Anyone used "Architect your Home" or heard much about them?(22 Posts)
Just that really.
Contacted them yesterday and they phoned me today. Sending me a prospectus.
Just wondered if anyone had any first hand experience.
Have also looked into using them, but I am a bit put off by the price of their initial meeting, so am also interested to hear if anyone would recommend them...
I think that they contract out to different architects and firms so I imagine peoples experience may vary widely. I too was put off by having to pay for an initial chat, but I suppose I'm also scared of meeting an architect the traditional way and not knowing if he's going to suggest something that will cost 1k or 20k. I just have no idea what is normal...
They do contract out to different architects around the country.
I quite like that (from what I understand) you can 'buy' as much of their services as you wish.
I have no idea how it works with a regular architect - do they charge a one off fee for coming to meet with you and how much.
It's all new to me!
Buda I think that RIBA architects are supposed to give you an hour's free consultaion so you wouldnt normally pay for a first meeting.
But that said, they dont tend to offer lots of practical advice in that meeting and many architects prefer not to work on an hourly consultancy basis, as far as I can tell (from my experiences, anyway).
What I liked about AYH is that the services they provide are stand alone, so you can pay for the advice and then not have any further dealings with the architect, if that is what you want, or you can use them as much as you want.
But I do think that £500-600 or whatever is it, for a half day visit is a bit steep...
I know what you mean Pannacotta but I think for us it might save us money in the long run as we are currently overseas and moving back to UK next year. We bought house earlier this year and will be there for 2 weeks in the summer. A half day visit to really sit down and figure out what we are doing will be money well spent.
DH went to see them when we did our house - this was a couple of years ago - but they were really busy, trying to get a full appt needed booking months in advance , and it wasn't entirely clear what the final costs were going to be.
As we weren't doing anything particularly wild, we went with a small architects' practice who did drawings, planning app etc for us and then we took over project management - worked out much cheaper.
I looked into all this as best I could when we started our extension.
Contacted architect your home who seem to be very heavily advertised - in all the mags and features in mags as well. They sent me a huge quote and I didn't like the sales pitch style of the man on the phone. They struck me as being a bit like dolphin bathrooms but for architects IYSWIM.
I also went on teh RIBA website and asked around for recommendations. Contacted the recommendations and the ones RIBA sent me, and in the end chose a local chap who was reasonably priced and who we liked. And his portfolio looked good.
It's all going well so far (we've got planning permission and he's doing teh building regs drawings, costs has been as per quotes so far).
I'd shop around if I were you.
How it worked with us
The people who came stayed for about 30 mins to an hour, looked around the house, had a talk about what we wanted, what sort of budget etc
They didn't go into huge depth as I guess they don't want you to nick the ideas!
That was free
Then we got the quotes which were X for planning permission, X for building regs, estimates for structural engineering etc
Then we decided. We met about 7 different lots in the end.
However if you are only here for 2 weeks that way of doing it won't work.
You're not going to be able to get any recommendations either I guess?
We really want to decide what to do in those 2 weeks in July. I do have recommendations in the area but the to-ing and fro-ing will take time. The AYH way of a long upfront visit and have a plan at the end appeals. And will likely save us money on flying back and forth.
Anyway - they are sending me a prospectus so we will have a look.
The other thing that appeals about AYH is that they have done renovations/extensions before for people living abroad and they could manage that for us. It will cost of course but may be cheaper than having to rent something when we come back while the work is being done. (I know some people live in a house while work is being done but I really don't want to.)
Well we pitched to do their PR once, but didn't get it. A completely unhelpful comment I know!
We used AYH in 2010/2011 for our extension and re-model. I have to say the service worked really well for us, developed a great relationship and understanding with our local (Brixton) architect.
In fact I blogged about them on their own website(!), it may still be there(?) I serialised our project journey because we found most of the problems arose once we'd 'finished' using the AYH service. We had problem builders, delayed works and delayed products and so on but thats because we chose to get our hands dirty rather than use them for the whole service. That's the beauty though, you can use them as much or as little as you'd like. With hindsight I think we should have used them a bit more...
The best part for us was the four hour session with the architect, it nailed our design and he wasn't just a 'yes' man, we had some fun and challenging times but ultimately we all wanted to get the best out of the house!
We'd definitely use them again and would certainly recommend!
Hope this helps...
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They are not much more than a register, members of which who have to pay for appearing on their site.
I looked into this and decided against joining - I have nothing against the concept and some contributors on here have had good experiences with them but please bear in mind the fact that by using them you are restricting your choice of architects, perhaps unnecessarily.
The comments "you can use them as much or as little as you'd like." apply to most architects anyway.
For example I usually offer a free hour to chat through ideas and practicalities - so long as the potential client is not too far away (and if there is
wine good coffee and cake available I may have been known to stretch to two hours)!
If the project goes ahead I can just prepare drawings for statutory consents and that's the end of my involvement, provide the full 'A - L' service or something in between depending upon the client's wishes / funds.
Many other practices do this so have a look locally and you may be pleasantly surprised.
Just came across this post from a related building regs post. We looked at AYH before going with a local firm in surrey called Adapt. We didn't like the idea of committing money before seeing if we got on with the architect. You can probably engage the architect direct anyway by doing some research as I expect the architects each have their own firms, and offer free site consultations. We saw 5 firms and went with the one we got on with the best, and who shared some good ideas.
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I used them and got a really rubbish architect who had no ideas. Honestly really surprising - we ended up making all the suggestions and eventually gave him our own plans to draw up because he was very limited. I wouldn't use them again but would seek local recommendations.
I would be interested to hear more about your experience and who the architect was. We were recommended AYH by friends who used them, and given the frustration with trying to find a good architect elsewhere are biting the bullet and going with the initial consultation discussion. Our architect is coming from Haringey borough.
As I explained above, AYH are a franchise. Whilst they do have some good points, if you go with them you are restricting your choice of architect to those firms who have registered with them.
Quangle has a very valid point when talking about local recommendation.
As an architect practicing in Cornwall, I would be reticent about a taking on project in Haringey (wherever that is). Distance, familiarity with soil conditions, planning officers, recent triumphs and disasters, local vernacular architecture, etc would count highly in my ability to provide the proper level of service to you as a client.
As for initial contact and free service, my comments above still apply.
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The company is great. We had a great architect - Tina Patel - and she designed a fantastic extension and had great ideas. We liked the pay as you go system and engaged her as project manager which saved us so much heartache when the builder went bust! We would use them again and Tina is now working on a project for a friend. As total novices we felt supported and in good hands. The project is a WOW! and is one of the pictures on the website.
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