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3A Killycolp Road
Cookstown, Northern Ireland, BT80 9AD
United Kingdom


NEST ARCHITECTS, a vibrant, design led architectural practice located in Cookstown, Co. Tyrone, is committed to creating exciting contemporary residential architecture throughout Ireland and the UK.

Nest Architects Architectural Process

Nest Architects explains the necessary processes required to develop an concept design through to build on site completion.

Nest Architects - Cookstown - Dungannon - Omagh - Moy - Coalisland - Strabane - Magherafelt - Tyrone - Belfast - Northern Ireland - UK

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This blog post will briefly educate those who are unsure of the processes required for building their own future dream home, or extending and renovating their existing home. To get an idea from your head, onto a page, approved by all statutory bodies and eventually physically built can appear a daunting task for anyone not familiar or experienced within the construction industry. For those who find themselves in this position our first word of advice is to appoint a chartered architect, like ourselves at Nest Architects, to assist you through the process. The benefits and experience an architect brings to the table during this process will relieve you of much stress and steer you away from rookie errors that will cost you in the long run. The many benefits of appointing an architect requires a blog post of its own which we will cover in the not too distant future.

Below is a guide to the process Nest Architects offer, outlining what is required at the different stages of the project in order to gain both client and statutory approvals, eventually leading to a successful built outcome. You can also DOWNLOAD our "6 Step Process Summary Document" by submitting your contact details in the form provided at the bottom of this blog!


1. Architect's Pre-Design Services

Nest Architect's advice to anyone with a concept idea in their head, be it big or small, is to contact an architect at these early stages which we have entitled "Architect's Pre-Design Services" as part of our process. It is at this stage you will meet one of our architects to discuss your aspirations, design brief and budget. Through this meeting our aim is to gather a clear understanding of what it is you are hoping to achieve and what your lifestyle requirements are. If your idea involves extending or renovating your current home, it will be necessary to carry out a detailed survey of your current home as the bases to begin designing. Likewise for a proposed new build on an empty site, a site survey will be necessary which again will form the bases of our site analysis leading to the development of your concept idea.

2. Schematic Design

Following our initial meeting where your aspirations have been outlined, we will set about developing an initial concept plan and 3D visuals based on what has been discussed. Our aim is to combine all of your thoughts, refined by our architectural experience, with practicality and innovation to achieve overall design excellence appropriate and unique to you our client and the site context. Once we feel we have a concept design that matches your aspirations, we will arrange a meeting to walk you through the schematic design, explaining the deciding factors behind the outcome we have arrived to. You will receive a copy of these drawings to take home with you allowing you time to digest and analysis what has been presented so that feedback can be provided for the beginning of the next stage - Design Development.

3. Design Development

Very rarely will our initial concept design exactly meet your expectations and so design development will be critical in order to achieve design satisfaction. Sometimes the reason behind this is when the client sees the 3D visuals of a design matching their initial thoughts they suddenly realise this is not the style or approach they like and instead choose to take a different style approach which is perfectly fine. Sometimes it is to minor tweaks to plans regarding the location or size of a living area etc. Design development is a valuable step in the overall process as it is easier to make changes to a drawing at the initial stages and end up with something you like, as opposed to building something and being left with something you dislike. Once feedback has been received from the client, Nest Architects will refine and develop the initial concept design in line with any comments made in preparation for a further meeting with the client to review the changes made. This process will continue until you are 100% happy with the overall design of your future home or renovation/extension.

4. Planning Approval

Once design development has been finalised and client satisfaction has been achieved for the proposed plans, the next stage is to apply for planning approval. Planning approval is necessary for anything to be built, especially in the countryside, of which you can read more on in one of our earlier blog posts covering the options available for planning applications for dwellings in the countryside.  For this stage Nest Architects will compile a full set of drawings that will satisfy statutory requirements for planning submission and planning consideration. During the process of consideration by the Planning Department, Nest Architects will support your application to obtain a positive outcome and planning approval. Once planning has been granted, a client has 5 years to begin the works in order to hold planning for those specific works, otherwise you can pay a reduced fee to renew your planning. If planning lapses, a new planning application will be required at the full cost of the original fee. Any questions surrounding this topic of Planning please do not hesitate in contacting Nest Architects.

5. Building Control Approval

After planning approval has been achieved, the next objective in the process is to secure building control approval. What this stage focuses on is the construction details of the proposed works and how your house will physically stand up, provide protection to the elements and perform sustainably. We take into consideration your preferred heating systems, insulation and windows etc. advising you throughout on all these issues, details which are individually specified depending on your specific needs, construction preferences and budget. This stage will require some input from some sub-consultants, such as a Structural Engineer, of whom Nest Architects will liaise with as and when required in order to develop these constructions details.  A full set of building control drawings will be submitted and Nest Architects will support your application, responding to any questions from building control, until approval has been granted. Once the building control application has been granted, a client has 3 years to begin work the works in order to hold building control approval for those specific works. Any questions surrounding this topic of Building Control please do not hesitate in contacting Nest Architects.   

6. Tender Package & Contract Administration

The final stage in the process involves the mobilisation and overseeing of the works onsite until the build is complete and ready for use. To begin this stage, Nest Architects will produce a full tender package which will include drawings and schedules based on a full specification of the house which will have been agreed with the client covering on things like finishes, joinery details, decoration etc. Once complete, this package is sent out to a number of suitably qualified builders for tender quotations which will be followed by a tender review once tenders have been received. The successful builder/contractor will be appointed and will carry out the build for the tender price submitted so long as there is no amendments to the design during the build. This stage is very useful for those working to a strict budget and requiring a mortgage as you will know exactly how much money you will need to borrow and, due to the build haven been tendered, works will be completed at a competitive rate.   

During the build Nest Architects offers a full contract administration solution to oversee the build through to completion. This includes monthly inspections ensuring that the works is being completed as per the drawings intend it to be, dealing with any issues or questions that arise during the build, keeping track of the build schedule and reviewing the builder's invoices. Review of the builder's invoices is an important process for the client as it ensures that you only release the appropriate amount of money for the work that has been complete so that you are not being overcharged and paying for work that hasn't been completed. Architects Certificates, through to Practical Completion Certificate, will be issued when specific milestones have been reached so that they can be issued to the mortgage company for the release of funds.

The above process covers the steps required to have a project overseen from conception through to completion, however we understand that not every clients' needs are the same so the above process can be tailored to match your individual requirements. For example you may only initially require Nest Architects assistance for our Architect's Pre-Design Services through to Planning Approval stage, latter in time returning for Building Control Approval through to Tender Package and Contract Administration. Or, as some choose to do, appoint us for our Architect's Pre-Design Services through to Tender Package, excluding Contract Administration with the view of carrying out a self build. Our only word on warning regarding this approach is that the detail and quality of the overall outcome may lack and not resemble what was intended due to the exclusion of one person from the build process; that person being the architect who knows the design inside out.

For more information on the above process, or if you have any questions on how this process can be tailored to suit you, please do not hesitate in contacting us at Nest Architects. All our fees are split up into these 6 Stages and you will only ever pay for the work that has been carried out; no advance payments are ever required. We hope you have found this latest blog post informative and we look forward to assisting you on your journey to your future dream "Nest".  

Download our "6 Step Process Summary Document" by submitting your contact details below.

Name *


3a Killycolp Road,




172 Tates Avenue,


BT12 6ND


028 8676 5228

02892 445 445