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Architectural Services

Sketch Designs

Upon project inception, We will produce initial sketch designs of the proposal which embody the essence of the clients brief and our design-interpretation of this. This is the first stage in the development of the clients brief for a project. We always work as closely as possible with the client to ensure that aspects of their aspiration for a scheme are realised at an early stage. The initial sketch designs represent a little more than the embryo of an idea which, through design development and discussion with the client, can be developed into a design-response which achieves the project brief. Sketch designs can be portrayed by either hand drawn thumbnail sketches, or for that matter by (more technical) CAD drawings, We tend to pick a technique which best-suits the particular scheme in hand, with some schemes combining a mixture of the two. 

Planning Drawings
Following completion of the sketch design stage, we can then progress a scheme towards the preparation of a set of planning application drawings. The planning application drawings must be technically accurate (in order to comply with the standards prevailing) and must also convey the essence of the scheme in a manner which a third-party can understand. On occasions, we may hold back on some of the artistic details of a scheme in order to better-portray the fundamental characteristics of a proposal to the planning officer concerned. In this way the essence of the scheme can be accurately conveyed whilst the finer details which make a scheme truly special might not be indicated at that particular time (they may not be strictly relevant to the planning application).
3D Models & Visuals

Using the latest software, including Revit, Twin Motion and Photoshop, we  are able to develop our designs in the form of computer generated 3-D visualisation and models. This technique is particularly useful for conveying the details of the scheme to clients and planning authorities in a manner which can be more easily comprehended. At the upper limit of the possibilities, photo-realistic visualisations can be produced. Whilst time-consuming to produce, these can be extremely useful tools for the development and portrayal of a design idea.

Paragraph 80

"Paragraph 80" applications seek permission for the development of isolated homes in the open countryside. These applications must be "truly outstanding" and reflective of the highest standards of architecture and must enhance the context of the proposed property. SDA have had great success in Paragraph 80 applications, with our most recent property being built in Woodhall Spa for completion in 2024. Work on other similar Paragraph 80 applications is ongoing…watch this space!

Class Q 

First introduced in 2014, Class Q (as it is now) has undergone a series of changes, including (most recently) changes implemented in 2024. Askew development allows the conversion of agricultural buildings to dwellinghouses subject to certain conditions and limitations. SDA have a wealth of experience working with buildings of this type, with our latest success been granted in June 2024. The (ongoing) government changes in policy mean that constant reference to the developing legislation is necessary but a number of applications in cash in hand ensure that we are up-to-date with the latest position.

Building Regulations

Building Regulations drawings are usually the next stage of the development of the project once planning consent has been obtained. These tend to be semi-technical drawings prepared for the purposes of illustrating compliance with the requirements of the Building Act. Where a client requires an absolute level of detail (suitable for taking-off of quantities, and drawings which show every aspect of the detail of the technical construction of a building) a client may instruct tender/working drawings.

Tender Drawings

Tender drawings are highly detailed intricate drawn documents intended to be accompanied by a written specification of works which, as well as amplifying the content of the drawn information also provides essential technical background and legal framework within which building contract can be executed. Tender drawings are generally relied upon by contractors in quantifying materials and labour required to execute contract works. They will contain highly detailed dimensional and construction detail information which must be able to be relied upon entirely by the main building contractor. A comprehensive set of tender drawings will often involve well over 100 hours of input to prepare.


At a residential level, SDA enjoys strong ties with a number of developers in the residential sector. Dealing with schemes ranging from 2/3 residential units (perhaps within a conservation area) up to schemes of well over 130 dwellings, we have developed excellent working relationships with planning authorities and with developer clients. We are generally relied upon for a pragmatic design-orientated scheme which will be welcomed by the planning authorities. 


On a commercial/industrial scale, relying upon over 35 years of post-qualification experience, senior partner Steve Dunn has advised clients on early-stage development proposals for expansion of existing commercial premises and design and construction of new. This knowledge based method of master planning calls upon many years of practical experience dealing with other clients in similar circumstances facing similar questions. It is usually the case that early consultation with someone of such extensive experience in the sector can offer a huge master planning benefit for commercial development where time lost or decisions wrongly made can be very expensive indeed.

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