Part of the enjoyment of building your own home is the opportunity to have some input in the design. We all have our own ideas of how we would like our home to look and feel, but only a few of us will enjoy the chance to actually participate in having a say in the layout, the size and shape of the rooms and be able to suggest personal preferences to suit our lifestyle.
You have various choices as to who will assist you with the design of your house and prepare your plans. Factors to be considered will include the cost of this assistance, the extent of the involvement of the party concerned and what style of completed home you envisage.
Designers offer a range of services from strictly design only, to design and build, and something in between the two.
You must consider carefully what assistance you will require with the preparation of the plans for your house, as a good rapport between the self builder and the designer usually makes for a successful project.
You should seek advice on a suitable designer and look at examples of their designs. Many who have built their own homes will be glad to give personal recommendations.
There are many Designers whose designs will appeal and you should shop around to see whose ideas appear attractive and obtain testimonials from previous clients.
Your Designer may simply provide the drawings, or he may involve himself in the project and oversee certain aspects of the build as it progresses, or he may be asked to provide a complete service, supervising every aspect of the build. The costs of his architectural services will vary according to the level involvement, and you should negotiate a fee at the very beginning and have the fee and what it covers confirmed in writing.
Some Architects are members of the Royal Institute of British Architects (R.I.B.A.) or Royal Institution of Architects in Scotland, but all working in the UK must be registered with the Architects’ Registration Board. Qualified Architectural Technologists (MCIAT) also provide services in helping with design. Contact C.I.A.T. for further details.
Further assistance with design may be taken from the In-house designers employed by the majority of timber frame package companies and they can provide standard designs from their company's range of house styles, or adapt these to suit your own personal requirements.
Design is one of the most crucial elements in building your home and care and deliberation should be taken to learn the various options that you have in terms of style, materials, heating, insulation etc. in order that you can incorporate as many of your own ideas into the plans as possible, bearing in mind your budget, the feasibility of your ideas and the wishes of the local planning authority.