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10 things you should consider before commencing an architectural project

All you need to know about how to plan and design your home.

It’s a rewarding opportunity to be able to craft your own home but in order to create the best possible outcome careful consideration will be needed at the earliest stages. By considering your needs and aspirations before meeting with an architect you will have a great framework to inform the discussions of your architectural project. At Hunter Architects & Planners we are used to working with clients who haven’t undertaken any similar projects in the past so don’t worry if you can’t formulate anything, part of our role is to understand your requirements and help develop the project brief for your architectural project.

Below is our top 10 things we think would be beneficial to consider before we meet:

Architectural project in Cheshire East and West

1. Wish list or brief

At the simplest, consider the most important spaces and finishes for your architectural project. Are you looking for a family room with better links to the garden; a master bedroom suite with en-suite and dressing room; an improved external appearance to the house; an additional bedroom or bathroom. What are the “must-have” items and what are the “would be nice to have” items. As part of our initial discussions the overall brief of your architectural project will be developed and this will likely evolve over the project.

2. Scope and style

As well as the individual spaces and finishes it is also beneficial to consider the performance of the house and how the house will be used in the future, for example is future adaption required? How sustainable or energy efficient should the house be? What materials or styles do you like?

3. Budget

What range of spend are you considering? what contingencies have you got? Where is the money coming from and are there any conditions attached (re-mortgage etc)? What would happen if there was an overspend on the project? How realistic is the budget? Could the project be undertaken in stages etc.

RIBA Chartered Architects in Cheshire East and West

4. Timeframes

Understanding the project timeframes can help the overall architectural project plan and allow the strategy to be evolved.
i. Consider if there are any important life events likely to happen (school exams, new baby etc)
ii. Consider when the construction works want to take place or need to finish
iii. Consider if there are any financial implications for the project (is there any mortgage draw downs to factor in)
iv. Consider what will happen if the suggested timeframes can’t be met

5.Why do you need the project?

Analysing and understanding why you need the architectural project can be a really useful exercise. For example whilst one solution could be an additional bedroom the need could be for a larger room to fit a particular piece of furniture; to improve the sound insulation between spaces etc. It is also good to think about the future and any likely changes or flexibility needed.

6. What problems is the project going to solve?

Similarly to understanding the particular need, working out what problems need to be solved helps to really understand what the project needs to be. Is the house dark or cold? Is there enough space to sit the family around the Christmas dinner table; does all of the children’s clutter stop the house ever getting tidy?

7. What aspects of the current house don’t work well?

Whether you have been living in the house for a while or just purchased it, understanding which elements you don’t like and why can be really useful to help inform the brief. Various things to consider could be the size or proportion of rooms, the overall flow of the house, parts of the house are cold or dark etc..

RIBA Chartered Architects in Cheshire East and West

8. What does your ideal home feel like?

What are the first things that jump out at you when you think of your ideal home; warm, bright, light, full of noise and fun with happy children playing; quiet relaxing cosy space with a good book and glass of something etc..

9. Collate any information you have on the existing house

For example do you have any copies of existing drawings, planning permissions, land registry, any restrictions (covenants and easements etc), is the house within a Conservation Area or Flood Risk Area etc..

10. Collate information on things you like

Whether this be creating a scrapbook on sites such as pinterest or houzz, finding similar images of elements that you like can be really useful. These images can be specific details, materials or finishes, more subjective aspects like a sense of light or space or even more abstract images so we can better understand you and your family. It is really helpful to highlight particular things that you don’t like and often this can be easier to do.

If you have an architectural project that you are considering – talk to Hunter Architects & Planners.