When you have a building project, looking for an architect is the first thing you do. This expert helps you put your vision on paper. After some due diligence, you may come up with a list of potential architectural practices to hire. Before you rush into making any decision, the following is a list of five important questions that you should ask. This way, you will be in a better position to choose the most suitable architect firm for your project.
1. What is your overall experience in the sector?
This question will seek to learn several things, First, you want to know the design philosophy of the firm. Then, you want to know why the company is better than other companies that have similar experience. You will also seek to find out whether the company has relevant experience to tackle your project. Still on experience, ask to view their portfolio so that you can confirm whether indeed they have the capacity and skill to tackle your project. Find out who the key contact person is for the company.
2. What is your professional take on my project?
Ask the architect you are considering to use, relevant questions regarding your project. First, find out whether your work will be given priority – if granted the job – ascertain projected lead times for work. Also, ask about the challenges the practice might foresee regarding your project. Know whether there are special considerations or issues that should be made a priority. Here, ask about the timelines for the project. Discover how they intend to break down the project and execute it. Will there be models, animations or drawings?
3. What does the designing process entail?
Here, learn about the process of designing that the company intends to use. Know whether there will be priorities for design decisions and what you are expected to provide. In this regard, establish whether the construction will be disruptive and decide whether you will work with the contractor directly or the architects during construction.
4. Do you accommodate ‘green’ or sustainable design?
These days, green designs are becoming more and more popular. This is as people invest more effort in aspiring to a more sustainable lifestyle. Ask the company whether they have any provision for green designs and how they implement the same. Learn whether this option will affect the overall budget. This way, you can weigh your options and make a decision to go green, how far you can ‘go green’, or not. Above all, the firm should give you details on the best practices in this regard.
5. What are the costs?
First, find out the overall fees for the services to be provided. Also, inquire whether there are additional fees that might be incurred and under what circumstances. Find out how the fees will be affected if the project was to deviate from an earlier plan. Know how the fees will be justified and how the communication will be made. At this point, ask about their experience in completing projects with the original budget.
As you can see, there are key considerations to take into account. M P Architects LLP is always pleased to include these issues during our initial visit discussions. Please feel free to contact our office on 01277 364979.
The benefits conversions and extensions offer, in terms of improving your existing living space can be considerable.
Why consider a residential home extension or conversion and not move?
Homeowners with a growing family, or those who wish to look after ageing parents, often find themselves compromised on space but many do not wish to move. They are comfortable with their existing home and they like its location; are familiar with the area, have easy access to local amenities and/or their place of work and have good supportive networks in place. They do not wish to go through the inevitable stress and strain that selling their existing property, along with finding and moving to a different one.
Cost can also be a major factor when deciding whether to move or improve the existing living space. While extending or converting parts of a property will certainly incur significant costs, it could represent better value for money than the upheaval of leaving an existing property and securing a new one.
Whether to extend…
The amount of available space relating to your existing land and property can be a significant factor when deciding to convert or extend.
Those with an ample area around their property will often choose to extend. For them, subject to planning permissions, space to build on is not an issue.
Extensions can just be a simple ground floor extension to the back of the property or be much grander, incorporating a double storey wrap around extension. They can accommodate one or more of the following:
Extensions can be subtle and in keeping with the original look of the home or represent a complete facelift and update.
Those with less space to work with but in need of additional facilities, can still improve their living space by changing the interior design of their home. This can include:
Adding an additional bedroom and bathroom or home office/study room or playroom for younger family members over a garage
The conversion of a loft or cellar into productive living space
Enclosing open patio space to form a conservatory
Converting an integral garage into living space
Removing dividing walls to create a more open plan kitchen, dining and seating area.
Those with no experience in these respects are strongly recommended not to attempt a ‘DIY’ extension or conversion without seeking the advice of experienced professionals.
Architectural design companies with a solid reputation and an extensive portfolio of previous projects are considered as the “go to” group for many of those looking to increase the living area and value of their home. They offer experienced advice in terms of different design options that make best use of the available space and will deal with the, sometimes complex, local planning requirements and mandatory building regulations.
Should you choose, a professional architectural practice can be your one-stop-shop in terms of design and planning, recommending quality local building professionals, dealing with planning applications, permissions and building regulations as well as offering project management expertise.
The knowledge that an architectural design firm can bring to the project will give you peace of mind. Employing their project management services will mean that while work is being completed you are regularly kept up to date with progress. They will endeavour to ensure that agreed timescales and budgets are being met. The benefits of utilising such a service, should not be overlooked by anyone considering undertaking a large project on their existing home.
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