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If you are planning to make changes to your home after lockdown, architects are not just the best of the best, they are aff ordable, too


You may be wondering how your home could be used diff erently – for a home offi ce or living space or to bring older family members closer to you. With so many social media influencers raising expectations of what’s possible, a growing number of visionary homeowners are thinking about making changes to their homes.


Building a new home from scratch, or remodelling or


extending your current home is exciting. It’s the chance to tailor spaces exactly to your needs and lifestyle. Done well, it can be not just fun but transformative, nurturing your family’s wellbeing and boosting your quality of life for decades to come. While the prospect of self-building is unquestionably


attractive, it is also rather daunting. The time, expense, regulation and bureaucracy, to say nothing of the diffi culty of getting the design right, can quickly overwhelm you and seem like insurmountable obstacles. One of the very best places to begin is to appoint an


architect. Right from the start, your architect will spend time understanding you, your family situation, your existing home and your aspirations. Giving you design options means you are always in control of the project, right from the start. Spending time at the design stage means you can try out diff erent ideas before agreeing a way forward to suit your circumstances and budget. Not only do architects design buildings, they also


oversee projects from conception to completion, with expertise in planning permissions, sustainability, building regulations approval, selecting builders and managing the construction phase. They will give you peace of mind throughout the whole process. Chartered architects work to a strict code of conduct


set down by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), and those who work for RIBA-accredited Chartered Practices meet the ultimate quality standard in the UK. Highly skilled, these firms off er everything you’d expect from a professional organisation: knowledge, experience, integrity, competence, fairness, adequate resources, with proper insurances in place. What makes them stand out from the crowd though is


that they operate to extra-high standards, running a quality management system and holding appropriate health and safety, environmental management, employment, and equality, diversity and inclusion policies. Behind the education and ongoing professional


training, you’ll find approachable, friendly women and men, all passionately focused on devising the best design solution for your project, so helping you realise your aspirations. What’s more, their services are surprisingly aff ordable and


represent good value for money. If you are going to alter your most valuable of assets, it makes sense to engage an architect to get the best value out of your project.


FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO SEARCH NOW


FIND AN ARCHITECT for a tailored list of accredited practices


The RIBA’s ‘Find an Architect’ service enables you to create a shortlist of practices that match your project needs. Visit architecture.com/find-an-architect or email clientservices@riba.org to find out more.


ARCHITECTS DESIGN HOMES


If you’re uncertain, you don’t have to commit to the full service upfront. For a modest fee, most practices allow you to dip your toes in the water, usually starting with an initial consultation. These exploratory meetings are uncommonly valuable. You learn a lot in a short space of time and, as an added bonus, you get to know your architect a little better, helping you to have confidence in working with them throughout your project. As it happens, many homeowners find that they can’t manage without their architects’ creativity, experience, quality of advice, problem-solving skills and ability to pre-empt downstream problems, and so go on to employ them for the full service. You are unlikely to build or substantially alter or extend your own home more than once in your life. Hiring an architect not only mitigates the risks of things going wrong but leads to the best possible end result. Life-enhancing architecture does not have to cost the earth. A dream home designed by an architect is within your grasp.


Photography: Mike Cliff ord. Victoria Street, RIBA Regional Award Winner 2019. www.5thstudio.co.uk


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