How Homeowners Can Help Architects at the Start of a New Project

The start of a new project is an exciting time for homeowners, but sometimes that enthusiasm can impede the architectural process. Here are 5 pointers to help the design and planning phase run smoothly.

  1. Etiquette during the architectural survey.
    It is critical that the measured architectural survey is meticulous. Any errors made here can have serious consequences later on, so it is imperative the Architect (or measuring surveyor is the task is outsourced) be allowed to go about their task unencumbered. Quite naturally you will have lots of questions and thoughts to share, so take the time to talk over a coffee before the start of the survey. Then if that’s not enough ask away at the end too, but not whist the Architect is working.
  2. Help yes, hinder no. The local knowledge you hold about the surrounding streets in your immediate area can be of great use to the Architect during the planning research stage. You may know the backstory of a particular planning application, and that esoteric knowledge may inform your application for the better. Share it. Don’t however produce a thesis on the neighbourhood’s planning history and expect the Architect to synthesise it all for your planning application, because too much information can become noise and hamper progress.
  3. Don’t get caught up on details, yet. Essentially, Planners want to know what the extension will look like on the outside. Avoid getting caught in the nitty gritty internal details at this moment (things like deciding exactly where the bed will go and where the telly will be hung), because doing so will fetter the production of proposed plans. You will have plenty of time to get under the skin of the plans during the technical design phase (when the working plans will be prepared).
  4. Decide the external aspects. We know that at this stage it is what happens on the outside that counts, so consider carefully the choice of building material and fenestration for the proposed scheme. This is particularly salient for full and householder category applications, where any deviations from the approved plan would need to be sanctioned by the Planning office, and this could take weeks. There is of course a relationship between the citing of windows and doors and the space they serve on the inside, so you will need a decent idea of layouts at this stage.
  5. Take your time digesting the draft proposal. You will be tempted to contact your Architect within moments of downloading the plans and rush in with your initial thoughts. Then you’ll think some more and go in with another round of feedback. A draft proposal is like good wine. Let it breathe and settle before tasting. Print out the plan and stick it on the wall for a couple of days before deciding what you make of it, and this way your contribution will be of greater benefit to your Architect.

By following these five tips you will help your Architect perform their task of designing and planning your proposed scheme with minimum fuss.

If you would like some free planning advice, get in touch with us.