Hertfordshire Architects

Scenario Architecture’s work in Hertfordshire began with an exciting brief from a young, St Albans-based family. They had purchased a detached house in poor condition and planned to replace it with a contemporary new-build. Our challenge was to design a sustainable, contemporary new-build home that respected and complemented the traditional residential architecture of the typical Hertfordshire streetscape.

We knew that securing planning permission in Hertfordshire for such an ambitious scheme would not be easy. However, our innovative design process helped us reinterpret the traditional house typology in a unique way. The contemporary new-build house strikes a fine balance within its traditional surroundings.

We submitted a robust planning application featuring advanced 3D visualisations of the proposed scheme and a strong planning statement. Our collaborative pre-planning strategy gained support from the St Albans City and District Council planning department – even before we’d submitted a full planning application.

More than just a commercial opportunity, we saw this contemporary new-build project as a chance to develop and refine our unique approach to residential architecture.

We established Scenario in 2007 with a vision to develop a uniquely collaborative form of architecture. We take a considered approach to our clients’ desires, placing their aspirations for a new, architect-designed home in high definition. The clients’ needs are the main drivers of our process.

Our experience with residential architecture in Hertfordshire shows that a beautiful, highly functional home is the product of a deep understanding and precise analysis of each client’s unique lifestyle. Our tailor-made homes tell the story of the owners – not the architects.

Hertfordshire Architects Your Hertfordshire project

Starting your Hertfordshire project

If you’re considering a residential architectural project in Hertfordshire, we’re here to help, whether it’s a renovation, extension or new-build.

We’ve created a brief illustrated overview to help you understand each stage of the process, whether you’re planning a home extension, renovation or new-build in Hertfordshire.

Most architecture projects in Hertfordshire require planning permission from the relevant district council within Hertfordshire. With our successful record securing planning permission on behalf of our clients, we can claim home advantage across Hertfordshire and neighbouring Buckinghamshire.

Tip

Discover if your architect has had success steering planning applications through your local council. Visit the “planning applications” page of your council’s website and enter the architect’s name in the search box.

Hertfordshire Architects

Advice

To help you understand what it takes to obtain planning permission in Hertfordshire, we’ve created this helpful guide. Download it below.
Planning guide

Hertfordshire Architects Your Hertfordshire project >> Scenario Architecture

Working with Scenario Architecture on your Hertfordshire project

Scenario is a boutique architecture studio focused on high-end residential projects in and around the greater London area. We tackle domestic projects of all scales and complexities, from interior alterations and refurbishments to full renovations and new-builds, through our bespoke architecture service.

Our experienced, highly skilled team can take you step-by-step through the challenge of designing your space. We’ll collaborate closely with you from the initial drawings, design and planning through tender and construction to the successful completion of your project. On time and on budget.

Scenario Architecture is a RIBA Chartered Practice. We comply with the criteria of the Royal Institute of Chartered Architects, covering insurance, health and safety and quality-management systems.

Early adopters of the latest technology, we use innovative 3D design and visualisation tools as a standard for all projects. Our experience shows that real-time visualisations and virtual reality are efficient tools for choosing finishes, fixtures and fittings, and simulating natural light.

We use 3D building information modelling (BIM) technology to produce reliable construction information, so all our project data comes from an accurate 3D model. Using this cutting-edge technology collaboratively with consultants and contractors is proven to save our clients time and money.

A Chartered Institute of Building case study featuring a project by Scenario demonstrates the great benefits of this advanced technology for domestic architecture.

Hertfordshire Architects

New-build family home, St Albans, Hertfordshire

Hertfordshire Architects

Extensive renovation within a Camden conservation area

Hertfordshire Architects

Full refurbishment of a terraced house, West Hampstead

Hertfordshire Architects Your Hertfordshire project >> Further reading

The history of Hertfordshire architecture is really tantamount to the history of English architecture. Before there was even a London – or, rather, Londinium – the Romans had established Verulanium, near present-day St Albans. Verulanium was the third largest city in Britain. And settlers there branched out into a satellite village near today’s Welwyn, where the foundations of a Roman bathhouse still remain. Verulanium was so important to the Romans, Queen Boudicca’s army ambushed it in the year 60, after destroying Londinium.

Hertfordshire went quiet after that for a while. But in the second millennium, populations began to flourish there. And as London rebuilt itself and began to expand outward, the region benefitted. Hertfordshire architects, blessed with a constant stream of prosperous clients, boldly designed some amazingly prestigious infrastructure. Being close to the big city, accessed by the main roads out of town, was of great benefit. The illustrious St Albans Cathedral, originally built by the Normans, remains a destination in its own right. Some of Hertfordshire’s best-preserved Georgian homes wind their way out from the church tower. Imposing institutional buildings built hundreds of years back – Hertfordshire claimed some notorious asylums – survive as hotels, golf clubs or office blocks.

Yet some of the most stunning architectural treasures in Hertfordshire tend to be residential. And this being one of the so-called Home Counties, much domestic architecture has remained domestic. Hemel Hempstead, a desirable modern suburb nestled between Luton Airport and the Chiltern Hills, boasts a collection of half-timbered family houses around its old town centre; the high street in Old Stevenage has a choice few timber-framed homes.

Hatfield House, over the railway tracks from Hatfield’s 20th-century town centre, is one of a handful of Jacobean manors in the country, serving as the setting for the film The Favourite, with Olivia Coleman. An rambling wonder to behold, built in 1612 on the site of Elizabeth I’s childhood home, it forms the centrepiece of a historic village peppered with Georgian properties.

Head southwest into Moor Park, Rickmansworth and Chorleywood for homes going back to Queen Anne radiating from pretty town centres with perfect art deco pubs. Then there are the Garden Cities, Welwyn and Letchworth. Here revolutionary town planners organised rows and crescents of Edwardian houses and Arts and Crafts treasures circling vast landscaped parks and community halls.

Hertfordshire architects will be well versed in the planning restrictions for historic properties and steer you toward a compassionate renovation or extension. Barring the availability of such listed properties, Hertfordshire has its fair share of well-designed mid-century developments, which are finally receiving some of the critical praise they are due for their practical layouts and vast banks of glazing. Though many of these properties will have architectural restrictions, structural changes could be less complicated. In the hands of Hertfordshire architects, a typical post war house will transform into a unique contemporary haven.

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Hertfordshire Architects In our clients words

scenario-architecture-testimonial-michael

Great ideas and vision to help with our substantial improvement of a Victorian terrace. In our experience Scenario’s method prioritises the final result. That may mean more professional fees or higher quotes from contractors, as they understand the exact requirements.


scenario-architecture-testimonial-guy

Great, professional service. Good drawings and models and ultimately passed planning at the first attempt with Hackney Council. Would certainly recommend!


scenario-architecture-testimonial-kauser

Scenario Architecture have created an outstanding design and space that was beyond my expectations. The design was through their unique process of understanding the client’s daily scenarios and collaborating with the client to come up with a unique design. The design process is one of the most memorable parts of the process and they also stretched my existing ideas to help create this unique space. A stress free journey throughout the whole process which Scenario were indispensable by giving advice on many difficult design and build decisions.


scenario-architecture-testimonial-brendan

We wanted to renovate our house in a conservation area in central London. Given this involved a complete demolition and new build with an extra floor on top, getting planning approval was always going to be tricky. Scenario did an amazing job on the new house ‘envelope’ and throughout the planning phase. We couldn’t have wished for better from them and having succeeded in gaining planning approval owe them a very big ‘thank you’.


scenario-architecture-testimonial-michael-gauer

Scenario were great at thinking imaginatively and coming up with a design for a ground floor extension that was more ambitous than other architects we spoke to. They also helped us find a contractor who was able to complete the project working within timescale and our tight budget. I would recommend for mid to large sized projects with sufficient budget to allow for full utilisation of their creativity.

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FAQ

Hertfordshire Architects

FAQWhat is unique about the Scenario design process?
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.

Hertfordshire Architects

FAQWhat is Scenario’s approach to planning?
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. 

Hertfordshire Architects

FAQWhat is Scenario’s approach to sustainability?
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.

Hertfordshire Architects

FAQWhat is the cost of building an extension?
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.

Hertfordshire Architects

FAQWhat is the cost of an internal refurbishment?
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.

Hertfordshire Architects

FAQWhat is the cost of building a new house?
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.