However, if you are thinking of a new home for you and those closest to you, your plans may not be as grand as some of those you have seen photographed or featured on television. Perhaps you think that your finances don’t cover hiring one. How can you be certain whether you need to use an architect and if not making use of one will cost you money in the long run?
Making use of a pre-canned design
Off the shelf designs are created by home designers & architects as a kind of ‘one size fits all’ approach to home design.
Plus points: You should be able to find off the shelf plans to fit just about any size, style or budget. Provided you can find one that you are happy with then it can save you a significant amount of money.
Negative factors: The one size fits all approach of these off the shelf type designs means that they will not be catered specifically to your individual requirements and there may be aspects to the design that are not to your taste. You also need to consider that the plans probably haven’t been drawn up taking into account the specifics of your local area and any requirements it might entail. Lots of individuals who buy these plans often take the services of an architect for the purpose of modifying them to suit.
Mass development house builders
Today, most large scale housing developments are built by these kind of construction firms. If they don’t own the land themselves (which they frequently do), then they will have been contracted to develop it by the land owners. The designs for the homes will come from plans drawn up specifically with that development in mind. When working in collaboration with these builders, you will find that you need to select from the plans that are offered by the builder. After going through various plans in detail, you need to play a prominent part in the customization of it. The kind of features that you may be able to influence are things like the window fittings and interior elements but the majority of features will be outside of your control.
Upside: Developers like this obviously build a lot of homes and as such should be expert professionals in terms of getting house built. As the plans are developed locally, they are going to be ideally suited for the terrain and climate.
Negative points: Bear in mind that the developers will be building many, similar homes as part of the project and yours will be just one of those. In order to produce so many homes, in such a short space of time things are often done to keep costs and development times down.
What does a professional home designer do?
Another cost-saving option that is available for you is to take the services of a certified professional building designer, widely been regarded as home designer, playing a significant role in your house designing. These designers are not trained and qualified to the same level of expertise as architects but they are still highly skilled. These designers generally charge a lower fee than architects do but will usually be professionally certified so you can be sure of having an expert help you with your designs.
Plus points: As the name suggests, the expertise of home designers is just that, designing homes. There is every chance that a home designer has more experience of designing private residences than a randomly chosen architect. Hire a good home designer and you can get a fantastic, bespoke designed home for your family at a much lower cost than you would using an architect.
Negative factors: Although not mass-producing their designs, they will often stick to tried and tested methods and approaches, rather than employing really innovative and unconventional methods and techniques. As home designers does not take any sort of training with regard to developing unusual or complicated designs, they may not satisfy your requirements all the time. If you are interested in a completely unique design, hiring an architect is the way to go.
Talking about architects, they are licensed professionals, having expertise in all sorts of areas. Every architect has to undertake a minimum amount of training in order to become a qualified professional. Like other professions (legal, medical) the training required lasts around 7 years. Their training consists of numerous exams that have to be passed as well as practical work experience. The skills of an architect extend far beyond simply coming up with designs and drawings for buildings and they are able to solve complex issues that might arise as part of a project.
What is the role of an architect?
This might not be as obvious as it first seems. The role of an architect will often differ from one construction project to the next. Aside from the obvious aspect of coming up with the drawings or designs for a project, architects will often advise on aspects of the build such as what construction materials to use, planning consent and overall supervision of the project. Ideally, it is the responsibility of your architect to inspect the building site and observe the sun direction and trees placement. When you take these services, get ready to pay extra money, generally in the range of eight to ten percent.
The kind of things architects should be asking you
Do you and your family regularly watch television and if so, whereabouts in the house do you do it?
Do you need an informal dining room?
Do you regularly entertain guests at your home or are you planning on doing so?
Do you treat your bedroom pretty much like a sanctuary where you devote lots of daytime hours? Or, is your bedroom just a sleeping place?
Do you want a separate work area in your new home?
What problems do you currently have with your home?
What aspects or features of your current home would you like to retain?
How would you like to change or redesign your home?
How much are you looking to spend?
A good Cambridge architect will be able to help you get the most out of your budget and get you the new dream home you have always wanted.