What Consultants Do I Need for My Self-Build Project? Part 1
Every good project needs a team, and self-build is no exception. The task of building your dream home is complex and fraught with challenges. Before you put your first brick down or erect your first frame, you should be backed by a team of specialised individuals to help you achieve your goals.
Assembling the right team of consultants is crucial, and AC Architects is here to help you navigate the different roles that must be filled. In this article, we will explore the key consultants you need for your self-build project.
As Architects, we are involved from the very start of the project to the end of the project. This also includes the construction phase.
As one of the first points of contact, we are responsible for taking all the information from the client’s head and integrating it into the design. We are linking all the parts together to make sure the process goes smoothly and has no hidden surprises along the way.
As self-build experts, we realise this will likely be the first and last time you undertake a project of this scale. That’s why we are here to support you in your endeavours. This support includes finding consultants to work on your build.
At AC Architects, we’ve formed several strong partnerships in the self-build sector. These are individuals who we know produce reliable and quality work. We get our specialists on board as early as possible, as well as having them involved in the initial design stages to create a line of communication from the get-go.
We are more than happy to work with specialists the self-builder has sourced themselves. This involves helping them evaluate their fee proposals to see how they compare to others.
THE PLANNING CONSULTANT
Navigating through the planning permission process can be complex, which is why you should recruit a planning consultant early on. A planning consultant is well-versed in local regulations and can guide you through the planning application process. They assist in preparing the necessary documentation, addressing potential issues, and increasing the likelihood of obtaining planning permission.
Planning permission is required from local authorities before you can proceed with the construction of a new building or make significant alterations to an existing one.
If your planning application is rejected, a planning consultant can help you navigate the appeals process. They may guide you in strengthening your case and represent you in discussions with planning authorities.
THE LAND SURVEYOR
A land surveyor is a critical professional in a self-build and should be involved from the initial design process. They provide essential information about the land and its boundaries. This includes a topographical survey, boundary identification, and potentially an existing building survey.
A topographic survey provides detailed information about the physical features of the land. This includes its elevation, contours, and natural features such as trees and waterways. These surveys are used throughout the rest of the project to give all involved an understanding of the land and minimise the chance of any potential mistakes.
A land Surveyor also identifies the boundaries of the property as they are legally marked. This ensures that you, as the property owner, have a clear understanding of the land you own and can avoid any potential boundary disputes with your new neighbours.
A land Surveyor can also perform an existing building survey. If there is an existing building on the plot, you need to know where it is and how it will affect your new project.
THE STRUCTURAL ENGINEER
A structural engineer specialises in designing and analysing structures to ensure their strength, stability, and durability. The Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) deals with the scientific design, construction, and erection of structures made from various materials.
They look at an Architect’s designs, materials, and the site, and design a structural support system that fits your design. They work with your architects to ensure the house is fit for purpose and acceptable to Building Control.
They also play a vital role in the technical and structural analysis, deriving loads, and assessing stresses a building will encounter during its lifespan.
The involvement of a structural engineer is essential from the early stages of your self-build project. At AC Architects, we work closely with our in-house team of Structural Engineers to ensure our designs are stable, strong, and compliant with safety standards.
THE QUANTITY SURVEYOR
One of the most important factors in planning your build is calculating the costs. As many self-builders do not have experience in managing projects, they are often unaware of all the potential costs involved.
This is where a Quantity Surveyor can come in to assist you. They specialise in robust financial planning and create a clear cost plan before construction begins. There is nothing worse than going over budget, and being prepared for any snags and setbacks along the way alleviates the stress from the self-builder’s shoulders.
Quantity Surveyors also assess and manage risks related to the project’s cost. They identify potential cost overruns, delays, or other issues that may impact the budget and work to mitigate these risks.
Choosing to hire a quantity surveyor completely depends on the self-builder’s level of confidence in managing their finances. Bringing a professional on board could minimise financial risks and maximise the value of your investment.
THE PROJECT MANAGER
A project manager is an individual who oversees and manages the various aspects of the construction process from initial design to finished product. Their role encompasses planning, communication, problem-solving and team coordination to ensure a build that’s on time and within budget.
A project manager’s job is to bridge the gap between the client and the team of professionals. In most cases, a PM will source specialists for your self-build and will be responsible for their performance and the negotiation of their pricing structure.
In terms of who takes the mantle of project manager has a few options. You can hire a professional to oversee the project. You can take the turnkey approach, in which the main contractor becomes the project manager. The final option is managing the project yourself.
Project Managing your build will save you a significant amount of money. However, you must be prepared for the level of responsibility. Project management requires a level of organisation, and plenty of time on-site.
…and we’re only just beginning. Keep an eye out for Part 2! In the meantime, check out our new monthly webinar to unlock the secrets to self-build success.