Services

My aim is to provide services that cover the full range of requirements that my clients may have, below I go into detail about each type of service. (Click the heading to view the details)

Pre-purchase surveys

Having worked as a surveyor for the Halifax Building Society and major financial institutions in the UK for 25 years, I am ideally qualified to guide you through one of your most important acquisitions. The French concept of 'Buyer Beware' is contrary to the British approach and a full structural survey is always to be advised. These can usually be carried out within a week of instruction, with immediate feedback by telephone on any major issues and a full written report will be provided within three days. My architectural background will also help you to appreciate the merits of a property, despite its apparent defects, and illustrate how these may be resolved.

Feasibility studies

As the name implies, a feasibility study is an analysis of the viability of an idea which, in a building context, means ' can this property be adapted or extended to achieve my requirements at an acceptable cost'. Determining early that a building is unsuitable or, in the long term, too costly, saves time, money & heartache later. A typical feasibility study would involve a dimensional survey and the preparation of alternative sketch designs, each fully costed and reflecting the remedial works identified as necessary in the pre-purchase survey. It might also suggest means of energy conservation and give advice on the tax incentives offered to eco-friendly construction. Armed with this overall concept cost, a decision can then be made whether to proceed with the purchase.

Planning applications

I am experienced in preparing full and comprehensive 'dossiers' for planning applications. Following the interpretation of your brief and the preparation of sketch plans to your approval, a typical dossier would comprise:-
  • Survey drawings of the existing buildings, both plans, elevations and section.
  • Proposed plans, elevations, section and site plan.
  • Computer generated images of the scheme.
  • Photographs showing the buildings or site in close up and from a distance.
  • The forms and any follow-up discussions with the authorities.

Full architectural services

Planning permission is only the first stage of the process to completion. Some clients may wish to organize the work themselves or self- build, but there are others who may not feel confident in the French environment or with the language. In this context an architect can represent excellent value for money in bringing your project to fruition on time and on cost. This service would comprise:-
  • Full working drawings and written specification.
  • Invitation to tender from several contractors, tender analysis, comparison and recommendation for acceptance.
  • Regular site visits, quality and cost control and agreement of monthly valuations. (I only pay on work completed).
  • Making good of defects and agreement of the final account.

I firmly believe that the only way to get you value for money and the materials and finish you want, is by competitive tender on the same specification. This also reduces the uncertainty of the tendering contractor so that he has no need to build in hidden contingencies. This process, and the cost control exercised during the contract, should go a long way to paying for my professional involvement.

The various trades should be under the control of a main contractor, so that responsibility is clearly his and he should carry the necessary Decennial and Public Liability insurances. You are also advised to take out Dommage Ouvrage insurance which would provide cover in the event of the contractor going into administration.

Project management

This is a much misunderstood term!! The architect would normally administrate the contract and deal directly with the main contractor. A project manager is a 'single point of contact' for the client, and would drive the design team, contractor and sub-contractors. He should provide financial and progress statements to the client on a monthly basis. I am able to provide this role, but at an extra cost to the normal architectural service.

Surveys of defective work and expert witness statements

Many people in France have fallen prey to rogue contractors and have been left to suffer the financial and emotional consequences. As an architect and surveyor, I am experienced in the analysis of building defects and write concise, accurate reports in support of the plaintives. I am associated with a translator accredited to the court of Agen and together we actively support clients at meetings with the court officials and opposing party.

For information regarding fees for these services please contact me Richard@Stirrup.biz