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The Process

The design of a project is a fluid process involving understanding, consideration, thinking, time, conversation, teamwork, interaction and delivery. Although every project brief is different and each clients aspirations different, the general process is the same for any project whether it be large or small. Once we are appointed for a project we will prepare a programme for the process from start to completion where this will be managed and adjusted throughout to ensure realistic expectations are understood throughout.

By clicking on the relevant stages on the adjacent diagram, a brief overview of what to expect can be understood. The nature of each project will determine the many factors involved within each stage where at the start of the project, we will formulate these into a schedule to provide an overview and programme which will be updated and monitored throughout.


Feasibility and Surveys

The initial stage of our process is crucial, as it involves our first interactions with the client. Through early discussions, we aim to gather as much information as possible about the client and their project brief which collectively form the foundation for the rest of the project.

Once we have established the project requirements, we conduct initial context studies of the site to evaluate the feasibility of the project enabling us to move on to the next stages of gathering more detailed survey information. During the survey phase, we gather detailed information about the site to use in developing the concept designs. This includes preparing existing drawings that we can work from in the development of the designs. By completing these crucial steps, we can ensure that our subsequent design work is based on a solid foundation of knowledge and understanding.

These surveys can include;

  • Digital topographical survey
  • Dimensional survey of the existing building
  • Ecology survey
  • Arboriculture surveys


Concept Designs

We start to interpret your brief into drawings, sketches and other information sufficient to convey our ideas for your project. We work with you throughout this stage to ensure the concept designs are developed to your desires and needs, in accordance with the project brief. At this stage it is advised to engage with a cost consultant to ensure the designs and specification being considered is achievable within your budget. If we consider it necessary, early engagement with the local planning authority is sought through pre application advice to gain the planning authorities initial feedback on the scheme.

Key elements of this stage:

  • Understand the characteristics of the site and its setting to allow the concept designs to be developed
  • Prepare initial sketches and information turning the clients brief into visual concept proposals, develop and evolve these through dialogue with the client
  • Engage with a cost consultant to establish initial costings for the designs 
  • Engage with the LPA through pre application advice
  • Freeze a design concept to take forward to the next stage


Detailed designs and planning application

The agreed concepts will be developed into detailed designs where they are fine-tuned and finalised. If interior designers are appointed, or if we are appointed in this capacity, then the principles of these are developed too ensuring a coherent design aesthetic is maintained throughout. Depending on the nature of the project and our engagement, the designs will be presented through CAD drawings, design statements, 3D visualizations and computer 3D models.

Planning applications will be submitted at this time where we will co-ordinate and liaise with other outside consultants in their specialist fields if required. On submission of the planning application, all designs are frozen where work is paused on the designs while the planning application is being considered.

A cost review of the final designs is often carried out at this stage too in conjunction with the cost consultant.  

Key elements of this stage:

  • Finalise the designs
  • Establish the principles of the interior designs
  • Engage with outside consultants to prepare reports and information in their specialist fields if necessary for the planning application
  • Obtain final costings of the frozen designs with the cost consultant 
  • Submit required planning application(s) to the local authority.


We split phase 4 into 2 stages to give the clients flexibility on our engagement for this phase for works where some clients may not want our services for the tender or contract administration duties.

Technical Designs

Technical designs comprise of the development of the designs into working construction drawings which provide the contractor with the information to carry out the work and allow for a building regulations application to be made. We allow for preparing a detailed package so our designs can be realized without the contractor having to work out the details of the designs themselves. Where required, we will liaise with specialist outside consultants and our in house structural engineers to ensure their designs are co-ordinated into the overall designs efficiently.

Collaboration and specification of materials, products and details can be considered through this stage too, particularly when we are working on the interior designs too.

Key elements of this stage:

  • Prepare details and information to allow the construction to take place in accordance with the approved planning drawings
  • Submit building regulations information


Tender Stage

The Tender Process involves the procurement of the project (the means on how the physical project is delivered from the design information). There are many different procurement methods however most projects adopt the traditional route which involves a selected pool of main contractors pricing for the works on a competitive basis.

To enable the competitive tender process we prepare detailed information including schedules, drawings, details and specifications, contracts and project particulars; collectively forming the tender pack. The tender pack is often carried out in conjunction with the cost consultant to monitor the expected cost of the works throughout this process. Once the selected contractors have priced the work we review their tenders with the cost consultant (if engaged) and submit recommendations to the client accordingly. This may be to accept a tender immediately, or subject the costs, engaging in negotiations with selected contractors before proceeding with an instruction.

Key elements of this stage:

  • Prepare tender pack allowing contractors to competitively tender on a like for like basis
  • Obtain expected costings from the const consultant 
  • Review tenders from selected contractors
  • Establish contractor to move forward with and issue them letter of intent (LOI)



Once a contractor has been selected we will prepare and finalise the details of the contract for both parties to sign. We will check specialist manufacturers drawings, details and information as required while being on hand to answer on site queries from the construction team. Although our role is not managing the construction work we will keep a close eye on the detail, progress, quality and accuracy of the work, ensuring the building is constructed as envisaged in our designs.

Throughout the construction the contract administrators role is to act impartially and fairly between the client and the main contractor, including negotiating variations that may arise and certifying sums of money to be paid to the contractor on an interim basis. If a cost consultant is appointed then they will often adopt the role of the contract administrator leaving us to focus our inspections and supervision on the quality and detail of the construction.

Key elements of this stage:

  • Prepare contract between client and main contractor
  • Monitor detail, progress, quality and accuracy of the work throughout the construction
  • Provide contract administrator duties if appointed for this role.


Post Construction

Once construction is complete and handed back to the client, the rectification period commences for a period set out in the contract which is typically 12 months. This rectification period allows for minor defects and snags which can occur in this time, to be rectified by the main contractor as their duty under the building contract. During this period we take the opportunity to photograph the project, record any information and gather feedback from the building occupiers. At the end of this period, the final completion certificates are prepared and the contract closed signalling the end of the project.

Key elements of this stage:

  • Monitor the building through the rectification period.
  • Instruct the rectification of any defects to be carried out
  • Close the project and issue final certificates.