Reasons to use an architect for your building extension
By Mark Dawes, Managing Director, CAD Architects
When they are designed well, building extensions and building alterations can completely transform your home. They can revolutionise the way that you use the space, create a new open-plan style of living, and allow more natural light into the property. They can also be a fantastic way of increasing the market value of your house.
There are many options to consider, whether its is a ground floor extension to accommodate a bigger living room or kitchen, two storey extensions to add more bedroom space, or a loft conversion or basement conversion that will integrate underused areas into the main home.
These days people tend to be more ambitious about what they want to achieve with their building extensions. For this reason, before you try working directly with a builder, it is worth considering what a good residential architect could bring to your project. They can help you introduce the very latest design thinking into your home.
Having an early dialogue with an experienced architect is an important part of developing the brief for your extension. Your architect will want to know your reasons for having an extension, what objectives you want to achieve, how you plan to use the new space, and your target budget. Taking time at this stage to explain your needs in detail will get the whole project off to a sound start. It will allow your architect to create proposals that have been specifically tailored to your needs.
You may not be able to achieve everything that you want for the budget that you have available. There may have to be some compromises. But your architect is the ideal person to explain these to you and give you an unbiased recommendation on the best way to proceed.
You will probably have lots of thoughts and ideas about the design for your building extension, gained through viewing other properties and research in magazines, on TV and online. It’s great to be able to bring these suggestions to the process. At CAD Architects, we have spent years working on extensions to all kinds of modern and traditional homes – and listed buildings. We can therefore use our experience to help focus your thinking and can explain the pros and cons of particular design elements. We will also be able to put forward many fresh design ideas and solutions that you may not have considered.
Having an expert to develop your design ideas is an invaluable part of the service that architects offer. You can draw on their skills and advice to agree a clear approach to every aspect of your building extension before the final drawings are produced. There are many great visualisation tools that architects can use to bring your design to life, so that, before you give your approval to proceed, you can get a really accurate impression of how it will feel to live in your new space.
When a good residential architect works on a new design, they do not look at it in isolation. As they design, they are using all their knowledge and experience to factor in how the design will be built, the structural challenges that need to be overcome, and the impact of their design on the overall cost. This is invaluable as it helps to highlight any issues in these areas well before the build gets underway.
Another important aspect that your architect can advise you on is planning permission. Certain types of building extensions can be carried out without this, using “permitted development rights.” However, if you are creating a design that is out of the ordinary or if, for example, your property is within a conservation area, then planning permission may be required.
At CAD Architects we have expert knowledge of the local planning regime and we can champion your project through the planning approval process, submitting all the necessary drawings and plans and helping to secure the required approvals. The same principle applies to Building Regulations approvals, which will be required on any building extension.
We recently received this feedback from a client for whom we had carried out a series of building extensions and building alterations to a large residential property:
“I wanted to thank you for all your work on our behalf. We are extremely pleased with the latest (and last!) extension and related works and now feel we have a house that works for us just as we want it. We will certainly recommend CAD Architects to anyone we come across who is looking to appoint an architect for a project.”
If you have ambitious plans for your building extension, speak to the expert team at CAD Architects and we will help make it a reality.
To see examples of some of our outstanding projects on alterations and extensions, click here.