The practice was set up in 2013 with an aim to develop responsive and honest architecture, through a close understanding of client users, their lifestyle and needs. Tom took the conscious decision to set up the practice to move away from profit-driven briefs and contractor-led solutions within the commercial sector.
The practice focuses upon domestic projects for owners looking to build themselves a new home, or to alter or extend an existing building to their dream home. With extensive experience on older properties the practice enjoys bringing new life to historic buildings.
PRATICE INFO & EXPERIENCE
Prior to founding Tom Spriggs Architect in 2013, Tom has worked on a variety of project scales and sectors for 7 years at Grainge Architects in Exeter and also CAD Architects in Cornwall for 18 months. During this time project types included; commercial, healthcare, sports, dwellings, extensions, developer housing, masterplanning, student housing, shops, listed buildings, within conservation areas and in both urban and rural environments. Notable projects included working at design development stage for the award winning Five Islands School on the Isles of Scilly, an eco farmyard conversion to holiday lets in Cornwall, refurbishment and extension of a prominent listed building in Exeter, delivering four elderly mental health hospital refurbishments totalling £9m within Devon and Somerset and several shopfit projects for Stormfront Apple resellers nationwide.
While commercial or developer experience is not always directly relatable to homeowner projects, it all adds to layers of experience and it is surprising how often deep knowledge of healthcare and school design can be useful in designing peoples homes! Tom has worked on a number of projects where owners are thinking long-term or possible future healthcare needs. On these projects having a good background in elderly mental health is surprisingly useful to get spacial needs right. Having designed hospital-standard assisted bathrooms makes a small ground floor domestic shower room a straightforward exercise!
Since practicing on his own Tom has had a wide experience in housing projects including small scale interventions to help re-order someones ground floor, through to simple single room extensions, wrap-around extensions, two-storey extensions, multi-unit flat conversions and whole house refurbishments on Listed buildings, cob buildings, terraces, townhouses and isolated farmhouse and barn conversions.
Through ongoing project-specific and general ‘continued professional development’ (CPD) learning and research Tom has developed good knowledge of environmentally sound building principles and a variety of construction techniques.
Tom’s own objectives for the practice are to spend time with clients and develop professional, lasting relationships to ensure that, together they are able to deliver new spaces tailor-made for their use. Straightforward and efficient solutions constructed with quality raw materials, simply combined, ensure that elegant proposals are possible even with complex briefs and modest budgets.
Reducing energy use and creating biodiversity opportunities are a passion of the practice and always a key consideration while designing. Innovative or integrated storage is taken into consideration during the design and briefing to ensure buildings will work for their users, belongings and activities.
The decision to leave the larger developer-led practices and set up on his own was driven largely through a desire to work in close proximity to owner-clients and work on their homes rather than in the commercial architecture-for-profit sector.
BACKGROUND AND EDUCATION
Tom was educated at the Welsh School of Architecture gaining a BSc in Architectural Studies and a Bachelor of Architecture (BArch), before completing his post-graduate Certificate in Professional Studies qualification at the University of Bath. Living and working in the Southwest, Devon, Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset, Tom has developed a working knowledge of the varying vernacular architecture, the planning authorities and other consultants to assist with developing designs. With his work on the Stormfront Apple stores and selected residential work he has further nationwide experience.
The practice can help on feasibility studies, sketch design, planning or permitted development documentation and drawings, detailed construction design and building regulations submissions.
The practice does not offer contract administration services on-site, (certifying builders invoices and ‘signing off’ as works progress (RIBA stage 5 and onwards)) but can provide technical support, alterations to drawn information and assistance as necessary. The decision to not offer this stage is from a time-management and business running perspective.
Tom works from his home office/studio in Heavitree, living with his wife who is a local GP and two young boys. They have a Victorian house that is slowly being renovated and improved.
A keen lover of the outdoors and simple pleasures, cycling, walking, kayaking, family BBQs and making use of the fantastic Devon countryside and coast.
We chose Tom as the architect for a significant building project on our Victorian home in a conservation area. We needed to shoehorn in a number of demands – kitchen diner, additional bedrooms and bathrooms, utility and boot rooms – into a footprint no larger than the existing one. Tom listened to our brief and came up with a number of solutions. He expertly steered the project through a relatively tricky planning stage drawing on his significant experience and understanding of the perils and potential pitfalls thus securing our planning consent without the need for significant changes.
He then guided us through the initial contract negotiations with the builder whilst being ever mindful of the limitations of our budget. Throughout this process his advice was always pertinent and well judged. Tom was also engaged as the contract manager and again his patience, ability to see the project overall and established relationships with suppliers ensured that the project ran both to budget and time. Generous with his ideas, suggestions, time and patience, the finished project has delivered exactly what we had hoped and we would not hesitate to recommend him.
I’m so glad that we had Toms help and the result we’ve got is fantastic. Tom spotted ways in which we could use space that I had not realised before, and came up with many ideas which challenged what I had originally planned…….His suggestions were always pragmatic, sensible and he found several ways for us to save money by making cost effective tweaks to the design. I’m so glad that we had Toms help and the result we’ve got is fantastic.
A complete pleasure having Tom plan our extension. Very responsive, great attention to detail and extremely diligent. Always on hand for questions and has made the whole process so much easier. Would thoroughly recommend him.
Tom was our architect on a complete renovation project for our grade 2 listed house in Exeter. His friendly approach and in depth knowledge of the rules surrounding listed buildings made us feel relaxed and confident from the start, and we were very happy with the drawings and ideas he present from initial meetings.
He guided us through the plans and submitted our planning application; we were thrilled when our project was completely approved first time by the council. We opted for the detailed drawings from Tom which really helped to consolidate our ideas from paper into reality, Tom was great with helping us talk through any queries with our builders, who were able to complete the project exactly how we had planned and in a timely manner.
Camilla & Jack
We really enjoyed working with Tom on our extension. He took lots of time to go through with us what we wanted and quickly picked up our style.
We had never worked with an architect before so Tom was very clear about what we would need from him and how best to use his skills. Tom designed our project to comply with building regulations and Permitted Development restrictions and completed all the appropriate applications to the council making this process very smooth.
He had a very professional approach to everything with a transparent billing process and liaised with our builders well. Tom was easy to communicate with throughout and responded to all queries promptly.
We are very pleased with the outcome of our extension and love using the space we have created.
Tom came up with a simple, elegant and in keeping solution to an awkward extension on our listed house. We discussed the options thoroughly before he drew up accurate plans, considering our suggestions carefully and working them in where possible. He liaised with the planning department on our behalf and made the whole process easy and stress free. Would definitely recommend.
We had a very positive experience working with Tom Spriggs. Immediately he understood the vision we had for our house extension and worked with us to produce a survey and sketches. His drawings and the discussions about the project really helped us to visualize the changes, as well as the planning and building requirements. I would happily recommend him to anyone considering renovations and extensions, particularly where spaces are tricky and you are looking for distinctive, elegant architectural solutions.
Tom did a fantastic job on the design of a complex alteration and partial extension to our Grade II listed house. He worked with us throughout to arrive at a design, as well as with the builder who saw the project through to completion, and he bought an invaluable combination of imagination and practicality to the plan. The work is now finished and we are completely delighted with the results.
Tom has been the architect for two personal and one commercial project for me so far, and I’m sure there will be more. For the latter he has worked to find a solution to convert a derelict (and listed) city centre building into three spacious units, working with heritage advisors, building regulations and navigating a string of planning complexities. His eye for detail and ability to find solutions to meet both aesthetic and statutory requirements has been invaluable on the project and I would highly recommend him.
LINKS AND MEMBERSHIPS
Tom Spriggs Architect Ltd is a member of The Green Register who provide CPD training in sustainable building techniques and materials.
The practice also supports the Twentieth Century Society with membership, helping safeguard the heritage of architecture and design in Britain from 1914 onwards, an era often overlooked for preservation. So many great underlying designs have been lost due to chronic lack of maintenance or disguising with signage and poor alterations. The rebuilding after the wars was fast and looking to a bright future, but misinformation on maintenance and how to look after these new designs has led to their detriment. Not all are worthy of protection, but neither are all older buildings. The Twentieth Century Society work hard to try and prevent destruction of the prime examples of this era before it is too late and educate and highlight those worthy or retention. It is easy to look far back to history with ‘rose-tinted spectacles’ and lament their losses, but before long the dramatic concrete forms of the 60s and 70s (and later) will be lost too. Some are definitely not worthy of retaining, but to sweep away a well designed structure because it is dirty is short-sighted and carbon-heavy. Replacements by profiteering developers are rarely going to stand the test of time any better.
Tom has a pinterest account where he keeps a scrapbook of liked things, things seen, or beautiful materials. There is no particular aesthetic or source for inspiration and some items are retained only for the catalyst idea, rather than the outcome, but by browsing you may find some common ground to get the ball rolling. Pintrest among other similar websites can be used as a useful scrapbook tool for discussion of materials and ideas, either collaboratively or privately.
A number of sample drawings have been included upon this website to further explain projects or illustrate what you can expect from working with an architect. However they are for illustrative purposes only, originally to serve a single project and client, and are covered by copyright protection so are not to be copied or used for construction.