80years80questions A4L2


This year, Chaplin Farrant is celebrating it's 80th anniversary and as part of our celebrations, we will be answering 80 frequently asked questions about architecture, engineering and quantity surveying.

We hope you will find the answers to these questions a mixture of informative, entertaining and inspiring. If you have a particular question you would like answered, please contact us and we will endeavour to answer it.

For a full list of questions to so far click here. 


18.  What is CDM and what is the role of the Principle Designer?

The CDM Regulations are the main set of regulations for managing the health, safety and welfare of construction projects.  The Regulations apply to all building and construction work which includes new build, demolition, refurbishment, extensions, conversions, repair and maintenance.  New Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM2015) will come into force on 6th April 2015, subject to Parliamentary approval.

The role of the Principal Designer is to plan, manage and monitor the co-ordination of health and safety in the pre-construction phase of the project, taking into account the general ‘principles of prevention’.  The role will continue through the construction phase with the Principal Designers duties to liaise with the Principal Contractor and ongoing design work during this phase.  The Principal Designer must be a designer on the project and be in a position to have control over the design and planning stage.  A designer is an organisation or individual that prepares or modifies a design for a construction project, or arranges for or instructs someone else to do so.

At Chaplin Farrant, our inhouse CDM Consultant is Carl Johnson who is an Associate Member of The Association for Project Safety (APS) and has completed CITB CDM for Principal Designers & Designers Course. Carl assists clients with their requirement to comply with their duties under CDM Regulations 2015, and ensure that Chaplin Farrant fulfils its role of Principal Designer on all projects across East Anglia.  

17.  When was the Westlegate Tower in Norwich built? #Flashback Friday

The original Tower was design by Chaplin Farrant and built by Lushers.  A modern building of its time, it was built in 1950 reaching a height of 33 meters. The Tower was refurbished in 2014 by FW Properties.

Westlegate Tower 5


16. Why employ an architect?

It is possible to construct a building without the input of an architect, so why should you employ one?

Here are three reasons (and there are many more) for using an architect which boil down to our training and experience of the built environment.

  • We are creatives. We can take a client’s concepts, requirements and wish lists and use our experience, training and creative flair to enhance that concept so that it delivers beyond the expectations of a client.  Feedback from our projects, whether they are village halls, sheltered accommodation or schools demonstrates our ability to deliver a project beyond a clients expectations.

  •  We are technically and practically minded. Our training and experience ensures we are able to deliver the concept and find solutions for any limitations the project might provide.  We ensure that the design is build-able and becomes a reality.

  • We have local knowledge. Over our 80 years, we have built up a strong network of connections in the built environment, enabling us to  navigate the bureaucracy of a project and the nuances of any local requirements.

Architects have trained for many years and have the experience to deliver projects.  We are involved in all stages of a project and therefore have an overarching view of delivering a project from concept to occupancy (and beyond). This enables architects to give you the assurance that your project will run smoothly and with minimal risks.

15. What are Chaplin Farrant doing for Norfolk Day?

To help celebrate 80 years of award winning design, Chaplin Farrant will be hosting a free 80 minute surgery between 10.00am - 12.00pm on the inaugural Norfolk Day - Friday 27 July 2018. To book your consultation, please contact Laura Broxton.

14.  Flashback Friday

We have been going back through our archives and finding photos of old projects.  In the 1940s and 1950s John Chaplin was involved in work on many of the churches in Norwich including St Johns Maddermarket and St Benedicts as pictured.


St Johns Maddermarket SmallSt Benedicts Norwich Smaller

13.  Ethel Day

Who was Ethel? A hundred years ago Ethel Charles overcame opposition and prejudice to become the first woman to join the RIBA.  Today the RIBA are celebrating the achievements of women in architecture. At Chaplin Farrant, we are proud to have our Associate Director, Jerene Irwin as the first President of the Norfolk Assocation of Architects in 40 years.  She will be speaking at the next Women in the Built Environment Event on 19th July about those that have influenced her career and life.



12. What is The Nest?

The Nest is a project we are working on with CSF to provide a new multi-purpose community sports hub on the outskirts of Norwich.  As master planners for the 10acre site, we have developed proposals to be completed in stages which will include a multi-purpose sports hall, classroom facilities, a gym, a floodlit 3G pitch and 7 natural pitches. The site also provides accommodation via “bunk boxes”. 

The public fund raising campaign #BuildTheNest needs to raise £2.5m towards the total project cost of £9.4m. Information about the benefits of The Nest and how you can get involved (including donating) can be made at https://www.communitysportsfoundation.org.uk/build-the-nest/about-the-nest/.


11. What sized projects require a quantity surveyor?

Quantity surveyors (QS) can be used on pretty much any sized project from a domestic extension to a multimillion pound project. A QS can reduce the risk on a project by checking costs at all stages to ensure the project is in line with the clients budget. They can estimate labour and materials costs, as well as time taken to complete a project, helping to ensure projects come in on time and on budget.

10.  What is an architectural technologist and how does this differ from an architect?

The governing body of technologists (Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologist – CIAT) details that technologists “specialize in design, underpinned by building science, engineering and technology”. CIAT further go on to explain that chartered architectural technologists are qualified to offer design services and manage projects from inception to completion. Architectural technologists use their technical knowledge and expertise to provide innovative solutions.

Traditionally architects are perceived as being more creative whilst architectural technologists are more technical.  However, we know from our own experience that many architects are technical in their approach whilst technologist are often creative.

Having a balance of skills across all disciplines, enables Chaplin Farrant to provide a wide spectrum of perspectives to any project, enabling a more holistic approach to a project. 

9.  What is (civil) engineering?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines engineering as “the branch of science and technology concerned with the design, building and use of engines, machines and structures”.

The Institute of Civil Engineers website states, ”civil engineering is everything you see that’s been built around us.  It’s about roads and railways, schools, offices, hospitals, water and power supply and much more. The kinds of things we take for granted but would find life very hard to live without.”

At Chaplin Farrant’s David Cook is a Fellow of the Institute of Civil Engineering which is the highest grade of membership for individuals who have made a big contribution to the profession. David qualified to become a Fellow on several levels including his work to invent the RMD parapet system and his charitable work with the RNLI in Aldeburgh.

8.  What other roles do quantity surveyors fulfil?

Employers agent are agents acting on behalf of the client as the contract administrator for design and build contracts. The employer’s agent, for the purpose of any contract, must be one individual within whom the employer has entrusted his or her authority to manage the project.

Contract Administrators – are persons, appointed by the client, who responsible to administering the construction standards contracts. Their role generally spans from inviting and processing tenders through to the issuing of the final certificate

7. Guess the date.

Can you guess the year that this photo of the Directors of Chaplin Farrant was taken? And can you name them?

It was the month that Norwich City played Everton in the FA Cup Semi Final …

Directors in the April 1989


 6. What is the difference between cost consultancy and quantity surveying?

"Cost consultancy is just a more modern, palatable, overarching term for quantity surveying services (and beyond traditional perceived scope) and allows a more open view on the services offered under the role rather than what people traditionally believe that a quantity surveyors only role is. This could include items such as Capital Allowance calculations, VAT advice, Value management, Building services cost management and the like." Carl Johnson, Cost Consultant/Quantity Surveyor

5. Why is Quantity Surveying essential?

The RICS states that QS are essential for life cycle costing, cost planning, procurement and tendering, contract administration and commercial management. …. Clients rely on their judgement to ensure the smooth running of any project and provide value for money. …The QS will be able to calculate the quantities of materials for the building as well as provide accurate labour and work costs.

Feedback from a client on a Norwich office refurbishment in 2017 advised “It was a pleasure to work with Chaplin Farrant on this project and we are fully satisfied that they have added real value to the project.”

4.  When did architecture become a profession?

The Institute of British Architects was established in 1834 and received a royal charter in 1837 and dropped the reference to London in 1892 to become the Royal Institute of British Architects, or RIBA.

The RIBA’s three principles of professional conduct are honesty, integrity and competency. Further details of their standards can be found on the RIBA website


3.  What do the world cup stadiums look like and where are they?

The first England match is in Volgograd, followed by Nizhny Novgorod and Kaliningrad, whilst their base camp is near St Petersburg.

This video gives a quick look at the all the stadiums in the 2018 Russian World Cup.

2.        What is quantity surveying / cost consultancy

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) website states “a QS is an expert in the art of costing a building at all its stages.”

Alternative definitions are in these videos



 1.             What is architecture

According to the Dictionary of Architecture and Construction, it is “the art and science of designing and building structures … in keeping with the aesthetic and functional criteria.

 An alternative definition from Barak Obama states “it is about creating buildings and spaces that inspire us, that help us do our jobs, that bring us together and that become, at their best, works of art that we can move through and live in.”


Back to News