Where to start for our house renovation - help! ;(

2 years ago

Hello all,

We got great advises on the board in the past and I hope you would be able to help us again :) many thanks in advance.

I am sure this question has probably been asked before but I cannot find answers so apologise if that is the case.

To give you a bit of background...

We bough our house a few years ago now - it is quite an old house (1920s/30s) which was renovated and extended in the 1980s. It has a lots of 1980s "features" like huge brick fireplaces and artex ceiling everywhere. There are unfortunately no 1920s feature left but we are hoping to add them back.

Due to lack of funds, we ended up doing some of the work ourselves to make it "habitable" but the progress have been extremely slow as we both work fulltime and have young children. We only did the bedrooms and one bathroom in 2 years...

We are now thinking of having the rest of the renovation, including a loft conversion (velux only - not change to the pitch of the roof), done by builders to finally get it finished (and stop living with step-ladder, piece of carpet and screwdrivers all over the house!)

Note that the loft may need planning permission as we are using the loft above the 1980 extension and we will have side velux windows. I am not sure if planning is completely needed but, from what I read, it may be the case.

Because we had so much time living in the house, I have a clear vision of what we want and I made some draft plans (which I may share separately to get your opinions). However, I don't know where to start to actually get the work started and I have been in indecision paralysis for the last few months.

The main question is should we hire an architect?

It seems that, because I already know what I want and have done some draft plans, I dont really need one. But as the same time, the few builders I have called told me "without plan, we cannot give you a formal quote".

It seems that plans are also needed for the planning stage.

Also, I am worried that, without a full architectural plan, things may go wrong during the building stage if the builders have to make decisions (note that I am working so unable to be on-site all the time). For example, where to place lights and switch, to shape and material for the new loft staircase...

I am very confused and everything seems so expensive... We really need to keep the cost down and I am concern to spend money on an architect that I may not actually need.

Also, I am not sure that I have the full understanding of the process.

From the reading I made, it seems that the stages are:

- architect

- planning permission

- structural engineer

- builder tendering => Who is doing this? can I do this myself or is that the architect responsibility? is it complicated to if I decide to do it myself?

- building management => do you think it is possible to do it myself and working full time?

Is that correct? Is there any areas that may or may not needed? Am I missing anything?

Sorry if my questions are a bit naive. I am just slightly overwhelm with the scale and cost of the project. Seems very daunting...

Many thanks for your help.

Comments (11)

United Kingdom
Tailor my experience using cookies

By continuing to browse this site or use this app, I agree the Houzz group may use cookies and similar technologies to improve its products and services, serve me relevant content and to personalise my experience. Learn more.