ePrivacy and GPDR Cookie Consent by Cookie Consent Do I need an architect or structural engineer?

Do I need an architect or structural engineer?

Unless you've done an extension before, telling the difference between these two professionals can be a challenge.

4 min read

Unless you’ve done a big home project before, you might find yourself bamboozled by the list of professionals your extension or conversion might need. Especially when it comes to structural engineers.

While many people have heard the term architect before, structural engineers have yet to make their way into popular culture. However, which one do you need? Both? One? Neither?!

If you want some clarity, here’s everything you’ll need to know...

What an architect does

Architects are famous for their keen eye for design, and it’s true - we’re pretty good at making things look good. However, architects are no one trick pony. In fact, an architect could help you throughout your project.

Starting out, they’ll be one of the first professionals you take on, guiding you through the possible design ideas and bringing your future space to life with architectural drawings (maybe even 3D models). It’s these renderings that will be packaged up and submitted for planning permission, another service an architect provides.

Then, once your plans have the go-ahead, an architect can help prepare the technical drawings you’ll need at the building regulations stage. This is a crucial (and legally required) step, whereby you must demonstrate either to your local building control or an approved inspector that your home will continue to be a safe and healthy environment for you and your neighbours.

Lastly, with the last of your permissions granted, an architect can be on hand to help construction get off without a hitch. This could be through introductions to tried and tested contractors or by providing site visits to make sure the construction is up to scratch.

So, in summary, an architect can cover…

  • Design and architectural drawings
  • 3D models
  • Planning submission
  • Building regulations
  • Contractor recommendations
  • Site visits

Making them a very useful professional to have around.

What a structural engineer does

Structural engineers are a different kettle of fish to architects. Where architects can cover a wide range of services, structural engineers tend to specialise in only a few key areas - namely, making your house stand up.

Structural engineers are mainly needed if you’re doing anything that might affect the structure of your home. Be this a rear extension, dormer loft conversion, or even removing a chimney. Typically during the building regulations stage, your structural engineer will calculate the weight of your proposed structure, and specify key elements such as steel beams.

Overall a structural engineer will consider…

  • Materials you plan to use
  • The site location
  • Weight of the build
  • Structural support needed

Some structural engineers may also prepare your building regulations package.

How much architects and structural engineers cost

The price of an architect can vary widely, depending on…

  • Size of your project
  • The complexity of the design
  • Location
  • Whether or not you’re using a high-end practice

Disregarding the luxury side of things, your typical practice could charge up to £4750 to get your project ready for construction.

Learn more about how much architects charge.

At Resi, we provide an affordable service with no eye-watering fee surprises. Our complete planning package (including a measured survey) starts from £900, while our building regulations package from £775.

And because our Connect service includes introductions to vetted structural engineers, we know you’ll typically looking at prices ranging from £950 - £2000, depending on the size and complexity of your project.

Deciding which you’ll need

If you have the budget and doing anything substainal like an extension or adding a dormer, then we recommend getting both professionals onboard.

The services both provide overlap enough to ensure you not only get the best design but also a quality end product.

While getting an architect on board might seem like a luxury, as the masters of space, they can ensure you unlock the maximum potential from your home - something that often pays off when it comes to reselling. See their eye for style as an investment, as well as their other services as a way of keeping your project moving smoothly, avoiding any costly delays or rejected planning applications.

Meanwhile, the calculations a structural engineer provides are vital for any extension. Though, for small renovations, you could have an architect handle your building regulations.

Want personalised advice for your project? Book a call with our team and we advise on what professionals you’ll need - free of charge.

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