When you’re embarking on a self-build, there’s often the desire to do it all yourself. After all, you can get a top-quality self-build home kit that’ll make it all easy to plan out.
So do you really need an architect to be involved in the process? Here are just three of the reasons that it’s worth having some expert help on hand!
They’ll Create a Brief for You
The first step in the self-build process is creating the brief, and this is one of the core skills of the architect. They can take your dreams for the property and transform them into a computer-generated, lifelike drawing or a 3-D diagram. They can also help you narrow down those hundreds of ideas you’ll likely have to a few core elements that you must have in your new home.
The brief will start with the basics—how many bedrooms, bathrooms and reception rooms you want. But it can also go into lots of specific details. These might include things like having the kitchen include space for a breakfast bar, so the kids can eat their breakfast while you prepare their lunch. Or maybe you want to be able to use certain furniture in your living room, so the dimensions will need to accommodate this.
The brief also helps with the budget—or, in other words, the budget is used to control the brief. Talking with your architect about your budget can help you narrow your desires down to a few key features and prioritize the things you need to have. Then you can see what extras might be possible, once those key features have been taken into account.
They’ll Help With Your Planning Application
The brief is also part of the planning permission application, and your architect will be able to work with local authorities to make this process a simpler one. If you haven’t applied for planning permission before, the process can seem daunting, but when you have an architect on board who knows how it all works, it can be made much simpler.
The knowledge of the architect is important when it comes to ticking all the boxes for both planning permission and building regulations. And if there are any pre-commencement conditions required by the local planning department, the architect can help you ensure that those these are met and reduce the risk of any holdups due to regulatory issues.
They’ll Streamline the Design Process
When you undertake a self-build project, you’ll naturally want the perfect property, but unless you have experience with self-building, this will often mean having the right people on board to help. Having professional help can also minimize the time you’ll need to spend researching and checking parts of the project.
If you’re using an oak frame design, for example, then the design process can be much quicker when you work with an architect instead of on your own. Armed with knowledge of the self-building kit you’re using, the architect can identify other factors that need to be considered, such as:
- Appropriate roofing materials
- Suitable door and window choices
- Various insulation options
When it comes time to move past the design step, all of this assistance can decrease the amount of time the actual building process will take.
Architect or Project Manager?
When you’re working with an architect, it’s worth considering whether they offer services as a project manager, too. As a project manager, they’ll be able to take the designs you’ve created with them and then oversee the actual building of the property. Many people who self-build still have a project manager to run the day-to-day details of the project, and to help co-ordinate the various contractors who are involved with it.
When you start looking for an architect, one of the things to look for is a Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) chartered practice. If your architect has this distinction, you can be certain that the work they do adheres to strict RIBA standards and factors in aspects such as insurance, health and safety and quality management systems. This will also extend to the practices used within the project management side of the self-build.
Get to the End Result Sooner
Whether you’re a first-time self-builder or have done it all before, it can be worth taking advantage of the professional experience that an architect has to offer. This can make the planning process much quicker and easier, so you can move towards building (and inhabiting!) your new home as quickly as possible.