How does the design process work?


One of the most common questions we get asked is; how does the design process work? Whilst huge amounts of work go on in the background, l will attempt to give you a very top-line overview to cut through some of the misconceptions.

Firstly, actually creating a brief is something that people often find the most challenging. After all, once people have come to the decision to build, there is of course so much choice! We start by having clients complete a very simple on-line system that asks practical questions to automatically generate a design brief. This system asks questions people may not have thought off, such as; do you want a covered area to protect from the elements at your front door? Are there any rooms/internal aspects you don’t want people to be able to see into when approaching your home? Are there any there any view aspects you don’t want to be able to see from your home? Aesthetic and material choice is critical to the overall look and feel.

Pinterest and Archipro is great and we have lots of inspirational pictures as a reference, however it is important to remember that some of these pictures are very budget dependent!


Jon McAlpine: Thorne Group Director

When we have all the information to hand, including a clear understanding of budget, we will organise to meet on the site to distill this information further. If required, we will come up with suggestions to modify the brief to save on cost. Once we have a good idea of how people live, we can often find ways to reduce the footprint of the home by creating multi-purpose zones. We then make all this tangible with an initial sketch that collates all of this information, whilst always balancing with budget.

I really enjoy designing with hand sketches in the initial phase, (rather than on a computer) as it keeps the design very fluid and allows some of the individuality of each home design to be reflected at an earlier phase in the process. The sketch is then presented to the client and amended as required. The sketch stage leads onto developed design. This is where the sketch design is loaded onto the computer and modeled. This allows clients to walk through their home and gain a full understanding of the design. This is an incredibility powerful tool as it turns the piece of paper into reality.

Following the developed design we move into pricing drawings. This stage delivers a portion of the full construction drawings to the respective builder/s for estimate pricing. Once estimate pricing has been submitted we review the figures to ensure we are comparing ‘apples with apples’.

Upon client approval we proceed into full consent/construction drawings. Another critical stage where accuracy is key. Accurate drawings flow through to construction allowing for an enjoyable and seamless construction process.


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