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Advice on building work - do we need an architect?

(8 Posts)
kavvAbanana Wed 13-Jan-16 20:53:28

We're in a badly extended three bed 50s semi and really want to have some building work done.

Previous owners have gone out right up to permitted development at the side so there is only about 2 feet of side access.

I'm thinking of adding a loft conversion plus some rejigging of the back of the house to make a kitchen diner and to add in another bathroom and utility room. No significant extension but I assume we need some sort of plan.

Do we need to go via an architect, or do we ask a few builders to come and give us detailed quotes? What do we need to ask?

I'm struggling with the process and any advice would be really gratefully received. I can see me making a real mess of this and handing over thousands upfront to the first builder that phones me back!

kavvAbanana Wed 13-Jan-16 21:22:25

Also wondered about the benefit of undoing the extension so close to the neighbours, and adding in the side access again. Seems like a lot of trouble and potential expense

buymeabook Wed 13-Jan-16 22:11:04

A builder is only going to do what you ask them to do, and if what you are asking for is vague then they will tend to do what is easiest for them (human nature, not a criticism of builders!)

You seem to be struggling for ideas which is where an architect will come in. If you are only getting the architect to do planning drawings then the cost shouldn't be too much. (And they can also do the detailed drawings, liaising with the builder etc if you want). I don't really see much point in skimping on a bit of money now when you're going to be living with it for however long you have the house.

Some architects have sessions where you can come along for a quick talk through without having to pay anything.

lastnightiwenttomanderley Wed 13-Jan-16 22:34:18

Sounds like you'll also need a bit of input from a Structural Engineer too. Your architect or builder should be able to recommend someone.

newname99 Wed 13-Jan-16 23:12:37

Definitely go the architect route but also do you know of any houses who have had similar developments.You could look online at your local planning portal and see plans plus the plans will have list details of architects.

A loft extension can be really valuable and will need structural details which an architect will organise.Once you start the process you will get comfortable with the next steps.Meet with a few architects though as you need to get different ideas and ensures you feel comfortable.

kavvAbanana Thu 14-Jan-16 09:45:33

Brilliant, that has helped tremendously already. Thank you. I have never heard of the local planning portal so will get on and have a look.

It was my gut feeling that it wouldn't be fair to the builder if I didn't have the specifications - I couldn't work out how we would agree what needed doing but you're right that I only have a vague idea of what's possible

Jibberjabberjooo Thu 14-Jan-16 11:54:08

We had an architect as they told us what was possible and also gave us ideas, there were things we didn't know or hadn't thought of. Builders wouldn't give us proper quotes without plans either.

MimsyPimsy Thu 14-Jan-16 12:36:50

We went down the cheaper route of an architectural technician for the drawings. This was because we are in a standard 3-bed semi, and were able to visit lots of the neighbours to see what they had done. All had chosen different options to get an extra bedroom, and from that, we were able to decide exactly what we wanted.

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