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Working with an architect


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Why we work with Urbanist Architecture

Useful articles:

Self-builders guide to planning permission for a new house




Getting started

Make a list of the alterations you want to make to your property.

What is your timescale?


Work out a budget. How much are you willing to spend to achieve your dream?


Researching architects


Find a RIBA chartered architect to research similar jobs to yours – most architects usually have case studies you can view. Also check their portfolio or customer references.


Meet three architects to discuss the outline of your project – either at their offices or in your home. If you are couple, make sure you both attend so they can understand your objectives, likes and dislikes.

Ask to see similar projects they have done in the past.

Do they have a list of builders/tradespeople they know and trust?



Understand what they can/can’t do, eg will their drawings meet planning and building regulation requirements or will this detail cost more?

Discuss how they charge; what staged payments are required? What additional costs – eg planning permission and building regulation fees – will be incurred?

Are they able to cost the project build for you?

Write down all the titles of charges from different quotes so you can compare like with like.


Once you have appointed an architect:

  • How long will the entire drawings process take?

  • Will these be ready for the builder etc to produce detailed costs?

  • How long might planning take, if required?

  • If building regulations are required, who will be responsible for any issues (architect, builder, client)?

  • Does your preferred timescale match with that of the architect?


Proceeding with the project

Ask your architect for any constraints or challenges you are likely to face.

Check the person you have been seeing will be working on the designs.

Communication is key; your architect should contact you at least once a week to ensure the project is progressing.

Make sure your ideas are implemented in the design and if you don’t like something, don’t be afraid to say so.

Ask your architects what, if any, planning consent you will need and why – and how long the application process should take.

Once you have a planning decision, meet your architect to discuss the next steps.

If you wish, your architect can put your project out to tender and prepare contracts for your project, which may be better than managing it yourself, as someone will need to be on site when the work is done.


All our information is brought to you by Kate Faulkner OBE, author of Which? Property books and one of the UK's top property experts.
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