How Much can you Save by Taking the DIY Route?

Today we’re looking at the day rates for various trades and explains how much you could save by taking on jobs yourself.

How much can you save by taking on DIY? In most instances, those of us keen to get stuck in to elements of our own building project will have to pick and choose the most effective parts of the project to carry out. In addition, of course, our own skills, and the Building Regulations, will dictate what we can and can’t realistically take on.

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Call for Sites: Bassetlaw District Council

Architecture North is working with Bassetlaw District Council to obtain land sites to help build a trajectory of available land within the District, to consider any possible sites for allocations within the emerging Local Plan.

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Bassetlaw District Council is required by central government to identify future supply of land that’s “suitable, available and achievable” for use for housing or other economic development purposes.

This involves encouraging landowners to come forward with sites they are interested in developing. This is known as a call for sites.

Architecture North is conducting a technical assessment of land put forward from landowners and the local authority which will look to include any suitable land within their Local Plans.

Architecture North will assists with landowners in obtaining their land to be developed within the Local Plan. 

We are seeking sites which could accommodate:

• Residential development of five or more dwellings;
• The economic development of 0.25ha or more; and
• Sites for gypsies, travellers, and traveling show people;

Anyone, whether an individual or business organisation with land, can contact us where we can technically assess and put forward your site for the Local Authority’s consideration. We will assist you with your land to be considered within the local development plan, as long as it fulfills any of the points mentioned above.

Please call us on 01522 274600 or 0115 998 2022, where we can assist you in obtaining your land to be developed within the local plan.

How to Find a Good Designer

Unless you happen to be highly skilled and extremely confident in dealing with planners and grappling with building regulations, it is likely that you will call in a design professional to help circumnavigate the red tape and bring out the best in your self-build project. Planning your new home should be the fun part, when all your dreams finally start to become reality, but finding the right designer can prove a headache and there are many important factors which you need to consider before taking the plunge. Choose the wrong designer and the home of your dreams can turn from grand into just plain bland, or end up costing far more than your initial budget.

Understanding the services and roles offered by various design professionals is the first stage to finding the right one for your particular project.

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Architects

It is a sad fact that architects have gained a reputation for listening to a brief and then imposing their own tastes anyway. This may be rather harsh, but it is true to say that each individual will have his or her own preferences, style and trademarks, so always try to find someone with experience in designing the kind of home which you prefer.

One area of particular confusion is what actually constitutes an architect, with the term often used generically to describe almost anyone who designs or supervises the construction of buildings. In fact the title is protected by law, with a person only allowed to call themselves an architect if professionally qualified and registered with the Architects Registration Board (ARB) following the usual seven years of training. The ARB is the authority established by statute to maintain a register of architects and to regulate the conduct of the architect profession. Anyone calling themselves an architectural consultant or architectural designer has not completed this training and may have few qualifications at all.

Around seventy per cent of architects are chartered, which means they are members of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), which provides a free Clients Advisory Service offering a database of all registered practices including a profile of their work, and the range of services they offer. All practices included on the register must hold professional indemnity insurance cover appropriate to the scale and type of work they undertake. We put people in touch with the right architect in their area, explains a spokesman.

Many people believe that an architects main purpose is to produce a set of plans and drawings, and because clients focus on this and choosing the cheapest architect they often miss out on a whole range of professional services.

These can include plot finding and analysis, design and feasibility studies, planning and building regulations submissions, tender packages, contract administration, supervising the build and signing off the completed project with an architects certificate.

Architectural Technologists

“Designing individual houses and buildings is my main interest particularly if I can produce something imaginative and unique. There is definitely a lack of understanding regarding architectural technologists and the various services we can offer. Like an architect, a fully qualified architectural technologist (MCIAT) can undertake a building project from conception through to final certification, including design presentations, preparation and feasibility studies, co-ordination of associated professional consultants, production drawing and construction detailing, materials selection and specification, submissions and negotiations to seek statutory approvals, the application of computer aided design (CAD) techniques and project management.

The term architectural technologist is actually quite new, and many still prefer to call themselves architectural technicians, despite a campaign to rebrand the profession and further raise its profile, establishing greater links between their education and training and that of architects.

Architectural technologists have their own professional body: The Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT) which publishes a directory of practices and ensures that members achieve approved standards of training, adhere to a code of conduct and maintain professional indemnity insurance. CIAT technologists currently need three years of supervised experience in addition to a first degree, resulting in a total six years of training. The Institutes qualification, MBIAT, is accepted by banks, building societies and other corporate bodies which, amongst other things, allows certification for the release of stage payments for self-build projects.

Members do offer design as part of their service, but tend to specialise more in the technical aspects of building, and have suffered under the assumption that their work may not offer the flair or imagination provided by an architect. The principal difference is that architects tend to place greater emphasis on conceptual design or how the house looks whereas technologists are concerned with the technical performance of buildings and specifically draw upon science and technology in building design. Combine the two elements and, theoretically, you have the perfect solution which is why so many architectural practices employ a technologist and vice versa. Often it is the technologist who will prepare the detailed design and specifications, satisfying the legislative and regulatory requirements and solving technical problems once an architect has produced conceptual designs.

Surveyors

Chartered and technical surveyors are a leading source of advice on all aspects of land, property, construction and the associated environmental issues. Many alterations, extensions and new builds are planned by building surveyors who, if members of RICS (the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors), will be fully competent in matters of construction, and subject to their Institutes code of behaviour. Some 30% of RICS members work in the construction industry with building surveyors managing projects from kitchen extensions to airport terminals combining technical knowledge of construction methods and materials with legal, financial, design and management skills.

The basic requirements for chartered surveyor status are a degree accredited by the Institute plus two years structural training, followed by success in the RICS Assessment of Professional Competence. RICS rules lay down minimum levels of professional indemnity insurance for members in private practices.

Anyone interested in using one of our members will be sent a nationwide directory, explains a RICS spokeswoman, and will then be given three contacts over the telephone depending on the services they require. There are many fields of practice within the profession and it would be important to select those surveyors who specifically deal with architectural design, project management or a combination of relevant skills.

Package Designers

Another option is to approach some of the many companies offering complete self-build packages from design through to supplying the materials and completing construction in either timber frame or brick and block. This can prove one of the easiest routes to selfbuild, with as much or little of the build co-ordinated for you, but beware of being limited to standard plans in order to keep the package competitively priced. It could be argued that a pre-designed kit will not best suit the individual requirements of either homeowners or sites, although some package companies do offer a bespoke service to create a one-off property using their own in-house designer.

Structural Engineers

Structural engineers are concerned with the safety, efficiency and elegance of buildings and engineering structures. They work with other professionals in design and construction, but take particular responsibility for how buildings and other structures respond to loadings considering the weight of the building itself, the contents, including people, and how the building reacts with the ground. Designs must not only be sufficiently safe, but also efficient and easy to build.

Many structural engineers work in design, whilst others are in involved in contracting and actually build the structures. When it comes to individual homes, however, it is quite unusual to employ a structural engineer to design a house from scratch, and more common for them to be asked to work on an existing idea or design possibly in conjunction with another design professional.

Freelance Designers

It is worth remembering that a designer does not need to be qualified to practice, and there are hundreds of good freelance house designers who may prove a cheaper option, but will not necessarily carry the protection of indemnity insurance or be accepted by banks or building societies to certify for the release of funds. Do your research in order to confirm these points.

Plan Books and the Internet

Do not use package companies, plan books or internet-sourced designs for a free design service – you will technically be in breach of copyright. Even if a design is based on your own ideas the copyright is owned by the individual or company that produced the actual physical plans although referring to other house designs is a good way to become familiar with floorplans and gather information in order to achieve the best design for you.

Interior Designers

Many interior design firms also act as project managers coordinating architects and craftsmen and may be ideally suited to a conversion or renovation project where they are working with an existing building which needs revamping. They often give free estimates and consultations, and can save money by avoiding expensive mistakes with colour schemes and structural alterations. The Interior Decorators and Designers Association can provide names of members and will give guidance. Be warned, however there are a lot of amateurs out there. IDDA members are professionally trained and must comply with certain rules, including insurance cover.

DIY Design

A small number of self-builders opt to draw up their own plans and, if you know exactly what you want and are confident in your abilities, you may decide to take this route. Building a scale model can prove a useful method of visualising the finished house; software packages such as AutoCad take the novice through tutorials which will result in scale plans in 2 and 3D. The design is actually the easy bit most people can orientate a building or work out a circulation route but you will probably need professional help such as a surveyor or engineer when it comes to the building regulations. Often someone trained in design will see opportunities and avert potential disasters which you, as a novice, could miss. Be aware that, if anything goes wrong with the construction as a result of your design, you will need professional indemnity insurance (PII) to cover you. Additionally, most lenders stipulate that the design should be carried out by a professional holding PII.

Making a Choice

If you are confident about your own building skills you might simply need someone to prepare a set of drawings for submission to the planning authority. At the other end of the scale you may prefer to employ someone who can help you through the whole process from choosing a site to completion. You can use one design professional or a combination of people to produce the same result an architect could design the initial concept, with the detailed design and specifications drawn up by an architectural technologist and the project overseen by a project manager, quantity surveyor or engineer with an interior designer brought in at the final stages! This is obviously not the cheapest or easiest of options, however, as juggling so many professionals can result in a blurring of who is responsible for each aspect of the project. Identify your needs and then match these to the professional who will be best suited to assist you.

Local designers will have experience of the planning authority and are on hand to oversee the project and recommend tradesmen with whom they may have worked before. As with anyone involved in your self-build, make sure you appoint a designer with whom you have a rapport and who shows enthusiasm for the project. Ask to see some recently completed properties of a similar scale to your own and talk to former clients to find their impressions.

Take along your ideas, know your budget and time scale and see how they respond but always be prepared to keep an open mind as the most outstanding, workable designs tend to result from collaborative discussions. Conversely, never allow your designer to take over the project and dissuade you from features you have set your heart on and can afford. Be prepared to say if you don’t like the preliminary sketches and to change designer altogether if you feel unhappy in the early stages. By initially employing a designer on a limited basis you will be able to monitor progress and your relationship without committing yourself to a full service.

How much should you pay?

Setting a budget for both the build and design aspects of your project and relating the size of a building to its ultimate cost is essential, whichever design route you choose. Although cutting costs at this stage may prove tempting it really is a false economy. Your neighbour’s father-in-law may offer inexpensive design services, but poor or inadequate drawings will incur additional costs on site and reduce the propertys resale value, so it is important not to make too many cutbacks for such a vital part of the project. No-one should begin work on the designs until you have first agreed the basic fee, which will normally be quoted exclusive of VAT, expenses and disbursements.

Routine work such as inspections or consultations is likely to be charged on an hourly basis but, for building projects where a full architectural service is provided, a percentage fee calculated on the total construction cost is usually best suited. With most design professionals you should be able to select all or part of their service and, if you only want an hours general advice, then that is all you should pay for. For a drawing only service, some architects will charge by the hour. Never pay for any design service up front a professional should be flexible and happy for the fee to be split into stages, with the normal arrangement for clients to pay by instalments on a monthly basis or at pre-defined stages. Often as with RICS members there are no guidelines for fees, with rates varying depending on the nature of the scheme and the individual involved, and it is always worth negotiating on the price!

Architectural fees for the full service should come to between 7.5% and 16.5% of the total building cost although ASBA opts for a more modest 6 to 8%, and smaller practices with lower overheads tend to be cheaper. Lump sum fees should only be used when the scope of work and budget can be clearly defined from the outset, with time charged fees best chosen when these cannot be reasonably foreseen, as is often the case with repair or restoration work. It is advisable to visit several practices to discuss your requirements and, although initial consultations are free of charge from RIBA members, this may not be the case for all architects so confirm fees before you meet.

For new work, an architectural technologist may charge a fixed fee, or a percentage of anything upwards of 5% of construction costs. Although an architectural technologist is likely to be less expensive than an architect, don’t expect a bargain basement price, as you can pay anything from a few hundred pounds for drawings to well over 6,000 for a full design and project management service, which should be broken down into stages. Where applicable, non-recoverable VAT is charged on a designers fees and expenses, although following the package company route may mean that you avoid paying VAT on the design service, which is incorporated into the complete package cost. Be assured, however, that there is no such thing as a free design!

Research has shown that even with a detailed specification and a good set of drawings, the tender price on a typical house with a budget price of 85,000 can range from 70,000 to 110,000. If the project is well managed once it starts on site, with quality control inspections made, it is harder for builders to take shortcuts and reduce the specification.

Contracts and Agreements

Governing bodies, such as the Royal Institute of British Architects, produce standard appointment documents from which you can select the precise services you need. Whoever you decide to employ as your designer, however, it is important that a contract is drawn up between you as, in law, without a specific arrangement, you may not have any comeback if your designer does not fulfil his or her obligations in some way. Always talk through any problems in the first instance but, as a last resort, you may have to take legal proceedings against them if things go wrong and a written agreement is the best form of safety net.

In the event of a major structural defect it will be possible to seek compensation from an inspecting professional, with most designers relying on professional indemnity insurance to settle any such claim. It is therefore vital to confirm that your chosen designer is sufficiently insured for the project.

The RIBA and other governing bodies do have systems in place to settle disputes, including mediation and adjudication, with other help available to the self-builder such as the RTPIs Planning Aid: a free, voluntary service offering independent professional advice and help for people with planning applications who cannot afford to pay for private consultants.

Terms of Use and FAQs on Our Build Cost Calculator

Disclaimer

Using our build cost calculator is no substitute for professional advice and judgement, particularly where a property has unusual features or a very high specification. Professional advice on build costs can be obtained from a Quantity Surveyor – visit www.ricsfirms.com to find a firm in your area.

Liability


Architecture North Ltd will not be under any legal liability in respect of any misstatement, error or omission contained within the data used by the Build Cost Calculator, or the reliance any person may place thereon.

Governing Law

These terms and conditions are guaranteed by and constructed in accordance with English law with English courts having exclusive jurisdiction.

1. House Style

Size

The average build cost figures used by our Build Cost Calculator are based on three different size ranges that reflect the economies of scale achieved by constructing larger properties.

The savings are primarily in the cost of building the superstructure, especially the foundations, walls and roof. The cost/m² of gross floor area for external walling elements decreases as the wall/floor ratio decreases. Other one-off unit costs for items such as service connections, staircase, kitchen and boiler are spread out further on a larger house. To maximise efficiency, the design needs to be kept simple and avoid unusually large spans for floor joists/beams, rafters etc.

Plan, Shape and Layout

The average build cost figures used by our Build Cost Calculator assume a relatively simple rectangular or square floor plan.

Complexity of design is one of the biggest factors affecting build costs. The simplest and most cost-effective floor plan is square. Compared to a square plan, a rectangular plan requires more wall for the same floor area, thus increasing costs. The longer and narrower the plan, the less efficient it is to build.

Building straight walls is cheaper than building corners, as it slows down the build process adding to labour costs. Consequently the more angles introduced into a floor plan, the greater the cost, so a simple design with few corners is cheaper to build.

Angles other than 90° right angles are even more time consuming to set out and build and so will increase costs further. Curved walls are amongst the most expensive to build of all.

Number of Storeys

The average build cost figures used by our Build Cost Calculator take into account the relative saving of building additional storeys thus the per square metre costs used for bungalows are higher than for two storey houses.

Two of the largest fixed costs in constructing a house are the groundworks/foundations/slab and roof. The specification and cost for a set footprint and roof layout will not vary whether the design is single storey, two storey, or three storey, yet the overall area of the design will increase dramatically, spreading out the cost. Multiple storeys also make better use of land – the most expensive element of all.

The average cost per square metre for a bungalow is therefore greater than for a two storey house with the same footprint (all other things being equal) whilst a three storey design, or a two and a half storey design using the roofspace will be even better value for money in terms of lower average cost per square metre.

If you want to get the maximum development return on a site, it often pays to build as many storeys as possible. On a very expensive site in a higher value area, it can also pay to build down and construct a basement storey.

2. House Details: Basement

Cellars and Basements

The average build cost figures used by our Build Cost Calculator assume the same costs per square metre for constructing a full basement as used for calculating ground floor space. This assumes straightforward ground conditions and a water table basement level.

The cost of constructing a basement is largely the cost of digging out and removing the spoil. This cost and the cost of waterproofing the structure, are mitigated to some extent by the fact that fewer windows are usually used that for above ground storeys and there is no external wall cladding (e.g. brick, or stone). 

As ever the quality of fixtures and fittings will be a major factor in the final cost. There are instances where a basement makes better sense, for instance where ground conditions require very deep foundations. The cost of going down just a little further and excavating between the footings may not be that much greater. On a sloping site were the basement will only be partly below ground, it can make better use of the site that cutting or filling the slope to create a level area to build on.

The water table and ground conditions are another factor that will affect costs. If the sides of the excavation are likely to collapse, for instance in sand, and this will affect neighbouring structures, it may be necessary to create a retaining structure around the basement using concrete piling, either vibrated into place or cast in situ, and this will add to considerably to costs.

Basement walls are usually built in reinforced concrete, either precast or in-situ cast concrete, using shuttering for formwork, or hollow concrete blocks. There are many competing waterproofing systems, from textured membranes that trap ground water and direct it into a sump from where it is pumped away, to waterproof renders – sometimes both are applied together. There is little variance in costs between different systems.

3. House Details: Garage

The cost of constructing attached or detached garage space is considerably lower than finished living space. To avoid double counting, the area of an integral or attached garage should be deducted from the figure (m²) entered for ground floor area.

4. House Details: Quality

Although the cost of many of the construction elements such as the foundations, and superstructure do not vary at all based on quality, the cost of external roof and wall cladding, windows and doors, flooring, fixtures and fittings, and renewables can potentially doubling the cost of building the same house compared to a standard specification.

The average build cost figures used by our Build Cost Calculator are based on three levels of quality, Standard, Good and Excellent.

Standard: This represents a basic build quality equivalent to that offered by most speculative developers. Cavity walls: facing bricks (£350/1,000 or £50/m² laid), insulation, and 100mm block­work; concrete interlocking tiles (£28/m² laid); standard softwood joinery; studwork partitions; contract kitchen; basic sanitaryware; and radiator central heating.

Good: This is equivalent to that offered by quality developers. Cavity walls: facing bricks (£450/1,000 or £56/m² laid), insulation, and 100mm blockwork; clay machine-made tiles (£36/m² laid); high-end off-the-shelf softwood joinery; blockwork partition walls; top-of-the-range contract quality kitchen; quality sanitary­ware; and underfloor heating (UFH) downstairs.

Excellent: A very high stan­dard. Cavity walls: bricks (£550/1,000 or £62/m² laid), insulation, and 100mm blockwork; plain clay tiles (£45/m² laid); hardwood joinery; blockwork partitions; bespoke kitchen; quality sanitaryware; UFH.

5. House Details: Build Route

Your level of involvement in the project will influence the build costs. For simplicity, the four most common build routes have been identified below.

Build Route A: Building on a largely DIY basis, substi­tuting around 30% of labour costs with DIY, and employing help with the rest of the building work. Materials pur­chased directly.

Build Route B: Building using trades­people hired directly. Minimal DIY involvement. Most materials purchased directly.

Build Route C: Building using a main contractor or package supplier to complete the structure to a weathertight stage, with the remaining work being under­taken by subcontractors with most materials purchased by self-builder direct from suppliers.

Build Route D: Building using a main con­trac­­tor. Building in this way requires the least involvement from the self-builder.

Services

If your plot is not connected to mains services such as electricity and water you should get quotes for connection from your local utility suppliers before purchasing the site and enter these figures into the appropriate box.

As a budget figure our Build Cost Calculator will allow the following:

  • £2,500 for connection to the water mains, or £5,000 if there is no water available nearby

  • £1,200 for connection to electricity nearby, or £10,000 if there is no connection available

  • £2,500 for connection to the main sewer, or £5,000 for an off-mains drainage solution

  • £800 for connection to a main gas supply, or £2,000 to fit an oil or lpg tank if mains gas is not available

Don’t Forget the Extra Fees

  • Legal Fees: £500-1,000

  • Stamp Duty and Land Tax: The tax is cur­rently levied at 1% for land or house purchases valued from £125,001 to £250,000, 3% for plots valued from £250,001 to £500,000 and 4% over £500,000

  • Topographical Site Survey: Typical cost £350-500

  • Design Fees: Architects charge 7-15% of the total build cost for a ser­vice involv­ing design and supervision. For planning drawings from other sources expect to pay from £2,500-3,500, plus a similar figure for Building Regulations drawings

  • Structural Engineers’ Fees: £400-500

  • Planning Application Fees: £485

  • Building Regulations Fees: £500-1,000

  • Building Inspection Fees: £400-800

  • Warranty: Around 2%

  • Self-build Insurance: £500-800

FAQs

How does Architecture North Ltd come up with the figures in the Build Cost Guide?

We established basis figures, based on a survey of all the case studies, through out professional network our own experiences and knowledge. These base figures are then updated monthly using the Rebuilding Cost Guide indices published by the Building Cost Information Service.

How do I measure my intended new house?

Gross internal floor area is the measure we use (the industry standard). It’s the area measured to the internal face of each external wall for each floor level, including areas occupied by internal walls.

What do the figures include?

The cost per square metre figure allows for a finished home, including kitchens and bathrooms but not including external landscaping.

Do the figures include VAT?

As VAT is zero-rated for new builds (i.e. not payable), the figures do not account for it.

I’m renovating. Are these figures relevant?

Not really. They provide some guidance for major extensions which would include most of the key elements you would find in a new house (e.g. kitchens and bathrooms) but as they are usually relatively small and specific to a few rooms, they tend not to be relevant to these figures. Renovation costs depend very much on the extent of the work itself (e.g. some renovators will rewire, others not) and as a result it is impossible to generalise.

Build Cost Calculator

Use our Build Cost Calculator to see how much it will cost to build your dream home

Getting a clear estimate of your build costs will help you establish what you can afford on your budget and highlight which build route is going to be best for you.

Our free build cost calculator, which takes 5-10 minutes to complete, will take into account:

  • where you live

  • the kind of house you want to build

  • the build route you would like to take.

It will provide you with an instant, accurate calculation to help you plan and budget your self build project.

Remember to:

  • enter a valid UK Postcode

  • don’t leave any answers blank. If the question does not apply to your project, answer with a 0.

A Tip to Save You Money on Your Self Build

  • DIY where you can: taking on tasks that are within your capabilities is a great way to keep your costs down.

We Are Celebrating Our One Year Anniversary Today!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank our customers, partners for the success Architecture North Ltd has achieved over the past year.

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2019 Architecture North - Website Logo.png

Today marks our First Year Anniversary as an organisation. Our goal has been and will always be to promote an inclusive and ethical standard within the built environment, architecture and education.

Although we are indeed proud of what we have been able to accomplish this far with and for the community that we serve, we do realise that our work has just begun. This one-year milestone is a testament to Architecture North Ltd’s commitment to continued innovation, and inter-professional collaboration that strives to harness both the power of our customers and businesses in our network.

Some of the things that we have done include, but not limited to the redesign of our company logo, we have used a sans-serif typeface complimenting our new identity by introducing a primary branding typeface that is different in style and character from other interface text.

This year we have opened the doors to the practice and allowed you exclusive entrance to our free events at our Nottingham office. To maintain presence over in Lincoln and Hull we opened two opened satellite offices to allow our team to have a centralised base as our target market area is East Yorkshire / Hull / Greater Lincolnshire / Lincoln / Newark and Nottinghamshire, therefore opening the new offices in Hull and Lincoln has allowed us to expand our growing team to capture our market.

HULL OFFICE  Prospect St, Kingston upon Hull, HU2 8PE  +44 (0) 148 290 8515

HULL OFFICE
Prospect St, Kingston upon Hull, HU2 8PE
+44 (0) 148 290 8515

LINCOLN OFFICE  The Rope Walk, Lincoln, LN6 7DQ  + 44 (0) 152 227 4600

LINCOLN OFFICE
The Rope Walk, Lincoln, LN6 7DQ
+ 44 (0) 152 227 4600

NOTTINGHAM OFFICE Archway Court, Nottingham, NG7 4AP  +44 (0) 115 998 2022

NOTTINGHAM OFFICE
Archway Court, Nottingham, NG7 4AP
+44 (0) 115 998 2022

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued support for what Architecture North stands for, and we look forward to continuing to do our best to remain a vital resource for both customers and businesses in the community throughout the area!

VAT on a New Build: Can I Reclaim?

Home improvers can often overlook the fact that they can reclaim VAT on a new build or conversion project.

Our director Lewis North explains the eligible projects and how to navigate the process.

Self builders can often overlook the fact that they can reclaim VAT on a new build house under HMRC’s DIY Housebuilders Scheme.

Value added tax (VAT) could count for 20% of the budget on a self build or conversion project, but in fact you could reclaim most of that money back once the build is completed.

Ensuring that you incur the minimum amount of VAT overall on your project is key to its financial success.

We explain how to maximise your VAT reclaim.

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How to Add a Two Storey Extension

Here at Architecture North we always say; why move, when you can improve. This weeks blog we are writing about two storey extension extensions, they are a cost-effective way to add lots more space to your home – whilst also increasing its value.

It is also cheaper than moving house and more cost-efficient than building a single storey extension, a two storey extension won’t just add more living and sleeping space – it can transform the look of your home from outside, too. 

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Extension Projects for Under £50k

We hope you all had a lovely bank holiday weekend, we have been looking through our current portfolio of projects and fee scales in house and we are starting to notice a trend.

Do you want more to add more space? Light? and a better connection with the garden? Extending could be the solution.

Within this weeks blog we look at different examples that were all completed for a budget of under £50,000

Careful attention to detail, sourcing local materials, carrying out any work you can on a DIY basis and keeping one eye on the costs can all help to bring your extension project in on a tight budget.

If you are in need of some extension inspiration, take a look at this selection of projects that have all been achieved within a £50,000 build cost budget.

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Architectural Specifications - What is it? & How Important is it?

Today in Nottingham, Architecture North is attending this years Specifi event at the Crowne Plaza, where we will be meeting world class industry speakers to kick start the event with a healthy dose of energy and inspiration, igniting many conversations that continue throughout the evening.

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15 Rear Extension Design Ideas

If you are looking to add space to your home, a rear extension might be the easiest to accommodate from a planning and spatial point of view. Architecture North shares projects to inspire you

If you’re looking to add value as well as extra space to your home, then a rear extension may be the project for you.

If you are carrying out your work under Permitted Development, you will be expected to build in the same material as the existing dwelling. This must be done carefully, perhaps requiring you to source reclaimed materials to get a good match, or tint the bricks for a seamless look.

Alternatively, you could design an addition in a contrasting style. This makes a statement and can be easier to achieve success with than trying to match old and new.

Here, we take a look at some of the finest examples of rear extensions in recent times.

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The Lake Houses Lake Drive, Tidbury Green

On Friday 12th April at 16:15 we were please to hear that our proposed new build Lake Houses, at Tidbury Green were signed off by our Building Inspector and they are now on the open market.

Therefore, this week we thought it would be appropriate to write this weeks blog about this flagship development in the 60 acres parklands and golf course. Tidbury Green is a delightful rural village close to Solihull, with renowned Earlswood Lakes, a haven for sailing, fishing or walking.

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Building a House: Our On-Site Guide

When it comes to building a house, you might decide that you want to act as your own project manager or even get stuck in with some of the building work (if you are capable and possess the right skills), and if that is the case, you’re going to need to understand the process of building a house.

Similarly if you are a first-time self builder, it is well worth familiarising yourself with the process so you know what to expect and when.

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Renovating a House: Our Complete Guide

Renovating a house can be a step into the unknown — old houses are prone to throwing up a range of surprises, not all of them good. Our step-by-step renovation guide covers everything you need to know to plan your renovation project. Whilst renovating a house is an exciting project, old houses are full of unknowns and hidden costs — nothing is ever straightforward. Our guide covers everything from how to find a renovation project in the first place to extending and designing your new home.

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Dormer Windows

Dormers – the name comes from the French word dormir, meaning ‘to sleep’ – have become a classic window style because they are just so useful: a dormer is a perfect way to achieve headroom where it might otherwise be difficult. To architects they provide an ideal means of creating ‘rooms in the roof’, especially in houses – new or old – that do not extend to two full storeys.

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