Last edited 09 Oct 2015

Self-build home: Appoint consultants to design the home

Self build plan header.jpg


Introduction.


Unless the project is being delivered by a design and build contractor, or a kit-house is being purchased, it is likely that consultants will have to be appointed to design the home and perhaps to undertake site inspections during construction.

Typically this will include an architect and a structural engineer, but it may include other appointments, such as a project manager or quantity surveyor, and specialist projects may require appointments such as; landscape designers, interior designers, ICT consultants and so on. See Consultants for more information.

Before making appointments it is important to ensure that the project brief is up to date and properly reflects requirements.


Identifying potential consultants.


Appointments may be made on the basis of:

  • Recommendation (for example, an architect might be appointed first and they might recommend an engineer).
  • Research and interview.
  • Competition.
  • An existing relationship.

Defining the scope of services.


To agree the scope of services and fee for the appointment a 'request for proposals' should be prepared. This asks for the submission of proposals from prospective consultants, describes the project and the nature of the appointment and sets out the information that should be included in the consultant’s proposals. A request for proposals may include:

It is sensible to approach more than one potential consultant so that proposals can be compared.


Making the appointment.


The preferred consultant should be interviewed to establish how comfortably they will fit into the project. It is also wise to check references and to look at previously completed work to get a sense of the quality they are able to deliver.

The agreed terms of appointment must be set out in writing to avoid potential confusion later. This might be done using one of the following:

In agreeing the terms of appointment it is important to:

  • Consult with past clients to incorporate their experience into design or management improvements.
  • Make sure stage payments are related to clearly-defined events in the programme.
  • Make sure that fees are not front loaded so that if the appointment is terminated, the fees paid only reflect the work that has been completed.
  • Remember that even once the design is complete, site visits by consultants during construction and any remedial work after occupation could last eighteen months.
  • Consider introducing incentive mechanisms based on a target cost.

Next stage: Prepare a concept design.

List of all stages.