Trevor Avery, director at lapd Architects, delves into the design process and what it actually involves for a self-builder working with their architect.
The design process can be a time of real anxiety for you as a self-builder. The success of the whole build stems from this concept design process. That’s why it is important that you work with an expert architect that understands you.
What does that look like?
Well, for a start, you should feel like you are listened to. Your architect should be designing to your life not to their whim. Just as importantly, you should be able to look forward and see the choices which lay ahead of you, and the ultimate goal of the whole project.
Here are five key questions that should underpin the design process for your dream self-build home.
- How will you live in your home?
It is important to have the most basic day-to-day experiences at the front of your mind when you are working with an architect. Everything from what you want to see when you pull up on the drive to your usual post-work dinner routines. Extraordinary design comes from your architect understanding your ordinary every-day living.
- How will you budget for your home?
Money is the fundamental resource for your project. If your architect isn’t thinking about cash flow and budget from the very beginning there is an issue. Other experts, such as mortgage advisors, form the basis for a financial plan, but if that doesn’t find its realisation in a realistic concept design then your build won’t make it very far.
- How will you build your home?
Build methods and procurement routes can be a varied and sometimes confusing mixture of different technologies and companies. What is important at the design stage is flexibility. You should be working with an architect that is comfortable with all kinds of procurement routes and all different types of build technologies. All paths should be open to begin with and you should feel comfortable in making an informed decision when the time comes to decide on what is right for you and your project.
- How sustainable will your home be?
Sustainability is always an important thing to consider, and it is important to lay out your ambitions from the get go. At one end of the spectrum is Passivhaus standard design, but even if your ambitions and budget are a little lower, then a fabric first approach is a definite. In short, this involves your architect thinking about sustainability specifications and actual build materials even at the design stage, as it impacts physical elements of the build such as wall thickness and external cladding options.
- How will you make it to a finished home?
The question that should always be brought up in initial design meetings is simply “How?” A concept design is a map for the journey that ends with your dream home being realised. It is not enough to just have a set of design drawings that you love. A great architect will be explaining how they will guide you along the path toward a completed project from the very beginning. You should trust your architect to filter the noise along the whole journey, fighting your corner and mediating between other expert professionals.
The best place to start is to speak with an architect
At lapd Architects, we listen to you before we do anything else in order to understand your dream home. We bring ideas and solutions to the table that you might not have thought of but which deliver exactly what you need. We are realistic but also make sure your home will be designed around your life.
lapd are currently offering Graven Hill Self-Builders a free initial consultation with their directors. Either call them on 01865 407 722, or email to [email protected]k. You can also take a look at their Trade Directory listing on our website.