How can an Architect help me?

Words from Craig Alexander – a Chartered Architect within our in-house Architectural Design team


Undertaking a self-build project is undoubtedly exciting, but can be daunting and at times challenging. Employing the services of an Architect or Architectural Designer can help to pave the way for your project as it develops.

It’s worth bearing in mind that, of all the decisions and choices you make along the process, the most difficult thing to change is the design! Kitchens may come in and out of fashion, and interior décor may be changed relatively regularly and inexpensively but the overall concept, arrangement and layout of a house is more-or-less fixed for the lifetime of the building, so it’s worth investing in the design stage so you build a home that will compliment your way of life.


1. Best foot forward – the all-important design brief

Architects are good listeners. They are adept at absorbing your requirements and preferences to bring them to life in a 3D form. Here at Oakwrights, clients often come to us with mood boards, images, a key view or feature they wish to include. Even before sketch-pen touches paper, an Architect can develop your brief and help to draw out and refine your requirements. You are likely to have dozens of ideas which can be confusing or indeed contradictory. An Architect can assist with ordering and structuring your ideas to form a clear list of requirements and priorities for the project.

Your chosen Architect can also work with you to assess your wish list in relation to your budget and the opportunities presented by your site. Even at this early stage, your Architect can investigate the local planning context and outline a strategy to deliver the most likely successful outcome at planning application stage, helping to direct the brief and the initial design work for your build. They can also liaise with the planning department via a pre-application submission to further refine the initial design work and align it with the requirements of the local planning authority.

2. A trained eye for detail – quality design

Your Architect will help to establish the design intent and aspirations for your entire project. The best starting point is a well-considered, proportioned and attractive design. As mentioned above, this is the core building block from which your new build will stem from, so it requires careful thought.


3. Smooth sailing – navigating the self-build process

It’s common knowledge that self-builds can be vulnerable to delay, however, the stage most outside of your control is the planning process.

Employing the services of an Architect can help to set the project on the smoothest path; from preparing attractive and compelling drawings, which are also compliant with the planning validation requirements, coupled with supporting documents such as a comprehensive design and access statement can help to streamline this stage.

Your planning approval may come with pre-commencement conditions, requiring further approval before you can start on-site. Your Architect can assist with discharging these as quickly as possible to avoid holding your project up when it’s ready to get going.


4. Coordination – a streamlined process

Committing to a self-build is a big decision as the bar is set high with the aim of creating a bespoke forever home. This is why it’s so important to have a skilled and experienced team supporting you.

Building with an oak frame is a particular design consideration. So it’s important you employ the services of an Architect who will incorporate the frame into your design from the start to ensure the principles of oak framing are integrated, and your design aspirations are met.

At Oakwrights, you will benefit from the expertise of our in-house Architectural Design team who work closely with our Frame and Encapsulation Designers, Project Managers and the Craftsmen responsible for producing and erecting your oak frame; making self-build journey as smooth as possible.

5. Making the most of experience – impartial advice

There are a number of decisions to make when embarking on a self-build; from external finishes, heating systems and levels of insulation to your kitchen layout: your Architect can provide an impartial and holistic recommendation based on their experience. From day one your Architect can help to direct you towards cost-effective solutions that will work for your unique project.


Do you have an oak frame self-build project in mind?

Our Architectural team are available for site appraisals and initial design consultations, so please contact us for further information and to discuss your oak frame vision.

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