultation with the neighbours and reach a decision.  We recommend allowing for a minimum of ten weeks from submission to decision as in practice the process always takes slightly longer for the following reasons: 
    • The decision period clock only starts ticking once the application is validated by the Council, This requires then to check that the forms are completed correctly and that the submission contains all the necessary drawings, statements and reports.
    Validation can take anything from a few days to couple of weeks when the council is very busy, which is most of the time…
    • Although required by law to provide a decision within the statutory eight weeks period, it is not uncommon for councils to miss the deadline of the consideration period, normally only by a few days, sometimes longer. 
    While there are some effective measures to apply pressure, which we do not hesitate to use when appropriate, it is generally beneficial for the project to bear with the council a little longer. 
    • In some cases the council may ask us as your agent for an extension of time, this may be requested due to internal reasons or as an acceptable result of a professional discussion that we are conducting with them about certain aspects of the application that they are not sure about.

    Architects Richmond

    FAQHow long will it take to obtain planning permission for my project?
    Once we have an initial scheme designed for your project which you are happy to proceed with, we will advise whether we recommend obtaining pre-planning advice or proceeding directly to the submission of a full planning application. Most of our projects are submitted first to pre-planning when the following applies.
    • Our experience shows that planning officers respond better to projects when they feel consulted and collaborated with. We find that when we truly listen to their often helpful and valid feedback and treat them as consultants for the projects and not representative of an evil enforcing authority, they tend to collaborate well with us and demonstrate increased flexibility.
    • Although the council in theory have eight weeks to consider your application, in practice they are constantly overloaded. They will only look at your application in the last few days of the consideration period. If this is the first time that they come across a scheme that they were never consulted about, our chance to secure permission for you in a single attempt is significantly compromised.
    • The standard practice is for the council to consider the full planning application as submitted and then issue a yes or no decision. Case officers are not required or even encouraged to enter a discussion with us or accept resubmission of minor changes to the proposed scheme during the consideration period.
    In practice our established working relationships and long-standing experience working across Greater London and the Home Counties often enables us to have a meaningful discussion and even introduce minor tweaks to the submitted scheme within the consideration period and prevent the application from being rejected. The chances for this strategy to deliver the desired results increases significantly with projects which were submitted first for a pre-planning advice.

    Architects Richmond

    FAQWhat is pre-planning and will it be required for my project?
    In the past, it was common practice for local authorities to impose sustainability standards on residential developments. However, the 2015 Deregulation Act removed the obligation on local authorities to require any standard at all, which means the only requirements having fallen back to those of the Building Regulations.  With no clear and improved targets to work towards, in collaboration with Envision (www.envisioneco.com), we have created optional Sustainability ‘Levels’ to offer our clients the chance to drastically improve the sustainability credentials of their home. These ‘Levels’ encompassing Bronze, Silver, Gold and Diamond, traverse a clear and applicable route from basic compliance with current Building Regulations all the way to the full and rigorous HQM (Home Quality Mark) certification within Level Diamond. As the packages become more elaborate in terms of sustainability, analysis and implemented measures, they provide increasing tangible benefits. Ranging from thermal and acoustic comfort and wellbeing, to reduced carbon foot print, savings on running costs and significant advantages through the planning process.  The more elaborate packages obviously entail higher cost in terms of professional fees as well as impact on the construction cost, although each sustainability ‘Level’ will endeavour to not overly burden the construction budget.

    Architects Richmond

    FAQWhat is Scenario’s approach to sustainability?
    In a nutshell building control is the means by which Local Authorities enforce compliance with current Building Regulations.  In practice there are two main ways to go about obtaining the required advice and certification for your project, via your Local Council’s Building Control Department or via direct appointment of an Approved Inspector who is authorised to carry out the inspection and certification on behalf of any local authority.   The role of either the Council’s Building Control Officer or an Approved Inspector is to verify that your project meets all current Building Regulations. They will review and approve all the drawings, inspect the actual work carried out on site and once the project is completed, issue the final compliance certificate. Due to an open market, healthy competition between local councils and approved inspectors, the process and associated costs are almost identical. Having said that, our experience is that the private inspectors still feel and behave more as your appointed consultants and the council’s service still feels more like a statutory inspection and it is often slower and less responsive.  While it is always good to be informed and understand the process well, as your appointed architects we will take care of this aspect of the project for you and save you considering comparable quotes that we will obtain on your behalf and appointing the selected provider. You can leave this aspect of your project entirely with us.  Building control is required for almost all projects, and for all the projects we ever worked on as only minor renovation works may be exempt.

    Architects Richmond

    FAQWhat is building control and is it required for my project?
    Currently we recommend allowing between £2,500 and £3,000 per square metre for side extensions, rear extensions or front extensions. For basement extensions, which are most expensive way to add space to your home, we recommend that you allow between £3,000 and £3,500 per square metre. When it comes to roof extensions, our experience shows that it is better to allow a lump sum of £40,000-£60,000 for loft conversions with dormer windows and between £80,000 and £120,000 for mansard roof extensions. These ranges are based on averages from numerous actual projects that we have completed in and around London since we established Scenario in 2007. We only use these rough costs per square metre during the early stages of design to maintain awareness of your target budget until a cost professional is appointed and more accurate methods of estimation are employed. The actual cost for your project will depend on many factors, including the complexity of the design, level of structural support required, and selection of fixtures, fittings material finishes. Using these rough ranges as a guide we will work together with you in an interactive process to optimise budget and scope and find the balance that works best for you. The estimated costs per square metre mentioned above are for the build costs only and exclude VAT and professional fees.

    Architects Richmond

    FAQWhat is the cost of building an extension?
    Currently we recommend allowing between £2,500 and £3,000 per square metre for areas which will undergo an extensive renovation. We designate an area of the project as extensive renovation if the planned works includes substantial changes to layouts, significant structural works, re-plumbing, re-wiring and full redecoration. For areas of lighter internal renovation which do not require significant changes to layout or substantial structural works but do require full redecoration, re-plumbing and rewiring, we recommend allowing between £2,000 and £2,500 as an estimated cost per square metre, we designate these areas as requiring medium renovation. If there areas in your project which only call for a light renovation such as re-plastering, and painting, installing new floor finishes and light modifications of electrics and plumbing fittings, we will designate these as areas of light renovation and recommend that you allow £1,500-£2,000 per square metre or even as low as between £1,000-£1,500 if you only have light touches in mind. The real cost for your project will depend on several different variables including the complexity of the design, extent of structural works and level of fixtures, fittings and material finishes. These estimated costs per square metre are for the build cost excluding VAT and professional fees.

    Architects Richmond

    FAQWhat is the cost of an internal refurbishment?
    If you are thinking about building a new house from scratch for which the term Self Build is often used, we currently recommend allowing between £2,500 and £3,500 per square metre for projects in and around London. This may sound like a very wide range initially, perhaps too wide to be useful? As soon as we can establish even a few of the basics of your requirements and aspirations for the project we can safely narrow it down and customise it to match your intentions. The key parameters that will help us to refine initial estimates are whether or not a basement is required to achieve your target floor area, the likely construction method and corresponding structural approach and of course your desired level of fixtures, fittings and material finishes. Another key parameter that we must consider right from the outset is the level of sustainability that we are aiming at, are you satisfied with the base line requirements as defined by current building regulations, or should we aim higher? Working together with sustainability experts we have created our own bespoke set of sustainability packages which allows you to place your sustainability target anywhere you wish. This can range from basic compliance to an extremely sustainable and energy efficient standard which comes with great savings on running costs, future proofing and wellbeing benefits such as improved air quality, thermal comfort, and considerate and healthier surface finishes.

    Architects Richmond

    FAQWhat is the cost of building a new house?
    The fee structure that we will offer will depend on the type and scale of your project as well as the scope required from us. The vast majority of the projects we take on are what we call ‘full projects’, these are projects for which we will provide full Architectural services from inception to completion, covering the standard scope of services offered by most RIBA Chartered Architects and more. For these full projects our fees will be calculated on the basis of an agreed percentage of the final cost of the building works exclusive of VAT and professional fees. At any given time, we will calculate our fees based on the latest construction cost estimates available until the final cost of the building works has been ascertained. Our fees will be adjusted both forward and retrospectively to reflect any increase in budget and scope of the project, and forward only (due to work already completed) to reflect any decrease in budget/scope. During early stages, our fees will be calculated based on our in-house estimation tool and once available, on estimates by the appointed Quantity Surveyor, followed by actual prices of returned tenders and finally, the contract sum reflecting any changes during construction. Under unusual circumstances we may agree to take on projects only up to a certain stage, for example up to planning, and sometimes from a certain stage if we are taking over from another Architect. For these ‘partial scope projects’ we will normally put forward a simple fixed lump sum proposal.

    Architects Richmond

    FAQWhat is the fee structure used by Scenario Architecture?

Architects Richmond Planning in Richmond Upon Thames

We offer extensive services in Richmond Upon Thames for homeowners looking to renovate. This London borough is one of the wealthiest, containing many properties that showcase historical architecture. Consequently, many residents embark on restoration projects or renovations to modernise their homes for how we live today.

As a leading architect in Richmond, we know that there are many questions to ask before renovating a property in this area. Most specifically, many of our clients come to us asking about planning permission in this London borough. How does one go about acquiring permission to conduct certain renovations, when is it needed, and so on.

 

Is it hard to get planning permission in Richmond?

As you may be aware, Richmond upon Thames is notorious for its strict planning permission regulations. The planning officers are keen to respect traditional where possible, not wanting to disrupt the natural equilibrium of the area. There are some very strict rules in place and a series of Conservation Areas to be aware of. In total, Richmond has 85 conservation areas, with each one carrying its own statement. The idea with an area like this is that it has special architectural or historic interest that needs to be preserved or enhanced.

Not only that but there are lots of listed buildings within the borough of Richmond as well. A listed building is a property that has been placed on the Statutory List of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. Special consent is needed before these buildings can be altered in any way.

Of course, there are properties outside of conservation areas – and ones that aren’t listed buildings – in Richmond as well. These properties are the easiest to gain planning permission for, but you still have to go through the process of acquiring it.

 

Is it possible to get planning permission in a Conservation Area?

Yes, you can acquire planning permission to extend or alter a building within one of Richmond’s 85 Conservation Areas. However, you also need to apply for Conservation Area Consent. This is a completely different form of permission, which is granted by an external force.

Thus, you need to submit two applications; one for Conservation Area Consent, and one for Planning Permission in Richmond. It isn’t uncommon for homeowners to end up with approval in one of these categories, yet not the other. Rest assured, you need both before you can legally renovate a property in one of the Conservation Areas in Richmond.

 

Is it possible to get planning permission for Listed Buildings in Richmond?

Once more, it is definitely possible to obtain the right permissions to renovate a listed building in this London borough. Damaging or making alterations to a listed building is actually considered a criminal offence. Therefore, you want to avoid making any plans or starting any work until you are 100% certain that you’re been granted the correct permissions.

Similar to Conservation Areas, listed buildings require two levels of approval. Firstly, you need to get listed building consent directly from Historic England. Once this has been granted, you can proceed with your planning application to the Richmond Council. Here, you need an extensive list of documents that detail everything about your property. This includes supporting documents from any professionals that will be working on your home – such as architects, consultants, engineers, and so on.

Why is the final step necessary? Because it gives the council confidence that you will undertake a responsible renovation job that doesn’t ruin the building. If you submit an application with no support from any suppliers or contractors, it will most likely be rejected.

 

How do you apply for planning permission in Richmond?

Regardless of what category your property falls into, you will need to submit a planning application to the Richmond Council. The council itself recommends that you do this online via the Planning Portal. There’s a £25 fee for doing this, and the process will look something like this:

 

  1. Check if permission is required – Firstly, head to the Planning Portal site and check if your property requires any planning permission at all. It’s rare, but some properties and buildings in Richmond don’t need any permission to carry out renovations. Checking is just a way of staying safe.
  2. Fill in the right form – There are lots of different planning application forms available, and the one you choose will depend on what your project entails. It helps to work with professionals like ourselves to understand which form you need to fill in. This can avoid lots of confusion and stress if you fill in the wrong form.
  3. Ensure you have all the right evidence – On the form, you will be asked to provide a host of evidence or supporting documents with your application. Be sure that you have all of these as it prevents any stoppages in the process.
  4. Submit your application – Finally, you can send off your application and wait for the outcome.

At this point, Richmond Council will contact you with the results of your application – or if they require any additional information. If you get the all-clear, you can start preparing for your renovation. If your application is denied, you are able to appeal. All appeals are sent to the Planning Inspectorate, and there’s a chance the decision could be reversed.

 

What are Richmond Village Plans?

One final point to cover, and relates to the fourteen villages in Richmond. Interestingly, each village in this borough will have its own planning policy called a Village Plan. This goes alongside the Richmond Local Plan, and you need to read up on it.

Sadly, the Village Plans aren’t easy to find – and they change rapidly. By working with a local architect like Scenario Architecture, you can find these plans and understand the specific policies in place relating to the village you’re based in.

In summary, there’s a plethora of knowledge to know about planning in Richmond. It’s a difficult borough to deal with, but it is still very possible to acquire the right planning permission for your project.

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