Press: SI.9 Advisors- who and how much?

by Bregs Blog admin team

The following article by Astrid Madden in “Self Build and improve your home” appeared in the Winter edition off the magazine, and was blogged on 30th September 2014. Link to online version here.



Advisors: Who they are, what they do and how much they cost

Architect and architectural technologist: They are mostly concerned with the design of your home, drawing up the plans of a house or extension on the basis of your wish list. Even if you have a very clear idea of the layout you want, a professional designer is likely to make alterations to create an overall style based on their experience of what works and what doesn’t. The design process can therefore take a lot of working through and usually is a combination of ideas from both parties. Where required (ROI: new builds and extensions over 40sqm, NI: new builds and large extensions – see, the plans are then brought forward to your local authority’s planning department for approval. More detailed plans will be drawn up for the construction stage, which the architect or technologist can also put together for you, although in ROI you will need to make sure the design professional(s) you appoint is/are able to submit statutory documents (including design and completion certification) to the Building Control Authority.

Indeed, it’s important to know that in ROI with the updated building control regulations, only certain categories of professionals are recognised by the Department of Environment’s relating Code of Practice (see Statutory Roles on next page), namely Registered architects, Registered building surveyors and Chartered engineers. Currently, architectural technologists are not included in this list, which implies only Registered architects, Registered building surveyors and Chartered engineers can submit plans to the Building Control Authority, which is one of the statutory (mandatory) requirements of the new regulations; see article on page 34 for more.

According to the RIAI, if you appoint someone who isn’t on the Code of Practice list, you can get planning approval, however when the time comes to submit plans to the Building Control Authority you’ll have to hire someone who is on the list to do so. The new design professional is likely to have to carry out ‘due diligence’ on your initial plans for a fee, checking that all of the calculations and drawings comply with the building regulations.

In NI all architects are legally required to register with the Architects Registration Board ( and in ROI with the statutory register administered by the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland ( The RIAI acts as both the statutory body legally in charge of registering/ protecting the title of ‘architect’ and as a professional body. In the UK the ARB is independent of the Royal Institute of British Architects (, which is a professional body only. The Royal Society of Ulster Architects ( is the NI branch of RIBA.

There is no statutory register for architectural technologists, but the title ‘chartered’ is protected by law in NI and is administered by the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (; CIAT has chartered members with registered practices in NI and ROI. There exist dual members, who have both architectural and architectural technology qualifications, and these are both registered with CIAT and with the ARB and/or RIBA. Different, but similar to the technologist is the architectural technician, who provides technical support to architects and architectural technologists; they do not offer their services directly to clients.

Planning consultant: To support your planning application you should consider hiring someone who will advise how to prepare it in order to have the best chance of approval. In addition to practices or individuals specialising in planning, many architectural, engineering or building surveying firms will provide this service.