House extension time!
A house extension is one of the most effective ways to gain square feet in your house without having to move. Is it necessary to use an architect for a house extension? If so, what will the architect do? How should you choose one? Here are the answers to your questions.
- What is a house extension?
- When is the use of an architect compulsory?
- Why hire an architect?
- What are the responsibilities of an architect for a house extension?
- How do I choose an architect for my house extension?
1. What is a house extension?
A house extension includes both the creation of an annex to your house (attached or not) and the reclassification of an existing surface as a floor area.
For example, the following are considered to be house extensions:
- Converting a terrace into a veranda
- Creating a living room in a garage
- Raising the height of a house (adding an extra floor)
- Adding a garage to a house
- Making attic space suitable for another livable room
2. When is the use of an architect compulsory?
The short answer is, it’s not. If you are planning to extend your house, you are not obligated to use the services of an architect. However, architects are experts; they’ve been educated and they’ve had years of training before becoming licensed professionals. Architects also have Professional Indemnity Insurance that protects not only their practices but their clients’ projects as well.
Because of the planning, exact details, specific measurements, and many other issues related to making an extension on your house, we recommend using an architect for:
- Side extensions
- Rear extensions
- Two-storey extensions
- Garage conversions
- Attic conversions
- Loft extensions/conversions
- Basement extensions/conversions
3. Why hire an architect?
Even if you find yourself in a situation where the use of an architect is not compulsory, their expertise could still be of great help to you.
The creativity and design skills of architects will help you to integrate your extension into its existing environment. Architects also have a global vision for your construction project. This means that they will consider the exterior as well as the interior functionalities of your extension/conversion.
Some architects specialise in house extensions. You can rely on their experience and expertise to create a harmonious and aesthetic extension. A well-designed extension project can completely change your home and enhance its charm.
Architects are also familiar with the administrative formalities of planning permission. If you hire an architect, they will put together and handle your building permit file and they’ll submit it to the appropriate administration(s). Architects will also follow up on any additional requests from the planning authorities. This is a considerable time saver if you are not familiar with building permits and these types of documents, which can be difficult to draw up.
4. What are the responsibilities of an architect for a house extension?
The responsibilities of an architect can vary from one project to another. You can define the scope of services you’d like from your architect. You can entrust everything from the design of the house extension to the submission of the building permit to the architect of your choice.
Key stages of a house extension and the architect's responsibilities:
- Visit of your home and inventory of the existing structure
- Feasibility study, design and proposal of an extension project
- Possible proposal of interior design plans according to your wishes
- Price of the project after validating the plans
- Submission of the building permit or prior declaration of works
- Consultation with construction companies to obtain estimates for the work
- Selection of builders and signing of contracts
- Monitoring of the work by the architect
- Accompaniment of the architect during the acceptance of the work
Depending on your technical skills and the scope of your project, you can take care of some of the above tasks yourself. You can, for example, consult and select your companies and then monitor your site if you have knowledge of the building industry.
5. How do I choose an architect for my house extension?
Hiring an architect may seem reserved for large-scale projects. In reality, each architect has their own area of expertise and there are many professionals who specialise in building and/or extending houses for individuals. Find a great architect close to you on Welink Builders.
To choose your architect, your budget will be a determining factor, but not the only one. Have a look at our article, How much does an architect cost?. Your choice will also be guided by your aesthetic style, how well your ideas and ways of doing things match with the architect and your impression of the professional. Read reviews and check out the architect’s past projects. See what others are saying about the architect. Ask to see photos of completed projects. It’s good to get a sense of the architect's world. Does the architect have a particular style or material of choice? Are you impressed with the pro’s previous work?
If you have any doubt about your situation, continue to do your research and don’t settle for an architect that just seems okay to you. This is your house and you want the best extension possible! You can take time and meet with several architects to discuss your extension before making your choice. Every pro will have a different idea and a different vision - make sure those ideas and visions align with yours!