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Should you consult a builder or an architect?

Should you consult a builder or an architect?

When planning a kitchen extension or loft conversion, homeowners are often confused about whether to initially consult an architect or go straight to a builder.

The benefits of enlisting the services of an architect are that you can really explore what’s going to be possible – and then get a detailed specification that’s likely to result in a far better tendering process when comes to appointing a builder.

The Hampton-based architectural design team at HollandGreen elegantly escort people through the process. It can often be a stressful time, particularly if it’s the first time you’ve undertaken major building work on your property.

We have a thorough understanding of current planning rules, how to maximise space and light and give you just the right amount of information at each stage. We take our clients through a three stage process:

1. Inspiration, design and planning

This is the exciting stage of ideas and wishlists. We can model what’s possible and allow you to play around with the designs on an interactive 3D modelling screen. This gives you a clear vision of how things will look and work.

2. Permission

This is the less exciting stage of ensuring that the proposed works are in line with building regulations, that the structural engineering is sound and that you adhere to Party Wall regulations. We will also liaise with bodies like the Planning Authority and Thames Water.

3. Specification of works and tendering

We produce a detailed specification of works, typically 30 – 40 pages long. We then manage a competitive tender process, typically involving 3 – 4 builders. The key point here is that they are competing on a level playing field. A quote against a detailed specification will be a much more reliable quote and in a competitive tender, the builders definitely sharpen their pencils.

This then goes into a legally binding contract, detailing things like retention, staged payments and project timeline. This means you’ll end up paying the right price and getting what you want – on time and to budget.

The role of an architect during the building work

Again at HollandGreen we offer three different options:

1. Self managed

This is where we leave you to manage the project, liaising directly with the builder. This is of course the least costly option, but will take up more of your time.

2. Full project management

This is where we run the timeline and budget, end to end. You won’t need to deal with the builder directly and we’ll manage the whole project from start to finish.

3. ‘Oversight’ service

This falls in the middle and is a popular fixed price option for those looking to minimise costs but still have the reassurance that comes with having an experienced architect on your team. We come along every couple of weeks and produce a detailed photographic report. We make sure the builder is sticking to the specification.

To discuss your kitchen extension or loft conversion with the architectural design team at HollandGreen based in Hampton call 020 8099 6112.