What We Do
Who We Are
What We Do
Who We Are
We base our process, on the tried and tested RIBA Plan of work, together with our experience of seeing numerous projects through from start to finish. The outline of how we like to work is set out below, but the most important thing about embarking on a project with us is that we tailor our services, through discussions with you, to exactly what you need for your project.
1 | Getting in Touch
Give us a call or drop us an email, it's never too early to have that first chat, we are always keen to hear your ideas and discuss any initial thoughts or queries.
2 | First Steps
We are proud to offer our initial meeting as a no obligation, no pressure service. We would love to meet with you and have a chat over a cuppa to discuss ideas and what we can do for you.
We know that, at the outset, you will have a lot of questions, thoughts and ideas, this is an opportunity to help you distil this into an achievable brief and strategy for your project. This brief isn’t just a schedule of rooms, it is also what is important to you... how you use spaces, what your routines are and how that fits with your personality and preferences. We will bounce some ideas around with you, what might be possible, how long will it take, and possible costs. Together we can create a plan to move forwards.
Following our meeting, we will send across a fee proposal and project brief that can form the foundation for our collaboration with you moving forwards.
3 | Feasibility
We recommend a measured survey at the outset to provide accurate measurements as a basis for any designs. We take this opportunity to really get to know your site or understand the existing building.
If it’s your existing home, we look at how the spaces are used, what the comfort levels are and the condition of the existing building fabric. If it’s a muddy field, we will get our boots on and explore, taking note of the views, where the sun rises and sets, proximity to neighbours, the location of services,
levels and everything in between! We look at what legislation affects the site and what impacts this might have on the design, for example whether it's a Listed Building,
in a Conservation Area,
or in close proximity to services. We also advise you if other specialists will be required, such as Ecologists or Services Engineers, and can liaise with them throughout the design process on your behalf.
4 | Forming a Concept
We love this stage, and think you will too. This is a creative, collaborative process. In our studio, our team will sit around a table, sketching and modelling to explore ideas and make sure that we come up with effective and exciting proposals for your project.
We always aim to keep your character and personality at the heart of the project, whilst making sure that
our initial concepts meet sustainability aspirations appropriate to your project, works with the opportunities of the site and local legislation as well as being in the context of what is affordable to you.
Once we have drawn up these concepts we sit around a table with you to pour over the drawings and models tailored to best communicate our ideas to you. Right now the concepts are rough around the edges, and we will probably bring out the tracing paper to sketch some more, to begin developing these spaces with you further and refine them as the project moves forward.
5 | Developing the Design
Refinement is the name of the game at this stage, a process which involves drilling down into the design to make sure everything is functional, beautiful and buildable. This includes looking at how materials inform the design and integrate with the proposals. We use 3-dimensional drawings and models to explore the functionality of your internal spaces and assess design details with you. For example, this might be reviewing the precise placement of windows and doors to frame a view or bring natural light into the depth of a room.
We prepare a refined and thorough set of drawings as well as any planning
(or listed building consent)
applications required for the proposals.
If you would like our input we can also help to discuss your plans with your neighbours.
We have an excellent track record on gaining legislative approvals and would expect this part of the process to culminate in planning approval for your design, before moving forwards to the technical design.
6 | Technical Design
We continue the discussion with you to work through the finer details of the design whether it's choosing materials, finishes and internal joinery, or the location of lights, switches and sockets. Many clients find this process the most exciting as we step closer to their project becoming a reality.
This technical design stage is most simply described as putting together a thorough instruction manual identifying the design specifics and how it all goes together, while also specifying exactly what materials and components the building elements are made from. These detailed technical drawings and specifications are created with the builder in mind to enable them to build your project to the intended quality, and in order to meet your design aspirations. During this stage we will be coordinating with other specialists, suppliers and consultants on your behalf. Most projects will require the involvement of a Structural Engineer, whilst for example some may also require a Services designer, Passivhaus Certifier, Ecologist or coordination with a specific supplier or fabricator. We liaise with all of these and ensure that their information is integrated with ours.
At this stage, we typically send the technical drawing information for a Building Regulations full-plans check with a building control authority. A Building Inspector will subsequently be involved during the construction stage to inspect the works in order to meet with the Building Control requirements.
7 | Choosing a Builder
Choosing the right builder for your project is very important. Finding a building contractor who has the right experience, that you get on with and who can align with your timeframe, budget and aspirations is essential. We will manage this process for you and help you to choose the right people. This process is often called ‘the procurement route’. There are options to consider, but our preferred method would be to select a Main Contractor, through a two-stage competitive tender process:
Stage 1: Initially we send out an 'outline' technical package of information to a carefully selected list of potential Main Contractors for pricing. This enables us to select a preferred Main Contractor.
Stage 2: We then finalise the technical design (discussing costs, programme and the construction methods with the preferred Main Contractor) allowing any
adjustments to be made prior to the signing of a building contract.
We strongly recommend that a standard form of building contract is used to legally formalise the agreement between you as the Client (or Employer) and the Main Contractor. We will advise on the appropriate form of building contract and administer this contract between yourselves and the Main Contractor. This is essential
to provide both security and clarity to all parties
when entering into a large personal and financial commitment for your project.
8 | Construction
Now construction can get underway and your design becomes reality! We will be here throughout the construction process to help shoulder some of the stress, alleviate concerns and help enable everything to run as smoothly as possible. Formally our role is normally as ‘Contract Administrator’, you can think of us as the go-between, answering questions from all parties and keeping everything moving in the same direction. We will visit site frequently to inspect the works, keeping a close eye on progress, quality and costs, as well as to discuss any queries or concerns with yourselves and the Contractor. After inspecting the works we will value the work to-date, to enable the correct sums to be paid to the Contractor in line with protocols of the agreed contract.
When the Contractor has completed the works to the quality set out in the details of the contract, we will issue a ‘Practical Completion’ certificate. This is the point at which the builders move out and you can move in!
9 | Fine Tuning
Now you are living in your new completed project and hopefully loving it! It is not unusual for some aspect of the building to need adjusting as the construction settles and you start living in the building through the seasons. Within the chosen building contract, there will be a rectification or ‘snagging’ period. During this period, we continue to work with the Contractor to resolve any issues that might appear and tie up any loose ends. We can then issue the Final Certificate, at which point the final payment to the contractor will be due and you can sit back, relax and enjoy your finished project.
10 | Enjoy!
Our aim throughout this process is to work together to create a place that you absolutely love and enhances your life. We care about getting this result for you, and supporting you along that journey, so are always keen to stay in touch afterwards to hear how your project is working for you
We are always keen to improve and an important part of that is to reflect on the journey by asking you and the Contractor where we could have been better, what your favourite things are in the design, how has it really performed thermally, what your energy bills are and so on. We welcome feedback of any kind so that we can improve with every project we are a part of. Most of all, we hope that you can look back on the journey we’ve been on with positivity and that the results of our collaboration have met with your aspirations.
We are sure that you have lots of questions when thinking about your new project.
We have collated some of the questions that often get asked, to try to provide as much information as possible about us and how we work.
Start your Project
If you have any questions about how we work, or would like to chat about getting started with your project
Take a look at some of our projects to see how ideas come to life through this process.
The act of working from the land, with a commitment to community and the wider environment
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Croft Design Collective | Architectural Design | Sheffield