Why hire an architect

Why use an architect?

Why should you use an architect? And why should it be me?

This question regularly comes up and it’s a fair question. You wanted to find an architect and you’ve landed on my website. It’s only fair that I explain the value of hiring an architect and what’s unique about me.

Ask an expert to design a solution for your home and enjoy the journey as well as the destination.” – Carl

Why should I hire an architect?

I am the only person who will listen carefully to what you want and need, and understand how you want to feel about your home. I know the technical implications and relevant legislation required inside and out. And I will take all of that and design a buildable solution to transform your house into your dream home.

A great room by Carl
The perfect flexible social space, designed by Carl for Sharon Mansbridge

“Carl turned our wish list into reality.” – Sharon Mansbridge

Why not just use a builder?

I’ve probably designed more people’s homes in the last two years than a builder will build in a lifetime. I am required by law to be up to date on the ever-changing Building Regulations; no one else in the building industry is. I have submitted over 180 successful planning applications in the last three years. I’ve been designing buildings that get built for over 25 years. I have a portfolio of completed projects that illustrate I know what I’m doing. I have built with my own hands my loft conversion and single-storey extension.

So, right back at you: why would you not ask me and instead use a builder to help you to transform your house – aka your biggest asset – into your dream home?

We then learnt the true value of a good architect as Carl carefully navigated us through the minefield of planning, building control , regulation and compliance , helping us to select and then manage our chosen contractors throughout the build.. Gary Bird – Southsea

What about a project manager?

Larger builds might need a project manager specialising in managing construction projects, but they don’t replace the architect. A project manager may take on client liaison, arrange meetings, and keep the project on track. But only the architect has the specialist expertise to design, coordinate and manage all elements of a building project.

My project is small – a minor extension – what’s the value of using an architect?

a CarlArchitect-designed single-storey extension
Small projects are just as complex as larger ones. How do I know this? While training, I went to work for a small conservation practice and ran small extension projects.

Many of my contemporaries worked for large practices on massive projects, but they only dealt with one small element of the process. I learnt about all the complexities of a project from the first sketch to the last brick. I passed my exams by doing it all rather than reading about it and I qualified two years quicker than most students.

As soon as I qualified, I got a new job refurbishing Terminal 3 at Heathrow. I was 25 and, as my boss told me at the time, took to it ‘like a duck to water.’ As the lead architect, I was fully involved in the design and on-site directing the building works. I look back on it now and wonder how I did it. The answer is that working on those small projects early on taught me to the skills I needed for a large project – fundamentally the complexities are the same.

Why should I choose you?

A house designed by Carl Leroy-Smith

“I’ve wanted to be an architect since I was 13 because I love designing houses.” – Carl

After 18 months at Heathrow, the contractor offered me a job as their design team manager. I didn’t take it. I’m an architect and I’ve wanted to be one since I was 13 because I love designing houses. I spent my youth on small building sites, and I love seeing things get built.

So whilst I’ve designed airports, award-winning museums and large housing projects, I came back to where I started because that’s what I love. I’m dedicated to working with you to transform your house into your dream home. I’m only satisfied when the homeowner is happy. If you can see the value in that experience, dedication and passion, I’m probably the one for you.

“Before we bought the house we interviewed several architects, but stopped looking as soon as we found Carl.” – Cris & Peter Black

why hire an architect
Carl transformed this house for Cris & Peter Black
I’m on a tight budget; won’t it add to my costs? 

Yes, upfront, it will add to your costs. It would be cheaper to find a builder who can build your extension and make it up with them as you go through the build. You might get lucky, or you might kick yourself and spend more money than you saved on architects’ fees.
Why start a process as complex as building without a plan? Do you know everything about the process? The builder won’t. You might end up paying to change things that aren’t built to standard, not getting what you want or not getting the exceptional result had an expert designed a solution to your home.

Five questions your builder won’t score 100 per cent on:
  1. How high can I build a single-storey rear extension?
  2. What thickness of insulation do I need on my flat roof?
  3. How much glass can I have in my new extension?
  4. Does the Party Wall Act apply to my project?
  5. What are your obligations under the CDM Regulations 2015?


An architect’s top five skills
  1. Design – conceptual, detailed and buildable.
  2. Legislation – awareness of all the legal obligations
  3. Coordination – bringing together the multiple components impacting the construction of my design.
  4. Management – the complex process of obtaining consent, appointing builders and managing any issues that arise.
  5. Diplomacy – handling all the competing demands and influences on the project.


“That’s what an architect does. We are the glue that brings it all together. We understand it all and we can juggle all the balls.” – Carl

And finally..
Architects are professionals:
  • Conduct – bound by a professional code of conduct.
  • Insurance – legally required to hold professional indemnity insurance.
  • Protected – operate under a protected title that requires at least seven years of training.
  • Society – our code of conduct and professionalism means architects have a wider responsibility to society and the environment.

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