Our 6 stage process
A self-build or extensive renovation project is probably the only major build project most people will do in their lifetimes. It can be a daunting prospect as you start on that journey if you don’t have a map. Here we have set out the key points along the way to building your home, and how we can help you make that dream real.
The starting point of any project is always about you, and your home or site. We’ll ask a great deal of questions, but we’ll listen mostly. It’s essential for us to get to know you and your project really well. Every building and site are unique and they all come with their many opportunities and constraints.
We’ll talk about your lifestyle, your taste and of course your budget. Budget is really important. We can’t stress this enough. We’re not here to spend your money, but if we (or even you) don’t have an idea of budget it makes it so much harder to develop appropriate ideas. Of course budget may not be an issue and could be limitless, but for the vast majority of us the finances of a project need to work.
This is also the point when we’ll advise if you need to appoint any other consultants or carry out any investigations into the ecology and environmental factors on your site. When you appoint Thinking Buildings to design your house, we can take over the full project management for you. We will arrange all the necessary surveys and investigations to allow us to design your new home. Ensuring we have that information early means that we can anticipate things that need to be managed, like ecology timelines, or take advantage of the opportunities of your unique site.
#2. Concept design
Once we’re all clear on the brief we can move into the Concept Design. We’ll balance all the factors from earlier and present you with some sketch proposals. These are the first ideas, testing the concept and understanding what you do and don’t want for your scheme. If we’re lucky you will love the ideas, but in reality design is an iterative process and there will be elements that you will like and some you may not. This is absolutely normal and helps the design evolve. We’ll listen carefully again and work with you always to refine the ideas.
If your site is particularly sensitive or complex we might advise that you submit for pre-application planning advice from your local authority, or to engage a planning consultant. We’ll guide you through deciding if that is right for you, and if you take that route forward manage that application and all the correspondence with the planning officer assigned to your case.
#3. Planning, design & submission
Often those first designs aren’t quite right, that’s OK, it’s all part of the process. We’ll have more conversations with you to understand what you do and don’t like, what is working and what could be made better. That information gets put back into the design and we tweak the proposals, or create another iteration altogether.
By this time we will start to see the information filter back in from the investigations and surveys so those can start to be added to the mix. We have the experience to guide you through what needs to be allowed for in this stage, without having to dive into the full detail before we have got to the planning application phase.
Once you have a design you’re happy with, we’ll start developing the 3D model, so you can see the design really start to come to life. From that model we can then create all the plans, elevations and renders we need to really give your project the best chance through the planning system. We’ll also put together all the supporting documents, manage any other consultants and talk to the planners through the determination process.
#4. Technical design
Once planning and any other permissions are secured we can move onto the technical development. This is where we define everything from how the building is going to be built and from what, to what the bathroom tiles are going to be. This is the longest and most involved part of the process, and we will help you through that each step at a time.
Whether you want to explore extensive or partial factory construction, or go for a more traditional approach we can advise and help you build a great team around you to support your vision. We will take care of the technical aspects, building regulations, thermal and energy performance, and give you as much or as little support as you want with the look and feel of the finishes too.
Once everything is ready we can help tender the project to a shortlist of contractors, and also guide you through appointing the right builder for you.
#5. Construction phase
Once on site we offer a full service where we will carry out regular inspections, administer the contract and provide any help you need to make those final decisions on paint colours and bathroom fittings to keep everything running smoothly. We’ll make sure that everything is being carried out as it should be, including that you’re meeting all your legal and health & safety obligations.
#6. Completion & handover
Once your new home is handed over by the contractor we’ll make sure that any problems bedding in are dealt with and that everything works as it should, so that you can enjoy your new space and start to really make it your own.
Take a look at some of our recent work