Do I need an architect for a house extension?

looking for Architect

If you love your home and the local area but find that the space is no longer big enough for your growing family, house extensions stand out as the most suitable solution by far. Before starting your project, however, you need to know that the very best strategies are in place.


While there are many contributing factors to consider, the decision whether to use an architect is throughout the design and planning processes should sit very high on your agenda. The following information should help you decide.


What will an architect do?


Before you can determine whether a professional architect is necessary for your project, you must first gain a deeper understanding of the service that they provide. An architect will;


  • Analyse your space to build a vision that will unlock the full potential of the space,
  • Create all technical drawings in line with local regulations and property surveys,
  • Produce budget breakdowns and expected costings of works,
  • Prepare all works so that the building team knows exactly what is required.


Whether you have an idea of what’s required or need support developing the concept, architects handle all aspects of gaining inspiration until it is ready to be moved to the installation phases.


What are the benefits of using an architect?


The main downside of hiring an architect is that you will have to pay for the service. The costs will be influenced by a wide range of factors, such as whether it’s a single storey or two storey upgrade. Prices can fluctuate greatly but a figure equating to 10% of the expected project cost will usually cover the architect’s fee with ease.

So, what do you get in return for increasing your project costs by 5-10%? Here’s all you need to know.


Legal compliance


Legal issues are one of the most obvious reasons to get expert support. Do you know about the latest planning permissions? Architects do, including complex issues like grade II listed buildings. They also knows the unique challenges and opportunities offered by rear extensions, side extensions, wraparounds two-storey extensions, loft conversions, garage conversions, basement conversions, and annexes to ensure your project is safe.


Spatial utilisation


As a homeowner, you probably think all extensions are essentially the same. On the contrary, there are noticeable contrasts between different conversion styles. Architects can view the possibilities of the space and the proposed works to find ways of achieving more. Whether it’s relocating access points or changing the configuration of existing or planned new spaces, making the property work harder will make the project a greater success.


Financial savings


When you decide against using an architect, it’s usually because you want to save money. But what happens if your plans are rejected by the local authorities? Experienced architects will boast previous dealings with the governing bodies and know how to research the area. Getting it right at the first attempt will save money in the long run in relation to legal processes. This is supported by practical decisions for your project.


Time efficiency


As well as saving money, using an architect saves time and hassle. For starters, you won’t need to research materials, use surveys, or create technical drawings. Likewise, it avoids the need for buying dedicated software. Meanwhile, existing connections and an understanding of how the processes work should enable the architect to drag you through the planning and preparation phases without any delays. 


Mental peace


Perhaps most importantly, using an architect should deliver peace of mind. Your property is the most valuable asset you possess while it simultaneously has a huge impact on your daily life. Frankly, taking the DIY route will always run the risk of errors and inaccuracies. When you use a professional architect, all of those fears are removed. Instead, you are free to enjoy the new and improved home environment in style.


How to find a great architect


The benefits of using an architect are clear and will vindicate the added expense in most home upgrade projects. However, those rewards can only be enjoyed when the right architect is chosen.

Therefore, using the following checklist is highly advised;

  • Does the architect have all certifications and guild memberships to prove their quality?
  • Does the architect have a solid track record for completing the type of conversion you need?
  • Will the architect use a defined process that also allows you to connect with builders?
  • Are prices affordable and supported by transparent communication at every stage of the process?

In truth, the DIY route would be better than paying over the odds for an unqualified or substandard ‘expert’. Screening any professional contractor is crucial.


The verdict

While a small percentage of minor home upgrades do not require an architect, the vast majority of extensions and related home renovations will benefit greatly from the professional touch. To find out more, call Surrey Design Studio today.