Building Your Own Home – Using an Architect to Reduce The Risks

Building Your Own Home – Using an Architect to Reduce The Risks

Building your own home can be an incredibly rewarding experience, allowing you to create a space that perfectly suits your needs and aspirations. 

However, it also comes with its fair share of challenges and risks.

As architects with years of experience in designing and delivering beautiful homes for our clients, Kimble Roden understands the importance of mitigating these risks to ensure your dream home becomes a reality without any major setbacks.

In this blog, we will share valuable insights on how to reduce the risks when building your own home.

Start with a Well-considered Design

Generated visuals help you understand the initial design - KR project

The foundation of any successful construction project is a well-thought-out initial design. Working closely with an experienced architect ensures that your brief for the project is fully considered and that the vision aligns with budget, planning and logistical constraints – all of these factors need to be considered at an early stage to create a design that is achievable and deliverable.

An experienced architect will create a comprehensive design solution that addresses all your needs and sets the vision for your project.


Budget Realistically

A typical  budget estimate done by a quantity surveyor - KR project

Setting a realistic budget is essential to avoid financial strain during the building process. Your architect should advise on preparing a budget cost early on in the project stages so you have a guide figure to work with. Using a quantity surveyor will also give you the professional input to create a budget plan and allow you to make informed decisions about costs as you move forward.

And don’t forget to factor in professional fees, local authority fees, building control fees as well as the fit-out costs and VAT (for renovations) – all of these need to form part of your overall project budget.


Choose the Right Team

Selecting the right professionals for your project is critical. A well-qualified team will significantly reduce the chances of costly mistakes at the pre and post planning stage. A good architect will help you maximise and control your budget – they will add value, provide unrivalled expertise and potentially save you money which will be far less than the outlay on fees.

By engaging with an architect with a proven track record you will have their expertise and experience to rely on throughout your project.


Obtain the Necessary Permissions

Building a home in the UK requires two main consents to be applied for – planning permission and building regulations. Your architect will submit all the relevant documents and information to get approval for both of these prior to commencement on site.

Other permissions may be required – for example party wall agreements and works to trees. Once again your architect will be able to advise you on these permissions and if necessary help you appoint the appropriate experts to gain consent.


Invest in Quality

Investing in quality services and materials will save you money in the long term - KR project

Cutting corners on professional services and materials may save you money upfront, but it can lead to long-term problems and increased costs further down the line.

To start with, in order to minimise the risk of starting on site without a fixed price and defined scope for your project, you will need a full set of coordinated construction drawings and interior design layouts. The outlay for employing a professional architect to prepare this information will enable a contractor to give a fixed price for the works – without this full set of information you will risk misunderstandings about the exact scope of the project.

Your architect will also specify materials appropriate for your project taking into account your location, the proposed use and your budget. Knowing where to spend money on high quality materials, and where more cost-effective solutions are appropriate will ensure your project is not compromised and still achieves a high level of aesthetic and functionality.


Have a contract in place

A typical RIBA contract - RIBA

Having a well-defined contract between yourself and your builder is essential to avoid ambiguity and to ensure the responsibilities of all parties involved are understood. The contract will clearly define roles and responsibilities, cost and scope.

There are many standard forms of contract available and your architect will be able to advise on the most appropriate form of contract for the level of work involved. Once the contract is signed your architect will act as a ‘contract administrator’ to ensure the terms of the contract are followed – for example they may sign off the work by the builder for payment and hold back a retention sum to help ensure your project gets finished properly and within a specified time frame.

If your contractor is reluctant to enter into this sort of contract then walk away! Any good builder will want a contract in place with you to protect themselves as well as you.


Regular Inspections on Site

Regular site visits ensure good communication is maintained between all parties - KR project

Your architect will hold regular site meetings with you and the contractor to monitor progress and ensure that work is being done correctly. Unless you are an expert in construction, having a professional by your side for this stage will be invaluable and save you time.


Plan for Contingencies

With a full set of construction drawings and technical solutions in place at the start of your project you will mitigate against unforeseen problems – however, especially when working on existing buildings, it is always sensible to have a contingency fund in place – typically around 5% of the construction costs.

Adequate planning for contingencies will help keep your project on track and within budget.


Communicate Effectively

At Kimble Roden we ensure that our clients are kept informed every step of the way – and we ask the right questions at the right time to help you make the best decisions. Recording decisions, as part of the project brief or at site meetings, is a key part of our service and helps create a collaborative objective to deliver your project.

Clear communication with your architect is essential and in turn they will communicate with your builders on your behalf.

Good communication minimises misunderstandings and ensures that everyone is working towards a common goal – the delivery of a beautiful home.

Good communication is key to the success to a project - Emma Roden and Edwina Kimble

Kimble Roden helps our clients reduce risks with our comprehensive services. Whilst we strive for exceptional design solutions we understand the risks involved with any building project.

As well as designing a stunning home for you we will:-

  • Create a well-considered design solution early on
  • Get budget costs prepared by a QS at the pre-planning submission stage
  • Help you appoint the right professional team to deliver your project
  • Gain appropriate approvals before you start on site
  • Specify all building materials to ensure quality and value for money
  • Keep you informed of possible risks allowing you to budget accordingly
  • Create a detailed set of coordinated construction drawings and specification to enable a fixed price to be agreed for the works
  • Put a contract in place between you and your builder defining project scope and roles
  • Inspect the project on site and communicate with the contractor on your behalf
  • Ensure good communication throughout the process

Building your own home is a significant undertaking, but with careful planning and the right team in place, you can reduce the risks associated with the process.

If you would like to discuss your new build home project with us, please call 01625 402442 or email us for a free initial consultation.

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