The first step to any self-build project is securing an architect and getting plans drawn up. In our opinion it is one of the most important aspects of your project. Getting an architect that you can trust and can incorporate an idea onto paper within a budget is so important.
This is the point where you start to part with money for your future home! Some architects’ fees will be based on a percentage of the total house build cost. Other’s will have set fees. Depending on the scale of your plans and the architect you choose, their fee could range anywhere from £1000 to £5000! We don’t think you should look at the fee in monetary terms, you should look at it in terms of value. How many revisions or changes will they allow you to make? Will they be putting it through planning? Will they come and visit the site and sign off each stage? More often than not, the expertise will outweigh the expense.
Over the years we have seen numerous architects lose the run of the client’s requirements with unusual design concepts or unfamiliar materials. It only becomes apparent to the client how much their project will cost them when they get a BOQ done!
However, it’s not always the fault of the architect. Clients can have big aspirations and ideas for their future homes and expect the architect to fulfil this on an unmanageable budget. Contrarywise, having a small budget doesn’t mean you will have a small, or poorly designed house. Keeping the design simple, means it will be simple to build. For example, a complicated roof layout will shoot the labour and material costs up compared to a standard straight truss roof.
Creating a vision
The simplest way to ensure total clarity between client and architect is to create a vision board. Put all your ideas and expectations down, with your budget, and let the architect work from there. The next step will be to decide on contemporary or traditional styles. Maybe you have already picked an architect with a certain style? Perhaps you want your house to incorporate both styles!
The final specified and detailed plan will enable a QS to price accurately. It will allow a clear route of progression for each phase of the build. If you are managing the build yourself, the services of the architect you choose should extend during the construction phase of the project. Their expert advice when the unexpected occurs, monitoring the progress and quality of tradesmen and overseeing the project to successful completion.