Frequently asked questions
1. The Studio
1.1 What does Walls Can Be More do?
We use state-of-the-art 3d modelling, rendering and graphic editing technology to carefully and accurately craft all the key details of a building design project and then develop evocative architectural imagery and dimensioned graphical drawings in order to safeguard good design and avoid unnecessary compromise – with its inevitable loss of quality.
1.2 Why should I commission Walls Can Be More?
First, we will help you bridge your "imagination gap": a inability to quickly and easily visualise and judge strengths and weaknesses of your vision before you proceed through the expensive, complex and often demanding process of building a new home or remodelling an existing property.
Second, we value simplicity, transparency and affordability and in response to this we [a] offer four visualisation packages that allow you to transform your home or place of work: wall-by-wall, room-by-room or in "one hit"; [b] the fee for each package is fixed and; [c] approximately 50% lower than the typical median charge-out rate per hour for a visualiser or interior designer.
Third, we seek to form the best possible relationship with the movements of the sun in order to harvest the freely available and natural, light and heat of the sun in order to reduce or even eliminate your consumption of fossil fuels for artificial lighting and heating.
Last but certainly not least, a common thread throughout all of our projects is the promotion of a life-affirming sense of connection with the beauty of the natural world and all the benefits it brings with it, including - one hopes - a sense of calm, tranquility and peace.
1.3 When should I commission Walls Can Be More?
Typically, at the beginning of a project, so we can informally discuss your vision, look around your existing interior and exterior spaces, generate several alternative strategies, explore the advantages and disadvantages of each strategy and then agree the best way forward.
1.4 What is the Walls Can Be More aesthetic?
Our aesthetic can be described as "warm minimalism" and is characterised by clean, simple lines; colours. textures and materials that take their inspiration from nature and a visual and physical harmonisation between architecture and nature, inside and out.
1.5 How far will Walls Can Be More travel for a commission?
With the advances in desktop, mobile and web technologies, Walls Can Be More would be delighted to travel anywhere for an initial consultation. There is no charge for this meeting, apart from our travel costs.
2. The PROCESS
2.1 What are the stages of the Walls Can Be More design process?
The design process is divided into four stages: Discover, which is the careful selection of furnishings, fittings and materials; Define, which is the arrangement of furnishings, fittings and materials according to functional, aesthetic, and behavioral guidelines; ; Develop, which is the art of rendering and digital matte and; Deliver, which is the issuance of the album of design documentation.
2.2 How do we get started?
For general enquiries or bookings you can contact us via email or by filling in and sending the service ticket below. We will then call you to talk about your vision, see whether we can help you with your vision and arrange an initial consultation.
2.3 What happens at the initial consultation?
In a relaxed and informal manner, we will look around your existing interior and exterior spaces, generate several alternative strategies, explore the advantages and disadvantages of each strategy and then agree the best way forward.
2.4 Do you charge for the initial consultation?
No. There is no charge for the initial consultation, apart from our travel costs.
2.5 What other professionals [contractors] might I need on our project?
Any changes in the physical boundaries of a space must be carefully planned so that the structural integrity of a building is not disturbed. Major structural changes in a space, therefore, require the assistance of a professional engineer or architect.
2.6 How long does a project take?
Transforming a wall typically takes 7 days; transforming two rooms typically takes 14 days; transforming a whole-floor typically takes 21 days and; transforming a whole-house typically takes 31 days.
3. The service
3.1 What type of commissions can Walls Can Be More do?
Walls Can Be More work primarily on private residential or commercial projects devoted to the preservation, restoration, renovation or remodelling of the UK's much loved yet antiquated and unsustainable architectural heritage.
3.2 Can Walls Can Be More manage the entire project?
No. We develop a design, prepare a set of tender drawings and specification books which you can use to obtain prices from contractors. A contractor should then be appointed to construct the home. We believe this system will give you certainty, in terms of cost, quality and programming at the point when the contract is entered into.
3.3 Is any project too small?
No. Like the 12th-century cleric, Phillippe of Alsace, we believe that "Rome wasn't built in a day" and so we offer four highly personalised visualisation packages that allow you to transform your home or place of work: wall-by-wall, room-by-room or in "one hit".
3.4 What is the largest project Walls Can Be More can be commissioned for?
Walls Can Be More work primarily on private residential or commercial projects no larger than 150m² or 1750 square feet.
3.5 How are the purchases for furnishings, fittings and materials handled?
Generally speaking, there are three methods for the procurement of furnishings, fittings and materials:
3.5.1 Appoint a consultant to design the project, then appoint a contractor to construct it.
This is the "traditional" form of procurement. Consultants i.e. Walls Can Be More are commissioned. They develop a design, prepare a set of tender drawings and specification books which are used to obtain prices from contractors. A contractor is then appointed to construct the home. This system gives certainty, in terms of cost, quality and programme at the point when the contract is entered into. However, it can be slow and changes that occur after the price has been agreed can be costly.
3.5.2 Appoint a consultant to design the project, then manage the construction yourself.
This involves directly contacting all the trades necessary to construct the project, rather than appointing one main contractor who then appoints sub-contractors to construct the building. Providing it is well managed, this method offers the greatest opportunity for savings and some flexibility for changes during construction. However it carries great risk in terms of keeping to budget and programme because responsibility is fragmented among many different parties. If properly managed however, this method can save money on all the mark ups in the supply chain that accumulate under traditional forms of contracting. It is also possible to benefit from discounts available on building supplies.
3.5.3 Appoint a design and build contractor to design and build the project.
A single contractor is appointed to design and construct the project. This has the advantage of a single point of responsibility for delivery, but the price may reflect the contractors risk, and the absence of independent design consultants can result in lower standards of quality. Design and build can be procured as a two-stage process, with an initial appointment for design only, and then when the design has been agreed, a further appointment to construct. This has the advantage of not committing to the full contract until the design has been agreed, but as there is no effective competition when the construction contract is entered into, it can be more expensive.
4. rules & regulations
4.1 What is Planning Permission?
Planning permission is the consent of your local authority on a proposed building project and is in place to deter inappropriate development. The building of a new dwelling, or extensive changes to existing buildings, usually requires planning permission.
4.2 Do I need Planning Permission?
You can perform certain types of work without needing to apply for planning permission. These are called "permitted development rights". These include internal remodelling*, windows and doors, garages and attached buildings, single-storey extensions, rooflights, loft conversions, two-storey extensions, conservatories, porches, gates, walls, fences and decking.
* While you won’t need planning permission, you will need Building Regulations approval for alterations to load-bearing walls, chimneys, fireplaces or walls around staircases.
4.3 How much does a Planning Permission application cost?
The cost of submitting a planning application varies across the UK, but is currently 462.00 GBP for a full application for a new single dwelling in England. For home improvers, an application in England for an extension currently costs 206.00 GBP.
4.4 How long does Planning Permission last?
All planning permissions automatically expire after a certain period. Unless your permission says otherwise, you have three years from the date full consent is granted to begin building.
4.5 How long does it take to approve Planning Permission?
You should find out whether your application has been approved after eight weeks — although more complex schemes can take longer.
4.6 Can I change my design once I receive Planning Permission?
You can make minor alterations by applying for a non-material amendment. However, major alterations could involve a further application for full planning permission, so discuss your plans with your local planning authority [LPA] first.
4.7 What happens if I am refused Planning Permission?
In England around 75% of applications are granted. If your application is rejected, you can either amend and resubmit having dealt with the reasons for refusal, or you can make an appeal to the planning inspectorate. Around 40% of householder applications that are refused are later granted at appeal.
5.1 What exactly is included in your fees?
Once we receive your signed agreement to our terms, the studio will hand pick furnishings, fittings and materials that meet your design criteria. Then the studio will work out all the key details of a building in three dimensions using SketchUp. The next step is setting up the materials and lighting, then rendering out the image via V-Ray and finally editing the results in Photoshop.
Once we receive the remaining balance, we will issue an album that includes [a] a building information model [BIM] that will give contractors the insight and tools to more efficiently plan, design, construct, and manage your project; [b] visualisations that will convey emotion and engage your imagination; [c] a set of drawings which are prepared to help with the construction of a building and; [d] a book of product specifications that describe the products, materials and work required by a construction contract.
5.2 Is there a contract?
Yes. After our initial consultation, Walls Can Be More will draw up and forward an interior design contract agreement form. Then, when you are ready to proceed, all we need is a phone call and your signed agreement to our terms.
5.3 Isn’t hiring a architectural visualiser or interior designer very expensive?
Typically, yes. A survey by the Architect's Journal reveals the median charge-out rate per hour for an interior designer, senior architectural visualist or visualist in the UK [Excluding London] ranges from 50-£60.00 GBP.
5.4 How can Walls Can Be More save me money?
First, with the impact of new technologies, our studio can deliver tailored design solutions at a fraction of the costs and so our charge-out rate per hour - for the first two years of trading - will be approximately 50% lower than the aforementioned market rate.
Second, we issue an album of design documentation that [a] make it easier for the contractor to price and so may result in a more accurate tender and; [b] reduces the costs associated with not "getting it right the first time"
Third, we believe the "billable hour" is an outdated, inefficient and expensive billing method for visualisation and architectural services so we've replaced hourly billing with a fixed fee for all of our packages.
Fourth, a common thread in all of our project is a deep commitment to harvest the freely available and natural, heat and light of the sun to reduce or even eliminate your consumption of, and dependence on increasingly expensive fossil fuels for heat and light.
5.5 How does Walls Can Be More charge their fees?
On all of our projects, Walls Can Be More requires a 50% deposit and the remaining balance prior to the issuance of the album which incorporates your architectural visualisations and detailed design documentation.
5.6 What payment methods do Walls Can Be More accept?
We will accept payment by bank or wire transfer or through companies that specialise in financial transactions over the internet. These include PayPal and iZettle.
6.1 Where does Walls Can Be More source it furnishings, fittings and materials?
We have a hand-picked international network of creative and innovative manufacturers and brands that have granted us access to their online digital catalogues. These include Porcelanosa, Novacolor, Rimadesio, BB Italia and Fritz Hansen.
6.2 Can you integrate my favourite furnishings, fittings and materials into the design?
Yes. Along with our international network of manufacturers and brands, we also have an international network of 3d warehouses that have granted us access to their online digital catalogues of generic furnishings, fittings and materials.
6.3 What other advantages do you have over other studios?
We integrate into all of our projects, biophilic design principles, that seek to promote a more life affirming sense of connection with the natural world and all of the benefits this brings with it, including - we hope - a sense of calm, peace and tranquility.
6.4 Can you ensure my project is environmentally sustainable?
A common thread in all of our project is a deep commitment to harvest the free and natural heat and light of the sun to reduce or even eliminate your dependence on environmentally destructive fossil fuels for heating and lighting.
7. useful links
7.1 Local Authority Building Control [LABC]
7.2 Designing Buildings Wiki
7.3 Planning Portal
7.4 Homebuilding and Renovating
7.5 The Imagination Gap
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to call, contact us via email or by filling in the form below.:
Tel. [+44] 7980 953374
WALLS CAN BE MORE
Interior Design | Visualisation | Outside in