The more research you do about building a custom home and the more prepared you are, the fewer issues you are likely to experience during the actual project.
For this reason, you may want to look at various options even if you eventually decide to hire an architect to work with you on your project. It is also possible that you have design skills that you would like to apply when creating your dream home. You can also choose to go with consultants that are not architects and that will charge you less compared to an architectural company.
One of the cheapest ways to get a plan for a home is to purchase a published floor plan. Many magazines and websites have thousands of such plans and you will have a lot of choices and options for any kind of budget. Preliminary floor plans are very inexpensive. The prices start at just a few hundred pounds. You can also choose to purchase complete home plans that even include all the necessary structural information. Complete plans typically cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand pounds. Even if you end up not buying any plans, looking at what is available will give you a lot of ideas and inspiration that you can later use when working with an architect.
While it may seem that buying a plan equals to saving a significant amount of money, this is not always so. Some of the plans lack the drawings of the foundation or structures. Before you can use a plan to build an actual home, you will need to get local permits and approvals, which means that you may need to modify the plans. Doing so typically involves hiring an architect and if this is the case, you may be better off hiring one from the very beginning and not wasting your money on pre-done plans.