You’ve bought the plot, you’ve read the magazines, you’ve seen the TV shows – so you need to appoint an architect to get started, right? Well, not necessarily. There are many companies at your disposal that can provide ‘ready-made’ self-building solutions. It can be as straightforward as calling a few of our members, asking them to send you their book of house designs and choosing one that meets your needs and your matches your budget. Some of our members will then take care of planning (which is always something best left to the professionals – it can be complex and frustrating!), building regulations and some will provide a managed full-build solution.

If that doesn’t float your boat another route is to work with a UKTFA member that can provide architectural design for a truly one-off home. This means you have complete control over the design of your new home. It’s a more involved journey, but it means you can have exactly what you want. Some people like to be involved in every detail, others don’t, and whilst working with a timber frame company that can provide architectural services can be rewarding it is also be more time consuming. It’s a step closer to using a separate architectural firm, but with the protection that comes with established businesses that are genuine experts in timber frame.

And, of course, you could work with an architect or architectural designer. You don’t necessarily need to work with a registered architect, but you do need to make sure that whoever you choose to appoint to work on the design of your home has the right experience. Qualifications are not everything, and some of the best self-build designers are not qualified but they have years of experience. Common sense must prevail – only work with people that you are confident can do the job, and do it well. Ask for references and speak to recent clients to get a picture of what’s involved and what’s on offer from any professional you choose to employ. You’ll be surprised at the variation in services, so do your homework.

You’re at the right place: UK TFA members must meet strict criteria in order to become members, so any member that can provide you with design support should be your first port of call.

Visit the member section to find your nearest timber frame partner