Do I need an architect for an extension?

If you are about to embark on a home renovation or house design project, this is one of the first (of many!) decisions that you’ll need to make.

In this post we’ll explain a little bit more about what an architect actually does so you can start to understand if you’ll need one to help with your home renovation plans.

Working with an architect

Architects are highly trained professionals who have successfully completed seven years of training and registered with the Architects Registration Board. (ARB)  In addition, most architects will be Chartered Members of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

We have been specifically trained to assess an existing space and unlock the potential within it – in many respects, we are the masters of utilising space! Because we know how to work with space and light we can provide brilliant, and often breathtaking, solutions.

Whilst we can come up with several solutions to reconfigure or redesign the property, it’s our job to understand what you want from the space and how it will best serve your lifestyle and needs.
You may already have a vague idea of what you want to do, but we’ll often come up with ideas and solutions that haven’t been considered, or alternative options if your ideas are unlikely to be granted planning permission.

Budgeting is also a huge part of our job and helping you to achieve the most bang for your buck! We can help you to set a realistic budget for what you want to achieve, and if you have a long list of requirements, we’ll help you to prioritise them.

If your project requires planning permission, we will help you to navigate the complex world of planning! There are a number of factors that will be taken into account when your planning application is being reviewed, including how your extension will sit in its surroundings and within your neighbourhood. The rules become even tighter if your property is listed, or in a conservation area. It’s our job to help you achieve what you want, but in a way that works for the local planning office too.

Types of project that an architect can help with:

If you are planning to create additional space in your home, hiring an architect is an invaluable move. We tend to help with the following kind of projects:

  • An extension – this could be a rear, side, wrap around, single or double story extension.
  • Loft conversion – space is always at a premium, so an architect can really help you to maximise what’s available.
  • Basement conversion
  • Creating an annex – this could be the conversion of an existing building, or the design and build on a new one.
  • A double height garage – ideal for storage, with an office or annex above.
  • To design and build a new house or dwelling
  • A barn conversion – for which different planning laws often apply.

What will an architect actually do?

Turn your ideas into reality!

There’s a common misconception that an architect is simply there to produce drawings, but a good architect will do so much more! We’ll guide you through the entire process, from design through to planning, and also construction:


  • Establish the brief – what are you trying to achieve? What do you need the proposed space to do for you? What’s the budget? What are the planning controls in your area?
  • Assess the feasibility of what you are trying to achieve and discuss overall build costs.
  • Develop sketch schemes – these are possible design layouts to answer your brief.
  • Once you have settled on the desired scheme, we’ll produce technical drawings.


  • Submit and manage the planning permission process. We have a thorough understanding of this process, and how the local planning officers work.
  • Building control approval – an essential step in any project.
  • Tender out to local build and construction companies. This is an incredibly detailed process so you know exactly what you’ll need to pay without any unexpected bills.
  • Prepare the drawings for your build team – this is where many of our clients save time and money. Once on site, there is no down time because the building team has the exact specification for each phase of the project.

Project Management

  • Project manage the construction phase to ensure the end goal is achieved on time and within budget.
  • Deal with any issues as they arise – and before they become a problem!
  • Liaise with the building control and planning team.

“A good architect actually pays for themselves – more than once. You will reap the reward and the building will be hugely better and deliver much better value for it.”  – Kevin McCloud, Grand Designs

Think of it as an investment, not a cost.

As a rough guide, you will spend approximately 7.5% of your budget on an architect. Given the amount you are about to spend with building contractors, this is money well spent. We often help our clients to save more money than they spend on our professional services.

  • We understand what will be required in terms of budget to turn your ideas into a reality. Working with an experienced architect will significantly reduce the likelihood of your budget spiraling out of control.
  • We can foresee problems before they arise …..and most importantly before the work starts. We help to eliminate the number and scale of potential problems, which in turn protects your budget.
  • Longevity – we design to last. We can ensure that your chosen materials will stand the test of time. We can also advise on current trends and how to incorporate them into your build in a way that won’t date.
  • If you’ve got your heart set on a particular material or you are trying to achieve a certain look, chances are we’ve done it before and can recommend the most cost effective way to achieve your vision.
  • We don’t just do drawings! We tender out the project to suitable local builders to ensure you get the best builder for your project and budget.
  • Before starting work, we issue a full specification document so the builders know exactly what needs to be done – down to where to place the light sockets and plug points. This saves so much time during the build because it reduces any down time within the build whilst decisions are made. It also prevents costly mistakes. Time is money!!
  • We work with the local planning offices on a daily basis. Whilst we can’t guarantee that our drawings will be approved, we do have an unrivaled knowledge of local planning controls and will keep this in mind throughout the drawing / planning stage to reduce the likelihood of having to re-submit drawings.

What about interior design?

Most architects will suggest internal layouts and some potential ideas for furniture positioning etc. but the architect isn’t generally responsible for the interior design of your project.
However, here at Taylor and Co Architects we have trained in interior design, and can therefore provide an interior design service if required.


Although optional, hiring an architect brings a number of benefits:
We will unlock the potential in your home and will come up with cost effective ways to turn your ideas into reality – helping you to achieve a better return on investment.
We can manage the process of planning permission on your behalf, often increasing your chances of success.
We can help you to find the best contractors to carry out the build, and ensure they have the plans and information they need to complete the project on time and within budget, with minimum stress!

If you are considering a home design project and would like to find out more about our services, please do get in touch.