Frequently Asked Questions
Why choose an architect?
What's the difference between an architect and an architectural designer?
Why choose Lynea Architects?
How do I write my brief?
What is the process from start to finish?
How much involvement do you need from an architect?
Do you need planning permission?
How much will my project cost?
What are the RIBA work Stages?
How do we fee?
Who do the drawings belong to?
What are the key limitations of an Architect?

Unless your project is simple, it makes sense to at least talk to an architect for advice before you get going. Generally we begin to offer a full service for projects with a budget of £50,000 or more, but for a smaller fee we can help you get the best out of your project in the early stages, regardless of size and whether we are needed later on.

We offer a free, one-off consultation at the start of the project. In a short space of time you can gain valuable insight to help you realise your project. If you need planning permission, it is likely that you will need an architect.

One of the questions asked a lot is “Do I need an architect?

The short answer is, it depends. The longer answer however is it depends on the project.

If you have a micro project (i.e. you need some walls moving internally) the building work may be able to be completed by a builder and structural engineer alone.

If you have a small extension project, you will most likely need some design drawings. In the UK there is no regulation over who can perform the job of an architect. Those who undertake this role without qualification however are not legally allowed to call themselves an architect, although there are instances where they do, or imply that they are.

If you have anything more than the above, then you are generally restricted to architects, as most unqualified designers will not want to embark on anything overly complicated.

So why not appoint an ‘architectural designer for a fraction of the price?

Put simply, you have no protection or reassurance that they are competent.

Becoming a registered architect necessitates approximately 7 years of training, typically involving two separate university degrees and two periods of practical training. While a significant focus is placed on the “design” aspect, the final professional examinations encompass crucial aspects such as contract administration, health and safety, project management, and dispute resolution.

Architects are also bound by the Architects Registration Board’s (ARB) Code of Conduct, which encompasses various elements including honesty, integrity, and competence. Architects failing to meet these requirements can be reported to the ARB, which has the authority to initiate disciplinary proceedings and impose penalties such as reprimands, substantial fines, or removal from the register.

Another essential requirement of the Code of Conduct is the need for architects to maintain suitable Professional Indemnity Insurance. This is vital as it provides protection for both the Architect and the client. In the event of negligence leading to a catastrophic incident, the client may pursue legal action and be awarded compensation. However, the awarded compensation is often more than an Architect can afford to pay, potentially resulting in bankruptcy and leaving the injured party without full compensation. With appropriate insurance, the compensation is covered by the insurance company.

Contrarily, there is no legal obligation for “architectural designers” to maintain Professional Indemnity Insurance or possess any formal design, technical, or professional training. Moreover, there is no designated authority to file complaints against their services if they fail to meet expected standards. Consequently, clients

may be left unprotected in case of issues. While some “architectural designers” might have Professional Indemnity Insurance and possess competence in their work, clients need to exercise caution and carefully evaluate their choices.

Apart from the ARB, you may be familiar with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Unlike the ARB, membership in the RIBA is not mandatory; it is an organization exclusively for members. However, the RIBA has its own set of standards and codes of conduct, which are often more stringent. RIBA Chartered Architects and Practices are obligated to adhere to various policies encompassing health and safety, quality management, and equality.

The main takeaways from this are:

If you want to appoint an architect, make sure whomever you’re discussing your project with is a qualified architect. Click here to check.

If you want to compare architects/architectural designs, be aware of the differences.

There are plenty consultants that are capable of taking you through the process of creating your designs for you, so why choose Lynea?

As a young practice, we had the opportunity to start Lynea where we could adopt important aspects of the modern world. We maintain a sustainable practice not just in the final output, but through the process too.

As a paperless practice all of our work, including our sketches, are digital. The work is then issued in PDF by email, online or on our client portal.

We want to create relationships that are open, transparent and up front. We want to be clear where money is being spent and that is it not being used frivolously.

We also offer a unique 3D and Virtual Reality (VR) service that can show our designs in a far more immersive environment. The ability to stand in the middle of your project and look around, has been an invaluable addition to what we can offer. 2D drawings are fine for seeing spaces as a collective, but 3D and VR allow you to really understand the spaces we are creating.

The ultimate success of your project depends on the quality of your brief, i.e. your ability to describe clearly to us the requirements and functions of your building, and proposed methods of operation and management. We can help you prepare your final brief if necessary. Generally, we will need to know:

Your aims.

Your budget.

Your design style: are you looking for a design in keeping with the existing building? Do you want a contemporary or high-tech design? Are you concerned about having a sustainable or ecological design?

Your reasons for embarking on this building project: what activities are intended for it?

Your authority: who will make the decisions about the designs, costs and construction when the project is underway?

Your overall expectations: what do you hope to achieve by this project – more space, more light, variety of uses, greater flexibility?


The RIBA provide a step by step process on the stages each project should go through. From inception to completion, our process is built around these RIBA work stages to ensure we meet the high standards set by our professional bodies. The process is broken down into the following:


Each project undergoes a period of exploration to determine the feasibility of achieving our clients requests. This includes a project information document, concepts provided by our clients, background checks and initial sketch ideas to demonstrate our understanding and response to the brief.


Feasibility designs are drawn up digitally in CAD, with relevant consultants appointed (where required) and documentation produced prior to the submission of a planning application.

Building Regulations

Where a successful planning permission, is obtained, we move onto attaining building regulations approval. These technical drawings must be checked by a Building Control to ensure the designs meet the minimum requirements set by the Building Regulations. A structural engineer is usually appointed at this stage.


Specifications provide detail where drawings cannot.  From door, window and finishes schedules, to 1:5 details and schedules of work, this is where the final level of detail is considered before tender. We also advise on the best contract for your specific project and how to best administer it.

On Site

Once your project has started on site, it is often sensible to work with a professional to ensure that the build is progressing as expected and as per the agreed drawings and specifications. This can be carried out by a number of different professions, an architect being one of them and covers issues that might occur during construction under items such as quality control, payment, disputes, design changes and coordination to name a few.

The above list is a brief summary of the stages and process involved, but each stage has many additional points that could occur based on the specific project. Many of our clients are surprised to hear that the architectural process even before starting on site, can be lengthy.

The architectural process is often misunderstood and can be a lengthy one. Our involvement is tailored to your specific needs and can be as involved or simplified as you wish. Typically, we are involved up until obtaining you planning permission and often until the end of Building Regulations, prior to commencement on site. After this, our involvement can be agreed based on how much input you require and can be full-time, part-time e.g. monthly, or on an ad-hoc basis, as and when you require it.

Unfortunately, this can be a grey area, but we can definitely help answer the question. We research into areas such as planning constraints, planning history, location constraints and Permitted Development, which can help us to answer this question. We produce a project information document for all our projects that explores just this and includes tools such as flood mapping, radon, drainage and environmental checks to support the document. For all Permitted Development work, we insist on a Certificate of Lawfulness being sought.

This is project specific and can be affected by a number of factors, not least the current cost of living and materials. We recommend appointing a quantity surveyor from the outset, who we can work with closely to give you an idea of costs from RIBA Stage 2 onwards. From here, we are then able to alter designs and work with our clients and the quantity surveyor to realign the design if required. This approach gives our clients peace of mind prior to obtaining planning permission and sets expectations early.

RIBA Stage 1 – Strategic Definition

RIBA Stage 2 – Concept Design

RIBA Stage 3 – Spatial Coordination

RIBA Stage 4 – Technical Design

RIBA Stage 5 – Manufacturing & Construction

RIBA Stage 6 – Handover

RIBA Stage 7 – Use

While we work to these stages, we generally break our work down into 3 key stages.

RIBA Stages 0-3 – Planning

RIBA Stage 4 – Building Regulations

RIBA Stage 5-7 – Construction

How do we fee?

As a practice we aim to be as transparent as possible, and our fee methods are no exception to this rule.

Our fees are project specific and can be affected by a number of factors. Whilst we cannot provide upfront ballpark figures, we take every measure possible to understand your requirements. If you’re within a 30 mile radius of our offices, we provide a initial free site meeting. This gives you the opportunity to show us the site and discuss your project face to face with us and helps us create your proposal.

Fees for RIBA stages 0-4 are lump sum figures so you know exactly what to expect from each stage. We make it clear what options you have, and what can be removed or added to the proposal. Typically, we break our fees down into the following invoiceable stages:

RIBA Stages 0-3 | Proposal 1 | Lump Sum

RIBA Stages 4 | Fee Proposal 2 | Lump Sum

RIBA Stages 5-7 | Fee Proposal 3 | Time Charged (generally).

Our fee proposals also include anticipated external costs to give you an idea of the overall costs. These include external consultants, local authorities, application fees and other applications that may be required.

One of the reasons people make complaints to the Architects Registration Board is a lack of clarity about what they are paying for. While our figures are VAT exclusive, we make this clear in your final breakdown that VAT will be applied at 20% to the final invoiced figures.

It is essential our clients’ expectations are managed regarding the dynamic nature of costs until tenders are received, in order to prevent disappointment, extra design work, and complaints.

There are two frequently asked questions when it comes to drawings:

Why do we need two sets of drawings?

There is a huge distinction between planning drawings and building regulations drawings. The reason for this is that most Contractors cannot execute the project solely based on planning drawings alone since they contain no detail, specification, dimensions, structure or calculations. They are also not signed off by Building Control which is an essential step to ensure they are compliant with the current regulations.  It is crucial to understand this distinction right from the outset of your project.

Do I own the drawings and designs?

The appointment agreement, or the implied terms within it, grants the client the right to utilise designs for their intended purpose. For example planning drawings are used to gain planning permission, not to construct the works.

By extension of the above, on occasion clients request the “dwg” files for a project, often due to a third party request. These are the editable drawings containing countless hours of design work, which we issue in “pdf” due to their un-editable nature. When appointed, all drawings and documentation are issued in pdf format only.

This is for insurance and Intellectual Property reasons and we make this clear in our terms and conditions.  It is also worth noting that the copyright of all design and drawing work always belongs to Lynea Architects Ltd and our designs cannot be sold/reissued/amended without any agreements formed expressly in writing by the directors. For more information on drawing copyright, Designing Buildings have a good article on this if you want to know more.


While Architects prefer not to start a new relationship by emphasising the negatives, it is crucial for our clients to recognise the limitations of an Architect’s authority in order to manage expectations and prevent disappointment. For example, it is impossible to guarantee planning permission, and it is also beyond an Architect’s control to ensure that an independent contractor will consistently arrive on time and deliver flawless work.

Lynea Architects is an award nominated practice of Chartered Architects based in South West England covering areas including BANES, Bristol, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and surrounding areas.

We are interested in designing innovative and creative buildings to compliment our client’s briefs and ideas. We pride ourselves as a studio that practices values such as transparency, equality and sustainability.

28 Brock Street, Bath, BA1 2LN
T. 01225 255218
E. [email protected]