The simple fact of the matter is that you don't need an architect to come up with a simple design for your planned home extension. However, you should think seriously about the merits of a fully qualified professional building designer having some input on your project. This is because most people lack the necessary skills to include all of the basic – and more advanced – elements of a building's design into an extension. Remember that an architect is not just for new build homes – they can really add value to extended and renovated properties, too. We will try to explain benefits of professional architectural design to your home extension.
Architectural design is not simply about coming up with some sort of lifestyle concept which will be incorporated into the plans for your extension. It means that you can see from the drawings that are produced what your house extension will look like. If you don't like what you see at the design stage, then you are able to alter it. This is what the client-designer relationship should always be about. If you proceed without a detailed plan and simply appoint a building contractor to get on with it, then you could end up with an extension that you hate the look of and don't like the feel of.
Even very run-of-the-mill Irish homes which you might find in any town up and down the country have their own character because of the various occupants who have lived there over the years. You can usually tell something of the character of the owners by the look of the garden or how the outside walls have been rendered, for instance. When it comes to an extension, it is time to put your own individual stamp on your home. The trouble is that many homeowners only have a very vague idea of what they want – other than additional living space, of course!
Architectural processes in design bring clients' ideas to life. No matter how much you have a design idea in your head, it is extremely hard to convey that to others unless you have the necessary architectural training needed to qualify in the profession. Many Irish architects specialise in residential building work and they know the sort of things that tend to go into extensions that clients will love – even if they don't yet realise it themselves.
That is not to say that any design process – even an architectural one - should tell you what you want. Rather, the process ought to be one that takes what you want and builds on those ideas to improve them. In addition, any architect worth his or her salt will include elements in the design which you may not have thought about before – things that add value to the entire project. By the very nature of home extension work, however, these architectural elements will differ from project to project and from client to client.
If you think that bringing an architect into the design process for a mere extension is unwarranted due to the professional fees involved, then you certainly won't be alone. Architects do charge for their design work, obviously. That said, an architect can also save you money by designing in such a way that you will end up spending less down the line. How can this be?
Let's take an example. Say you want an extension which will create an open plan living area at the back of your home which forms a single space for your kitchen, dining area and family room. You might knock a large section of wall down at the back of your home to achieve the necessary connection with the newly extended space. That design might require the overview of a structural engineer who will ensure that the span created is structurally sound enough. It may, of course, need reinforcing in some way during the building work to make the design work safely. The additional building costs and professional fees involved could easily push the cost of the entire project up substantially.
Now consider that the architect designed the extension differently, perhaps with a supporting feature pillar between the two zones. This could easily mean that much less expenditure is required down the line because the architect's design is easier to build and requires fewer, if any, reinforcements. Given that most architects already know from previous projects how far you can push designs while remaining cost-effective, their services can actually save you money in the end.
When you see a building – or part of one – that has been architecturally designed, then you tend to instantly know it. Proper design in anything, including buildings, makes a statement even if it is a subtle, rather than a loud, one. By bringing in genuine building design expertise at an early stage you are so much more likely to commission an interesting structure with your extension – something that doesn't just do the job but which looks great and affords a real sense of style.
At BIY, architectural design is part of the overall package we include in our extension and renovation projects. Not only do you get high-quality design work from top-notch professionals but you will also have a managed approach that means the designs you agree upon are built to the correct specification by contractors who are used to working with bespoke designs. So, yes, it is possible to get on with a simple extension design and, in fairness, you may be very happy with the results. However, by designing it properly from the outset, you are much, much more likely to not just be satisfied with the ensuing building work but overjoyed with it.
We are experts in home extension work and provide all of the professional services you will ever need from structural work to interior design. Why not talk to us about your ideas for a high-quality extension and see how the architects we work with can take your thoughts to the next level.