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Do I need an architect?

Who’s the right person to design your new home? Mike Hardwick helps you choose the best route for your project

When I ask self-builders who they think can design a house – and who they think should do it – more often than not, the reply is an architect. While it’s true they are highly trained and able to design, plan and manage the construction of a new home, there are a number of alternatives to choose from.

Trained architects are professionals, and professionals aren’t generally known for being the inexpensive option. Moreover, while in certain circumstances an architect is the obvious choice, sometimes using their services can be a costly overkill.

So how can you tell whether you need an architect, or whether an alternative design solution would work better and be more costeffective for your project?

Your design options

One of the key considerations when taking on a self-build or other major project will be the complexity of the scheme. Some of you might be tackling the kind of high-end scheme beloved of Grand Designs – but the vast majority of self-builds do not fall into this category.

Creating a modest family home with four walls and a simple roof is not rocket science. We build tens of thousands of them every year in this country. So do we really need to go to the expense of a fully-qualified architect to draw up something so straightforward? I would suggest not. Here are some of the key design options available to you:

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About Build It

Get the advice and inspiration you need to complete your home building project on time and on budget with the March edition of Build It, including: - How to get more for your money - Is gas central heating energy efficient? - Getting sunroom extensions right - Ultimate guide to garage conversions - Do you need an architect? ... and more!