Paul Archer Design


Our Approach

With over 20 years of experience, we have come to know that each project is unique, aware that every client’s needs are individual. With a wealth of experience and expertise, we carry this collective knowledge forward and apply it to every brief, ensuring we prioritise the needs of our clients and get to the heart of what inspires their idea of home.

In particular, we recognise that every client has different levels of experience when it comes to construction. We understand that undertaking a project of any scale can be a daunting task for many clients. However, we pride ourselves on our ability to apply our diverse expertise to every stage of the project, ensuring total guidance throughout. Our level of involvement, the type of detail we provide, and pace of the project are all adjusted to your requirements.

Stage 1

Feasibility Study (RIBA Stages 0-2)

The feasibility study is the first step in each project. We ensure that the potential of a building or site is going to be viable, giving due consideration to issues such as historical context, building condition and planning restrictions. Before you commit to developing a complete design, we explore your initial ideas and how they compare to your budget and preferred timescale.

Initial ideas

Where possible, we meet you at the property to discuss your brief in detail to better understand your ideas, plans, and how you envisage the project coming to fruition. Following this, we delve deeper into your brief and explore how the site or existing building can be utilised to its full potential.

Design development

Once we have a clear understanding of your requirements, we will produce a series of concept designs as our initial response. Immediate external factors will also be considered. Designs are typically presented as 2D plans and 3D views. Following the presentation, we eagerly await your feedback which is then used to distil back into a final concept design.

Cost Plan

From this single concept, we then prepare an initial cost plan. The plan covers likely costs including construction, professional fees and other associated costs to give an overall view. This allows you to make informed decisions on the scope of the project and adjust course if necessary.

Design programme

Along with the cost plan, we can provide an outline programme setting out a realistic timescale for the project, including the key design stages, involvement of other parties and where we need decisions from you.

Stage 2

Detailed Design (RIBA Stages 3-4)

At this stage of the project, we have a clear understanding of the brief and design requirements. We begin implementing these considerations into a final design and start the necessary processes such as planning applications and the involvement of external consultants and specialists.

Planning Application

We have extensive experience in this regard and will prepare the submission to ensure the process will be as smooth as possible. We will keep you informed with all key design decisions and submissions that will contribute to the ongoing progress of the application.

Technical Design

With the overall form of the building fixed, we next develop the technical aspects of the design, coordinating the details of structure, building envelope, services, fire safety, thermal performance, etc. It is at this stage that the expertise of other consultants is called upon. Depending on the scale and complexity of your project, this will involve specialists such as Structural Engineers, Building Regulations Consultants, Quantity Surveyors, Party wall Surveyors, Fire Engineers, and so on.

Design Finalisations

This is an exciting stage for our clients, as we begin to finalise the design. We are looking to make as many design decisions as much as possible, with the aim of producing a comprehensive drawing set, full specification of materials and fittings. The more complete this set of documents, the more cost and time control we have on when on site. This is often the first time one can see the initial thoughts discussed at the briefing stage formed into a complex design.


Following the finalisation of the design, we will advise on an appropriate form of building contract for your project, and the roles and responsibilities of each party. A package of drawings and other documents will be issued to a selected group of independent contractors for pricing. Our preference is to meet with each of the contractors on site, to ensure they have a clear understanding of the work and our expectations. Once the quotations have been received and assessed, we are able to assist you in making an informed decision with the choice of a contractor. Following which preparations for the construction phase will commence.

Stage 3

Construction (RIBA Stages 5-7)

With a contractor selected, and the building contract signed the project moves into a new phase as we “break ground” and commence with the building works. For some clients this phase can be nervy, for others exhilarating. Either way we will do our upmost to guide you through it. For the majority of projects we will take a key role in the operation of the building contract, issuing formal instructions to the contractor where adjustments are made to the design and certifying payment for completed work.

Regular Site Visitation

We appreciate that the build phase will be a unique experience for our clients. During this stage, we will make regular visits to the site to alleviate any potential concerns and ensure the build is progressing according to contract specifications. Site meetings allow us to respond to any queries the contractor may have. It also allows us to keep track of the construction programme allowing us to keep you up to date with progress. Whilst clients are not required for every site meeting, we do encourage our clients to participate as much as possible to witness the creation of their buildings.


As the project reaches completion, we will assist the contractor in coordinating the formal handover of the completed project and will certify formal completion of the work. We will also help to collate a ‘Building Manual’ containing important information on how to use and look after your project.

After Completion

All building work will have a degree of ‘settling in’ after the builders have left. We will continue to liaise with you and the contractor to ensure any issues are investigated and rectified.

Get in touch

Should you wish to discuss your project with us, please fill out our project outline form to help us understand what you would like to explore and we’ll be in touch.

Your Project