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Plans for extension - Architect or Draughtsman?

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Old 23 April 2009, 10:43 AM   #1
Coffin Dodger
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Default Plans for extension - Architect or Draughtsman?

Considering having a bit of work done on our house, primarily a ground floor extension to the rear to give us a big open plan kitchen / dining area, and also a porch on the front. Never done anything like this before so not too sure of the pitfalls....

Anyway had a few people round regarding getting some plans drawn up, two proper chartered architects, and one local bloke who does extension plans.

Now obviously the bloke who does plans was the cheapest, of the two architects one was pretty extortionate and while keen seems a bit overboard for what we want, it's only a three bed semi, not some house on Grand Designs. The other was more expensive than the draughtsman but still reasonable in the grand scheme of things.

Is it worth the extra for a proper architect? I appreciate it's not a particularly complicated project but would using an architect mean he'd throw some ideas in we hadn't considered or maybe come up with a different design that is better than what we envisage? It sounds like with the draughtsman we'll just get what we tell him we want.

That said this will probably cost £30k+ so want to get it right first time
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Old 23 April 2009, 11:52 AM   #2
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If it's a 3 bed semi you probably need to retain the overall look of the property so grand architectural designs would just look out of place. I'd just use the local plan draughtsman as to be fair the primary reason is to secure planning permission and enable you to get quotes from local builders. You requirements seem to be for a large open plan room on one level, so that shouldn't be too tasking. What size are you looking at?
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Old 23 April 2009, 12:44 PM   #3
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Draughtsman or Architectural Technician should be fine for something like that.

If you haven't already, it's probably worth asking for a price to prepare both the planing and Building Regs submissions.
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Old 23 April 2009, 02:53 PM   #4
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I've been through the houses with this over the last year or two with a renovation I'm doing and I can say I've tried an architect then a draughtsman and both have been inept to the extent I've actually built it without a full plans application and done it on a building notice.
For planning you obviously only need to have plans to show what you want to do which you could if you know what you want do yourself or if you get someone to do it you really need to know what you want and tell them exactly.
With the building regs application you can go full plans or building notice, with the former they check the plans conform and then check the work, with the second they just check the work. With yours if you're creating an open plan room into the existing house then it sounds like you'll need structural calculations done for the beam to support the part of the house you'll knock through. The architect won't do these so the cost etc will be extra and you'll need the calculations whichever route you go down.

One thing I've noticed with architects is they have no consideration on cost saving building methods and just specify materials without thinking of cost. I'm just finishing an extension which is built with solid walls two storey about 32m2 internal area and we'll come in about 13K for it and yours sounds simpler, I've done the donkey work lugging blocks about and dug the footings etc but compared to the quotes of 30-40K I was getting by researching it a bit and making life as easy as possible for the brickie its kept the price very cheap. But it does entail having a decent builder who can use a bit of common sense and have a fair knowledge of building regs. It all depends if you're hands on and have the incentive to research building regs and make sure you know what you need to comply.

So simply I've found the professionals absolutely useless and now wouldn't bother with a plans application for building regs unless it was a complicated or new build. Try and get a recommendation and do a local authority search to see if you can pick up some of his work. My first architect started arguing with the conservation officer who covered the area and I found out he had a history of it which really made my life hard.
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