Why use us to design and handle
your home development scheme and what are the alternatives on offer?
Homeowners have a number of options on who & how to design their home
development scheme for extending, altering or redeveloping their homes and properties.
Here I discuss the benefits and issues of what is available to the modern day homeowner for preparing
plans and specifications (IMHO)...
I start with the least desirable of options...
THE HOMEOWNER 'DIY' APPROACH
Some homeowners are loathed to spend money on professional fees thinking that they can handle it themselves
& save on costs. Perhaps they have rudimentary drafting or CAD skills or even a little building
Unless they have the time, dedication to detail and a full understanding of the process most
DIY homeowner schemes will get into trouble by either misrepresenting their proposals at
Council level, have poor quality unchallenged design solutions or expose themselves to the 'extra cost' bear traps
of the final builder.
Most home owners going down this route usually end up with having to engage a professional to sort out the mess,
incur abortive time and costs beyond that of doing it properly in the first place. This is not a recommended
solution - it does not usually end well.
THE 'INTERWEB' DIY APPROACH
The internet has exploded over the last few years with the general public being able to obtain all sorts of
services remotely and on line. You can even obtain house extension plans online by sending 'CAD Monkey'
companies your own measured survey and photographs.
Then you can approach a specification writing service or software to compile the written construction elements
or obtain standard building details.
How accurate, concise and 'joined up' this approach is remains doubtful especially when initiated by the
inexperienced homeowner piece-mealling all this together. This is not a recommended solution.
THE 'PLANS DRAWN' MERCHANT.
These are usually unqualified part timers having a little knowledge of the process and will do just enough to
obtain planning permission and building regulations approval of a sort. This is still a long way short of
providing a full and comprehensive construction scheme suitable for instructing your builder on a fixed price
However, I also know of some very long term full time highly experienced but unqualified building designers who
do a very good job indeed so this route can be a bit of a lottery in finding the correct person.
THE 'FULL TIME EXPERIENCED PROFESSIONAL' BUILDING DESIGNER - THE SUGGESTED APPROACH
These are usually Chartered Architects, Chartered Architectural Technologists or Chartered Building
Surveyors. There are some other lesser known building professionals belonging to other institutions who may
also fall into this category.
These main three professionals have the following benefits for the homeowner:-
- They are highly trained in the area of expertise you require.
- They belong to a professional institution or governing body.
- They must adhere to a code of conduct.
- They must carry adequate professional indemnity insurance for errors and omissions.
- You have a complaints or redress procedure available.
However, as with all professional services, having the relevant track record and experience in this residential
development area is also vital. Employing a purely commercial Architect, Technologist or Surveyor
for a sympathetic extension to a listed building may not result in the most suitable outcome.
As always its horses for courses so do your homework.
SO WHY SHOULD I ENGAGE THE CHRISTOPHER HUNT PRACTICE?
Quite simply Christopher Hunt has all 5 of the listed attributes above and we only specialise in
residential development from house extensions to creating new homes for over 35 years.
We are unable to compete fee wise with the 'plan drawers' of this world but we should be competitive
against that of our peers.
When comparing fees you should always compare 'like for like' against same level of services. Not all
building design agents are equal and we all offer differing levels of competence, service, efficiencies
DO YOUR DUE DILIGENCE FIRST.
I would advise all prospective clients to interview at least three Architectural Services based upon the level
of service and expertise you require.
If you see our services as just a 'means to an end' to get the builder on site ASAP and at the cheapest cost,
then you will not value what CHP can bring to the table for you.
If you are open to be challenged on your aspirations, explore and consider alternatives, to thoroughly
stress test your requirements first in order to obtain the best possible design solution with a concise set of
design drawings and a complete construction specification for utilising as the contract documents in
order to engage your builder on a fixed price contract then Christopher is all ears and suggests you use
one of his initial inspection and feasibility reporting services
WHAT ARE YOUR LIMITATIONS OR RISKS FOR ME?
Firstly, I am a sole trader. I practically do everything where I can from measured survey, survey
drawings, exploratory design proposals, the Planning scheme, the full construction scheme and offer ancillary
services such as tendering your scheme to local builders and contract administration if required.
Unlike others, I tend not to outsource elements unless they are in the clients interests such as structural
engineer and specialist consultant reports to support a planning application.
Therefore the risk of illness or family commitments could interfere with the progress of your scheme
although this has never been a problem before.
A larger multidisciplinary company may have better resources but you may also be dealing with
several team members along the way who may lose site of your objectives or where you become 'just a
CHP is a one stop shop. You will only ever deal with myself and I take personal ownership of your scheme
from start to finish.