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Do I Need an Architect for a Single Storey Extension?

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subzero

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 9:36 pm Reply with quote

Hi

We are hoping to have a single storey extension built at the back of our semi, up to 3m as per the permitted size. This would be a sloping roof extension with velux windows etc, and part of the work would involve removing a supporting wall in the existing kitchen to open up the space.

We spoke to a local builder who put us in touch with an architect, who advised that we would need at least a couple of steels in place of the supporting wall.

My question is do we actually need an architect for this or can we just tell the builder what we want directly with the use of basic drawings etc?

Obviously we want to do it the correct and legal way but as there's a lot of money involved we also want to be sure that we're only paying out for those elements of the project which are absolutely necessary.

Any advice very much appreciated
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freddymercurystwin

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 10:35 pm Reply with quote

Depends if you trust the builder!

Have a read through the Forum you may just change your mind .......
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Richard C

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 7:59 am Reply with quote

A single story extension doesn’t really warrant the expense of an Architect unless you want to make a full plans submission for Building Regulations. You can submit on a Building Notice but you will still need some reasonably detailed drawings giving enough information for your Builder to follow. An Architects technician/draughtsman will produce the drawings in any case not the Architect so all he’s really doing is charging you a fat fee for the privilege of putting his name to it. This will (should) give you some piece of mind but you will still be relying on your builder unless your fork out for the Architect to PM the work for you as well. You will need structural calculations & a specification for the steel beams & their supports which you will have to submit to LABC with your Building Notice (fee required). Your LABC will want to inspect the build at several stages & it’s important you make your builder’s contract makes him responsible for compliance with relevant BR’s & requesting/overseeing inspections as required.

Questions to ask yourself; how experienced your builder? Have you got references & seen some of his previous work? How many quotes did you get? Has he opened up the side of a property before? Many small builders shy away from this type of extension or quote silly prices as they consider it’s too much hassle. I would also advise that you or someone with experience can keep an eye on what’s being done to spot potential problems or if he starts cutting corners.
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peca27

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 10:21 am Reply with quote

It sounds as though you may be proposing something that's allowable under Permitted Development. Speak to a Technician, if it is within Permitted Development guidlines get some drawings done with a view to getting a Cert. of Lawful Development from your LA.

Not only do you have the plans drawn for obtaining the Cert. but also for accurate quotations from a builder. My advice, don't get into a game of explaining what you want with a builder..........he'll most likely cut corners on the job but not on his fee to you. With plans drawn up, it's in black + white and there is potentially less room for dispute in the future.

Some may advise you to not bother with a Cert. of Lawful Development, but both clients + builders can easily go over the allowable guidlines (as they're not familiar) and therefore Planning Enforcement will be on your case. Get it all in balck + white, with the relevant permissions.......it's alot less hassle in the long run.

Don't know where you live, but I'd offer my services if you're interested?
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^woody^

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 12:52 pm Reply with quote

Unless you and the builder want to take on the risk of building without plans, then you would need someone to draw plans.

In which case you would need a designer, who can be anyone experienced enough to draw plans and not necessarily an Architect

Likewise, steel means may require a competent person to design them - this may be a structural engineer, or it could well be another similarly competent person.

Cost wise, it would make sense to instruct one person who can do both

Apart from being required for an statutory permission required, the plans form part of the contract documents between you and your builder, and [should] contain detailed information to enable the builders to give you accurate quotations

If you trust the builder, and if the builder trusts you, then he can proceed on a Building Notice which would not need plans. This may save you £300, or it may add £2k to the quote to cover unknowns, and then a similar amount during the build for the "Oh I never quoted for that" situation
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subzero

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:10 pm Reply with quote

Thanks all so much for your excellent replies.

I phoned a local builder tonight just to see if they would give a ball park figure or even just pop round and have a look but they wanted drawings drawings and more drawings before they would even give a quote. So I can see how important they're gonna be. In understand that a detailed drawing will enable the builder to provide an accurate quote which otherwise they might hazard a guess at (and be more expensive).

The architects fees are 1k to supply the drawings, which does seem on the expensive side but as he's measured up already we will owe him a coupla hundred nicker if we decided not to go ahead.

The project hasn't even really started and already I'm cream crackered from the mental taxation involved with so much thinking.
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Richard C

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:49 pm Reply with quote

subzero wrote:

I'm cream crackered from the mental taxation involved with so much thinking.

In my previous & very demanding life, I often used to say “my brain hurts” but no one really seemed to understand what I was on about; I think you might just have the jest of it! icon_lol.gif

Post back any questions you may have, help is here icon_wink.gif
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peca27

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:48 am Reply with quote

Wow icon_eek.gif

£1k in fees for a single storey 3m extension......I hope that includes Planning submission + approval and Building Regs submission + approval.

Stay on his tail + ensure he does a good job mate.
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subzero

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:59 am Reply with quote

peca27 wrote:
Wow icon_eek.gif

£1k in fees for a single storey 3m extension......I hope that includes Planning submission + approval and Building Regs submission + approval.

Stay on his tail + ensure he does a good job mate.


Nope, the building regs £200 fee and certificate of lawfulness £75 are ON TOP OF THE ARCHITECTS FEE.

I get the feeling we're being done over here.

For building work, clients get say 3 quotes off different builders, but no-one talks about getting several architects in for quotes for the plans.

Perhaps we should have done all the research on this forum first BEFORE even speaking to the builder who referred us to the architect...
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freddymercurystwin

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 9:58 am Reply with quote

£1K for his fees doesn't sound too bad to me tbh its not far off what I'd charge for Planning and Regs on something like this and all fees would be on top. But then I do a thorough job! If he's doing the bare minimum to get a stamped approval then its expensive.
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subzero

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 10:29 am Reply with quote

forgot to say ... 1k *PLUS* VAT on top
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peca27

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 2:16 pm Reply with quote

I would never include the application fee + inspection fee in my design fee also, it's my job to let the client know, but the design fee is for the design process only......but still £1200 for a 3m single storey extension to a semi is steep.

freddymercurystwin - I don't want to offend, but I'm genuinely interested. Can u explain the difference between a 'thorough job' + 'bare minimum' when producing drawings for a 3m single storey extension to a semi? This isn't a bespoke private dwelling for some exclusive client......this is a guy who's propably saved years to get this extension done, he wants everything done by the book but not to get ripped off whilst he's at it.

I'm sorry, but unless there's something very awkward on site or the OP lives in a HUGE semi in a nice area, £1200 is taking the p*ss.
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freddymercurystwin

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 3:43 pm Reply with quote

Hi peca27, firstly I said its not far off what I'd charge not what I would charge. We know hardly anything about the job, the length of the extension, how many roof lights, is the ceiling pitched or flat, is there drainage under the property for instance what works are involved inside the existing house etc etc etc. If you can price a job on that basis then fair play to you. I can't and am not prepared to.

Secondly I'd do this as a PJ so no need for me to undercut every other poor soul just to get a bit of work, this is the pandemic that has overcome Architecture in the last 20 years and your reaction to the prices mooted on here befits this by immediately throwing prices around when you have no idea of the extent of the work involved. Why do you think the builder that the OP contacted asked for some drawings? Is it because their description that it was just a 'standard extension on the back of a semi' was inadequate maybe? Surely all 'standard extensions on the back of a semi' are the same?

As no doubt you're aware you can get a Regs Approval with some very scant planning drawings and some generic notes down the side of the sheet. Just because an approval is achieved from Building Control does not mean they are a good set of working drawings. If you use a good builder you're laughing, if you end up with one who hasn't got a clue or is unscrupulous your 'approved drawings' suddenly become worthless and it can cost the client dear. The Forum is littered with such threads.

You can also get approval with some good quality detailed plans and a few sections with some enlarged details and the notes relating to the development rather than cut & pasted from the last job. High quality drawings forming the contract the client makes with the builder can leave little scope for him to wriggle or miss things out. It also takes time to discuss with, appoint and liaise with an engineer or do you always use the same one everytime?.

With the 60 odd PJ's I've quoted for in the past I can count on less than one hand the number I've lost due to being too expensive.

The client has been a little naive but that can be forgiven, their architect (assuming he is one) who proceeded to do a survey without quoting first is unprofessional at best. As mentioned by the OP if they had posted prior to the appointment of their architect there are many threads on here that I or others have contributed to with regards to appointing someone to do this.
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fastpipe (26 Jul 2011), Nige F (17 Jul 2011)
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peca27

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 4:11 pm Reply with quote

I'd be interested to know from the OP, does the £1200 fee include structural calculations? What area of the country do u live also?

I guess we're gonna have to agree to differ on this one freddymercurystwin. I just believe that in business one should only charge a fee that's fair, not whatever you can get away with.

It's a sloping ceiling, 3m depth single storey extension to a semi. The OP is having an internal wall removed to open up the area. The fee should reflect the complexity of works, in my opinion this doesn't sound too complex.

Now unless the OP is gonna regale us with the complexities of the works, I stand by my call that his Architect is taking the p*ss.

Consider yourself lucky that you have lost so few PJ's due to price, because in my locality I am being undercut constantly. Yes clients want the job doing by the book, but also want to pay as little as possible to achieve that........no matter how many well drawn examples you show them icon_wink.gif
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freddymercurystwin

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 5:04 pm Reply with quote

I charge a competitive fee peca27, that's why I usually get appointed. I live in Devon and the vast majority of my work has been in Plymouth from standard semi's or terraces, not from afluent clients. Maybe you should up the service you provide, provide better value for money? icon_wink.gif
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