Why use an architect? Surely they are an unnecessary extra expense? Not necessarily... architects provide a link between builders and clients. They are well-versed in the dangers and pitfalls that result from doing substantial work to a property, especially where extensions / conversions are concerned. They also have the advantage of looking at buildings with an artist's eye, and introducing the type of aesthetically pleasing 'wow' factor elements which really help sell a property.

They are also able to project manage the build, find appropriate tradesmen, and generally take the pain out of a building project for their clients. This does come at a price, and architects charge fees just as any other profession does. However the increased aesthetic and financial value should outweigh any cost concerns.

Architects are overseen by RIBA, which ensures a good standard of work and promotes excellence throughout the profession. Their website,, is a good starting point to learning about great buildings and designers and finding helpful links to other sources.

For help in choosing an architect: