Do I Need An Architect For An Extension?

Posted on: 21 September 2023

Architects And Extensions FAQ - Your Options Explained

Written By: Townscape Architects | Last Update: September 2023

Are you currently in the process of planning an extension? Not sure whether you need an architect?

We’re residential architects who have worked on many extensions over the years. This is a question we often get asked, and unfortunately, there is never a straightforward ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.

But there are a couple of questions we ask to summarise it easily:

Do you need an architect for an extension? No.

Will hiring an architect help you complete your project on time, within budget, to your desired specification and entirely within the law? Yes!

Our expert analysis delves into the intricacies of the matter, providing insight into the circumstances under which an architect may be necessary, the available options and legal considerations, the role of planning permission, and the various advantages of partnering with an architect for your extension project.

Do I Need An Architect For An Extension - FAQ

Is an architect necessary for an extension?

In the UK, you choose whether to instruct an architect for an extension, but there is no legal requirement to hire one. 

You can proceed without any expert consultation. However, most property owners will use an architect to ensure their space and property design are maximised and the planning process and legislation are streamlined and compliant. An architect will add creativity and speed to your process while minimising stress and obstacles.

How to know whether you need an architect

You will know that you require an architect if your project is sizeable or intricate.

Especially when dealing with significant undertakings, an architect can provide invaluable input on structural prerequisites and the most efficient approaches to attain your intended results.

Employing an architect can assure you that your expansion is secure, lawful, and aligns with your aspirations.

Cases where an architect is required for an extension

Architects are usually required in three main cases:

  • The first case is when you need a complete planning application and time is of the essence. In this scenario, an architect can help you achieve the best possible outcome with a higher chance of being approved the first time.
  • The second case is when you need structural alterations or face challenges with your design or the conditions of your property and grounds. In such cases, a professional architect can find the best solution for your requirements.
  • Third, you may need an architect when you require detailed drawings or 3D visuals. These details come as a standard service with an architect and can be difficult and time-consuming to source on your own.

Is an architect legally required?

There are no legal requirements to engage an architect for any construction project. The choice to hire an architect is entirely at your discretion.

While some individuals may successfully oversee extensive home renovation endeavours, such as complete house overhauls and expansions, without the assistance of an architect, others may opt to engage one for more modest undertakings, such as bathroom renovations or kitchen redesigns.

Others may hire one for smaller jobs, like redoing a bathroom or redesigning a kitchen.

However, there are compelling arguments why it is a good idea to consult with an architect for an extension, as they will understand the best way to maximise the plot your house lies on and the process you need to take.

The benefits of using an architect for an extension

The main benefits of using an architect are their professional expertise, experience and training. They can assess and maximise an existing space, offering innovative solutions and ideas you may not be aware of.

Furthermore, an architect is up-to-date with the latest construction methods and technologies and can turn your brief into a reality.

Beyond the creative benefits, an architect understands planning permission and building regulations. They will know your local planning office to guide you effortlessly through the application process.

Can I get planning permission without an architect?

If you plan to develop your property within limits allowed by permitted development rights, you may not need to apply for planning permission – for Class Q conversions, for instance.

However, if you are contemplating any significant structural changes to your property, such as building an extension, constructing a new home, or changing the use of your building, you will require planning permission. If you are unsure about your specific case, provides an overview of the regulations, or you can consult an architect for professional guidance.

While it is possible to acquire planning permission without enlisting the services of an architect, the involvement of a professional in the process can significantly increase the chances of obtaining approval. Detailed drawings and streamlined procedures, facilitated by the architect’s expertise, are often crucial in securing the necessary permissions.

So hiring an architect can be a valuable investment for those seeking to obtain planning permission with a high degree of success.

Using An Architect For Your Extension

In summary, “Do I need an architect for an extension?”- Based on our professional opinion, we highly recommend hiring an architect for your extension project. Doing so will not only save you time, but it can also save you money in the long run. Architects have extensive industry knowledge, including valuable contacts that can help speed up the application process. They can also provide invaluable planning knowledge and design expertise, devising cost-saving solutions for materials and energy efficiency. Overall, hiring an architect is a wise investment that can lead to a successful and stress-free extension project.

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01423 505 924
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152-154 Holgate Road,
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