"Design and Build" vs Architect then Builder(9 Posts)
We're planning an extension for a kitchen on the back of our 3 bed terraced/semi. We're pretty sure what we want - size, layout etc, and I've been looking into architects/architectural technicians to draw up plans and help us with planning permissions etc, before we start trying to find builders. I've come across a couple of "Design and Build" companies, where they do the whole thing from start to finish, including the plans and then the whole build. I'm really tempted to go down this route, seeing as what we want would be pretty straightforward, and it sounds as if it would be the hassle free way to go. Has anyone got any experience with these kind of companies, or any opinions of them? (Waits for tumbleweed).
Design and build sounds straight forward bit then you have noone "on your side" so to speak.
A good architect would be happy to design and administer the contract too if you don't want the hassle.
We used an architect and having someone who knew what he was talking about looking after our interests was essential (an actual architect has a professional responsibility towards you)
Just my experience.
Ps good luck with your project, nothing like that is ever stress free and there will be days when you just want to go out and come back in 6 months!
We used a design and build company for our loft. I found it very easy as everything was done for us. I guess the only downside was potentially it's harder to compare quotes as you don't have an exact spec to go from.
johnd2 yes, 'hassle free' was the result of typing quickly at work!! We really want the work done, but keep putting off because I'm absolutely dreading all the kerfuffle and stress. We don't want to take a whole wall down, but DH is oblivious as ever to the torture we'll have to go through to get where we want! The company I'm looking at was started by an architect and a building contractor, who'd worked together on projects before, and decided to start their own joint concern. So it would be a proper architect, but as you say, I'm concerned about the not having anyone to argue with the builders. Obvs I'll get as many references as I can, and compare with some other design and builds if I go that way. I suppose I also need to ask for the quote to be really broken down and specific. I'm also not sure, as haven't started yet, which way would be cheaper.
The advice I've had is that D&B costs more - they add a mark up to everything. In return you get the convenience of having a one stop shop.
Personally I would go with architect & builder BUT choose your architect very carefully if you want them to play any sort of building supervision role. You want someone who is interested in and knows about the building process (some are all about the beautiful design and not so much about damp proofing...) and who won't delegate the building supervision bit to some very junior architect in their practice who knows nowt about building. Also shop around for how much they expect to get paid for the building supervision bit, we found huge variance.
Another option is architect for the design, builder and separate project manager to supervise the work.
minipie, yes, my original plan was to go architect, then project manager. I'm just so unsure of which way to jump that I'm frozen at the moment! So many extensions on our road, though: think I'll start introducing myself to the neighbours and picking their brains!!
When we renovated our last house, which was a huge 18 month project we had an architect (sole rather than a large company) who also helped us go to tender then made sure the builders applied his instructions. Dealt with any issues that arose - it was an 1860's house so we discovered a LOT of problems. If the builders had been telling me these things I'd have felt differently whereas the architect had our best interests (and budget) at heart. It was a big job and defo the way to go. Prior to this we did a very simple loft conversion on a previous 3 bed semi that was design and build. No issues at all but was very simple and took 4 weeks not 18 months. I think D&B is great if it's straight forward and you don't really need anyone on side if you know what I mean.
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