Our Practice

Architectural Excellence

We are architects & designers who make built projects happen. We are a unique practice working in both early stage advisory, as well as full design & implementation stages.

Sustainability underpins everything we do. Working with PHPP (passivhaus planning package) we do iterative modelling to ensure the design evolves with maximum efficiency.

We focus on energy efficiency and specifying ecological materials and systems. This leads on to our particular passion of creating feel good environments which are kind to the planet and occupants, thereby increasing productivity, creativity and well being.  This results in activating organisations and occupants to thrive.

Cayford Design is a Chartered RIBA Practice, located in Central London with a branch office in Sydney, Australia.  We are flexible, work across many sectors. and are usually happy to work in partial stages.  Our work is characterised by its quality of design and finish, and the secret ingredient of the ‘feel-good’ factor.


Client Advisory

As an accredited RIBA Client Adviser, Paul Cayford is an expert facilitator of construction projects, working with clients from the very beginning through all stages to help vision, brief and manifest excellence in the built environment.

Using our skill and track record we work closely with clients embarking on ambitious projects, helping them be an EXPERT CLIENT – a good client is one of the most important factors in a successful building project.  The Client Adviser role is a direct appointment with the client and is independent of the project team, ensuring the client has wise and impartial advice.

Client Adviser case studies

Advisory Workstages

click on heading to see the process of each stage.

  • 0. Strategic decision-project inception

    Stage 0 – We help define client goals and the business case for construction projects.  This can include assessing the size & scale of the requirement, and matching locations & sites for suitability.  Working with cost specialists we define budgets and project programme.

    The first task can be creating the Project Strategic Brief  along with project feasibility studies.  We can help define procurement strategies, and manage the team procurement process.  Where there are multiple stakeholders we manage consultation and engagement processes.

    Outputs – includes: Workshops and other engagement methods/  Written strategies defining the project/  Diagrams to show the process and flow/  Drawings for feasibility block studies.

  • 1. Briefing Stage

    Stage 1 – We develop the Initial Project Brief which defines aspirations backed up with schedules of requirements.  (Use, scale, and sustainability & quality aspirations).  The feasibility studies are further developed.  Site information is reviewed and surveys commissioned.  The procurement strategies are analysed (eg traditional tender or early partnering, and if offsite manufacturing is required).  Project teams are selected and appointed.  Planning issues are investigated.  Stakeholder consultation is progressed.

    Outputs – The project brief contains the aspirations, schedules, and explanatory diagrams of the proposed development.  Further of workshops and other engagement methods can take place as required.

  • 7. Feedback

    Stage 7 – Post Occupancy evaluation is an important process to increase the quality of the built environment.  Lessons learned from past projects are incorporated into future development strategies.  Having collaborated for many years with DEGW the leading proponents of research in the workplace, we have good track record with pre and post-occupancy evaluation techniques.

  • Principal Designer

    Principal Designer – When we are engaged as designer for a construction project, we usually take on the additional ‘Principal Designer’ role, which is required under the CDM 2015 Regulations.  We are accredited with APS in “The Principal Designer Role”.  We will usually subcontract an additional CDM Health & Safety specialist to assist us.

Our Process



Cayford Design are architects experienced with both new-build and re-purposed buildings.  Retrofit involves renovating to a high thermal performance.  This brings risks of ‘unforseen consequences’;  the PAS 2035 is a rigorous methodology which minimises these risks.

Passivhaus is an understanding of building physics; working with PHPP allows you to achieve the performance you require minimising the ‘performance gap’.

We incorporate our experience of designing workplace, digital media, education, science, hospitality and residential buildings to facilitate cross-sector innovation. Our mission is to create future-proofed inspiring and well designed buildings and environments.

We have a flexible and disciplined approach to the procurement process to meet budget, timescales and statutory approvals.

Design & construction case studies

Design & Implementation Workstages

click on heading to see the process of each stage.

  • 2. Concept Design

    Stage 2 – Concept Design. – The project brief and budget is defined and key project team appointed.  Options of layout and scale are examined with sketch drawings 3D’s or models.  Processes of design approvals and review, including BIM strategy, are agreed.  Direction of project to be confirmed at this point.

    Output – Confirmed project brief with a strategy for implementation/ sketch layouts with visualisations/  initial environmental performance modelling ideally in PHPP.

  • 3. Developed Design

    Stage 3 – Developed Design – A coordinated architectural, structural and building services design is produced, and cost information is updated.  Environmental modelling is progressed.  Approvals for Planning and others such as freeholder are submitted.  CDM requirements are integrated with designs.  Liaison with contractors if a partnered procurement route is selected.

    Output – Drawings and schedules defining a worked up scheme showing appearance and dimensions, with agreed material selection.

  • 4 . Technical Design

    Stage 4 – Technical Design – Production information, suitable for detailed pricing, tender, and Building Control approval is produced.  The process involves liaising with specialist designers and suppliers as appropriate.
    4a: Tender (Bid) If a traditional procurement route is selected, submit for tender, analyse bids, arrange appointment of contractors.

    Output – Full construction information including drawings & schedules.

  • 5. Construction

    Stage 5 – Construction – As there are a varied approaches to the construction phase we are flexible to facilitate the most appropriate procurement process.  For a conventional tendered contract we act as Contract Administrator and oversee the construction until handover.

  • 6. Handover

    Stage 6 – Handover – Conclude building contract and ensure smooth sign-off and handover.

    Output – As built drawings & schedules with operation and maintenance information.


Our studio – virtual and physical –  is a collaborative workplace.  We are catalysts to great teamwork, and ensure the process of creating and delivering projects is done with the utmost professionalism, as a harmonious and joyful experience.

Our physical studio is shared with other award winning architects and construction professionals. This provides for a great workplace in the heart of Chelsea, a convenient place to work and meet. This also gives Cayford Design the capacity to take on projects of almost any size and complexity.

Many of the featured ‘work- case study’ photos are by Adelina Iliev.


Paul Cayford

RIBA Architect. Certified Passivhaus Consultant. RIBA Client Adviser.

Paul Cayford has a passion for creating buildings of quality and the feel-good factor, delivered with excellent communication skills and efficiency – on time and on budget. Paul is an experienced architect, creating award-winning buildings in a wide range of sectors. The dual role of RIBA Client Adviser and practicing architect allows a breadth of experience to be brought from one sector to another. As a co-founder of Channel Health, he has in-depth knowledge for Well-Being in the built environment.


Joanne Sawicki

Communications Consultation and Strategy

Joanne Sawicki is a media, health and business strategist, with a portfolio of projects in new-media and tech sectors. Joanne founded Channel Health, the world’s first interactive digital health TV channel. Joanne was founder Trustee for ‘Chiswick House and Gardens Trust’ acting as client for the major £12m part Lottery Funded renovations project, and leading the public community consultation process. As the birthplace of the English Garden the restoration project and new café have proved exceptionally successful. These skills help Cayford's clients clarify and define business needs during the project briefing process.


Radost Yaneva

Architectural and Interior Designer

Radosveta Yaneva is a talented and professional Interior Designer. A highly organised and efficient individual, whose thorough and precise approach to projects has yielded excellent results. Particularly proficient in 3D visualisation, including 3d studio MAX& v-ray, Revit, AutoCAD, and with SketchUp & Adobe Products. Radost holds a Master’s degree in Interior and Furniture Design from the University of Forestry, Bulgaria


Junko Suetake

Chartered RIBA Member. Certified Passivhaus Designer

Junko Suetake gained Passivhaus accreditation along with Paul Cayford in 2012 and has subsequently designed and delivered many fabulous Certified Passivhaus residential projects. Junko is an experienced award winning Japanese architect with expertise in carefully detailed design with sustainably resourced and locally made materials and low energy consumption. She collaborates with Cayford Design as a key team member ensuring the highest technical and design standards are achieved. Junko is also part of the 15-40 Architecture collaborative, a skills sharing organisation set up to promote Passivhaus and alternative energy efficient buildings.

Client Testimonials


Best of Houzz

Cayford Design

Residential projects

Ealling Civic Society Award

Dormers Wells High School

Role: Client Design Advisor for London Borough Ealling, Nicholas Hare Architects

RIBA National Award

Central St Martins, Granary Square - UAL

role: Formulating design brief, with AMA

RIBA National Award

Chiswick House Café

role: Client Design Adviser at briefing stage, on behalf of English Heritage and LB Hounslow, Caruso St John Architects

BSF Best Design for a Remodelled Building

Elmcourt Special School

role: CABE Enabler for London Borough Lambeth, JM Architects

RIBA National Award

BBC Scotland - Pacific Quay

role: Site selection, masterplan designer, project briefing, Chipperfield Architects

RIBA National Award

BBC Media Village

role: project briefing, site selection, masterplan designer & Design Manager through project. Allies + Morrison Architects, DEGW Interior Designers, Buro Happold Engineers

BCO Corporate Workplace Award

BBC Media Village

Masterplan Designer & Design Manager through project. Allies + Morrison Architects, DEGW Interior Designers

FX International Interior Design Award

BBC Media Village

Masterplan Designer & Design Manager through project. DEGW Interior Designers

Client of the Year


role: Client Adviser to the BBC. Client of the Year from Building magazine 2004; Special Client’s Award, CABE 2004; Occupiers’ Property Strategy of the Year Property Week Awards 2003; Client of the Year - RIBA Journal 2002

BCO Workplace Award

Glaxo Wellcome World HQ, Greenford

role: project briefing & designer at RMJM

RIBA National Award

Marks & Spencer Financial Services building, Chester

role: designer at Aukett

Let us create something amazing together.

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