- Jude Tugman
- 5 November 2019
Having work done on your home is a big undertaking. It can be a rewarding process if it goes smoothly, but there are potential pitfalls along the way, so here are our top tips on things to consider before you start to ensure you have all the support and advice you need to keep it on track.
1. Write a Clear Brief
Before you begin your project, it’s crucial to have a clear brief. This doesn’t mean a six-page list of requirements but you do need to think about what you want to use the space for, your living style, whether you have time pressure, any particular design style and most importantly what your budget is – and remember you will need to take 20% off the top for VAT!
2. Spend Enough Time on Design
Everyone has ideas for their home but transforming those into a feasible design is a complex process and it’s important to spend time on it at the beginning of the process as bad decisions are much harder and more expensive to reverse later on. An architect can help you balance stylistic and practical elements of your project to create a design that will fulfil your requirements and maximise your budget.
3. Think about the Impact on the Overall House
When designing extensions, people often end up getting so excited about the new space that they forget about what is already there! Multiple small extensions can ruin the cohesion of a house, and larger ones can make existing rooms feel like dark corridors. It is important to take a step back and consider how the whole house will look and feel with the new design.
4. Don’t Rush
It’s normal to be eager to get a project moving once you’re happy with a design, but rushing can make the whole process more expensive and slower in the long run. Planning applications need to be properly thought out to avoid having to resubmit. Rushing through finding a builder can lead to huge costs and botched projects. It’s important to talk to your architect early on about a realistic timescale to avoid problems later because in fact the most expensive thing you can do is rush!
5. Set a Realistic Budget
Having work done on your house is expensive, and not all the costs are obvious from the start. Talking to your architect about your budget is one of the first conversations you should have. There’s no point designing an extension that is going to cost more than your budget allows!
6. Talk to Neighbours and the Council
Not having the relevant paperwork – from planning permission, building regulations to health and safety – can mean repeating stages, adding time and costs to your project. Talking to your neighbours and the council early on about what you intend to do can save you from major headaches further down the line.
7. Don’t be afraid to Use an Architect
Don’t think your project is too small to use an architect. They are independent design experts, with the training, experience and creativity to make decisions about what will work in your home and whether it’s feasible. Only those registered with the ARB (Architects Registration Board) can legally refer to themselves as architects. Working with a registered architect gives you the reassurance that comes from using a qualified professional with relevant experience, design vision, creativity and years of training. Before you go ahead you can check you are using an architect at http://www.arb.org.uk/
8. Don’t Cut Corners Early-on
There are many ‘architectural technicians’, ‘architectural designers’, ‘planning consultants’ and ‘building surveyors’ out there who can do planning drawings but they do not have the same training, experience, codes of conduct, professional qualifications and insurance as a registered architect.
They may cost a bit less but that generally means a poorer quality job, producing something very basic with no consideration of your requirements and the house as a whole.
And when you are about to spend a significant amount of money on your home surely you want to ensure you are in the best hands possible to get the very best outcome for your investment.