For design and project management of house extensions, refurbishments and new build in Cambridge

Cambridge Architecture & Building Design

Cambridge Architecture and Building Design is pragmatic, approachable and cost effective.  Our experience comprises:

  • Major buildings,
  • House extensions,
  • New building,
  • Refurbishments,
  • The public and private sectors

In every case, we deliver the most appropriate solution that satisfies  your vision,  specification or problem. Especially for home extensions and domestic refurbishments, we have a clear, pragmatic residential architectural philosophy. Mostly we work in the Cambridge area, and are based near St John’s Innovation Centre, Cambridge.

All our clients deal directly with Tim Bonavia,  our fully qualified RIBA architect. Tim grew up, trained and has always practiced in Cambridge.  We have worked with and know almost all the local officials, contractors and suppliers.

Cambridge Architects, AABD designed and managed this fine house extension
House Extension

Projects Completed on Time & Budget

Our clients want a building completed within budget and on time.  We appreciate that a great architectural design is only a small part of your project.

Planning Permission

With decades of experience, we know the thinking, policies and practices of the local planning officials. We know:

  • What schemes the planners will accept,
  • What schemes they’ll reject.
  • When we appeal, we enjoy a high success rate.

Negotiating with Contractors

Over many years, we’ve assessed the strengths and weakness of the local contractors. Usually we select three to five appropriate builders to tender.  Once work commences, our client’s thinking sometimes changes, or the chosen contractor uncovers problems with the existing foundations or the building. Many contractors rely on these changes and problem to make their profits.

We negotiate better with contractors than most property owners. We expect contractors to charge reasonably for any changes. Otherwise we won’t invite them to tender for a future project. We’ve known some contractors since their father ran the business.

Building Material Innovation

There is some innovation in building materials. We devote considerable time to meeting suppliers and attending exhibitions. Where appropriate we utilise these products, e.g., if they are cheaper, require less maintenance, or look better.

Interior Design create feeling of bigger space: AABD architects
Interior Design to create impression of a bigger space

Architecture & Building Design Services

We’re flexible. We tailor our services to your requirements. Many Cambridge clients possess the skills and knowledge to manage their project. We’ll happily provide informal guidance and a few contacts. Other clients want a finished building, so use our full service, which comprises:


The architectural design phase comprises:

  • Informal discussions of possibilities. After hundreds of local projects, we know what works and what doesn’t.
  • Assess Options: We’ll accurately estimate the likely costs of different ideas.
  • Architectural Design: drawings, for you, and the planners.
  • Clear brief, if you know which builder you’ll use
  • Obtain planning permission: We know the local planning officials’ thinking. Usually we find a solution that meets our clients’ and planners’ requirements.

Project Management

We don’t just design, we ensure your project progresses smoothly. Activities include:

  • Working drawings: More detailed drawing and instructions, against which a contractor can tender.
  • Interior Design: We pride ourselves on our ability to improve the efficiency and use of  your interior house, so a small house feels bigger.
  • Landscape Design
  • Tender Procedure: We manage the tender procedure so each contractor has a reasonable chance if they offer a reasonable price.
  • Contract Appointment: We know the local contractors’ capabilities. We’ll recommend a contractor with the appropriate skills, for the price tendered.
  • Contract Supervision: We’ll ensure the contractors’ work meets our clients’ specification.

Manage Problems during building work.

Unforeseen problems often emerge, typically when the foundations are laid, and the ground is unsuitable. We:

  • Negotiate variations: Perhaps our client want additional features, or the contractor discovers problems. We know how much work is involved and negotiate a fair price for these additions.
  • Identify and resolves snags: Sometimes, problems are spotted emerge once work is completed, e.g. errors in construction work. We ensure the contractor fixes these problems, as we hold back money, just in case.

Extension at listed property, designed by Tim Bonavia at AABD.
Extension at listed property