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Do I need an architect and if so, how do I find one?!

(12 Posts)
rosettesforjill Mon 17-Oct-16 13:52:02

We're planning a rear extension - possibly two storey - to give us some more room in our kitchen and bathroom. We aren't likely to go beyond the parameters that would require planning permission but it's a bit of a tricky spot (at the bottom of a very steeply upward sloping garden, so pretty dingy, and possible issues of how to access the garden from the rear of the house).

Would enlisting the help of an architect be a worthwhile investment? And if so, how do I go about finding someone decent? (And/or does anyone have any recommendations in the South London/Croydon area?)

superking Mon 17-Oct-16 15:11:14

We are in the process of instructing an architect to design our 2 storey side extension. Like you, it is on a slightly awkward site, and we felt it was worth the investment to make the best possible use of the space.

I researched local architects through a combination of google, local Facebook groups, and the RIBA website. Looked at the kind of projects they had done. Made appointments for three of them to come and look at the house and meet with us. Discounted one immediately because I just didnt like him, ended up choosing one of the others because they seemed the most professional and keen and their fees are reasonable. They have given me details of a couple of former clients to speak to for references, and subject to those being ok we plan to instruct them formally later this week.

If you know people locally who have extended you could ask them for recommendations, or look at your council's planning website to see which architects have submitted plans similar to those you want to build.

rosettesforjill Mon 17-Oct-16 15:40:04

Thanks superking smile I will do some research!

DolomphiousDuck Mon 17-Oct-16 17:11:43

Could I be incredibly nosey and ask vaguely how much you are budgeting for this? I'm considering something similar.

PiafPilaf Mon 17-Oct-16 17:50:14

We found ours via the RIBA website and checked out previous clients' work. We did a two storey extension (kitchen, bedroom, ensuite) and had the old kitchen turned into a utility and WC. Cost was about £65k including kitchen (though we bought absolute basic so that was £4K). We're in the north west though so may be cheaper up here. Builders won't give you a proper quote without full drawings (though you can have a technician draw up plans).

rosettesforjill Mon 17-Oct-16 18:26:15

Duck we have a budget of about £100k but kind of hoping it will come in less than that! I don't know how much these things normally cost though so don't take my advice as being competent...!

Thank you all smile

WetDogLovesHubert Wed 19-Oct-16 09:34:15

When looking for an architect, it's also worth speaking to local builders at the same time. They can tell you which architects draw plans that can actually be built. Many architects are good at the theory, but less so at drawing plans that can be built on your site - it sounds daft, but do ask for builders too. They won't quote without full technical drawings because there are so many variables in design that can't be determined without plans. Also be aware that you'll need structural engineer input into plans, so find one at the same time as they can often take much longer to organise (they're very busy!) and their input will be critical to design.

coolpatterngirl Wed 19-Oct-16 10:51:34

Can I jump in and ask about architect's billing?

I have two quotes so far, is there anything else I need to know about (besides council fee's):

Architect 1: Preliminary sketches, survey and then building regulation drawings

Architect 2: Survey, sketches, planning app, building regs and detailed spec.

JoJoSM2 Wed 19-Oct-16 12:12:30

We're using an archtectural technician. We know what we want and it's just a case of having someone to draw it up and submit to council. I wouldn't want to pay architect's fees unless I needed them to design the space for me. Also bear in mind, that planning permission or not, you still need to submit it to the council.

Tiredbuthappy1970 Wed 19-Oct-16 12:16:27

An additional expense may be calculations for things such as steel beams or piling (if you have large trees within a certain distance of the planned extension you might need it).

BennyTheBall Wed 19-Oct-16 21:34:53

I wouldn't use an architect unless maybe there was a complex design or that you have money to burn.

I'd look at your local council planning weekly lists and spot which agents come up repeatedly. They're usually technicians as opposed to RIBA architects but do just as good a job.

rosettesforjill Wed 19-Oct-16 22:30:43

Hmm, plenty to think about. Thank you all!

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