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How to Start an Architecture Project

Deciding to make significant improvements to your home can be an extremely exciting venture however when reality hits, the process can become equally as overwhelming, stressful and time consuming. From juggling your career and family life, to ensuring you are getting the most out of your budget, there’s so much to consider when starting an architecture project, no matter the scope. However, by understanding the design process step by step you can largely reduce stress in the early stages of the project.

This blog explains everything you need know about starting an architecture project and what to consider, making the process as enjoyable as possible from start to finish, from setting the budget, to sourcing the right professionals and implementing the finishing touches.

7 insider tips for starting the architectural design process

Discover 7 insider tips from architecture experts, that will help you kickstart a successful project from the get-go.

Set a budget

A refurbishment project requires a large financial outlay, but when carefully planned out, you can create a realistic budget and keep costs under control. When estimating the costs of a build, there’s a lot to consider, including:

  • Living costs during the build – will you need to move out of the home temporarily?

  • Planning and preliminary costs, such as party wall agreements

  • Consultant fees

  • Contractor fees

  • Building materials

  • Fixtures and fittings

  • Groundworks

  • Insurance and legal fees

  • Contingency to cover any unexpected costs

Setting aside a budget early on will help you to think realistically about what you can afford, who you can afford and next steps. It’s vital that you keep an eye on budget spending and implementation through every stage to ensure you aren’t left short-changed.

Planning permission and surveyors

Anyone looking to build something new, make a major change to your building or change the use of the building is likely to require planning permission, starting with a site analysis. It is pivotal you get the right permissions prior to any significant work on the home as without, you can be served an ‘enforcement notice’ ordering you to undo all the changes you have made. To find out if your project will need planning permission, contact your local planning authority through your local council or an interior architect can help with this.

Find the right professionals

Finding the right professionals can be a challenging task and should be carefully considered to ensure the success of your project. When shortlisting tradesmen, ask yourself:

  • How much do they charge? Costs can vary drastically from business to business, but the cheapest quote may not always be the best value for money.

  • Do they have a strong reputation? Don’t be afraid to ask for references!

Alternatively, if you are working with the help of an interior architect, they can do the work for you by building the team you need to bring your vision to life.

Utilise the preliminary research phase

The pre-design or ‘programming phase’ is the first step in the architectural design programme. During this time, an architect will typically conduct preliminary research to gain further insight into your needs to ensure that your new space will have all the functions you desire.

Whether you use an architect or are conducting a self-build, utilise this phase as an opportunity to identify your needs, wants and concerns. This can then be reflected into the space and will help to incorporate individuality into your home down the line.

Don’t skip the sketches

Known as the schematic design phase, this is when you begin to develop the basic form of the building through floor plans, sketches, and drawings. These plans should not only give clear detail about the different rooms, walls, and doorways, but should also consider plumbing, electrical and other important building systems. It can be easy to skip this stage and jump straight into the work itself, but if the work doesn’t deliver the results you desired, it can become extremely costly.

Some interior architects, such as those at ASJ Design, create 3D illustrations so you can see your ideas virtually before implementation, allowing you to make any desired changes without the hassle of redoing work.

Identify your constraints

Recognising your constraints early in the design process is crucial for a successful build. Whether it is your budget allocation, a technical restraint or as simple as local weather conditions, it is important to recognise and control the possible constraints so that they don’t impede your vision.

Enlist the help of an interior architect

One of the best ways to maximise the potential of your refurbishment project is to enlist the help of an interior architectural designer. An interior architect will work with you to ensure functionality, budget, style and safety is considered throughout the project to help make the process as smooth as possible, minimising the stress on you and your family.

Whilst you can engage an interior architect at any stage in the project, it is more beneficial to enlist their help in the early stages of the work to ensure you are getting maximum benefit from their expertise.

Get Started with ASJ Design

Ready to start your architecture project?

ASJ Design holds a collective passion for innovative and authentic design offering bespoke interior architecture services to private clients and commercial developers. Get in touch today to get started with the help of industry leading experts.


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