Terms and Conditions:


This is the dull part of the website covering the legal aspect of architecture. Please refer to the following as the basis of any potential commission with Ground Designs

All services offered are done in strict accordance with the code of practice laid down by R.I.B.A.

We able to confirm that we have professional indemnity insurance to cover our design work. 

Our terms are payment on presentation of invoice, not when any subsequent application is determined. The quoted fees include for one copy of the drawings for your approval and information and prints for both planning and building regulation submissions as required. The fees quoted also include for any necessary record photographs.



The copyright in all designs, drawings, reports, models, specifications, bills of quantities, calculations and any such other documents prepared by Ground Designs ('the Documents') shall remain vested in Ground Designs unless otherwise agreed, in writing. However, subject to Ground Designs having received payment of any fees properly due and owing, Ground Designs grants a license to the client to copy and use the Documents for the agreed project only (but excluding any extension of the project) so as to allow for the efficient execution of the works.

Ground Designs shall not be liable for any use of the Documents for any purpose other than that for which the same were prepared by Ground Designs.

Planning and Building Regulation Approval

It is always recommended that building works are NOT commenced on site until planning and building regulation approvals have been granted (including the discharge of planning conditions). Any works started prior to all approvals being granted, including those which may require you or your contractor to apply for, are undertaken at the property/site owner’s risk.


Client Responsibilities

It is for the client, on advice, to appoint consultants, specialist contractors or subcontractors and suppliers, and ensure they are indemnified. Ground Designs is not responsible for the quality of the work and performance of these consultants, specialist contractors or subcontractors and suppliers, or payment of their fees unless otherwise agreed in writing.


Time Over-runs

Ground Designs is not responsible for managing the builder’s programme of works, nor for organising the work on site – responsibility rests with the builder/contractor, including the responsibility to notify expected problems. Ground Designs is however in a position to advise the client on the circumstances and if those are reasonable may, on the client’s behalf and if acting as contract administrator, award extensions of time. Such work which is beyond the architect’s control may result in additional fees.


Statutory Approvals and Contract Administration


Planning permission and Building Regulations approval

Ground Designs cannot guarantee that planning permission and/or Building Regulations approval will be granted because these decisions rest with the local authority. When engaged to submit an application, Ground Designs will consider any local authority guidelines and statutory requirements so it has the best chance of success. Sometimes exemptions to guidelines and similar provisions will have to be negotiated to achieve the best design solution for the project. The client will generally be responsible for providing the architect with accurate information about site boundaries, access and ownership rights.


Planning permission – for the design:

  • Unless a project falls within the scope of Permitted Development (applicable to certain minor types of building work like small conservatories, for instance), all building projects must have planning approval.
  • The Department for Communities and Local Government has an information booklet, ‘Planning: A Guide for Householders’.
  • Planning permission is the responsibility of the local authority planning department, which is concerned with the visual appearance of the proposed work, its height and size and whether it is sympathetic to its location, whether it will overlook neighbouring properties, its distance from the road, and whether it conforms to the local plan. The local authority will often specify that it requires sections and elevations at a scale of 1:100. At such a scale, the amount of detail possible on a drawing is constrained. Some authorities allow for a minor modification to the design after it has been approved, others require the entire application to be resubmitted. Therefore it is unwise to change the design once planning permission has been granted.


Building Regulations Approval – permission to build

  • This is the responsibility of the local authority building control department which deals with the Building Regulations www.direct.gov.uk/HomeAndCommunity/Planning/BuildingRegulations/fs/en Detailed drawings including itemised notes and specifications on how the building is to be built are required. These drawings must identify the materials to be used and detail the construction’s compliance with all relevant Building Regulations and any other statutory requirements (health and safety, disabled access etc.).Therefore, Building Regulations drawings are generally far more detailed than the drawings and design information required for planning approval. The Building Control Officer (BCO) will visit the site at key stages in the construction for inspections to ensure compliance with the Building Regulations. If the BCO has not been present to witness the constructions of, for instance, the foundations, he or she has the power to order anything constructed over them to be opened up so that the inspection can be carried out.
  • Every project for which permission is required will need approvals from both departments, and application fees must be paid to the local authority for both planning and Building Regulations. The client usually pays these directly to the local authority, and not as part of the architect’s expenses.


Building Contract Administration


  • A contract is a vital document as it is a legally-binding commitment between the builder and the client to deliver the project. Ground Designs administers this contract impartially between both parties (client and contractor), although the Ground Design's fees are generally paid by the client. Ground Designs will then be responsible for ensuring that the contract documentation is appropriate (there are many different types of contract) and accurate and all items under the contract, such as variations and certificates, are properly signed and issued. He or she will carry out periodic site visits to monitor progress. The architect will make a professional judgment regarding the required frequency of these visits, unless an alternative programme of visits has been agreed with the client.
  • The day-to-day supervision of the build itself will be the responsibility of the contractor, who is also responsible for ensuring that the structure is built in compliance with the building contract, the planning permission, Building Regulations and Health and Safety requirements.
  • As a party to the contract, a consumer client (usually an individual carrying out a personal project) has rights under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 (Statutory Instrument 1999 No. 2083) which may be found at http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si1999/uksi_19992083_en.pdf As consumers, clients will in any case have protection under general consumer legislation.


Monitoring Construction


  • If Ground Designs is engaged to monitor construction of the project (which should not be confused with contract administration) they will be responsible for checking that the construction conforms to the planning permission and Building Regulations and all stages are properly completed to a satisfactory standard of workmanship. This will involve periodic site visits to monitor progress (visually), but will not normally involve the architect in detailed checking of dimensions or testing materials. The contractor, on site, will supervise the work on a day-to-day basis and be responsible for the proper carrying out and completion of construction works and for health and safety provisions on the site.
  • If the Ground Designs is neither administering the contract, nor monitoring the construction, they may undertake site visits at the client’s request, in order to advise on progress. In this role of project adviser, it is understood that the HPS will be acting for the client, and not in the neutral, impartial role required of a contract administrator or construction overseer.


Other Consultants


Ground Designs is not responsible for the work undertaken by any other consultant (such as a structural engineer) engaged on the project. Other consultants will usually be engaged directly by the client and fees should be paid directly to them. Ground Designs may agree to engage consultants on the client’s behalf. In this arrangement the other consultants are sub-consultants of the Ground Designs and responsible to them rather than the client direct. They are paid by the Ground Designs, whose fees will reflect this.


Ownership, Restrictive Covenants and Public Sewers/Drains


Prior to engaging any design services please ensure that you are in possession of the full facts in terms of ownership of your property and or site, including any restrictive covenants and the position of any public sewers or drains which cross or pass close to your property/site. Please check your deeds as necessary; we are guided by your instruction with respect to the ownership of your property.