Looking for a Hassle-Free Home Extension or Renovation?

Here's our guide.

So, you want to extend your home, but the process of transforming your vision into reality is daunting.

You know you need expert guidance and inspiration. But equally, you don't want someone to sell you an impossible dream, promising an extension that will be impossible to deliver in the real world.

Fear not, especially, Hertfordshire, Barnet and North London homeowners and building extenders!

At Simon Kaufman Architects, we're here to guide you every step of the way, with the experience, vision, and expertise to deliver the perfect house extension or renovation project. What's more, we have a fantastic reputation for delivering first-time planning approvals, and home improvements with stunning results. Here's an outline of our process and how we help.

Accurate Site Surveys and Drawings

First, we want to understand your aspirations and find out what is possible. To do this, accurately measuring the existing space is crucial. Our team will conduct a detailed site survey to create drawings of the existing building (plans, sections, and façade elevations) which will form a comprehensive base for our work. These accurate drawings will form the foundation of your project, ensuring the new design proposals seamlessly integrate with your home.

Working with You

We believe in collaboration. It's the only way. We will work closely with you, our client, to explore a variety of design options and floor layouts until we create a space that perfectly fits your needs. We are not here to tell you what to do – we listen, advise on what is permitted under planning and building regulations, and make suggestions to make best use of the space to enhance your living and lifestyle. We only move on to the more detailed drawings when we're sure you're entirely happy with what is being proposed.

Pre-application Submission to the Local Authority

Sometimes there are controversial issues – such as wanting to build next to a neighbour's boundary, or something relatively large for the street, or you are adjacent to the greenbelt. Managing these aspects of the planning process can feel like a bureaucratic labyrinth! But don't worry. Our extensive experience with Hertfordshire and London Planning Authorities means we're exceptionally well-versed in planning policy. At an early stage, we will assess your project and advise on whether it would be wise to have a pre-application consultation with planning officers. This will establish what any potential concerns may be in a non-confrontational way, without the risk of a planning refusal. Then, when the detailed application is made later, we will have had the opportunity to address the issues and, hopefully, already have the planners on our side.

A Collaborative but Firm Approach

Our collaborative approach to planning applications ensures a smooth path to approval and we have an excellent track-record in this regard. We actively and regularly engage with local planning authorities, focusing on their concerns for neighbouring properties, townscape, and street setting harmony. Our high-quality streetscape drawings will showcase your project's positive impact on the neighbourhood, and these are also our speciality. At the same time, we understand the human nature of planning departments – and will put forward firm, resolute responses backed up by solid arguments to win over queries and objections when required.  We aim to secure planning approvals first-time, without delays. Plus, all our pre-planning drawings are meticulously created to be practical to build and set out to comply with building regulations. This means that when we achieve planning permission, you're ready to hit the ground running with the technical design stages for construction.

Choosing Specifications, Materials, and Interior Finishes

Now comes the exciting part where the idea becomes a reality. We've agreed the floor layouts and the design concept – so now it's time to choose the materials, fixtures, finishes, and all the details that will make your space your own. We'll guide you through the selection process, from wall finishes and tiles to the perfect lighting scheme and, maybe, the kitchen of your dreams. It's here that your personality and preferences can take centre stage and where we're here to help, advise and inspire.

Technical Drawings for Building Regulation Approval

Simon Kaufman Architects' expertise extends beyond aesthetics and planning. We'll create and submit the essential technical drawings and specifications required for approval under the building regulations. This statutory requirement for all building work, which is separate from planning, will ensure your project meets all the required safety and structural standards. We create technical drawings to meet regulations on energy efficiency, fire escape, ventilation, disabled access, and all the other complex construction requirements that will ensure your new home will be superb to live in and built to last.

Choosing a Contractor

The technical information we create for building regulations can also be used as the basis from which your builder will be able to quote a price for the construction work. When it comes to choosing a contractor, price and quality are both important, as is the type of building contract. We can guide you through the tendering process to help you secure a reliable builder who offers the right service for a competitive price.

There are different types of building contract available for you to choose from, which suit different situations and different people.  We can advise on the merits of a Design & Build (D&B) contract, or a more traditional route.  And, if you're not sure what we're talking about, don't worry. We'll explain everything you need to know.

Design and Build Contracts

A Design and Build (D&B) contract puts the control and responsibility for all parts of the work in the hands of a single contractor, for a fixed price. On a home extension, this can save a lot of headaches – as once the contract is agreed, you let your chosen contractor get on with the job and manage all the sub-contractor trades like the plumbers, the electricians, decorators, and everyone else. The most important part for you is that at the outset, you have agreed everything that will be built. Once they have started – there is flexibility to change but you need to be wary of additional costs from changing the contract.

In a Design and Build contract, we can help you review the initial contract documents and any contractor's design proposals. This will make sure everything is thought through thoroughly and is as you want it to be. Then, when construction starts, we act as an executive architect as and when you need, monitoring the construction and reporting to you to ensure everything is being built correctly and to a high quality, advising you on your options if any issues arise.

Traditional Contracts

Traditional building contracts like JCT Minor Works, which you may have heard of, put the client in control of the project. A downside is that, at the outset, the construction cost is NOT fixed like in a D&B – it is effectively an estimate that is determined when work is completed. Additionally, there may be multiple points of contact for invoicing and project management for different sub-contractors. Although you can manage the work to ensure the quality is as you want, traditional contracts are more time-consuming for both the client and the architect, who normally acts as the Contract Administrator, with regular meetings and inspections to monitor progress. A traditional contract is typically better suited for larger or more complex construction projects.

During Construction

Whichever route you choose, Simon Kaufman Architects' team has years of practical, hands-on experience on building sites with a solid understanding of what is needed for high-quality construction. We also understand the stresses and strains you may experience during the construction process: what it is like to have builders around your home, and the changes you may need to make to your lifestyle whilst the build is taking place. Rest assured, we will be there to listen, guide and advise you every step of the way.


The most important thing for us, is to make sure your new home is completed and delivered to the highest standard. On completion, we can conduct detailed inspections of the work and ensure it is not handed over until the best quality is delivered, just as you wanted in your original instructions.

Trusted Hertfordshire and North London Architects

At Simon Kaufman Architects, we understand the complexities of Hertfordshire, Barnet and North London home extensions and renovations. We're not just excellent residential designers; we are your trusted partners for planning applications and we're on-site to guide you through the entire process – from the initial spark of inspiration to when you open the door to your new dream home. 

So, if you're thinking of extending your home, look no further than Simon Kaufman Architects. Get in touch with us today and make your home extension a pleasure.