Do I need an Architect?
There is no law saying you have to employ an architect, it is up to you.
Some people successfully undertake quite major works, including whole house refurbishments and extensions without architects.
Others employ architects for comparatively minor jobs, such as redoing a bathroom.
However, unless you have a very clear idea of what you want,
an architect can help give you ideas.
If you don't trust builders, or are busy or inexperienced, an architect can help you keep an informed eye on the builders and ake sure the project stays on track.
An architect must be registered with the Architects Registration Board (ARB) which has a publicly accessible database. An architect can also be very helpful in managing the whole process. If you need planning permission (or even think you might), then an architect can be invaluable in successfully navigating the local planning authority.
What are the advantages of using an Architect?
If you engage an architect, you will pretty much always end up with a better end product!
Architects are highly trained and are especially good as seeing the “big picture” – in making the best of the space you have, in getting interesting designs, in ensuring the light is right, the feel is good, and that the house works.
Architects are usually good at ensuring the work is professionally done – that it meets the requirements of building control, that you have a structural engineer if you need one.
Architects are generally good at the detail that most of us rarely think about and which, if done wrongly, can end up being costly mistakes – which way should the door open? Should we have recessed lights? Where should the outlet pipes go? Should you be able to see the toilet when the bathroom door is open?
An architect can also help you find the best builder, project manage the whole works, and keep within budget. The architect is the expert eyes and ears, whose job it is to represent your interests with builders and local authorities.
Architects are also subject to a statutory code of practice and have Professional Indemnity Insurance to protect their clients.
Obviously engaging an architect costs money and, if you are on a really tight budget, you might be tempted to try to do without. However, a good architect can also save you money on big projects – it doesn’t make sense to cut corners on design!