Because every dwelling is different and each person is unique, we endeavour to understand your building and the way you live within it before proposing any changes.
If you are building a new home we will study your site and the surrounding environment in order to optimise daylight, views out and shelter from prevailing weather.
If you are considering extending into the garden or converting your loft we will prepare options for you to appraise before deciding on the most appropriate proposal for your particular needs.
Some work will be classified as Permitted Development in relation to planning legislation and we can advise you of your rights and the most appropriate course of action in relation to the changing regulations.
Our approach to building conservation is aligned with that of the Society for Protection of Ancient Buildings: regular maintenance, authenticity of new fabric, and taking decisions with a long term view.
Where adaptation or extension is necessary this should always contribute positively to ones understanding of the building's history and should be carried out with appropriate skill and craftsmanship.
We are able to converse with heritage consultants, conservation officers and statutory bodies to agree on strategic matters and we have the technical knowledge necessary to discuss practical aspects of the work with the specialist sub-contractors and craftspeople who physically carry out the work.
The best schools are often very creative places where imagination and exploration are encouraged. Designing spaces for children, young adults and the people who teach them is a very rewarding process.
We think of educational establishments as being similar to small towns (having libraries, laboratories, sports facilities, assembly spaces, dining areas, kitchens, performance spaces for drama music and dance, external learning areas, reception spaces for visitors along with offices and admin spaces). A school campus is a complex combination of spaces that requires a holistic view when planning any changes. We like to consider the whole and also focus in on the detail.
We have fifteen years experience of designing and managing building projects within schools and we are familiar with the logistical challenges of working within a live school environment. We work for primary, secondary, further and higher education establishments.
The Planning Process
Gaining planning permission or listed building consent for your project involves discussion with your Local Planning Authority and the submission of different types of information. The level of detail needed by the planners will depend upon the sensitivity of the site and the scale and complexity of the proposal.
We act as your agent, prepare and submit the planning documents and respond to queries that arise during the planning process. When there is a need to commission work from other professionals (archaeologist / arboriculturalist / ecologist / drainage engineer) we will organise this on your behalf.
Unsuccessful applications can be referred to the Planning Inspectorate via the appeals process and, where applicable, we can advise whether this would be a suitable course of action in your case and act on your behalf during the appeals process.
The planning system can sometimes seem opaque and nonsensical to the casual eye. Our aim is always to keep things as simple as possible and to be as clear and transparent throughout the process.
Tendering and Administering Contracts
We will advise you of the different forms of building contract available and agree the most appropriate contract for your particular situation. We prepare the tender documents on your behalf and invite contractors to submit their tenders for the work.
We examine the submitted tenders and request further information or clarification where this is necessary before reporting back to you and providing advice on the quality and robustness of the tenders received.
Once a tender has been accepted we prepare the contract documents and resolve any outstanding items before the building work begins on site. The roles of each party to the contract will be fully explained prior to commencement of the work.
The Construction Process
Establishing good working relationships and providing clear and timely instructions are the cornerstones of a successful construction project.
In most cases there will be a signed contract between the building owner and the contractor carrying out the work, but this alone does not guarantee that everything will run smoothly.
We employ various strategies to ensure that the contractor is allowed to perform to the highest standard, concentrating entirely on the construction issues, and the client is kept fully informed and given sufficient time to make decisions.
Our aim is to make the process as easy and as painless as possible for both parties.