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Services We Provide

As architects we understand the importance of good design and as such believe that the initial design stages of a project are of critical importance. Following the formulation of the project brief and the correlation of survey information, we will embark on a design exercise working closely with the client using successful presidents, hand sketches, computer aided design and physical models to develop the design.

The office has a long history of involvement with historic buildings and has developed a methodologies for their sensitive repair and adaptation. A portfolio of differing historic projects has enabled the firm to gain a detailed understanding of traditional building techniques and knowledge of long term material performance. Peter Holden is accredited with AABC (Architects Accredited in Building Conservation). AABC was set up at the behest of the HLF, and membership is now a requirement for most large HLF grant aided projects

Architectural design begins with an understanding of the site. Geographic location, the existing built environment and contextual constraints all inform the design of a new building and our design process will begin with a site visit and detailed survey. Initial designs are explored through feasibility studies and help to develop and inform the project brief. Site and condition studies are carried out in-house and when required we will coordinate with other specialist consultants.

Passivehause and Sustainable Design

Detailed design excellence based upon a sound understanding of materials, junction details and building environment systems has enabled us to design buildings that achieve the very best in energy performance. We understand the importance of post occupancy performance and ongoing building maintenance in an ever changing environment so work hard to stay at the forefront of sustainable design and development.

We are experienced in the planning process and helping clients navigate the complex requirements of local planning legislation. We have a positive working relationship with the South Wales Local Authorities as well as Cadw and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority. We have experience in negotiating complex planning applications including conservation area and scheduled monument and listed building consents, National Park applications in sensitive coastal sites, Major applications and public consultation processes.

Building contract management is an essential part of delivering a successful construction project. As contract administrator we will act as an impartial mediator between the two parties and ensure that the selected contractor carried out the works in accordance with the information package provided. Following the introduction of the CDM 2015 regulations, it is now a government requirement that most projects require the appointment of a Principal Designer to plan, manage and monitor Health and Safety during the pre construction work stages. Acanthus Holden Architects can offer this role in compliance with CDM15.

Featured Projects

Our Process of Architectural Design and Project Delivery

(RIBA Work Stages)

A project typically starts with an initial meeting on site with a client. Following a brief discussion over the phone we offer an initial site visit with no charge. If a client wishes to proceed with our services then confirmation of the appointment will be completed with a letter outlining our services in relation to the project, the appointment terms and conditions, our duties and fees, a basic program for the delivery of our services and fee schedule. Following our appointment we will proceed with helping you develop your brief and requirements, carry out feasibility options, advise on additional consultants should they be required and arrange necessary surveys.

Following the survey and brief development stage we will have a clear understanding of the site and your vision for the project. Using hand drawn sketches, three diminutional computer models, and physical card models, we will investigate design options and develop a scheme to a level of detail to enable a meaningful pre application equerry to be submitted to the Local Authority.

Following feedback from statutory bodies a detailed design will be developed to gain planning or listed building consent. This may involve the correlation of various specialist consultants such as engineers and building services designers. At this stage there will be sufficient information to employ a cost consultant to obtain estimates, and make a the formal planning application.

Once planning consent has been granted, further detail and information will be added to the design package enabling the design to be submitted for building regulations approval. At this stage information provided by other consultants such as structural engineers and mechanical and electrical designers will be integrated into the design. At this stage we will advice on the type of building contract to be used, its conditions and responsibilities of the client, the consultants and the builder. The type of building contract selected will influence our level of input on the next stages.

Once a suitable contractor has been selected we will prepare the building contract and arrange for it to be signed, provide the builder with the information required for construction and administer the building contract throughout the construction phase. This process will involve regular visits to the site to ensure the buildings being constructed in accordance with the information provided, answer any queries that the builder may have in relation the project, certify payments for work carried out or completed in accordance with the contract, provide or obtain record drawings showing the completed building and its services. Dependent upon the size of the project we will advise on the appointment of a cost consultant to monitor the financial workings of the project.

Once the building is complete, in accordance with the contract, we will issue a certificate enabling you to take control of the site. We will remain employed by you for a defects rectification period following the completion and manage the making good of defects with the principal contractor. Following this period we will agree on a final account figure and issue an architects final certificate for the project.

About Acanthus Holden

Acanthus Holden can provide both architectural and planning services for projects, a desirable and streamlined combination for many clients. This combination works particularly well on sensitive sites where a planning approach integrated with an intelligent design based solution can really pay dividends.

The practice has provided comprehensive design services that extend from inception to completion on site for more than 25 years. The practice is also acknowledged as one that pursues an environmentally sensitive and sustainable approach to projects and has experience of working on BREEAM and Passivhaus schemes. There are two Conservation Architects in the practice.

Acanthus Holden is well known throughout West Wales for its commitment to design through the conservation and creative re-use of redundant buildings as well as the  design and integration of new buildings in sensitive environments. The Practice has also designed a number of important sustainable buildings and provided Development Control services. Through offering both planning and architectural services, Acanthus Holden has the ability to consider not only the design and immediate setting of any building, but also its impact on the wider environment.

The Practice is the Welsh representative of Acanthus Associated Practices Limited: a national group of firms committed to excellence in Architecture and the Conservation of the Environment.

Now with 7 architecturally trained staff, the office is one of the largest architectural practices in Wales outside of Cardiff and the South East. Staff are encouraged to cycle to work and all take maximum advantage of the surrounding environment which is in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

‘Acanthus have a great track record and the only recent complete restoration of a local or even UK Norman castle. They know the current local capabilities and have worked with all the local craftsmen. The have UK wide knowledge and experience and know the historical building techniques and materials of the area.’

Keith Griffiths
Owner & Chairman of Aedas

Meet the Team

Now with 8 architecturally trained staff, the office is one of the largest architectural practices in Wales outside of Cardiff and South-east Wales. Staff are encouraged to cycle to work and all take maximum advantage of the surrounding environment and the nearby Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

Past Clients

Get in Touch

Feel free to drop us a line to contact us