Don't underestimate how crucial an architect is to your project - they can save you time, money and stress
Should you hire an architect?
The majority of British homes are built without one, however architects claim that they add value to the build and do much more than provide drawings - they can see your project right through to completion, overseeing the design, planning and building regulations, the builders and your budget.
If you hire an architect
Expect their fee to be between eight and 12 per cent of the construction cost. Fees for preparing the design and submitting the planning application are around four per cent. Where the scope of work is harder to predict, such as securing approvals or party wall advice, the quote will usually consist of an hourly rate with an estimate of 'An architect will help you get the best out of your building'the time required.
Check your architect is qualified
Fully qualified architects are required by law to be registered with the Architects Registration Board. That said, some excellent designers are not fully qualified architects – they might simply have architecture as a first degree. Consider house designers and package companies, too.
Be open minded
Have a fair idea of what you want from your build and then be open to alternative options. Think about how you currently live and what you want to change. What’s more, consider how your needs may change over the coming years (perhaps with the arrival of children), and therefore how your design may need to be flexible.
Don’t hire the first architect you meet
Speak to the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) which has more than 4,000 practices on its books. Tell them what you are looking for and they will put some names forward. Don’t exclude practices that haven’t done self-builds before: look for a design approach that matches yours.
Is there chemistry?
Do you and your architect click? Do you feel comfortable criticising them? Can they take it? You are going to be spending a lot of time together over the coming months.
Don't be put off by their location
A local practice might seem handy, but many architects are happy to travel, so don’t let their location put you off hiring them. Particularly if the chemistry is there.
Compare builders’ prices. They can vary by thousands of pounds, which puts the architect’s fee into perspective.