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How to select your home extension architect or designer

A home owners initial idea for a home extension needs to be confirmed and explored by a professional designer or architect in most cases.  Some home owners go down the DIY route in preparing their own plans but usually get stuck somewhere in the system or process.

Selecting your home extension designer could be considered the most important part of the decision making as they will usually take the lead role in taking your own concepts and ideas and transferring them in to a workable scheme with their own added value elements based on experience and good practice.

Not all home extension designers are architects. Most homeowners incorrectly refer to 'their architect' as a generic term for anyone who prepares building design which is incorrect but everyone know what you mean.

Most people offering architectural design services for house extensions are normally qualified outside of the RIBA such as CIAT (Architectural Technologists) or the RICS (Chartered Surveyors).

Some home extension designers are not professionally qualified at all but do have the relevant experience and should not be discounted from your possible selection.  These people probably worked in an associated architectural field at one time and simply started offering private work on the side to get started and it has picked up from their.

Many homeowners will obtain local recommendations from friends, family and colleagues which can also be a good source.  The internet is now becoming increasingly important for the sourcing of information and services and architectural design for house extensions is no exception.

So, does a chartered architect bring something unique and special to the design table for their home extension clients? Are their fees higher than an experienced building designer? Is there any value added when employing a chartered professional from within RIBA, CIAT and RICS?

I would not disregard any of these subdivisions in the home extension architectural field as each has good and bad within their ranks.  Some dabble in areas outside of their expertise so it is important to find the home extension designer suited to your needs that can provide you with the level of services and experience you are seeking.  Not all homeowners demand the same level of service.

However, I do think that there is a basic framework of criteria that your home extension designer or architect should have:-

1 - 5 years minimum experience in full time employment in the services or practice they are offering.

2 - Belong to some form of professional body or organisation that offers a standard of professional service or code of conduct for its members.

3 - Have adequate and up to date professional indemnity insurance cover for any errors or omissions they may make.

4 - Have adequate resources and skills to complete your scheme.

5 - Be able to offer a full service from inception to contract administration. (many do not and just do the planning scheme and then walk away).




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