One of the first questions we get asked is whether you need an architect to design your loft conversion. Well, no you don’t, but it is highly recommended that you do.
Loft conversions are projects for specialists and although there are upfront costs to cover an architect’s fees, they can save you money in the long-run if things go wrong and you need to make adjustments. They also make better use of space so that you will not be disappointed with your new room.
The responsibility of a professional designer is to draw plans and submit them to the local planning company so will advise you of your legal obligations. Their expertise in this part of the process can save you a lot of time and trouble, not to mention disappointment if you do not adhere to building regulations.
The benefits of hiring an architect
Architects see the bigger picture and have the ability to reconfigure attic space into a room that maximises the potential of your property and increases the value. Because of their tools and expertise, they will be able to help you realise your vision graphically, before you decide to go ahead with renovations to your home blindfold.
Professional designers will also be able to offer you alternative options so that you can choose which aspects of the design you most prefer. Basically they will take your idea and make it better.
More importantly, architects offer advice about your legal obligations. Home improvement regulations changed recently and not everything is cut and dry. Loft conversions are now considered permitted development which means you do not have to seek planning permission, but you still need to adhere to building regulations otherwise you will incur a fine and may be ordered to remove parts of your extension.
The planning process in general always throws up questions and challenges, and architects can help you navigate the problems. The recent changes in building regulations has made the submission process of home extensions more complicated and the industry thinking is that many home owners are going to fall foul of the law in years to come if they do not seek professional guidance.
Architects also know about the latest products and technologies on the market that can save you money in the long-run such as energy efficient heaters and economic lighting. Architects also act as good mediators between you and the builders if a problem occurs during the building process.
Choosing an architect
Needless to say you should choose an architect with care. Any loft conversion specialist will either have an architect as part of their team or at the very least can recommend several for you to check out. Of course, there is nothing to stop you from appointing your own if you know of one or have good recommendations from friends.
Before hiring an architect make sure they are registered with professional agencies, namely The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and Architect’s Registration Board (ARB). You also want to make sure they have relevant experience of converting attic space in other properties similar to yours.
City Lofts London – award-winning builders
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