How To Find The Right Self Build Architect

One of the most critical parts of your self build project is finding the right professional help you need to make your dream home a reality. A self build isn’t a small undertaking, so for most people, choosing the right architect or architectural designer for your project is going to be critical!

In this article, we will highlight your core considerations when choosing a self build architect and what you’ll need to have prepared going into your search.

What is a Self-Build Architect?

If you are starting a self build project, it is key you find an architect who specialises in self build projects. This is because the process is very involved for self build projects. Making sure you get it right the first time around is critical because it might be the first and last time you endeavour on such an undertaking.

With self building, you are a lot more closely involved in the design and construction. Therefore, you’ll want to find an individual or practice who are familiar with this way of working. They will also have more awareness of the self build market and an understanding of requirements like obtaining planning permission, appointing the right team, and coordinating the works.

Sketch for self build architects

Do I Need an Architect for a Self Build?

There is no legislation requiring that a self build architect is appointed. However, in most cases people choose to opt for one because of the value they bring to such a project. Architects can handle the process of designing, coordinating, and implementing all of works, along with all the necessary regulatory requirements and project managing the construction phase.

In contrast to smaller requirements that might be needed for a house extension or refurbishment, a self build means that there are lots of requirements and decisions that need to be made regarding safety, construction, & coordination of the build. Therefore, hiring a professional can give you peace of mind if you have no experience in this area or are not wanting to rely purely on your chosen builder.

Architects are generally highly trained and are good at thinking up designs and ideas that you may not have considered, sometimes it just takes a push in the right direction. They have a wealth of experience, knowledge and learnings from previous projects that they can bring with them to help you get the best out of your home and make sure you’re not missing anything important.

Construction process for self build architects

Have Your Self Build Brief & Budget in Mind

Before you start looking for an architect, you will want to have already thought up some ideas for what you’d like your dream home to look like. This doesn’t have to be anything polished or super detailed, but having some ideas such as the general shape, size, and timeline for your project is a good start. You could find some examples of homes you like the style of on sites like Pinterest, Houzz, and Instagram.

Furthermore, having an idea of your budget in mind will help your architect understand whether your ideas are achievable within that price range. They will be able to advise on specific structural or design changes that could be needed to keep it within your budget and let you know of potential other costs you may not have considered.

Another good place to start if you are looking for financial advise on your current budget or lending potential is speaking to a broker. They might just be able to realise much more potential than you first thought. We have another article which talks about this in more detail called How to Fund Your Self Build.

We work closely with lenders, Mortgage providers, and brokers to give our clients the best opportunities when it comes t financing their build. See below a link to Windsor Hill mortgages who one of our partners and an award winning, family-run mortgage advice firm that advises anywhere in the UK.

Word of Mouth

Once you have some ideas and a budget in mind, you’ll want to start your research. One of the best ways to research self build architects is through word of mouth, whether that be friends and family, or even people within your neighbourhood or community that may be able to recommend people they are aware of or have worked with.

Online Directories and Databases

There are various online directories and professional bodies that can help you locate as well as verify the trustworthiness of an architect. For example:

These directories can help you locate a large database of architects that cover your area. However, you will likely have to do further research into each one to work out if they specialise in self building.

Online Research

Conducting online research yourself through channels such as Google, Bing, YouTube and other sites is a good way to find self build architects. Typing in key phrases such as “self build architects near me” or “best self build architects” could be a good starting point for some in-depth online research.


Choosing a Self Build Architect


Do They Specialise in Self Building?

Most architects or architectural consultants should have a website. It’s worth taking a look on their website to see whether or not they have information about self building projects specifically. In addition, it’s worth speaking to your potential architect directly to establish whether they have worked on self build projects before and what their experience looks like.

Take a Look At Their Portfolio

When making your decision, take a look through their portfolio to see some examples of their previous work, either through requesting this from them directly or through their website. This will give you a good indication as to the quality and reputability of your architect.

In addition, it also provides some insight into their style and can help you work out if this aligns with the kind of designs you had in mind.

Some architecture firms should also have online reviews, so be sure to look them up and see how previous clients have rated their services.

Arhitectural services based in Hampshire

Budget & Fees

Getting an idea of how their fees work will be a critical part of your decision making process. Make sure that when you get your quote for the project, you are clear about hidden self build costs and can gauge exactly how their process works within your budget.

Get Multiple Quotes

In general, it’s recommended that you get three quotes from different architects or architectural consultants when making your decision. This will help you compare and contrast the different offers you are being given and whether they align with your budget. In addition, you can also easily work out if you are being over quoted. As a rule of thumb, never go for the cheapest quote!

An Introduction to inCollective Self Build Architecture

Here at inCollective, if you hadn’t already guessed, we have a huge passion for and also specialise in self build architectural design and residential architecture and consultancy. We have worked with a number of different clients throughout the UK to help them build their own homes, from initial ideas through to the construction process and final details. We have a huge network of trustworthy professionals we work with closely and bring to the table a wealth of experience.

We are happy to be as involved in the process as you like and we understand all projects are different. The advice and involvement we can offer will always considerate of your needs.

Hopefully, the advice in this article has offered some understanding of how to go about choosing your self build architect. If you find inCollective to be a suitable match for your project through your research, please reach out to us through our contact page or by giving us a call!

Related Posts

How To Fund a Self Build Home

View Post

How Much Does it Cost to Self Build in 2024?

View Post

10 Pros and Cons of SIPs in Self Build Homes

View Post