For this week’s blog, we thought we talk you through some of the latest home trends for 2018.



Homeowners will continue to want to maximise their available space whilst maintaining their ever increasing desire for natural light through large glazed openings.

Orangeries styles will continue to attract strong investment from homeowners and perhaps the Loggia too as people begin to become more familiar with the world’s newest and most sophisticated home extension. A Loggia is an exterior room with one or more sides open.

Glazed Opening:

The continued sales of roof lanterns are set to go through the roof this year (excuse the pun!), embracing an increase in the once despised flat roof. Homeowners want more light in their properties and a roof lantern gives it to them in abundance.

Larger glazed areas with bigger more minimalist glazed openings with sliding doors slowly moving ahead as an alternative option to bi-fold doors. This mixed with more natural looking external finishing materials such as concrete and stone façades. We may see contrasting darker woods such as bleached walnut see the pendulum swinging away from previously washed oaks.

The broader tastes of the population may also see an increase in the number of coloured windows and doors. The classic whites and blacks will never fall out of favour, but the more daring out there are now seeking alternatives to traditional finishes for their new windows and doors.

Internal Styles:

Retro industrial styles are making a comeback, but with a twist! Think industrial style with a touch of more varied colour tones, rich metals, exposed structures, alternative designs……. It’s called Modern Industrial.

Don’t be afraid to add a colourful and modern pinch into your industrial interiors when you are considering your finishing touches.

Interiors Finishes:

Firstly, if you’re considering larger open areas, then warmer shades are the way forward. White can feel cold and stark in larger areas, or simply mix with some warmer shades and accessories.

Oversized floral print wallpaper, it’s all about full-on colour and larger than life prints. This style takes its influence from the colour loving sixties and seventies. The key to this look for 2018 is the style of florals, hand drawn, painted or printed abstract designs in punchy pastels or primary colours.

So 2018 is set to see the colour of our rebellious teens, and Pantone’s Colour of the Year 2018, Violet. Yes, I am talking about that fierce, power-glam purple we all loved so many years ago. The colour we all wanted to paint on the walls but were never brave enough, well now’s the time to step back, be brave and do it right.


Over the past few years, there’s been a strong focus on a more modern and minimalist interior style. We think for 2018 there will be a shift towards maximalism and 80s-influenced design. We’ll see this style through mixing vibrant colours, striking patterns and contrasting textures within interior spaces. Strong wallpapers and paint colours, as well as bold objects, will be important in achieving this look.

Be brave, 2018 is a perfect time to be expressive and have fun with your extension and interiors.

Give us a call today to have a FREE 30-minute consultation to discuss your home extension ideas.

How long does an extension take?

We estimate on average most builders will take between 10 and 12 weeks to build a home extension, although depending on the size and specification of the project these timings can sometimes take slightly longer.

Depending on the size and complexity of your project, the length of time can vary considerably. A small extension may take only 3 months, a larger extension maybe 6 months. A full new build large house on a complex site could easily take 12-18 months.

Two of biggest things that can regularly add time onto the length of construction are; bad weather and changes to the design. The weather is a difficult one to predict, as building in the UK you can have lots of rain any time of year! It is advisable to avoid starting a build during the winter as cold frosty conditions are not good for building in.

Many clients make changes to the design once the construction has started. This is fine but you must be prepared for additional costs and a delayed completion if work has to be redone.

Another common delay is not having an architectural designer because this can lead to simple errors that result in delays further down the road.

We hope this has answered many of your initial questions and queries that you will experience when considering your proposed project.

Be sure to check our other blog posts in this series Architectural Designer feesPlanning Permission and Extension Fees.

“Had Paul design our extension, the builders were really impressed with the attention to detail and the design practicality. The extension is now complete and has vastly improved our home. Thanks, Paul, really good job! I would definitely recommend.”

Lee Smith
16th December 2017

If you would like to discuss your potential project in more detail please contact us at LiteBox Architecture on 02476 629192 or

We look forward to hearing from you.

Extension Cost

Projects can be designed and built to meet a specific financial budget. For instance, a domestic project from experience would cost in the region of £1,200 – £1,500 per m2. This reflects recent price increases over the last few years. If you’re developing an extension within London and some parts of the South East, these figures can increase to £1,500 – 2,000 per m2.

In addition to this, you will need to include approximately 10-15% for professional fees (architect, planning application, building regulations, structural engineer)

And let’s not forget to include 20% VAT that will need to be included on top of your total fees.

So how do the fees increase if you decide on a double storey extension? The general rule of thumb you can add 50% extra to the build cost of a single storey extension.

For instance

£30,000 for a single storey extension

Add 50% of the single storey fee for a double storey extension = £15,000

Double storey extension = £45,000

In addition to the fees would be specialist products ie bi-fold doors, roof lights or lanterns, underfloor heating etc.

What About my Kitchen and Bathroom? 

The above costs generally will not allow for your kitchen and bathroom costs or flooring and floor and walls finishes.

We would normally advise allowing between £3000 – £5,000 for a bathroom and £10,000 for a kitchen (again, completely depends on your specification, but this should get you a lower-midrange kitchen with appliances)

Looking for a FREE consultation? We offer 30 minutes at no cost to you. Call us today.

What is planning permission and will I need it?

Generally, most projects require Planning Permission and also Building Regulations approval before works can commence on site. Each project differs in requirements i.e, is your property in a conservation area or is your property Listed? If so Listed Building Consent will be required and in some cases, conservation area consent is required.

Permitted development rights are available however these are dependent on a number of factor such as location, size of the site, size of the proposal, has there been any other development on site

I always recommend Informal pre-application discussions with planning prior to any formal submissions, they greatly help a project in the initial stages of development. Planning are there to help and being aware of a forthcoming project is useful in that respect.

How long does it take to get planning permission?

Usually minor projects have a set timescale of 8 weeks from the date the local planning department have validated the application. For major developments, this can take 13 weeks. However, this also depends on the workload and staffing levels at the local authority.  Over recent years we have noticed various departments for planning requesting extensions of time to make decisions on applications.

What is building control and how long does it take?

The Building Regulations are concerned with the constructional details of buildings and set down minimum standards to safeguard the health and safety of persons in and around buildings; conserve fuel and power and provide facilities for disabled people. They are applied by all local authorities in England and Wales and therefore apply on a national basis. However, since recent changes in the law approved inspectors or private building control companies have taken over a large sector of the market providing a more customer-based efficient service.

Building regulation approval will normally take between 2-4 weeks depending on the type and size of project. Once your plans have been approved by building control they will carry out a series of site visits to check the completion of works at various stages. On completion of the works building control will carry out their final check and issue a final completion certificate providing all the works comply and the necessary certificates have been completed such as Gas Safe and Electrical installation.

If you’re planning a project this Spring / Summer call us today for a FREE 30-minute consultation 02476 629192 or email

Architectural Designer Fees

Architectural designer fees are calculated in three ways: a percentage basis; a lump-sum basis; or time charged by agreement. Expenses may be included in the agreed fee or charged separately.

Percentage basis

In this method, fees are conveyed as a percentage of the total construction cost. Both client and architectural designer need to establish the services to be provided before fees can be estimated including the approximate construction budget and the nature of the work.

Lump-sum basis

Best used where the scope of the work proposed can be clearly defined from the outset. It is important to define the parameters of Architectural designer services including time, project size and cost where applicable, so that if these are varied more than an agreed amount, the lump sum itself may be varied.

Time-charged basis

This basis is best used where the scope of work cannot be reasonably foreseen or where services cannot be related to the amount of construction. It may be wise to set an upper limit on fees to be incurred, perhaps on a staged basis.

As a very rough guideline, architectural designer fees for a domestic project could be anywhere in the region of 5-15% of the overall project budget, dependant on the factors set out above. The following figures are taken from independent annual fee survey, showing average fees relative to the whole project budget and include all of the project stages listed above:

  • £25K – 10.7%
  • £50K – 9.9%
  • £75K – 9.5%
  • £150K – 8.7%
  • £500K – 7.3%
  • £1M – 6.5%

If you’re planning a project this Spring / Summer call us today for a FREE 30-minute consultation 02476 629192 or email

A Client-Focused Service:

At LiteBox Architecture we focus on providing a service that extends well beyond producing a set of drawings. We aim to listen and identifying the needs and aspirations of our clients, we bring our specialist skills, knowledge and experience to your project.

Value for Money:

Not only can we provide value for money, but professional attention to detail that will achieve value through the most efficient use of space and careful selection of materials and finishes. Environmental sensitivity, energy efficiency and low running and maintenance costs can bring extra benefits to your project and long-term savings!

Freedom from Worry:

LiteBox Architecture can guide you through the complex procedures of planning permission and building regulations and monitor the builder’s programme of works through to completion of your project. We are also obliged to carry professional indemnity insurance – giving you peace of mind.


Whether you’re looking for tradition or innovation, boldness or understatement, we can lift your project out of the ordinary. Many people will offer to alter your building. It takes an architect to maximise its potential and to do it with flair, imagination and style.

A building project, whatever its scale, can be daunting, but the same basic criteria apply, be it a simple house extension or a large office development. When you use our services you are employing someone who has years of professional training and experience.


When you employ a designer, you’re paying for their knowledge, skill and experience – not just a set of drawings. Usually, the final drawings are produced relatively quickly at the end of a design process that involves discussion between client and professional. Sketch plans are drafted along the way and the ideas generated are either kept or rejected as the design progresses.

Whilst imagining a design, we are thinking about how it will be built, the structural implications, the Building Regulations that apply and the likely cost. If these things are not considered during the initial design they may present problems later on.

Most people appreciate that an architect’s ‘unique selling point’ is good design. But what does this mean? The role involves a lot more than simply ensuring that the end result looks great. A truly good design by an architect does a lot more than this. It means that the new rooms and spaces fit the lifestyle of the family living in the space, the detail of the construction has been well thought out, and the project is broadly within the budget that was agreed.

To achieve all these wonderful things requires expertise and skill, but also adequate time has to be spent by the designer on all stages of the project. This attention to detail is just as important for a house or extension as it is for a posh office development – arguably more important since there is an intimate relationship between a dwelling and its occupants that doesn’t apply to other types of building.

Let’s start your inspiring design today.

Project: Loft Conversion to Existing Mid Terrace 3 Bedroom House

This is the second instalment of our loft conversion case study and is the exciting part that follows the work undertaken by Oakland Mills week by week.

Week 1

Work starts on site and the scaffold is erected outside to allow a suitable working platform for this loft conversion. The dusty loft is cleaned and cleared of the original insulation to expose all areas of the loft.

Week 2

The fabricated structural steelwork arrives on site and is installed to create the skeleton framework for this loft conversion. Two new steel beams will be positioned above the existing ceiling joists and fixed on padstones into the existing party wall to the front and rear of the loft floor plan. A third beam will be installed under the existing ridge timber in order to support the existing roof and the new flat roof dormer. Timber inserts are fixed with the steel beam flanges and metal banding is fixed to support the existing ceiling joists once the original ceiling binder is removed.

Week 3

The builders have been fighting against the weather but have managed to strip the existing concrete roof tiles in preparation for the new dormer structure. The breathable roof felt will provide a much-needed dry working environment sheltered from the weather.

Next, the low-level stud walls are constructed on top of the steel floor beam and the new rafters are fixed alongside the existing rafters leaving a storage access hatch. The new floor joists are installed between the new steel floor beams and fixed into position using joist hangers. We can now start to see the basic shape of the loft room coming together.

The first hole in the internal ceiling as the builders break through the first opening into the landing area for access to materials.

Week 4

It’s a bright sunny day and time to open up the rear roof and start work constructing the large flat roof dormer. Quickly the external shelf of the dormer and flat roof decking is installed and the breathable felt is wrapped around the structure within the day to provide some external weatherproofing. The next day the rubber flat roof membrane is bonded to the flat roof decking and the dormer is completed with vertical tiles the façade.


Week 5

The existing roof structure is ready to be removed now the roof has been successfully supported and is now protected from the weather. Work can now begin on the internal areas of the loft conversion.

Quickly the loft conversion is insulated with a polyurethane rigid insulation board packed between the rafters allowing a 50m air gap above. The Velux roof lights are installed to the front elevation sloping roof allowing the natural daylight to flood the room, what a difference this makes to the once dark, dusty loft.

The work progresses, and the internal areas are fully insulated, stud walls are erected and the walls are boarded ready to be plastered.

The new UPVC windows are installed to the dormer and the en-suite springs to life although we are still waiting for the bathroom suite.

Week 6

The external flat roof dormer is now completed with the UPVC facia, soffit and guttering and the lead flashing is installed.

The big day finally arrives and the new timber staircase is installed allowing natural daylight to lighten up the existing dark landing area.

Week 7

The plasterers have arrived ready to give the loft room a nice smooth plaster finish. This will take approximately 14 days to sufficiently dry out before the walls can be applied with a backing coat painted finish.

Week 8

The scaffolding is gone and showcases the new rear elevation and the flat roof dormer.

The new bathroom suite has arrived and the plumber is busy fitting the suite whilst new tiles are fixed to the floor and walls. At last the en-suite is complete and looks great.

The plastering has dried out and the doors, skirting and electrics have been installed and the loft conversion is ready for the final decoration and new carpet.


After 8 weeks this loft conversion is finally complete within budget, and our clients are happy. The loft conversion looks fabulous and has created a large much needed bright bedroom. From this old dark and dusty loft to a bright and spacious bedroom with en-suite.

If you have a loft conversion or extension in mind, contact us at and let’s start designing your project today.

The long-anticipated 20% increase in planning fees on applications submitted in England has now come in to effect from 17thJanuary 2018.

The increase is the first since 2012 and will affect all applications where a fee is currently required to be paid to Local Planning Authorities (LPAs). In addition, the regulations introduce a fee of £96 for prior approval applications to permitted development rights that were introduced in April 2015 and April 2017. These include the rights for the installation of solar PV equipment on non-domestic buildings, the erection of click-and-collect facilities within the land area of a shop and the provision of temporary school buildings on vacant commercial land for state-funded schools. The new regulations also include provisions for LPAs to charge a fee in instances where permitted development rights have been removed either through Article 4 directions or conditions.

Mayoral development corporations and urban development corporations will also be able to charge for giving pre-application advice on relevant developments within their jurisdictive areas.

The increase comes at a potentially challenging time for both private and public sectors. With increasing planning and development costs, including CIL and S.106, as well as wider uncertainty over Brexit, front-end increases will place an added financial burden on developments, especially on larger schemes. Equally, many planning departments have suffered from cuts to service and are struggling to determine applications within the statutory 8 and 13-week deadlines, as well as dealing with pre-application requests.

The increase in fees is intended that the additional monies will help LPAs to improve planning resources and service delivery, which many applicants will welcome, especially if this helps deliver more certainty over decisions and the time taken to make them.

How the Fee’s have Increased?

The increase covers all current LPA fee’s this is just a highlight of the main fees:

  • Creation of a dwelling house: £462 (currently £385)
  • Creation of non-residential floor space (retail, leisure, commercial, office, etc): 75sqm >     3,750sqm: £462 per 0.75 sqm (currently £385)
  • Maximum OUTLINE: £150,000 (currently £125,000)
  • Maximum residential FULL: £300,000 (currently £250,000)
  • Change of Use: £462 (currently £385)
  • Householder Extensions and alterations: £206 (currently £172)

At LiteBox Architecture we feel communication is key, we aim to keep our clients up to date on important changes given the direct impact they will have. For further clarification of fees check out

For more information on this matter, or how it could affect you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on 02476 629192 or

So, you’re thinking that you need more space for the family and you’re in two minds to either extend your existing home or move. This is a common dilemma for most families as space becomes a competition between moody teenagers, kid’s toys, quiet areas and a daily argument over who uses the bathroom first. Well firstly, let’s address the idea of moving house. You have the additional expense to move up the ladder to the next size house along with stamp duty, estate agent’s fees, legal fees and the cost to make your new house into a home so it’s just the way you want it. These costs can quickly spiral out of control but there may be potential to extend or alter your existing home where you may be happy with the location, neighbours and the house is how you always wanted it to be but you just need some extra space. Most clients are either looking for a larger kitchen/dining area or that additional bedroom. The most cost-effective extension to your home is to convert your existing loft space to create either a master bedroom and en-suite or two smaller bedrooms. The space is already there gathering dust and is usually just an ideal hiding spot for the Christmas tree.

The Affordable Way to Add Space to Your Home

The four main essential criteria for a loft conversion are:

  1. Minimum 2.3m headroom that is comfortable, although there is no minimum requirement for building regulations.
  2. Space for a new staircase with minimum 2m headroom, including the landing area at the top.
  3. Traditional roof construction as oppose to trusses (trussed roofs can be converted but are a little more tricky and costly).
  4. Means of escape (protected stair shaft) for fire to conform to the building regulations Part B.

Loft conversions normally take between six to eight weeks to construct from start to finish. There is no requirement for planning approval (unless your building is listed or within a conservation area) providing you stay with the rules of Permitted Development. However, you will be required to submit an application to building control to comply with current building regulations. This can be completed within two to four weeks dependant on current workloads.

I would always advise engaging an architect or architectural designer to create the best design of the space as loft conversions are more specialist and the existing roof structure needs to be properly supported.

Once completed these once dusty, dark inhabited spaces are transformed into large, bright open spaces with a completely different vibe and all the excitement of that magical fantasy room you dreamt of as a child. They provide a space that covers the entire floor plan of your existing house making them spacious and ideal master bedrooms. Further to this, extra space and headroom can be achieved with the addition of a flat roof dormer as part of the design.

With the vast variety of modern material to hand these dormer lofts can be transformed to make an architectural statement and shake off that image of the 1970s/80s ugly box sticking out of the roof. With the addition of cleverly placed glazing and cladding material the space really can look just as magical on the outside as they do on the inside.

What exactly can you expect from our initial free meeting, how can you use the time wisely and what questions should you ask?

Let’s get started and find out more about what to expect and how to prepare for a free home consultation with LiteBox Architecture.


1: What will you achieve from a 30-minute consultation?

Firstly, this gives us a chance to digest two things, your property type and your style of living. From here we can guide you on what we feel is the best outcome, taking into consideration space and your budget.


2: What questions should you ask?

  • What can be achieved for my budget?
  • How will my project affect my neighbours?
  • What materials will be used?

Having some ideas and questions written down to discuss regarding your project is a great idea. Make sure you talk to your partner or family before our visit to understand everyone’s expectations and requirements.

We will listen to your ideas, needs and desires for the planned space you wish to create before we make any suggestions or recommendations.

We will look at the existing style and layout of your home and how this relates to your proposed project. This will also give us the opportunity to assess how your project could affect your neighbours and any other potential issues that could arise.

We will also be looking at how your project can be constructed, thinking of all the construction details and specifications required that meet with your approval and to ensure any building regulations are fulfilled.

Discussing budget is incredibly important and we recognise that it can be a sensitive conversation but it’s always best if you are honest from the beginning with how much you have or can afford to spend on the project. We will always be honest when it comes to telling you if this is in-line with your project’s size and requirements.

We will discuss with you our process of working, from conception to completion, and what would be involved in the work we produce. We will indicate the approximate cost to provide our service, which will be followed up within two days with a written estimate confirming our overall fees to work with you on your project.


3: What questions will we ask you?

To gain a better understanding of how we can add value to your project we will ask you some questions.

  • Do you have the funds in place to carry out the project?
  • Do you have a builder on board or would you like us to recommend someone?
  • Is your home listed, within a conservation area or a green belt?
  • What are you trying to achieve from your project? Additional space, another room etc. We might be able to suggest an alternative approach to gain the same space that could reduce timescales or cost.
  • When would you like to start construction and when do you want it completed by?


4: If you decide to use our services what happens next?

We help to turn your dreams into reality.

Coventry Office

LiteBox Architecture
Unit 7, Colliers Way
Spring Hill Industrial Estate,
Coventry, CV7 8HN

T: 02476 629192

Solihull Office

LiteBox Architecture
Suite 3, 99 York Road
Hall Green,
Birmingham, B28 8LH

T: 02476 629192

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LiteBox Architecture

T: 02476 629192

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