Simon “Stoneysoprano” Stone
Our advice would be to avoid N7 Design Studio & Nick Walker, control your own tender process, and use architectural services that are regulated by a professional body such as RIBA or CIAT.
In our opinion, the original consented drawings were inaccurate and unbuildable and Nicks role to inspect and report on the construction was not carried out. We raised several issues with Nick Walker, which have generally been ignored, deflected with insults and unfounded criticism of ourselves or deemed as an unsubstantiated claim.
We found Nick to be untrustworthy, arrogant and deceitful.
The consented drawings of our loft conversion can be found on the City of Edinburgh planning portal under planning consent 19/04561/FUL. Our expectation was that the East to West (EW) dimension would accommodate a double bed with a swing door as depicted in the drawings. The drawing scale is 1:50 at A3, and if printed out at A3 and known dimensions are checked to ensure the correct scale is being used, our reading is that the EW dimension is 3m.
The photo shows the EW dimension at 2.4m.
Nick has accepted no responsibility and instead continues to shift the blame on to us.
He says we made assumptions about the height of the dwarf walls as there is no reference to the height of the walls on any of his drawings. We reminded him that the dwarf wall heights were discussed at length during the design stage resulting in changes to the draft planning drawings. We also reminded him of an email he sent that explains the walls will be 1.1m high (which is the height of the walls in the photo, built following his instructions). Yet despite this, Nick continued to shift the blame on us ‘for making assumptions’. It seems to us that there is little point engaging with Nick when it is not possible to rely on what he has written or what he has said.
The drawings actually show the height of the western gable to be 2.25m high. His drawings are so inaccurate that the floor plan and the elevations do not align. The floor plan suggests a straight gable and the elevations show a hipped gable. We believe this shows the measured survey has not been carried out properly.
The other line of defence offered by Nick was that ‘all of my drawings include ‘do not scale‘. This is untrue, the sketch and the planning drawings do not contain this disclaimer, but we are of the view it does not excuse a 60cm difference. Further, it is a scaled drawing so the bed and the door are proportional to the room size.
We met with the builder and Nick Walker to discuss the issues. It was impossible to make the footprint bigger, so given we were in an impossible situation with the build so far down the line, we agreed on a number of mitigation measures.
Following the meeting Nick Walker drew up a plan of what was built, obviously this differed to the original drawings with a reduction in footprint. Arrogantly, he later claims we had approved his drawings. We did not. It is a drawing of a build we were stuck with, not what we desired nor approved of.
At the same time we also raised the issue of the head height which is explicitly stated on the drawings. We requested a report on this matter, which he ignored. We wrote to him explaining that the head height depicted on the drawings was unachievable; this was also ignored. It took a lengthy letter sent by recorded delivery to get a response. To our surprise, the response now recognised there was a shortfall, but explained that this was because the builder did not build it in accordance with the approved drawings.
Nick Walker withheld his findings until after we had paid the builder in full. We believe this was not a mistake, but a choice.
Nick Walker clearly has demonstrated he has issues with transparency and with clients who expect the build to be in accordance with the drawings. He has acted to protect the interests of the builder on a number of occasions. The list of issues described above is far from exhaustive.
26th Jan 2022 (6 mo. ago)
Nick was recommended by a family member, a recommendation that did not disappoint. During the design period I was given options on the structure that was to become my rear extension, allowing me to choose what I actually wanted. Nick dealt with the planning permission and building warrant applications swiftly and professionally. I retained Nick throughout the build to completion certificate stage. From beginning to end Nick was available patient and so helpful. My impression of Nick is he is dedicated to customer service and satisfaction, striving at all times to give the best possible service. I recommend Nick wholeheartedly in the knowledge he will give the same outstanding service.
3rd Oct 2020 (1 year ago)