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Do I need an architect?

How necessary is it to use an architect when undergoing a home extension project? You might be surprised by how useful they can be!

4 min read

Whether you need an architect or not will depend on the type of project you want to undertake, plus your own experience level. However, you might be surprised by how useful they can be - even for small projects!

Architects are the masters of utilising space for your home. They’re able to assess your house and spot the hidden potential locked away inside. What’s more, with their detailed knowledge of planning policy, they’re able to guide you through the ins and outs of dealing with your local authority. This makes them an incredibly useful professional to have onboard.

If you’re not sure if you need an architect for your house, here’s a short guide on knowing when your project needs a helping hand…

You plan on extending or converting

We would recommend considering an architect if your project involves a...

  • Rear extension
  • Side extension
  • Wraparound
  • Two-storey extension
  • Loft conversion
  • Garage conversion
  • Basement conversion
  • Annex / granny flat

Put simply: if you’re creating new space that’s going to affect the exterior of your property, it’s best to get an architect on board.

While there’s no law requiring you to hire an architect in any scenario, having one present on these big projects helps ensure you create a safe and legal addition to your home.

Why not just use a builder? Some people do allow their contractor to both design and build their project, but this can be a risky approach. Contractors don’t need a license to build homes, nor any formal training. Whereas an architect is held to a statutory code of practise and undertakes years of training before entering the field. Not only this, but they have Professional Indemnity Insurance, meaning their clients are protected.

You want to change the layout of your home

Even for smaller projects, such as knowing down walls or layout changes, getting an architect involved has some benefits. Chances are they’ll be able to spot opportunities you may have missed, along with being able to consider those big picture practicalities. After all, there’s more to designing a home than just rejigging the walls.

  • Door openings
  • Windows and light
  • Piping
  • Vents
  • Room to room views

All of these an architect will be able to consider, making sure your home doesn’t suffer any annoying design flaws.

You need planning permission

Architects aren’t just limited to home design, they can also help secure your project planning permission.

At Resi, alongside providing expert design, we also act as the planning agent for our clients. We handle everything from putting together the paperwork to liaising with the council on your behalf.

By having an architect handle your planning process, you not only avoid any admin headaches but also give yourself the best chance of approval. This could help you save budget in the long run, as reversing planning refusal can be a costly process.

When to consider using an architect during the planning stage

  • You need help meeting permitted development rights guidelines
  • You want to give yourself the best chance of getting first-time approval for a full planning application
  • Your home is a listed building
  • You live in a conservation area
  • You live in a flat or maisonette
  • Your home is affected by other planning restrictions, such as being located in a flood zone or near a site of archaeological interest

Learn more about UK planning policies.

Jules Renovation

You’re not sure where to start

If you find yourself wanting to extend your kitchen or convert your loft but you have no idea where to begin - talk to an architect.

Architects are one of those professionals who get to experience every level of a project. From design to planning, from budgets to contractors, an architect knows it all. This makes them the perfect port of call when starting out.

At Resi, we offer free consultation calls to anyone considering improving their home. Our experts can help advise on everything from timings, budget, design, all the way to potential contractors in your area.

Book a free consultation with our team here.


While hiring an architect is completely optional, there are a number of benefits to having one on board.

  • Better quality of design often means you get more space for your money and a better return on investment
  • They can manage your planning application on your behalf, often increasing your chances of success
  • They can provide guidance early on and help coordinate your project
  • If you have no idea what’s possible, they can assess your home and provide project ideas for you to explore

How much does an architect cost?

Which part of your property would you like to extend?

Ground Floor
First Floor

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Resi is the UK's largest residential architect


Track record in getting planning approval


Projects undertaken across the UK

30 days

Average time from survey to planning