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Architect or Design + Build


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I am just looking to get a side extension to my 3 bedroom semi-detached house.


I am just looking at which option is better for me in using a Design & Build option or whether to use an Architect to design before choosing a Builder.


We are looking to have a new bigger kitchen with the extension. Small front room which we can maybe use as a spare bedroom in the future. Small downstairs toilet and shower area. Removal of old garage to the rear of the house and maybe add small shed/building for garden storage.


Any opinions on which option could well suit best would be appreciated.





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2 minutes ago, nod said:

You will still need drawings for both options 

and building regs submission to be done 


Thanks for the reply.


I am aware of that. Just more trying to decide which option is best for me to go with as both seem to have pros and cons from the research I have done.


Is it more cost effective and easier to go with a Design + Build company or appoint my own Architect before then selecting a builder is more what I am trying to decide.



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Design and build is more expensive 

For a client that is cash rich but time poor It’s ideal 

For a two story extension You would be better approaching an Architect / Technician 

Thrashing out your design and getting it submitted Then bring in a building contractor to get you to watertight Then bring in the individual trades 


If you went down the D&B route You wouldn’t have to do a thing 

Just sign the cheques once a month ? 


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I was a Design and Build specialist for many years, but not housing.

There was no question that coming to us was the best solution, especially as we would decline anything that was not in our mainstream of knowledge. Engineer and Architect in-house).
BUT other companies offered something similar, but weren't so good (a couple were close, but out of hundreds)

So how do you know if they are any good?


Go to an Architect or surveyor and they hate d and b as it is competition. So they will always say that corners will be cut, and expertise lacking....and to use them to design and engage contractors.

Some Architects and arch'l technicians (who should not use the A) will do a good job. You should use them for fancy designs.

Some will only do the planning and then the builder has to make it work.


The costs should be 30% lower with d and b, all to the same standards. 


Therefore my answer is that d and b is best IF you can check them out on results. That means references, and not necessarily the ones they suggest.

How to find the problem jobs? Perhaps check out Planning website and ask about the jobs they have not mentioned as references.


Also needs you to monitor and question anything that doesn't seem right in the design and construction processes. They should not mind.


On costs ..beware. Architects have  a habit of underestimating the cost, and excluding their and other fees that will occur.

Contractor more likely to include it all, but you need certainty.

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I wouldn’t touch D&B with a barge pole - especially not for a small domestic project.

The advantage of D&B is having a single organisation deliver your project and it can be quicker to deliver than a standard procurement method. However the quality of the build and cost could be compromised and changes can be expensive.

As for architects who underestimate costs and exclude their own and other fees - avoid them like the plague - get someone you trust and go through the design, all costs, the specifications and schedules with a very fine tooth comb. Treat your build like your shopping - make a list of everything you need including fees and VAT and put costs against them. Then check them again.

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11 hours ago, Tom77 said:

which option is best for me

So you need to speak out your objectives because


11 hours ago, Tom77 said:

both seem to have pros and cons

but that depends on the circumstances.


I assume you already narrowed the chocie down to these 2 routes, as there are other options available - though making your hands dirty (be it ink for the drawings or dirt from the build itself.

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1 hour ago, Olf said:

narrowed the choice down to these 2 routes


There is no reason why you should not invite one or more designers and contractors to pitch for the project. You don't need to decide the way ahead until you have tested for someone you trust and can work with.


In principle though. If you don't know what you want, then d and b is not usually the best way....the contractor does not want change any more than you do.

If you don't think you have the skills to check quality then you need a consultant to supervise.


D and B will more likely provide a better price, and a fixed one if you handle it correctly from the start.

Make sure that they will have the design done by a consultant, not made up as they go along. The good ones will include all that.


You will never, ever get a consultant to guarantee the finished price.


The issues in Buildhub have probably as many issues with consultants as contractors. It is your choice.

Without knowing you, or your project we cannot decide for you, only suggest. As a designer and contractor I can only say that either way can succeed or fail: choose someone good , not someone rubbish




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9 hours ago, saveasteading said:

D and B will more likely provide a better price, and a fixed one if you handle it correctly from the start.


Have you tendered any projects in the last couple of years? Fixed price and better prices?

Might be possible on paper but it's not reflected on the ground at all!

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