Frequenty Asked Questions

  • Cafes

    What are the number of covers that can be achieved in the space?

    In addition to commercial, other considerations may be ambience, privacy and toilet facilities offered

  • Catering offer – what is the menu offer?

    Mechanical design factors such as extract depends very much on the type of cuisine. Do you want customers to see into the cooking space – is this part of the dining experience? If so, the kitchen design should consider aesthetics from customer side in addition to practicality.

  • How feasible is it to have external seating?

    Logistics – proximity to the pass and prep, licencing, loss prevention, staffing. Is there somewhere to store the external furniture out of trading hours?

  • How do I go about adding external seating?

    This is an application that needs to be approved by the Local Authority and Landlord as a minimum.

  • How can I increase the opening hours?

    This is an application that needs to be approved by the Local Authority and Landlord as a minimum.

  • What are operational logistics for cleaning and maintenance?

    If the client is taking over an existing café then the cleaning regime needs to be reviewed and ideally improved upon. If new equipment is to be installed then this in many ways is easier as the design can and should be practical, clean and safe.

  • How does the design accommodate different needs throughout the day?

    This could include the following: hot beverages and pastries to go in the morning, sit down lunches in the afternoon and small plates and liquor in the evening.

  • Education

    Can refurbishment work be undertaken out of term time?

    Programme, in addition to cost, are key. If the proposed works include external construction then forward planning with the construction team is essential.

  • Have you made consideration in the design for boisterous children? What’s the longevity of the design?

    Specification of materials and construction should be safe, robust and easy to maintain.

  • Can you accommodate our space requirements in the footprint we’ve got?

    Depending on budget, it may be possible to design multi-purpose rooms with features such as improved acoustics, the ability to open up into a hall, adaptable lighting for productions or feature integral audio visual or special needs requirements.

  • What are the key points for school drop off and pick up timing?

    Straightforward and safe ingress and egress of pupils, staff, visitors, parking and delivery vehicles may have bearing on the design of the layout but also impact the landscaping of key areas.

  • Hotels & Hospitality

    How much?

    In pure construction cost terms, the cheapest route in refurbishment is often to fully close the hotel to give the contractor an opportunity to work as strategically and efficiently as possible without inconveniencing guests with building works noise, limited parking etc. However, a complete loss of revenue over a lengthy period and risk of regular losing loyal patrons to another hotel may necessitate a phased approach, adding time to the programme and therefore increasing cost.

  • How many guests can I accommodate? What can we do with the space while we’re quiet?

    You may wish to consider a range of room sizes and facilities to appeal to a range of guests, which may include the ability to host functions for the local community, businesses and weddings. This in turn raises questions regarding what cooking, staffing and parking facilities the hotel offers.

  • What are the health and safety considerations during the project?

    Depending on the size and duration, it is likely that a Principal Designer will be employed to ensure all pre-construction health and safety matters are covered with the team.

  • Can you help assemble a team of consultants to deliver the project?

    Yes. We regularly assemble the team on behalf of the client which may include a Quantity Surveyor, Project Manager, Structural Engineer, Services Engineer, Principal Designer and contractor.

  • Leisure

    How quickly can you do it?

    In pure construction cost terms, the cheapest route in refurbishment is often to fully close the facility to give the contractor an opportunity to work as strategically and efficiently as possible. However, a complete loss of revenue over a lengthy period and risk of regular losing loyal customers to another hotel may necessitate a phased approach. This adds time to the programme and therefore increasing cost.

  • Can SKK Design recommend contractors?

    Yes, we have several quality contractors around the UK that we would be happy to recommend, depending on the size and location of the project.

  • What’s it going to cost?

    Influencing factors include spatial and services design, facilities offered (such as restaurant and or café) , specification and level of finish, furniture, construction duration and ongoing maintenance.

  • Can SKK Design manage the approvals/build process?

    Yes. We regularly assemble the team on behalf of the client which may include a Quantity Surveyor, Project Manager, Structural Engineer, Services Engineer, Principal Designer and contractor.

  • What approvals am I going to need?

    This is an integral part of our role and may include the following mandatory consents – Building Regulations, Planning, Listed Building, Party Wall, Landlord and Liquor Licencing

  • How many showers and toilets do I need?

    This is dependant upon the number of guests and staff and then set to British Standards. Thought should be given in this regard to future expansion.

  • What customer and staff facilities do I need to provide?

    To be established at the briefing stage so all are captured and costed at an early stage and may include enhanced acoustics to key areas, accommodation of special needs, future expansion etc.

  • What licences are required to trade?

    To be established at an early stage and may include gambling, liquor, changes in trading hours.

  • Refurbishment of an existing Office

    What can be retained?

    This very much depends on how the space has been left by the previous tenant and what your business needs are. Step 1 is to understand your requirements and expectations and review the space from there. Easy ‘wins’ are the retention of services, raised access floors, ceilings and lighting, comms rooms (ideally with standalone air conditioning) and the positioning of breakout/ tea points.

  • How quickly can it be done?

    A brief, site analysis and draft proposals can be provided within a few days.

  • Can this department continue once works have commenced?

    How many days will employees have to work from home? Both are dependent on the programme duration and type of works being undertaken. Clearly noise, dust and fumes are factors, as are loss of welfare facilities, intermittent or a loss of power, data and telephones. A lack of ‘swing space’ (an area in which staff can temporarily occupy) can also limit logistics optins for the team.

  • We need to keep a safe working environment for all, how do we achieve this?

    By planning and management of activities on site, with early communication to all stakeholders – which may include points raised above.

  • What elements of work can be done out of hours?

    Dependant on the landlord, Local Authority and neighbours. If possible, is is desirable to have noisy and or intrusive works undertaken out of hours.

  • How will SKK Design impart the plan of proposed works to my business?

    By way of a detailed phasing plans which clearly demonstrate which operations are planned to which areas and at what time and duration.

  • New office fit out

    How do I know what is being offered by the property agent is fit for my business?

    There are many considerations, but key points include the rental cost per m2, the size and shape of the space, are there services already installed such as air conditioning and a raised access floor, is it an attractive place to be – location, local amenities, good level of natural light, is there a decent ceiling height and are there sufficient parking spaces.

  • How quickly can you undertake an evaluation?

    A brief, site analysis and draft proposals can be provided within a few days. Although preferable, a site visit may not be required for initial appraisal – ideal if there is more than one site being considered concurrently.

  • Can SKK Design provide cost management, services and structural design in addition to space planning, architectural and interior design?

    We have excellent relationships with several consultants and would be happy to make introductions and suggestions.

  • Can you recommend any contractors, and could you manage the removals process?

    We have worked successfully with several fit out contractors and would be well placed to make recommendations, should this be required. Similarly, we can provide moves management services alongside trusted removals contractors if required.

  • What’s it going to cost?

    Budget costs, which are typically 75-80% accurate, can be established once a draft plan and level of finish has been established.

  • How will SKK Design manage the programme and communicate to my business?

    By way of a detailed programme which clearly demonstrate which operations are planned to which areas and at what time and duration, allowing advance planning of activities such as filing and FF&E audits, phasing of equipment moves, departmental moves and commissioning of the comms room and associated IT infrastructure.

  • What work of this nature have you done before?

    We have provided a number of successful office fit out projects over the last 20 years and would be delighted to provide details upon request.

  • Residential

    What experience do you have?

    We have a broad range of property and Planning experience which includes grand west London developments, basement and roof terrace conversions, new builds, Listed Buildings, manor houses, contemporary extensions and flat conversions.

  • When can you view my property?

    Dependent on workload and location, but usually within 48 hours.

  • Which areas are SKK Design most comfortable working in?

    We work across the UK, but most of our residential projects are in London and Hertfordshire.

  • What other consultants are needed and can SKK Design assemble a team to deliver my project?

    Yes. We collaborate with trusted consultants who we are happy to introduce – these often include structural and services engineers, quantity surveyors and party wall surveyors.

  • Can you help with Interior Design?

    Yes, this is a service we provide to blend the construction, architecture, lighting, materials and furniture.

  • Can you help with kitchen and bathroom suppliers?

    Absolutely. We have a range of companies we collaborate with and can negotiate excellent deals on your behalf.

  • What are the most common approvals needed for building works, and can you manage them?

    These vary, but the most common approval required in Building Regulations, which covers design items such as fire protection, escape, structure and plumbing. If external works are proposed, then Planning approval is usually required; if the property is Listed then Listed Building Consent is likely to be required too. We manage these applications frequently. All should be factored into the construction programme as they can take time to be approved. For other scenarios such as Party wall and rights of light, we coordinate with trusted consultants who work within our design team.

  • What Permitted Development rights do we have, and will this affect our Planning application?

    This must be looked at on a project by project basis. It should be noted that some properties have their PD rights reduced or revoked, depending on historic developments and whether your property sits in a Conservations Area or not.

  • If I live in a Conservation Area, what does this mean?

    It means that there may be certain criteria that need to be factored into proposals. This may range from materials to be used in new works, Permitted Development allowance, style of external designs and the colour of your front door!

  • Is my property Listed?

    We can establish this quickly and advise of potential design considerations thereafter.

  • What are the consequences of construction work being carried out?

    Factors to be considered include the possibility of moving out whilst the bulk of strip out starts, areas needed for storage, protection of your belongings, insurance, commercial vehicle access and so on. With thought and planning, all can be managed successfully.

  • Is it safe to stay in my property with works is going on (noise and dust and storage of materials)?

    Reviewed with the client and on a project by project basis.

  • How quickly can it be done?

    The usual sequence is establish the desires of the client, create a design proposal that the client is happy with, tackle the statutory approvals process in tandem with obtaining construction costs, adjusting the design to suit approvals and budget constraints – then the project can planned and timeframes applied per phase of the project.

    It should be noted that for smaller works, statutory approvals may not be required.

  • Restaurants

    Does the building shape restrict the menu I can offer

    It can – but to an extent this can be designed out. Early sight of the kitchen area is advisable so we can ascertain service routes, ceiling height etc.

  • What are the number of covers that can be achieved in the space?

    Depends on the cuisine, seating preference, circulation routes and food offer but broad brush figures can be established quickly, for client comment.

  • How can I add external seating for my customers?

    This depends on several factors including neighbour adjacencies, licencing and Planning arrangements and storage of the furniture out of hours.

  • Is it possible to increase the opening hours?

    This is a legal process that requires planning and approval, both of which we have experience managing. This is not always permissible but is often worth exploring to raise the profile of your restaurant whilst providing additional covers. A sensible timeframe should be allowed for this process.

  • How do I offer customers alcoholic beverages?

    This is a legal process that requires planning and approval, both of which we have experience managing. This is not always permissible but is often worth exploring to raise the profile of your restaurant whilst providing additional covers. A sensible timeframe should be allowed for this process.

  • What is the operational logistics for deliveries, refuge removal, cleaning regimes?

    These should be assessed with the client and, if possible, improved upon as this is often an area overlooked, leading to storage, hygiene and logistics issues.

  • What provisions should I be providing for the staff?

    To be agreed at an early stage and to a degree up to the eomploter, this may include Manager’s Office, staff room, additional toilets, smoking area, cycle storage and car parking.

  • How does the design accommodate different needs throughout the day?

    A key point to discuss – we would be looking to utilise the space in different ways and suggest options in this regard to maximise the revenue of your restaurant.

  • How can I take my food offering into a pop up temporary food market?

    Can it be prepared on site, packaged efficiently, stay at the correct temperature, delivered intact and sold off site.

  • Retail

    How quickly can you become involved, and do you need access to the site before commencing?

    We don’t need to see the space to start. We immediately aim to understand the brief, what your requirements are. This may include ideal sales to stock ratio, hanging or folded product, visual merchandise, branding and marketing strategies, payment method including RFID, finishes, lighting options, loss prevention and so on in addition to aspirational drivers such as increased footfall and the raising of brand profile.

  • What will you produce first, and to what level of detail?

    After a due diligence survey, we provide accurate general arrangement plans and elevations for client comment. Once these have been approved we move onto more in depth detail which involves flooring, reflected ceiling, power and data plans, internal elevations, signage, staircase, back of house details and fire strategy plans for Building Control comments. These drawings are fully coordinated and suitable for approvals, construction and so on.

  • What’s your retail knowledge?

    Extensive and global.

  • Can you attend site at short notice?

    Yes, usually within 48 hours.

  • Can you represent us in front of the landlord?

    Yes, we have presented many schemes for many landlords, often with the aid of our 4D presentations and photorealistic visuals.

  • Can you suggest a consultant team/contactor?

    Yes. We regularly assemble the team on behalf of the client which may include a Quantity Surveyor, Project Manager, Structural Engineer, Services Engineer, Principal Designer and contractor.

  • Can you manage the site team?

    Yes.

  • How can we differentiate ourselves from what we’ve done before and our competition?

    By smarter use of space, new materials and technology, customer engagement, creating a moment that is aspirational, fluid, exciting and new.

  • Student Accommodation

    How much?

    In pure construction cost terms, the cheapest route in refurbishment is often to fully close the accomodation blocks to give the contractor an opportunity to work as strategically and efficiently as possible without inconveniencing students with building works noise, etc.  Invariably works take place across the summer holiday period for this reason.  The cost will vary dependent on what the scope of the project is.

  • When?

    Works can happen at any point but to minimise disruption and get best value, it makes sense to carry out projects across the summer holiday period when numbers are lower.

  • How long will the business be down for?

    Depending on the scope of the scheme, works take place across the summer recess to minimise disruption, but the limited time constraints sometimes affect what can be done in this period, so occasionally part of the works clash with term time.  A competent contractor will phase the works with you to minimise disruption.

  • How many students can I accommodate?

    There are minimum space requirements for student accommodation rooms, therefore this will be dependent upon the amount of space available for the project, and the amount of additional facilities that you want to accommodate such as reception area, laundry, common rooms, gymnasiums etc.

  • What are our health and safety considerations during the project?

    Student / staff safety will  be paramount in a project of this nature, ideally the site will be clear of student and staff but if not then buffer zones or hoardings are likely to be used to avoid student / contractor contact and therefore avoiding issues.

  • Can you help assemble a team of consultants to deliver the project?

    Yes. We regularly assemble the team on behalf of the client which may include a Quantity Surveyor, Project Manager, Structural Engineer, Services Engineer, Principal Designer and contractor.

  • What rental revenue can I expect from this mix of rooms?

    This depends entirely on your location and local rental rates and a local knowledge or local property agent will be able to advise on this.  Differing room sizes and levels of privacy allow students a choice of room facilities to reflect their budget and needs.

  • Can I have a range of differing room specifications to maximise return?

    A differing size range and specification is important to allow students flexibility in their room choices and will allow a maximising of return when students ‘trade up’ to a better or larger room.

  • What communal facilities do we require?

    This depends on what you want to provide, but students expect a good level of facilities that might include auditoriums, gymnasium, cinema, storage facilities, TV lounges / common rooms, laundries etc.  The better facilities provided, the higher the rent, so it does make good sense to think carefully about what you want to offer to set yourselves apart form the competition in this flourishing market.

  • What durable material for furniture can be used?

    Student accommodation is a high traffic, high impact environment and therefore finishes and fixtures need to be robust and durable.  We have experience in specifying the right product to fulfil the needs of a challenging environment.

  • How do I manage movement of students around the building 24 hours a day?

    Ideally the works will take place during the summer recess, thereby avoiding the problem, but if the works do impact term time then clearly defined zoning and access routes will be provided to maximise safety and minimise contractor student interaction.

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