We never start a project unless seeing the site first. We visit the place, sit down with the clients and discuss potential options from the outset. We are advising them on how to maximise the space, keep the lines clean, fill the room with light and write down their top wishes.
We engage our clients through the whole process. From the brief to the final detail, we discuss and co-operate with them. In the beginning of the process we design 5-10 proposed design options or as many as possible and we analyse the options to them. We take them through a journey from the simpler option to the most complicated and explained to them how it works and how it gets developed. Also, we play a game related to the interior design (the mood of the place) and what they would like to see as an end product. All the clients like this game. Even the people who are claiming that they are not sure about their design intensions; at the end of the game they have a much clearer idea. We do not finish the design until the client’s ideal case scenario has been drawn.
Once the design is finalised, we give the client the best option on submission to the council. In some cases is better to submit via permitted development but in others via planning permission. We always advise what the best case scenario is and what the easier way to get the approval is. Once we submit the drawings, we follow the process up to approval. We speak with the planners from the start, we make sure that they are happy with the design and no changes are required.
Once the planning is in place, we are working on the building regulations and detailed drawings. We will explore together the details and how the can accommodate clever design. We have a couple of very good structural engineers that help us with the structural design. The detailed design usually includes all the architectural drawings and all the build drawings. An example of detailed drawings is : the connection in between the wall and the ceiling; will it be a Cornish, a shahow gap, a coffered ceiling etc. The detail of the gutter and if this is going to be hidden or less visible, the areas for the light switches and sockets tailored made to the owners’ needs. The environmental friendly studies and how we can transform the place to a more sustainable design. Examples of passive techniques that are easily to incorporate are: maximisation of natural daylight, maximisation of natural ventilation and cross ventilation, energy efficient lighting throughout the house etc.
We usually use building control private inspectors, so the process is nice and easy. The drawings are getting approved in only a couple of days and the inspectors are following the project to completion on site.
We will create mood boards with how the space will look like including finishes and furnishing. Thought our initial game, we will already have an idea of the end results of what our clients’ are aiming to achieve. We will develop the idea with the clients and aim to arrive at an ideal case scenario that reflects their budget and requirements. We can pick the furnishing and finishes.
Once all drawings are ready we will produce the whole package including specification. Specification is a document that explains in written words what the drawings are showing in case the contractor has any questions. We usually send the drawings to (at least) three contractors and we make sure that the clients meet them all and are happy with the people who are going to work in their homes. The final decision on who to choose is on their hands. We are there to help with the contract administration and follow the process from inception to completion. We will ask the contractor to print the drawings in scale and put them on site for everyone to see. Once the weekly visits start, we will make sure that all drawings are followed and that the building is sound and safe. We check the construction process and sign a certificate once a milestone has been reached. At the end of the process we sign the certificate of practical completion and six months after we sign the final certificate and give the contractor the final amount. In this way, the clients can rest assure of the quality of the work and of the money spent.