Testimonials

We all like recommendations – they help us decide who we can trust.

Here are just a few of our happy clients. If you would like to chat with one call or drop us an email and we’ll arrange it.

 

“We would have no hesitation in recommending them”

Meisterstueck-HAUS is a 110-year-old German pre-manufactured house-building company, which has been active in the UK since June 2010. We originally worked with a German architect, but it became apparent that we needed experienced, focused support from a British architectural team in particular in connection with planning application procedure, which we were increasingly being asked to provide. Thinking Buildings Ltd is the ideal partner for us. Their experience in designing from scratch a house to be built in a conservation area, taking into consideration design aspects which help the house sit sympathetically on the site while maintaining the desired contemporary style, was invaluable. Without their input planning permission would not have been obtained and the project would have been cancelled. We particularly appreciate their willingness to adapt to the demands of off-site manufacture, and their emphasis on ecological building methods and energy-efficient construction – the key aims of Meisterstueck-HAUS. They have also supplied us with useful and valued advice on many aspects of  building in the UK. In meetings with clients they have been open, understanding and constructive; calmly guiding our enthusiasms into measured, considered and ultimately successful designs. We would have no hesitation in recommending them, other than that we do not want them to become too busy with other clients! We look forward to a long and productive business partnership with Thinking Buildings Ltd.
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“Exciting and stress free”

We were in the position of needing more space and we were undecided whether to move or extend. James from Thinking Buildings came to see us and spent time talking about different possibilities and an estimate of how much it would cost. He was extremely informative and listened to what we required.   This initial meeting was free and helped us in making the decision to extend our home. Following several meetings with James, and some last minute changes on our part, James designed a bespoke extension which was tailored exactly to our needs. It sympathetically enhanced our existing home. The build was managed by James who was on hand to sort out any problems, this made the whole process both exciting and stress free. What a change to our lives the extension has made, adding value to our home, and more importantly family life. Thank you James and Thinking Buildings
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“Conscientious and passionate about buildings and the building process”

Our ideas for the conversion were underway before contacting James to complete the drawings.  However, James was able to both appreciate the function of the room and get behind the key features important to us, as we had a vision of the finished conversion. He worked with our ideas and advised compromises by constantly offering alternative ideas and choices, so the final drawings were the result of a true creative process. His knowledge of both materials and legislation helped the drawing time consultations be shorter than anticipated.  James was also able to advise of recent changes in law or in some cases consulted and got back to us after finding out, which was refreshing. Regards to the actual drawings, James kept us constantly in the loop as changes were made and would send copies to us via email to look through and discuss, keeping communication open. He is able to explain technical aspects of illustrations in laymans terms. James was also efficient about explaining the whole process of undertaking building work to your property, from applications to building control to organising consultant companies’ calculations and breaking down costs associated with these. I would recommend working with James Hutton, he is conscientious and passionate about buildings and the building process.
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“professional but friendly and approachable”

When we decided to build our extension we needed to find an architect who could be sensitive to the original traditional build of our house. We wanted to use reclaimed materials and to match as closely with the original build. We also needed advice on the best layout of the room created. We approached James and had a lengthy discussion about our requirements. James listened to what we said and gave us sound advice on materials, layout, and most important to us a timescale in which the project should be able to be achieved. He agreed to draw up plans and then to discuss the finer details once this was done. James designed the extension in such a way that we could re- use some fixtures and fittings which were already in place, and made the optimum use of the space created. James was very professional but friendly and approachable and obviously had a sound knowledge of his profession. Once the plans were drawn James was amenable to making some slight alterations and again his advice was very well placed particularly around the planning application. This process was completed in a very timely manner and the plans duly submitted. It was a very positive experience working with James as he was always accessible and responded to our calls very quickly. I would recommend James to anyone who wants an architect who listens and gives good constructive advice and is able to talk through the finer details of a project in such a way that it is easily understood by the client. James showed an excellent eye for details and the extension does not look like an ‘add on’, it is essentially a good match to the rest of the house. Our project was completed within the timeframe that James had said it could be, it was good to have had a realistic quote as our expectations were met.
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“the whole process was satisfying, rewarding and very exciting”

In order to apply for planning permission on a house we wanted to buy we needed some professional help in order to put together a very detailed and complex planning application. We looked on the Internet at local agents and architects providing planning services and eventually came across Thinking Buildings website which immediately stood out from the rest as it not only projected a very professional array of design services but also a down to earth approach that immediately made us feel more comfortable about using a company for the first time. This feeling was further reinforced for us when James returned our initial call very promptly and came to meet us later the same day (a Saturday) to discuss our requirements. He immediately grasped the services we were needing, gave us a very quick appraisal of how the planning application should proceed and set out a plan of action which he very quickly followed up 2 days later with a written proposal and costings. Everything was carried out in a very friendly and professional manner and he ensured we totally understood every aspect of what was required. Throughout every step of the design process, the supporting documentation, liaison with the planning officials etc. James has kept us fully up to date and has attended meetings at our house at our convenience. The designs took us in a direction we had never thought of and the whole process was satisfying, rewarding and very exciting ! We will certainly be using Thinking Buildings for the next design phase of our building project and would not hesitate to recommend this company to anyone needing design / architecture services in the future.
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“you never feel like you are on your own – they are with you every step of the way”

Darren and his team were faced with a very challenging task - designing a modern home in a conservation area.   the thought process behind the eventual scheme was very clear and rationale, presenting a strong argument for the proposed building.   Darren's unwavering commitment and dedication to the work has been particularly impressive, I often found Darren responding to my emails at 10pm at night.  they created well thought out design solutions and clearly communicated the reasons for them and every step of the way it was evident that a great deal of research and thinking had gone behind each solution. I would certainly recommend Darren and his team, you never feel like you are on your own - they are with you every step of the way.
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“responds well to the school’s needs and timescales and is very aware of how schools work!”

I am writing to outline the work and support given to us by Thinking Buildings in our current building project. We are about half way through a project to replace two Elliot buildings with two permanent classrooms.  We were fortunate enough to secure funding for the project in April 2012; this budget was very tight but with the help of Darren Aspinall at Thinking Buildings we have managed to stay in budget.  We had drawn up original plans but Darren was able to produce a better set that gave us what we needed, but also ensured that the new building was sympathetic to the existing school.  Although our budget was tight Darren was able to add features to enhance the building and mirror some original features.  He also created a plan that allows the school to look to the future and if further funding was available it would be very easy to build further and add more classrooms. Throughout the project Darren has been involved and is keen to support all aspects of the project recently working on plans for the outside environment especially around the new building.  He takes into account what the school would like and is then able to discuss possibilities and limitations.  He responds well to the school’s needs and timescales and is very aware of how schools work! Reports from my site manager are that the contractors are able to make excellent progress due to the very clear plans and instructions that Darren has provided and everyone who visits the site comments on the pace of the work and how wonderful it is going to look! I would highly recommend Thinking Buildings and believe we have had excellent value for money and been lucky to work with Darren on this project.
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“Fantastic design….saved us a lot of time and money”

The team at Thinking Buildings helped us to determine our requirements and affordably fit these into the design. They liaised with the planners and produced a fantastic design which we were confident would pass planning before it was even submitted. This saved us a lot of time and money. During the build they liaised with all trades on site and resolved issues before we were even aware of them. For this reason the build was without stress. The finished product exceeded all expectations and most importantly came in under budget. We would recommend the team at Thinking Buildings to anyone looking at carrying out building works.
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“Thinking Buildings were committed to creating the best outcome”

A number of people have told us that there are only two kinds of architect; those who  will design something exciting – but it will be their vision and their house design, not yours; and those who will design the house you want, but it won’t be very exciting. We didn’t want either outcome – we started with a good idea of the type of house we wanted, but with a recognition that we needed an architect who could help us make it special. So we were initially nervous about whether Thinking Buildings would try to impose their ideas on our special plot.  As it turned out, this apprehension dissipated pretty quickly in the face of  Thinking Buildings’ skill at listening, absorbing and understanding what we thought important. Introduced by the German housebuilder Meisterstueck, the brief was to marry up our ideas, their architectural creativity, the planning guidance we had already received, and the constraints of a pre-formed building system.  In practice, we found encouragement, innovation and where necessary some diplomatic firm guidance towards sensible outcomes, all balanced pretty well with the occasional nod to client stubbornness.  A fixed fee process,  independent of build cost, created trust in the (therefore not for profit) ideas and advice provided, yet we always felt that Thinking Buildings were committed to creating the best outcome, when a practice with less integrity might well have given way on few points to save time.  There was good understanding of the planning process as well, though with our site so far away from their base, some extra local knowledge was essential. We’re really happy with where we ended up, and excited to see the plans turn into the house we hoped for. Let’s hope the planners agree to let us build it!
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“professionalism and knowledge helped us understand the renovation process”

I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you very much to Thinking Buildings, in particular James Hutton for his help, expertise and patience with our requirements. James' professionalism and knowledge helped us understand the renovation process when buying our new home and the potential that we were not able to comprehend for ourselves. James assisted us greatly, with no issue being too big or too small. We appreciate the support very much and look forward to working with Thinking Buildings on our future development projects.
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“we very appreciate the effort and dedication”

Thank you Darren for the efficient way with which you have closed this out. We are really pleased with the finished article, and very much appreciate the effort and dedication that has gone into delivering such a fantastic end product. I would not hesitate to recommend you, and I very much hope that we have opportunity to work together again in the future… though we will have to let the bank balance recover a little first!
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“the perfect balance between creative design, professional skills and trusted advisor”

We heard about Thinking Buildings via a RIBA search of local practices – Darren responded extremely quickly when we registered our project on the RIBA website, and we were won over by his pro-activity and desire to support us in our project from the outset. We met three or four architects, but we “clicked” with Darren immediately and his fees were competitive too which made it an easy decision. We had never appointed an architect before, nor done any major building work, so we were naturally very keen to appoint a strong professional team to support us. Darren and James had just set up on their own having both worked for a number of years in larger practices, so they didn’t have much of a track record as a new practice, but we took up references from their previous clients and also visited a previous project, so quickly got comfortable that they knew what they were doing. We were looking for a practice that was small enough to enable us to work directly with the design team / individuals. We talked to larger practices, but were concerned that the partners that pitched the work to us would have had little involvement in the project and we would be left dealing with a less experienced team. Fee structure was also important. We only considered practices that offered fixed / semi fixed fees based on project milestones. We struck out practices that priced based on contract value as we didn’t feel this aligned incentives to run an efficient project. We were impressed by the level of proactivity and engagement from Darren from the moment we registered our project with RIBA. Darren took the time to understand our wishes (some of them a little unusual) and produced some outline sketches etc free of charge before we appointed him, which really helped us to get comfortable with both his capability as an architect and also his ability to interpret our requirements. He was also not afraid to challenge us based on his professional experience at times, but this was always in a collaborative way, and we felt he got just the right balance of working with our vision and delivering his own design input and experience to deliver a first class project. Darren was calm under pressure at all the key pinch points on the project. He was patient and accommodating when we wanted to redesign part of the project quite late on in the tender process and managed onsite issues well. He was also an independent advisor onsite, balancing our wishes with those of the builder and helping us to manage the project to a successful conclusion on budget. They never forced his ideas on us, but worked with us. First class design – with Darren’s help we have sensitively restored our traditional farmhouse, making the best of the inherent character of the historical building, whilst adding first class modern design with a little bit of a contemporary twist Small enough to care – we loved working with Darren, and I have no doubt Thinking Buildings will grow and prosper over the years, but it really made a difference to us working with a small team that were really close to every detail on our project. Good technical skills – Darren and James had a good knowledge of modern building techniques which helped in specifying a number of building enhancements such as insulation system, drainage, heating technologies etc. Would you be happy to recommend Thinking Buildings - Absolutely. Darren’s approach is collaborative. He not only bought into our vision, working with us to accommodate all of our needs, but also wasn’t afraid to tell us when he felt we were wrong, striking the perfect balance between creative design, professional skills and trusted advisor. Thank you! We look forward to working with you in the future.
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“Very reassuring”

We asked Thinking Buildings to revisit and redesign the planning permission we had obtained for our house ​as we had some concerns about the functionality and appearance of key elements of our original design. Thinking Buildings quickly got to grips with the project and were able to lift the plans ​and overall design quality​ to a new level. The practical issues we had been worrying about were solved and the new design enhanced the appearance and quality of the whole scheme. Having the Architects on hand as ​construction work progressed ​on site ​proved essential and was very reassuring.​ I would have no doubt in recommending Thinking Buildings and I would certainly use them again.  
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