If you want to build yourself a new house, or change the home you already have, we can design and manage your project from first sketch ideas to the finish of work on site.
We will help you visualise designs, hold your hand through the process of design, selecting materials and fittings, approvals, selecting builders, construction. We want you to find it as stress free as possible and for you to be happy and proud of your finished home.
We take great pride in our work. We aim to make buildings which are safe, practical, ecological, and beautiful. From start to finish we creatively solve design and construction issues, we will give you well considered opinions and solid advice. We manage building contracts with fairness to all parties, while always looking after your interests.
Phase 1 Initial design
A project can only be successful if we work closely with you. In the initial design phase we work out what you want to achieve with your building project through a process of designing and meeting to discuss the designs with you.
We check planning restrictions applicable to your site and relevant planning precedents, to see what the planners are likely to approve.
We mainly design in 3D, to help you visualise the design. Drawings and 3D models are produced from a measured survey to ensure accuracy. We commission the measured survey at the start of the project.
Once we have a design you are happy with, the initial design stage is complete.
Phase 2 Design development & planning application
In Phase 1 we focus on shapes and spaces. In Phase 2 we firm up the exterior materials.
You may need planning or listed building consent, or we may be able to design within your permitted development rights. We discuss the best route through planning and submit the appropriate applications for you.
Planners do not need technical construction information, but to make sure the project can be built as per the approved drawings, we progress the technical design to an appropriate level in the background.
Phase 3a Technical design
Once we have the required planning approvals, and have your go-ahead, we prepare detailed technical drawings and schedules to fully describe what is to be built.
Some of the technical information is provided by other consultants, such as structural engineers. We bring in these consultants and lead the design team.
You will have lots of decisions to make in this phase, e.g.
Which lights and where to place them,
Where to put sockets,
How to heat your home,
Whether to use a specialist kitchen maker,
Whether to have other fitted furniture made,
How much garden work to do,
We help you with all these decisions and it can be fun. We will make suggestions; we have lots of beautiful materials samples in our office and we can easily get more. We will get quotes for you and discuss your options.
Phase 3b Interior technical design
This is an optional phase and it often comes after tender, when the costs are clear.
If you want us to design fitted furniture or bathrooms in detail, our fees depend on how much work is required. We can discuss this nearer the time, when it is clear what you need.
If you want fairly standard bathrooms and an off-the-peg kitchen, we may not need to do any detailed interior design. If you want bathrooms with a lot of design in them – tiles carefully lined up, niches, etc, then we need to do detailed internal elevations, which takes time, but gets great results.
Phase 4 Tender & building control
Tender: We usually tender to four good local builders. We analyse tender returns and discuss them with you. We obtain legal and contractual information and arrange the signing of an appropriate fixed price, fixed time contract.
Building Control: We submit our drawings, with the engineer’s drawings and calculations, to Building Control for their approval. We answer their queries and work with them to ensure compliance.
Phase 5 Construction
We stay very much involved during construction, because that gets the best results.
During construction: We usually visit site at least once a week to answer builder’s queries and check build quality and conformity with the design.
We chair and minute monthly progress meetings with you and the builder.
We check the builder invoices you for the right amount each time, and that a retention is held back till the work is completed.
We keep tight control of the costs.
During construction technical and practical considerations often take centre stage, we make sure decisions are firmly led by the design principles established with you. We keep the 3D digital model up to date as a tool to help that.
At the end of construction: When the building work is complete, we check snags. When these are fixed, we certify Practical Completion, triggering release of half of the 5% retention.
Then you move in.
Final completion: At the end of the rectification period, usually six months after practical completion, when any defects are put right, we certify Final Completion, triggering release of the remaining retention money to the builder.
At the end of the project we hope you are happy and proud of your new home.