Prevent your architect from creating a “too expensive” design

It was my birthday recently (that year zoooomed past 🤯) … and as I do every year, I reflect on the important lessons I’ve learnt during another year on the planet!

This lesson stood out from the rest, for me.

I was desperate to advise you on this topic because I’ve been hearing about it happening to my clients often enough and it’s actually very preventable when you’re guided at the right point in your project.

The problem

When renovators get the keys to their project, they call in architects to develop a design for them which then gets sent off for planning approval…

As soon as the architect’s work is done, the renovator pays their fee and usually parts ways… only for them to realise as soon as the drawings go out to tender that the designs they had approved are going to be way too expensive for them to achieve. 

I typically get called in to support on interior design after the projects are approved for planning, and before quotes begin coming in from contractors and I see this happen.

It must be gutting for people when quotes come back way higher than they ever anticipated.

Imagine pouring your heart and soul (and money!) into getting plans developed, falling in love with design concepts – that window seat, apex window, or floor to ceiling glass facades – only to later realise it’s all going to blow your budget out of the water! You have to scrap most of it, or you have to compromise in so many areas…

What’s worse is that you end up having to go back to the boardroom with your architect to reconfigure the plans you’ve already paid for, costing ££s in more development time. 

Believe it or not, this problem is a fairly common thing to happen to new renovators – even second or third time renovators can run into issues like this and while it’s certainly not the architect’s fault, there’s a way to prevent it.

The solution

You can avoid this happening to you. When those quotes from contractors start coming in, you need to be ready for them. Not shocked by them.

In fact, this is something Neil and I love to support renovators with…

Here’s the thing. Your renovation will only be as good as your vision and planning skills

It’s honestly true and this is partly how to avoid your architect creating a design that blows your budget👌🏻 

The level of detail you prepare in advance of working with an architect/starting your project will determine the overall success of your budget handling and project.

Some of the details you need to know inside out: 

  • You need to understand your budgets before you’ve instructed a soul! 

  • You need to solidify your wants and needs as a family/household 

  • You need to understand the design (and layout) that speaks to you and your home, that you’re comfortable investing big money in

  • You need to find the right architect who works on projects like yours and communicate effectively

This is what renovators can expose themselves to if they DON’T plan accurately…

I’ve seen projects that have been rushed, and some that have run out of money half way through.

Believe me, ‘winging it’ or depending solely on the architect or builder to do everything for you, rarely gives people the results they want.

In contrast, I see a marked difference in the renovations where the homeowners have clearly considered their needs, budget and they’ve planned everything in the correct order at the right time. They obtain a strong vision and control over their finances, and they know where they’re going to make savings.

Neil and I specialise in helping people prepare for their projects in the right way. We bring our experience and my interior design training to help renovators build a vision for their home that they can afford, and love!

Our home renovation course is the place students start when they want to approach their project in the correct way, saving them time, money and mistakes. We connect them with an amazing community of other renovators doing similar work too – extensions, loft conversions, knock-throughs and remodels.  

In conclusion, how should you prevent this happening to you? 

  • First, create your renovation masterplan (do this with our support via our online course)

  • Next, if you’re already in talks with your architect, communicate the scope of your build effectively – if you know your budgets will be small, or if you’re keen to make as many savings as possible, communicate this from the outset 

  • Otherwise, find an architect who is well versed in your type of project size and budget (again, the course helps you with this)

  • Our final tip is to question material and build costs, always – most architects are well versed in trade fees and prices per m2 of the materials they’re proposing so question everything and ask for alternative/more affordable solutions

With projects as large-scale, costly, and unknown as a house renovation, it can be super helpful to be shown possible problems you could come up against. I hope this post has shone a light on something I commonly see happen for renovators, and highlighted possible avenues to help you prevent mistakes. 

We’ll be opening the How to Renovate a House soon so pop your details on the waitlist for announcements.

Happy renovating 🙌🏻

Fi xoxo