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Purchasing and adapting property

Fieldfisher's Court of Protection Team is well aware what a stressful experience finding and adapting a property can be. Often, one of the main concerns after purchasing a property is to make sure that any construction works required to adapt the property into a suitable home will be affordable. Families need confidence that their Deputy is well equipped to understand how to prevent the costs of an adaptation project spiralling out of control. At Fieldfisher, our experienced Court of Protection lawyers will get to grips with this challenge at an early stage, starting with the appointment of the core project team.

The first appointment we would seek to make is that of an architect. An architect will usually have several responsibilities during the project in addition to designing the scheme. An architect's role is typically broken down into work stages and the fee we are able to negotiate will be usually be apportioned across these work stages. The architect will clearly be a key member of the team who after taking the project through the design, planning, building regulations and other statutory requirements, will produce detailed specification drawings, manage the tendering process to find a suitable contractor and then administer the works under the appropriate form of contract. With such an important role in the project, it is important we make sure we secure an experienced professional. It is also important we make sure we are obtaining these services for our client's project at a cost effective rate.

With an architect's fee based on a percentage of the final project sum and ranging from 6% to 15% plus VAT, (£30,000 to £75,000 plus VAT for a contract sum of £500,000), we always tender this job to several prospective architects. The fees an architect is likely to charge will in part be determined by the size of the project with higher percentages being reserved for smaller value jobs. The fees will also vary depending on whether we are adding an extension to an existing structure or opting to build a new property from scratch.

Another core member of the project team we seek to appoint at an early stage is a quantity surveyor (QS). A QS will help you set a manageable, realistic budget for your client's construction project and help the project team set a pre-agreed schedule and monitor progress according to this schedule so the project remains on course. Whilst the costs of a QS will be considerably less than an architect, the appointment still requires careful due diligence with fees commonly quoted between 2% and 3.5% plus VAT of the final contract sum (between £10,000 and £17,500 plus VAT for a contract sum of £500,000).

As a Court of Protection team dealing with multiple high value adaptation projects every year, we are in an excellent position to negotiate the appointment of a QS and architect at the lower end of these fee scales, saving significant costs for our clients in the process.

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