Having an extension built onto your home can prove quite an upheaval for you and your whole family. It’s important that when you do finally go ahead and commission your dream extension, that it’s done professionally and exactly to your specifications.
Hiring a credible architectural design company is paramount. Like most people, you’re probably not in the habit of regularly commissioning specialist architectural services. So how do you go about it? Here are some good tips to follow that certainly wouldn’t do your project any harm.
1) Get Someone Local
The reason for this is that they’ll probably be familiar with the local planning authority rules and guidelines, as well as having a working relationship with the local Building Control section. Your extension will need approval prior to starting the project. You will also need a completion certificate from building control once it’s finished in order to be legal. And while we’re on the subject, it might be an idea to ask what their approval rate is for getting planning submissions approved.
2) Ask Around
A good way to find the right designer for your extension is to ask people already ‘in the know’, such as local joiners, plumbers and bricklayers who have probably worked for a number of local architectural designers - or at least know what the word on the street is about them.
3) Find An Architectural Designer Who Listens
All too often we’ve heard tales of how a householder painstakingly explained what they wanted their extension design to look like, only to be completely railroaded by the architect’s ‘latest design fad.’ It’s your extension so if you have strong ideas about what you want then let your architectural designer know. He or she should be listening to you first and foremost.
4) Can They Work Within Your Budget?
It’s a very good idea to state exactly how much you can afford for your extension. This is for two reasons; the first to ensure your architectural designer doesn’t get carried away and produce something you won’t be able to afford, and secondly, so that you can sit down with your designer to work out what kind of finishes and styling you’ll be able to get for your money.
5) Check What’s Included In The Quote
Some architectural designers may charge extra for planning and building control submissions. This can add hundreds of pounds to the cost of your extension, so it's a good idea to discuss a breakdown of the work before signing a contract.
6) Ensure They Have Indemnity Insurance
Not only does having insurance like this make them more professional, but it will protect you financially should anything happen to either the building or individuals working on site.
7) Can They Project Manage?
And if they say they can, ask them for references from previous projects. A bad project manager can add weeks if not months onto the build and you could end up being severely out of pocket.
8) Are They Putting It Down In Writing?
Always get an official, legally-binding contract to sign. After all, it isn’t pennies you’re parting with.
Our FREE Guide To House Extensions
Get more tips and information on building an extension with our free e-book Extending Your Living Space, which you can download from our website today.