Choose the right designer for your project.
Each and every client is different, this is no different to designers and Architectural practices. Not all designers or Architects will suit every client for various reasons, such as budget, scope of works whether it too big or too small, size of practice v’s scope of works, some designers do not have the capabilities or experience to deal with larger home extensions or new builds and some Architectural Practices have minimum size jobs that they may work on, which potentially means that they are not set up to deal with smaller projects, this is why it is extremely important to choose the right designer for your project.
We always recommend to clients that they source 3 quotes from builders, therefore why should it be any different for your designer? By meeting and speaking with alternatives you can start to get a feel for what suits you and your needs best.
When you first start to plan a home extension, there are probably hundreds of questions that you do not know the answer to, this is completely normal, that’s why it’s so imperative to choose the right designer for your project and to join you on your journey.
These questions can then be answered comprehensively and should fill you with confidence from day one.
Most designers and Architect’s offer a fee initial consultation, we have listed some useful questions that should be asked at your initial consultation with your designer:
Questions about design:
- In order to choose the right designer for your project make sure to ask lots of questions and don’t be afraid to ask a designer what he/she would do? It’s useful to get professionals opinions, that’s not to say that you have to follow this route, but you would always expect a competent designer to be able to offer ideas based on experience, that perhaps you haven’t thought of.
- Ask about planning, what can you do and what can’t you do. You need a designer to be honest from day one, there’s little point in having a fantastic design if its flawed with planning issues.
- Ask about permitted development. There are different rules and regulations between planning and permitted development, not all works require full planning consent. If you do not know the difference between the two do a bit of research. The governments planning portal is always a good place to start https://www.planningportal.co.uk/ alternatively we have detailed sections on our web site that clearly explain the differences between planning and permitted development https://pjharchitecturalservices.co.uk/faqs/
- Ask about timescales.
- How long does the design process take?
- What about planning timescales?
- Building regulations timescales?
- How long does it take to find the right builder?
- How long will the build take?
A competent designer/Architect should be able to give you a clear understating of all of the above at the initial consultation stage.
- Ask about estimated build costs. This is extremely important. A competent designer/Architect should be asking you what your budget is. Your budget needs to fit in line with your brief, there’s little point in designing a £100,000 extension if the client’s budget is far less.
Questions about the designer and their practice:
- How long has the practice been established. It’s good to know that there’s a solid foundation of experience and reputation that a designer/Architect can bring to your project.
- What work have they carried out within the local area?
- Can you speak with existing/past clients for references?
- Can you see examples of past/current work?
- What networks do they have that can add value to the project? 3rd party consultants such as structural engineers/planning consultants and building control partnerships. Do they know reputable builders that they can put you in touch with? (refer to our blog ‘finding the right builder for your project’
Remember, the initial consultation is the time to get to know who you will be dealing with for the months to come, it’s one of, if not the most important decisions that you will make relative to your project, never be afraid to ask, your designer/Architect needs to be someone you can have complete trust in and feel completely comfortable with. To summarise – In order to get the most out of your time, money and contractors… make sure you choose the right designer for your project!