30th April 2015 / posted by JoYoung
My life as an OCB designer
AN OAK OUTBUILDINGS DESIGNER
Life as an OCB (oakwrights country buildings) designer is as eclectic as a record store inventory. You really never know what project is going to land on your desk next. This is why I decided to move into OCB 4 years ago.
On average, a project is on my desk from handover to completion on site for around 12 – 14 weeks (this may vary dependant on the complexity of the building in question).
My to-do list can range from a 2 Bay Kenchester to a 7 Bay bespoke L Shaped room over garage to a 5m x 4m garden room. I usually have around 10 projects on the go at any one time, sometimes this is more! All in different stages of the design process from initial design to client drawings to jointing to workshop drawings.
Model of an Oakwrights Country Buildings Bespoke Garage
Single Storey Oak Garage Design
Our standard range of single story buildings - Kenchester, Highgrove and Canterbury - in terms of workload, is very light; I have the drawings for these garages ready and prepared for when we get an order. With them being a standard building, nothing ever changes with the design. Equally I have the production pack already prepared for this. Once a client signs off their frame drawings I can send the pack (which includes the workshop drawings and machine file) to production for them to machine and frame the garage.
The Gloucester range, even though it is a standard building, there is almost inevitably some design time in this project as I don’t think I have ever designed the same Gloucester twice. There is more of a choice with a Gloucester garage in terms of roof light, dormers, external stairs, internal stairs, internal partitions, workshop space - the list can go on. I start with a basic shell of the Gloucester and modify it to my client’s requirements.
I love it when I get a bespoke design to play with. I have been lucky enough to design some great bespoke buildings. One I have previously written a blog about and even escaped from the office and was on site for a week. Another one that springs to mind is an L-shape room over, the 5 bays that make up the bulk of the building are garaging downstairs and the room over has been made into living accommodation. The part that makes the L-Shape at the back is a garden store and access to the room over. Plus a balcony to take in the views it offers up.
A favourite of mine from last year was a stable block with garaging. This was a lovely complex that will provide 3 stables and a tack room along with two carports. This was situated right next to my client’s house, so very practical and would make any rider jealous of having their oak stables so close to them.
As I said, being an Oakwrights designer you never know what you will be doing next. In amongst all the garages and stables, a new contract came in for a garden room in Yorkshire. This made a nice break from the norm. Garden rooms throw up all sorts of quirks you have to design around. With this one, in particular, there was an existing window that I had to contend with. This was easily avoided with a low roof pitch.
Already this year I have designed 15 bespoke buildings. This tally is increasing every week so I am set for a very busy year again. All this without me having even mentioned Matt, who joined us as a trainee designer last August, who is racking up a good number of projects of his own.