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Deciding Whether to Hire an Architect

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 9 Apr 2013 | comments*Discuss
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Many of us want to add to our existing homes – or simply build a new extension or building next to our home – and in order for us to do this we must consider whether or not to use the services of an architect. Here we ask why should you consider using an architect and what are the benefits of doing so?

I am Adding to my Home – Do I Need an Architect’s Help?

The answer to this question is normally yes; if you are planning to add an extension to your current property then the help of an architect is something you should seriously consider.

It is important to understand first of all the detail that is necessary when considering the building of an extension. Extensions can be added to the back, side, or front of an existing property or can even be another floor built above the existing property and there are many pitfalls than can befall you if you have not taken every possible precaution before starting a build.

What will an Architect do for me?

An architect will – first and foremost – take into consideration whether or not your existing property will benefit from such an extension. Then he or she will discuss with you what you need to do in order to gain planning permission. You should be aware that even if you own the existing property you must seek planning permission from your local authority. Planning permission allows for your neighbours to object to any proposed additions to a property if they may affect their view, amount of natural light or indeed reduce the value of their property at the time of sale.

An architect will also help you with the materials needed to build your extension. He or she will advise on how to safe money whilst doing the job properly and also how to enhance the look and feel of the property whilst conserving energy; energy includes heating, lighting etc.

I Have my Own Plans, can an Architect Use Those?

Unless you are a builder or contractor yourself the chances are there will be room for error in your own plans. An Architect will take your drawings and using detailed measurements he or she has made themselves, will use your ideas in order to come up with a to scale set of blueprints as to what the extension should look like and what it should like in conjunction with the existing property.

Indeed if the property you wish to build on to is an old property then the architect will consider whether or not the building is listed and if so what changes can be made to the building. Some listed buildings are excluded from developing whilst others allow for some development as long as they keep the original features intact. This is something that many would-be developers fail to take into consideration and as a result money is wasted as local authorities in conjunction with National Trust or heritage organisations can demand the property be returned to its original state.

Will an Architect Save me Money?

Ultimately yes an architect will save you a considerable amount of money if you decide to avail of his or her expertise. It is not unheard of for would-be developers to be over budget and deadline whilst attempting to build a property – or extension onto a property – without an architect’s help.

If you are planning to build on to or next to an existing property then it really is worth while consulting with an architect before you do so. You will find a list of architects in your local Yellow Pages.

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