This is a great question and something we get asked on a frequent basis. Many domestic clients contact a builder first who in turn directs them to an Architect to draw up plans. It is easier to speak direct to anArchitect, at Ask My Architect we will visit you in your property, listen carefully to your requirements to establish a brief, carry out a measured survey and then run a live design session with you in person on the same day. The sketches generated by the Architect are left with you to consider in more detail and to discuss with family and friends. It is important that the client is kept at the centre of the design process. This is your project and should be fully informed by the lifestyle you want to lead.
The next step is to turn this information into a planning application. You may benefit from permitted development rights meaning planning approval is not required. Your Architect will review your project against the current guidelines. Either way it should not take any longer than 10 weeks to gain approval from the submission date of the application.
The Architect then produces Detailed Construction Information for Building Control Approval and uses this information to tender the project to 3 qualified contractors. This is a very important part of the project as it ensures quality and price certainty. Your Architect will review the tender returns with you and agreed which contractor to move forward with for the project.
The Architect will then draw up a simple contract between you and the contractor to ensure you are protected throughout the process and the contractor works to an agreed time frame and schedule. Periodically it is advisable to get your Architect to visit site and monitor progress.
Follow these 4 simple steps and your project should run smoothly, start and finish on time and come in on budget. Some Architects will charge you a percentage of the build fee for the services identified above, I believe this is unfair for a domestic project, at Ask My Architect we break down our services into a shopping list which you can adapt to suit your personal requirements.