The Design Process

If possible the very best place to meet you is on the proposed site. The most successful design is informed by its setting. At this point my focus will be on listening to you and looking for opportunites. I will take lots of photos and maybe some measurements. If it is a large site I will discuss commissioning a survey. Maybe you have been planning your project for some time? I look forward to hearing your hopes and aspirations.

Not able to meet in person?

No problem! For many projects it will be possible to meet via skype and supply images via e-mail to inform initial concept work.

Initial Meeting



Write an outline brief which will form the basis of a fee agreement. This is the point where I write a detailed document outlining the services you require and summarise your project brief. If you think I have it right then you sign and return the document and the design work can begin!

Concerned About Costs?

This stage is where we agree what you would like done and how much it would cost. Any additional costs will always be agreed in writing first so there are no hidden costs and you can plan ahead. The fee proposal/scope of works document you agree to and sign at this stage will be revised and re-issued throughout the project should there be any change to the services and/or cost. This document forms the contract between myself and you.

Writing the Brief


Your design may require the input of additional consultants. I will try and anticipate which consultants will be required as early in the project as possible to assist with your project planning. It is important to try and work with other specialists at the right time in the project to ensure cost certainty and an efficient design process.

This list highlights a list of potential consultants whose input may be required. You would be unlikely to require appointing all of these consultants as it would depend entirely on the character of the site and the complexity and scale of the project.

  • Arboriculturalist
  • Solicitor
  • General Contractor (Builder)
  • Land Surveyor
  • Cost Consultant
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Landscaper
  • Energy Consultant
  • Engineer
  • Specialist Contractors or suppliers
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Planning Consultant
  • Building Control Officer
The concept design package will be outlined and agreed in the written brief. It would typically include indicative construction and specification information, plans and visualisations which may be in video format or as still images. I will communicate to you what it will look like and the thought process behind the design

Want Something Special?

Maybe you need to present the design to the board or need specific material to satisfy funding criteria. The concept design can include anything you want, a VR tour, a physical model, an interpretative dance… well maybe not a dance but whatever your needs the package tailored to meet your requirements.

Your design will need your input. Do you like the direction it is going, do you have any questions or concerns? My preference is not only to design for you but with you. This is a good time to revisit the brief and fee agreement to check that everything is on track or make any required adjustments.

Review 1

It is likely that you will be required to submit a formal planning application. The design will be developed to a level of detail that satisfies the requirements of your local authority. Once an approval has been granted it is quite difficult to change the design so getting the design correct at this stage will save you time and money in the long run.
Prior to submitting the application all material will be sent to you for approval and review. This is an important event in the design journey. Your scheme may not require submission to the local authority for planning permission. If this is the case it may be that you can go straight to tender at this stage.
You are likely to need to apply for planning permission for any significant works and if you do not need to apply for permission it is normal to obtain a ‘Lawful Development Certificate’ ensure that your proposals fall under permitted development (yes that does seem rather bonkers I know!). The application process including registering and waiting for determination takes between 8 and 12 weeks.

If you are interested more information can be found on the government website but I am more than happy to handle this on your behalf.

In some instances such as a landscaping there may be very little design required. Just an indication of materials and some performance criteria to ensure that the landscaper has enough information to supply accurate quotation and that the design is executed in a way that reflects the vision of the scheme. Usually detailed design would be required to a level whereby the information produced is sufficient to satisfy the building control officer to grant building regulations approval.

In many cases it may be more suitable to develop the design down to the finer details. This will depend on the priorities of the project and will be fully detailed in the scope of works/fee proposal.

This is the process of issuing a package of information to a number of parties who will then write quotations to construct the project. I would always recommend seeking at least three quotations. I can assist you with the appointment of the most suitable contractor and the administration of an appropriate contract/agreement. At this stage we can discuss my further involvement in the project which can be tailored to your specific needs.
This is a very exciting but potential inconvenient time. I look forward to watching your design emerge and depending on our agreement will be involved as little or as much as you require.
Wow. What a journey. Sit back and enjoy your new space. I always appreciate feedback about the design and the process so do stay in touch and let me know how your design evolves.

Happy Contractor