Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about how we work
Yes, we can help you. This is a common question and we have some different approaches for you.
First of all, I would suggest browsing through our Planning Q&As to see if any aspect of your circumstances has been described previously. If this does not answer your query, you could use our WebChat feature where you exchange instant online messages with one of our team. You’ll see our WebChat button in the lower right corner of our website, green during our business hours (ie one of us is ready to answer you) and grey out of business hours (when you can leave a message).
Alternatively, you could email us from our Contact page. You might want to do this if your query is complicated or not straightforward. We will quickly respond by email. If we think that a phone call would be easier to address your issue, then we will call you on the phone number that you have provided.
Yes, we’re always happy to chat with you, with no charge. We see many household projects, including extensions and loft conversions, that do not require planning permission and do not require our architectural drawing services. Equally, we see many projects that do not require planning permission but the householder has decided to apply for a Lawful Development Certificate, consequently engaging our drawing services.
We will give an honest opinion on the options that are available to you. It is not in our interest to do work that is not necessary as we want you to be 100% satisfied.
Your project will be assigned to one of our project managers who will be your primary point of contact for the entirety of your project. Your project manager will liaise as necessary with external surveyors and structural engineers in addition to working closely with the designer appointed to your project.
You will also engage directly with the designer, using Zoom video to interact and view both 2D and 3D images of the work in progress.
This may not be necessary, it depends on how the property is measured. If you feel confident enough to measure the property yourself, this is an option that will save you money. We have prepared a video that will take you step-by-step through the process of capturing all the dimensions that are required by our designer. Check out the video.
Alternatively, you can engage surveyors to visit your property to perform a laser-assisted measured survey. This may cost in the region of £300. They will provide efkor with a point cloud file, whereupon we will transform the data into a 3D model of your existing property.
No, we can use the same measurements used for planning purposes.
Yes, we can. Many of our clients already know what they want but we are always keen to help you create more space in your home. If you want different ways of creating that space, our designers are up for it.
No, we don’t charge extra for design revisions. I know that some of our competitors only issue a single version of the design and then charge upwards of £75 per hour for any amendments. This is not our approach.
We offer a Fixed Price, which means that we will continue revising our design at no extra cost until you are 100% satisfied. But just to ensure that we have not committed ourselves to a lifetime of design changes (!!), there is a proviso that client design revisions must be completed within 30 days of the initial design. As our designers generally turn around a design revision within 24 hours, that gives you plenty of time to get your design just right. However, this 30-day limit does not apply if the Local Authority asks for minor amendments to the design.
Note that where you or the planning officer request a full redesign or a new council application, we provide you with a fixed quote for the new work.
We are not structural engineers and so do not provide structural calculations. We work closely with a firm of structural engineers who provide fairly-priced calculations. There is no need for a separate site visit from these engineers who are experienced at working remotely; they will work using a combination of our drawings, your photographs and, possibly, virtual site inspections!
We request a £50 deposit in order to trigger our process of setting up your project file. As part of this process, we will help you appoint surveyors if this is required.
When we receive the survey data, from either yourself or the instructed surveyors, this triggers a request for the balance of payment. Where you have ordered drawings for both planning and building control, payment is only required initially for the planning drawings. When planning permission has been granted, payment then becomes due for the building control drawings. If planning permission is not granted and you decide not to pursue the project, a credit is issued for the building control drawings.
Yes. Although you can submit the applications yourself, most of our clients prefer to leave application submission to ourselves – there is no additional charge. As part of this service, we will obtain an Ordnance Survey map of your property, complete the application form and submit the forms with all necessary drawings to the council for checking. We will register ourselves as your agent and advise you how to pay your application fee directly to the council. We will also monitor the progress of the application on your behalf, ensuring that any feedback from the Council Officer is communicated promptly.
Yes, there are fees payable in respect of both planning and building control applications and these are your responsibility. If you have instructed us to submit the applications on your behalf, we will provide you with an internet link that allows you to pay such fees to the local council directly online.
efkor charges highly-competitive pricing because we are geared to understand our clients requirements and to rapidly transform them into realistic architectural designs. We are highly cost-effective in how we obtain measurements, produce 3D models and deliver drawings that reflect the clients desire for new usable space.
Architects, on the other hand, charge for a whole range of services, not just their drafting time. They charge for time spent speaking with you on the phone, driving to your property, measuring your property, drawing sketches and taking photos. They will research your project for the optimal layout, lighting, materials and construction methods and then produce alternative designs, submitting each for your approval and revision. All of this time is charged, in addition to the time spent on the project by their administrative staff.
efkor takes just days to deliver drawings because our procedures are focussed on moving the project rapidly and effectively through each task. We embrace 3D modelling to perfectly capture and deliver the clients design aspirations. Our Customer Portal permits all data and drawings to be instantly accessible by all participants. We use communications and video technology to ensure efficient participation by the client.
Architects aren’t able to organise their work for a fast and efficient throughput because so much of their work cannot be organised into tightly-defined tasks. An architects time is spread very thinly across several projects with very different demands on time for preliminary designs, research and client discussions. The architect will always prioritise high-value projects for regular clients and so the tasks required on small domestic jobs like a single storey extension or a dormer loft conversion will always be of secondary importance. This is the reason why an architect will quote a delivery time for your first set of plans in terms of weeks or months!
The cheapest way is by using an online service. Each month, 1000s of people are doing precisely this. They are:
- Measuring their own house, using just a tape measure
- Taking photos of their house, using a smart phone
- Fairly sure what size/kind of extension design or loft conversion design they want
- Confident about being able to source a builder themselves
- Prepared to spend the time required on managing the build
If you are comfortable with online purchasing and identify with the client profile described above, efkor will provide you with low-cost planning drawings.
We only offer a Fixed Price because we have found that our clients overwhelmingly dislike fees that are set at an hourly rate; there is a belief that hourly rates leads to overcharging.
We are able to offer a Fixed Price because we are super-efficient at every task we complete. Our project managers keep the projects moving through all the stages; our designers concentrate on the design and not on project administration; our 3D modeller does nothing but produces 3D models etc. We know how long each task takes and we can therefore price the entire job accurately. Although some projects will consume more design time than others, we know that design time can be averaged across a group of projects.
Architects generally find it difficult to offer fixed price contracts because they are unable to reconcile their way of working with a commodity pricing approach.
From a technical standpoint, there is no difference at all. From an operational viewpoint, our drawings will arrive much faster. And be very much cheaper.
Have a look at these:
Most refusals are accompanied by an explanation. We will advise you on how you might address the issues raised by the Council. If the solution is a minor revision to the existing drawings, we will complete the revision and resubmit the application at no extra cost.
If you are unhappy with any aspect of the service, then Marc (founder director) will not be happy either.
Please email Marc in the first instance explaining the problem with your suggestion of how it can be fixed. Marc will respond immediately.