Building a new bespoke home can be a daunting as it is a huge investment both financially and emotionally. It is therefore important to make sure you have a good relationship with your architect and builders from the outset and as the project is realised.
Professional architects are very skilled designers, requiring a lengthy university study and a long period of supervised practice. They also need to pass registration exams to be considered a qualified architect and have the necessary insurance to give you peace of mind should anything go pear shaped during the project. In my opinion, engaging an experienced architect on any building project is vital to the success of the end result and definitely worth the fees.
Firstly, starting the design early is a very good idea to mistakes and corner cutting later. Give your architect sufficient time to let the project evolve naturally through discussions with you and in depth research. Don’t rush the design process, doing so invariably leads to less optimal outcomes for everyone concerned. Depending on the scope and scale of the building, you can expect a well thought out dwelling to require about 8 or 12 months in the design stage, before any building can start.
Lets talk about the elephant in the room – cost. Yes, custom building projects are expensive and cannot be compared to off the plan project homes. The main issue with project homes is that cannot be changed to suit the exact needs of the occupants or the site. They also need the site be level, often requiring expensive earthworks before building can commence. In contrast, an architect can design a home that is exactly what you want, uses the site well and gives you a much higher quality building.
This leads to the next point, which is giving your architect enough freedom to utilise all of their professional knowledge and experience when designing your home. You should of course give them as much information about what you like as possible, but remember to trust their judgement and allow them to devise a great solution for you. It can be a fine line between imposing your ideas on a designer or pointing them in the right direction and letting them solve the problem – it is after all what you are paying them for.