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Design + Build

Design + Build

What We Do

Design + Build is at the very core of the Zulufish philosophy, and every year since 2005 we have progressively evolved and improved our offering. Our multi-faceted team offers a comprehensive range of specialist skills across the full spectrum of interiors, architecture and construction, enabling us to offer an unrivalled concept-to-completion product.

We create exceptional living spaces, beautifully designed & meticulously delivered to maximise contemporary living requirements. We tailor each individual scheme to suit your style and budget while emphasising your own personality, taste and design flair.

Taking responsibility for both design and build we don’t have the luxury of designing something and leaving it up to the contractor to figure out how to cost and build it, we are the contractor. So, everything we design is built on the foundations of feasibility and a realistic cost awareness.

The traditional architect model adds myriad layers of cost, complexity and conflicting objectives, with no fixed point of contact or clear line of communication. The design often evolves with no real-time cost consideration or understanding of the buildability of the proposed scheme. This can result in delays, hidden costs, miscommunication and ultimately makes the construction more costly and stressful and takes longer to deliver.

Traditional Model

Having one clear point of contact & responsibility not only saves doubling up on fees but also saves time, by having all stakeholders feed back to the one central point of contact, supplemented by a clearly structured channel of communication between client and Zulufish. Market costs and design feasibilities are continuously fed back into the design process, with all parties working towards a common goal.

Design + Build

Buildability and construction costs are consistently fed back into the design loop to ensure our designs are informed by the most cost-effective construction methodology, current best practices and innovations. This means we can offer far more realistic and accurate price guidance throughout the process.

For more detailed information about the architectural stage of the design + build process, please visit our Architectural Design page.

Our core architectural design & build service is supplemented with optional extras such as Interior Design and bespoke joinery, proudly produced and designed in the UK by our sister company HUX London. We integrate all third-party specialists such as AV and structural glazing into our package, to give you a complete one-stop shop and, crucially, one point of contact and responsibility.

Rusholme Road – View

For the construction stage we adopt a negotiated tender approach, where we negotiate the costs and cost engineer the scheme as required to meet your budget. We supply an unpriced scope of works as part of the tender pack, to enable you to get competitive prices from alternate contractors to sense check our costs.

Our methodology is to work with our clients to make all critical decisions and choices in advance of the build going live. We typically work to a 5% contingency on projects where we have developed a fully detailed and itemised specification.

The foundations of any successful build are professional site and project management, quality control and skilled contractors. As we run only a limited number of construction projects simultaneously, we ensure each project is professionally managed and adequately resourced, delivering high-quality build projects within time and budget.

Abinger Road – View

Our team of highly skilled project managers are all Prince II trained construction professionals and bring an additional layer of technical expertise, customer service and a wealth of experience to our projects. We manage project comms through a specialist construction project management software, with daily logs, meeting notes, progress pictures and all the latest drawings continually updated.

For more detailed information about the construction stage of the design & build process, please visit our Build Service page.

The Process

Design Brief & Survey
1
Feasibility

The initial step is for us to fully understand exactly what you want to achieve. We carefully listen to your requirements so that we can design a solution that fits within your budget. After an initial site visit, we prepare a detailed design fee proposal & initial consultation cost estimate. Upon instruction we conduct a full measured survey of the property.

RIBA Stage 0 & 1

2 WEEKS
Design Stage 1 – Concept Development
2
Design

This conceptual stage is a very enjoyable and collaborative process where we work with you to refine the optimum layout for your needs. We offer a full architectural CAD drawing service supplemented by 3D visuals, from basic sketch up to detailed CGIs, to help you fully visualise the proposed scheme.

RIBA Stage 2

4–6 weeks
Design Stage 1 – Planning
3
Design

Once the concepts are signed off, we submit the required planning or permitted development applications & manage the planning process during the statutory ten-week process. We pride ourselves on maintaining over a 90% success rate for planning applications & have successfully designed and submitted hundreds of complex planning schemes for London properties of every shape, scale and hue.

RIBA Stage 3

10 WEEKS
Design Stage 2 – Construction Drawings
4
Design

In preparation for the tender pack we produce a detailed technical drawing package for construction & building control approval, integrating the structural engineer’s drawings and any other third party specialist information. We work with a handful of trusted third-party engineers who design and produce full structural drawings and calculations, and any construction method statements required.

Typically this stage begins after planning permission is granted, however we can start this process earlier if we are reasonably confident of securing planning approval. Clients who are keen to start construction often decide it is worth the risk of proceeding with elements of this phase while awaiting planning permission approval.

RIBA Stage 4

6–8 weeks
Design Stage 2 – Party Wall Awards
5
Design

In most cases structural works will involve a party wall agreement. We will recommend a surveyor who will issue the relevant notices as early in the process as required. As this can be a long lead item we generally recommend starting this process as early as possible in the design phase.

10–12 Weeks (concurrently)
Design Stage 2 – Interior Design
6
Design

When you are spending significant sums on a project the finishes are crucial. We offer a full or hourly rate interior design service that seamlessly integrates with our architectural design process, to help you specify finishes, sanitaryware, colour schemes, fixtures & fittings as required.

Click here to learn more.

8–12 weeks (concurrently)
Negotiated Tender & Contracting
7
TENDER

Whether we are pricing off our own tender pack or a third party we produce a fully itemised and costed scope of works, ensuring our prices remain as competitive and comprehensive as possible. We are transparent with our pricing and will work with you to cost engineer the final scheme as required to fit your budget. Once the construction package is agreed we issue a JCT or FBM contract and deposit invoice to secure the start date.

4-6 Weeks
Meet the Team
8
Construction

Prior to starting on site, we set you up on our project management software and introduce you to your project & site manager, your key contacts throughout the build. We use bespoke project management software to produce dynamic timelines, log meeting notes and upload progress pictures, keeping you fully updated through every step of the project. You can download our app via smartphone or tablet or simply log in on your desktop PC.

2 Weeks
Pre-Commencement
9
Construction

During pre-commencement we create a dynamic timeline that highlights key stages and client milestones and is then dynamically updated through the build to track any changes to the critical path. We also notify all relevant parties to satisfy statutory obligations, such as building control and other applications to relevant authorities.

4 WEEKS
The Build
10
Construction

The site will be kept clean, tidy and fully compliant with Building Regulations and Health & Safety protocols throughout the build. Works will be carried out as efficiently as possible. Your project manager will meet you on site every week, with meeting notes and progress pictures updated every week, tracking each stage of the build. Payments received are documented so you have a reference point for managing your project cashflow, and any cost variations to the contract price are communicated and approved via the software.

12–52+ WEEKS
Practical Completion
11
Construction

Practical completion is when we sign off the house back into your care, after working through a list of final outstanding items.

Retention
12
Construction

After 6 months your project manager will visit to compile a snagging list with you and arrange a suitable time for the works to be carried out.

26 Weeks post PC

For clients who are not under immediate time constraints we recommend commencing Phase 2 design work after planning permission has been granted. This allows you to take more time and fully enjoy the decision-making process of the detailed design phase.

View Example

STANDARD DESIGN / PRE-COMMENCEMENT TIMELINE

For clients who want to start construction works as quickly as possible, we can commence Phase 2 design work and the party wall process while we are waiting for planning permission to be approved.

View Example

CONDENSED DESIGN / PRE-COMMENCEMENT TIMELINE
Dukes Avenue – View

Services & Fees

Our design fees are extremely competitive for the service we provide. We charge a fixed cost for concepts & planning, then a further fixed cost to produce a tender pack for construction. We do not believe in hidden fees or complicated, ambiguous percentage-based fee models. We have three set stages which are based on clear deliverables and the RIBA plan of work. Meaning our clients know the full extent of our fees from the outset, but are only asked to commit on a stage by stage basis. Any third-party specialists are invoiced separately.

Our payment terms are as follows; 

  • Measured Survey – Payment upon appointment
  • Design Phase 1 – Concept Development & Planning – 50% upon appointment, 50% at the point of submission of a planning application
  • Design Phase 2 – Detailed Design/Construction Drawings – 50% upon appointment, 50% before releasing a final set of drawings

Where Zulufish are engaged to undertake the build, all subsequent project management fees are covered within the build price, making the design & build route a very cost-effective choice against a traditional Architect / Contractor model.

We specialise in whole house refurbishment, basements and extensions and our build projects range from £100k – £2m+. All of construction projects are design-led, we don’t just build boxes on the back of houses or do identikit loft extensions. We focus on quality and design.

We are constantly checking our prices against the market and know we offer extremely good value for money for the comparable level of service and attention to detail.

We typically charge a 10% deposit on instruction, which is rebated against the monthly valuations along with a 5% retention, so you pay 85% of every valuation. 97.5% of the balance owed is released at Practical Completion, with the final 2.5% retained for the six month retention period.

For more detailed information about the architectural process please visit our Architectural Design page.

For more detailed information about the construction process please visit our Build Service page.

Why Design + Build?

Typically, an architect will charge 12-15% of the build cost for the initial planning, construction set and implementation of the scheme. As contractors we already allow for a project management service, regardless of whether we are providing a full design and build service, or working purely as a contractor.

We therefore only charge architectural fees to pre-construction, saving around 50% on design fees versus a typical architect model. Further design input on the agreed design is provided free of charge during construction.

The dichotomy at the heart of the traditional Architect model is that architects are incentivised to increase the cost of the build to increase their fees, whereas our design fee is fixed and informed by a real-time awareness of realistic construction costs. We are involved and responsible for managing the delicate balance between design, build quality & cost from every angle, meaning it is in our interest to design the best possible solution for your budget, rather than opt for what turns out to be a more costly design, thus generating more fees.

Architects often undervalue the likely costs of a job knowing their fees will increase when the job is accurately costed up, whereas we are incentivised to keep our construction costs as economical as possible – to win the construction package.

The traditional architect model adds myriad layers of cost, complexity and conflicting objectives, with no fixed point of contact or clear line of communication. The design often evolves with no real-time cost consideration or understanding of the buildability of the proposed scheme. This can result in delays, hidden costs, miscommunication and ultimately makes the construction more costly and stressful and takes longer to deliver.

TRADITIONAL MODEL

Having one clear point of contact & responsibility not only saves doubling up on fees but also saves time, by having all stakeholders feed back to the one central point of contact, supplemented by a clearly structured channel of communication between client and Zulufish. Market costs and design feasibilities are continuously fed back into the design process, with all parties working towards a common goal.

DESIGN + BUILD
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