Who should I get to design my home?
Local architects specific to your needs and budget can be found through the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).
Fees aren’t fixed, but range from seven to 10 per cent of your build budget for a new house, though expect to pay more for smaller projects, such as extensions. One-off fees can also be negotiated.
An alternative is an architectural technologist, whose expertise leans more to the practical aspects of design. Find one through the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists. Other options are chartered surveyors or, if you have an initial design in mind, a draughtsman. Custom build package companies usually offer a range of standard house designs, which can be adapted to your particular plot and requirements by an in-house designer or design department.
Your designer will prepare a full set of plans and scale drawings to be submitted to the local authority responsible for your plot. Often, though not always, the designer will obtain the various planning consents.
Can I design my own house?
Industry pundits such as Kevin McCloud strongly recommend using an architect but for those not contemplating a grand design there is nothing to stop you doing it yourself – at least to a basic level which can then be interpreted by a surveyor or draughtsman to meet planning and Building Regulations.
Nothing more sophisticated than a piece of graph paper is required for a basic floorplan, though there are now many cheap software packages which provide more visual aids, including walk-throughs. CAD systems are more sophisticated and complex to use.