Create your dream extension, conversion or self build project with a Swansea Architect

Whatever challenge you are facing, Noel Isherwood Architects are committed to developing, in collaboration with you, a unique design guaranteed to make a significant improvement to your quality of life and those of your family and friends.

Getting Started

Launching out on your dream extension, refurbishment or new building project, you may be thinking, "WHERE DO I START?"  Before I go into detail, you can help yourself straight away by taking advantage of information I have prepared especially for you at no cost, on this page:

  1. You can arrange for a consultation. You can do this immediately at no cost to yourself by completing the PROJECT FORM on this page.
  2. You can improve your knowledge of the design and build process by reading the "5 STEPS TO CREATING YOUR DREAM HOME - before hiring an Architect". This is in the form of a pdf document and can be downloaded through this link.

Starting off on the right foot

Whether you have built anything before or not you will have heard some scare stories and may have been through one yourself. Thoughts like this could stop you in your tracks and the project never get off the ground.

To avoid the pitfalls ahead and get it right from the start you will need the kind of guidance in all of the areas that I briefly set out below. By signing up to what is on offer on this page you will be made aware of the process's involve in designing and building, however you wish to take it on from here. By building a relationship with Noel Isherwood Associates you can be assured of the professional skills and knowledge required to achieve success from start to completion in all of the following areas:

1 Concept Design: You have your say


2 Design Principles: Value adding strategies


3 Design and Build Process: Navigating potential pit-falls


4 Professional Experience: Selecting the right team

1  Concept Designs

  • Your own ideas will be given priority and we will assist you to achieve your goals by collaboration rather than imposing pre-determined solutions.
  • You will be will encouraged you to develop your own ideas with injections of inspiration and technical expertise from us where necessary.
  • You will be given time to develop your initial concepts and having them worked into a design before ploughing into the detailed the design stage when it becomes more costly to make design changes.

 

2  Design Strategies

Design principles will be developed which reflect your values with guidance from us which will then inform the final design. These include:

  • Aesthetics: Will the appearance of the resulting project be harmonious and delightful as a design in itself and in relation to the neighbouring built environment or physical context?
  • Value: Is the design likely to add or distract from the end value of the project?
  • Weathering: Will the building weather well or poorly over time?
  • Carbon footprint: Are the chosen materials going to minimise the carbon footprint of the building?
  • Health: Will the chosen materials minimise or encourage toxins affecting the internal air quality of the building?
  • Cost: Make design a material choices in the light of their affect on the building budget and lifetime cost in use.

3  The Design and Build Process

  • Mistakes can be easily made when ignoring the requirements of the distinct stages from initial briefing and contain design to later detail design stage and construction.
  • It is our practice is to ensure you are aware of the professional expectations of the design and build process to ensure you avoid unnecessary and costly pit falls.
  • We follow the design process known as the ‘Work Plan’ as laid out by the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) a well accepted standard internationally.

4  Professional Experience

  • Our combined experience in the practice will give you certainty that your project will be in capable hands from the start to completion. Our experience of residential design projects whether detached, semi-detached, terraced or apartment blocks includes: 
        • extensions and improvements
        • conversations 
        • new build projects
        • heritage buildings - listed structures and conservations areas.
  • Selecting the right team and establishing the right kind of relationships is key to the success of any project and is where many projects fail. Our extensive network of consultants in the Swansea area and beyond will ensure the highest attention to this aspect of the project planning and execution. This includes other professionals required to bring the project to completion such as the Quantity Surveyor, the Structural and Mechanical Engineers and from time to time landscape architects or party wall surveyors.

NEXT STEPS

  • If you take advantage of what I offer on this web page you will now have the beginnings of a blueprint for setting out on your project whether you are considering an Extension, Conversion, Improvements or Self Building your new home in the Swansea and South Wales region.
  • We at Noel Isherwood Architects are committed to providing you with a unique design, guaranteed to make a positive improvement to your quality of life and those of your family and friends. We also want to ensure you have a positive experience of building by having the right team to work with who can guarantee to deliver a build-able design as well as make promises.

You can make a start today by taking one or both of the following steps:

  1. PROJECT FORM: An initial consultation with me Noel Isherwood at no cost to yourself can be set up by you completing and submitting the project form below. We will be in touch with you shortly after to set up an appointment, when you will be able to outline the requirements of your own project and if you wish we can then provide you with a proposal for taking the next steps. (see link below)
  2. The FIVE STEPS: With no obligation you can access the “Five Steps to creating your dream home - before hiring and architect”. You will immediately receive the pdf document which you can use to refer to as you consider the taking the project forward when the time is right for you. An additional befit is that you will receive a short series of emails which will further give insights an experiences into carrying out a build project of the type you envisage. 
BOOK YOUR FREE CONSULTATION
  • Limehouse

  • Tottenham

  • Side Elevation

  • Noel worked closely with us from the inception of our initial vision for creating a more liveable and spacious home in the heart of Limehouse (London). We worked together through multiple design options to test our ideas and to consult with the Council planning dept and neighbours, so that our planning application would be considered favourably. We were happy with the attention Noel provided in iterating the vision for the site, and delighted to have gained a significant planning consent, which adds value to the property and makes for an exciting project, which is well on its way to completion.
    Rupert Edwards Rupert Edwards
  • We appointed Noel as our architect because of his experience of working with historic buildings in traditional neighbourhoods. Noel fully understood our brief and provided us with the guidance and designs we needed to erect a new three storey building in a conservation area. The design fitted in seamlessly with the historic context and provided us with a very comfortable London residence. We are very happy with his service and the resulting completed building.
    Ian and Sally Ian and Sally
  • Renovation of two Grade II listed 16th Century timber frame structures which had fallen into disrepair, exasperated by crude Victorian additions. The innovative restorations included repairs to the timber structures, re-cladding of the external wall fabrics and conversion to living accommodation at first floor level taking advantage of the exposed timber roof structures with bedrooms at ground level. The result was an astounding success, featuring on Anglia Television news on completion.
    David Saunderson David Saunderson

Grand Designs

further thoughts on building design


 

A mystique surrounds the word ‘architect’ and if you're a follower of the television program GRAND DESIGNS you may already feel intimidated at the very thought of being involved in a process which can seem fraught with uncertainty, unexpected hurdles and outright catastrophes. If you're impressed by wow factor designs, flash talk and unrealistic proposals you may find the practicalities of building sightly tedious.

Don't get me wrong, good design is important, but it needs to be considered in the round, to integrate with well attested principles of construction, sound engineering and an awareness of contractual procedure.

Too many projects are focused wholly on aesthetics and forget the rest with disastrous results.

At the other extreme, if you are satisfied with the plethora of bog standard building solutions available, many of which are highly unsustainable, then you may feel the ideas in this article are not what you are looking for.

However, if you are determined to do better with your building project you have the choice; to take the bull by the horns and rise above the low level of expectation too often considered acceptable by the building industry. By the time you have read this or watched the video, or read the 5 Steps, you will begin to understand how to make it happen for you.

What Am I Offering You?

I am not trying to sell you anything here. There is nothing to buy. I am indeed in the business of transforming existing buildings and creating new ones, just as you may be aspiring to yourself and what I have to offer you is of greater value than many of the alternatives. But that is not the purpose of this message or what I'm offering you.

What I share in this video is what you will need to know to be effective in handling the daunting process of getting a building project completed from scratch, to your own exacting requirements. You will then have a far greater chance of fulfilling your own dreams and just as importantly, the dreams of those closest to you when you time comes to build.

I have prepared this information for you to flag up how you can successfully navigate this process with something of value to show for it at the end. This can and should be, one of life's worthwhile achievements. I'm also doing it because I want you to avoid the pitfalls that lead to all kinds of catastrophes only too common in a large proportion of building projects. Ultimately I do it so that that you might consider becoming a valued client when the time is right and that's a privilege I like to earn.

3 Facts That Are Often Overlooked When Setting Out On A New Building Project

  • 1

    SUSTAINABILITY

    Standard design and construction is giving way to 'sustainable' building practice. A question for you is, 'how much do I need to take sustainability into account in my project? Is it going to cost me more and what are the benefits? Is my ideal home going to look naf, covered in eco-gadgets? The same issue applies to purchasers of new cars. How far can I afford to go to reduce the carbon footprint? Is it petrol rather than diesel, a hybrid or electric? The useable lifetime of a car can be say 5 - 10 years and devalues with time, a home can be for life and generally appreciates in value and decisions should be made on a longer term basis like an ‘investment’. Sustainability has a big role to play in this.

  • 2

    MATERIALS

    When choosing materials it is not generally taken into consideration by the majority of house-builders or property owners that much of the available mass produced building materials and products are synthetically produced and can be toxic. They can also have dubious fire ratings as we have seen in the recent Grenfell Tower disaster in London. Vapours emitted can cause bad air quality inside newly completed buildings and refurbishments alike. This is compounded by the fact that in order to achieve high energy efficiency, buildings can become virtually sealed envelopes with insufficient natural ventilation. The rise in allergies including asthma and eczema in young children may not be unrelated to this phenomena, particularly when coupled with the increase in polluting carbon emissions from car exhausts.

  • 3

    WEATHERING

    This is much overlooked by enthusiastic designers of buildings and those commissioning new projects. The question to ask is, how good is my new or refurbished home going to look in five or ten years time? Depending on the answer, is this going to add to or detract from its value?
    The fact is, many completed buildings weather terribly over time which will not add to the value of the property over time. The design may look bright and shiny in the architects presentation drawings and on the first day of completion but given a year or two in our variable weather conditions in the UK at least, they start to look disappointingly down at heel with unwanted stains, discolouring and patchiness in appearance which was certainly not part of the plan.

Where Do I Look For The Information?

Now I’ve mentioned just three of many issues which need to be considered at the outset of any building project and that’s before we even start thinking about the ‘design brief’. How much extra space are you going to need and for what? What inspires you? Fashion design, landscapes, natural materials, music or fine art? This is part of my priceless collection just behind me here.

So the big question for you is, “how can I arm myself with the level of information I’m going to need to make good decisions about the design or construction of my dream home, from the start?”. I may have already guessed, but I'll reveal this shortly.

Before I do, there is one more thing you need to be aware of and that is the importance of choosing the right design team to be your ‘trusted advisor’ to bring your vision to reality.

Your team should know how to build in smart thinking about your project from the beginning so that there is no need for expensive corrections later or that you end up with regrets of what might have been. Your team needs to have exactly the right experience which will stand you in good stead throughout the project.

The team that I run at Noel Isherwood Architects has acquired a huge amount of design, technical and contractual experience gained over many years. This allows you the peace of mind to know your project is in good hands whatever your circumstances or whatever issues arise. We do not impose our preconceived ideas on you, but will encourage you to participate in the design process with your own thoughts and ideas.

With our experienced team of professionals you can rest assured your interests are being kept uppermost in the minds of all involved in the process from the design consultants to suppliers and contractors.

Doing It Differently

It is the role of the appointed architect to steer you successfully through the design and build process which is why choosing the right one for you is so important. It is also helpful for you to become aware of the process before it begins, to reduce unnecessary stress and so you can ask informed questions.

Once your project starts in earnest, little time is available to consider the bigger questions that can affect the value of the finished product for better or worse. Many in the building industry are unaware of the issues or simply not prepared to do anything about it. To do things differently you need to think more deeply in advance about how to approach your building project.

So take action and explore the issues now so that you will be well armed when things start moving. Exploring the issues now does not commit you to the full design and build process. You can press pause until you are comfortable with the preliminary ideas or the feasibility and are ready to go forward to more detail.

You should be clear about one thing and that is, that you have the resources to embark on such a project. You should have a clear idea of the extent of the project and what are the key reasons for what you want to embark on this journey.

If you delay unnecessarily with the preliminary investigations, you’ll be in danger of having many of the strategic decisions made for you in the rush to complete the project and the end result will not distinguish itself from the standard solutions that appear all around.

5 STEPS To Creating Your Dream Home (Before Hiring An Architect)

So take action now. If it's to early for you to fill out a project form for a consultation on a project ready to go, then the information I’m about to share with you will take you a step closer to realising your dream home. This applies whether you have an extension, refurbishment or a new build on your hands. This information which I have personally prepared for you can be accessed right here in the 5 STEPS To Creating Your Dream Home (Before Hiring An Architect).

All you have to do is fill in your name and email address on this page and I'll get this information to you almost immediately.

Before you do, I have three things to make you aware of:
  1. Firstly this will add you to my private email list were you will receive effective insights and strategies on a regular basis.
  2. Secondly I never share any of the contact information I have, ever, not to anyone, at any time.
  3. Thirdly, what do you stand to lose by exploring new ideas and strategies ahead of your building project? This is the responsible thing to do, however, you can change your mind at any time and you've lost nothing. So go-ahead, leave your details and get these proven ideas working for you right away.

Get Instant Access To: 5 STEPS To Creating Your Dream Home (Before Hiring An Architect)