School Development Project Completes at Henlow

Monday, October 15th, 2018

A significant school development project has just completed at Henlow Church of England Academy to the delight of staff and pupils. PCMS Design was involved from the very outset, taking the Academy from feasibility stage when we examined the potential of providing extra accommodation on site, through to pre-planning, detailed design and specification and then lastly the construction management of the project.

The new building provides a modern four-court sports hall with changing areas, and six classrooms in an attached block. Pupils will be able to benefit from a range of sports including netball, badminton, basketball, hockey and five-a-side football. A giant projector with screen has been installed so the school can use the hall for assemblies and other teaching events. The facilities will be available to hire by the wider community.

Six new humanities and language classrooms provide the latest in educational technology with interactive whiteboards in each. Creating a bright and comfortable teaching environment has been a priority; the classrooms have been designed to meet the space and facility requirements set out by the Department for Education and include fibre optic links, Wi-Fi coverage as well as the latest modern security and fire systems.

This £2.4 million investment in Henlow Church of England Academy’s site was funded by Central Bedfordshire Council and the Education & Skills Funding Agency. Site construction works were completed on time and to budget by Borras Construction Limited.

Head teacher Caren Earp is thrilled with the new facilities: “A big thank you to PCMS Design – with all of their support, design skills and project management expertise we now have a fantastic new building which is going to be of huge benefit to our children, increasing the number and range of opportunities for sport that we can now offer.”

Alex Bond of PCMS Design commented: “We feel very privileged to have been involved with this exciting site development project at Henlow Academy. Effective communication between the design team, local authority staff, specialist consultants, builders and their sub-contractors was the key to its successful completion, ready for the new school year.”

Some of the partners and suppliers involved with the Henlow Church of England Academy project:
 Curved standing seam zinc roof on the sports hall by VMZinc: www.vmzinc.co.uk
 Akusto Impact resistant acoustic panelling in the sports hall by Ecophon: www.ecophon.com/uk
 Sports hall floor installation by Dynamik: www.dynamiksportsfloors.co.uk
 External cladding to the sports hall by Kingspan: www.kingspan.com
 Performance spec for M&E installation  BSD Consulting Engineers: www.bsdconsulting.com
 Main Contractor: www.borrasconstruction.co.uk

 

Planning Success for Grassroots Nursery

Friday, September 28th, 2018

Bedford Borough Council Planning Committee granted planning permission this week for a 24 place extension to a children’s day nursery in Hargrave, which is located on the Beds/Northants border. Grassroots Nursery has been given consent for a new 24-place single storey unit close to the original building, together with six new car parking spaces. Although one objection to the proposal had been received, the Committee decided that the case for the extension was acceptable.

This is the second time that PCMS Design has been involved with Grassroots Nursery. Back in 2013, we secured change of use for a residential dwelling located within the grounds of a farm into day nursery, and subsequently worked on the design, specification, procurement and project management of the build.

Nursery owner Kim How is delighted with the outcome of the latest planning application: “That’s fabulous news – PCMS Design are great at thinking through planning niggles/nuances.”

Permission Granted for Barn Conversion

Friday, September 14th, 2018

Planning permission has just been granted by Central Bedfordshire Council for the conversion of a modern storage barn into a residential annexe.

Built around 9 years ago, the barn had up until recently been used as a stable and tractor store. The homeowner approached us requesting advice on making a conversion in order to provide safe and secure ancillary accommodation for an elderly relative.

Our design incorporates a split level living room, separate dining area and kitchen, a double bedroom and bathroom. A mezzanine gallery area will be created above the living room for storage. Additional roof lights and bi-fold doors will bring natural light flooding in. However, other architectural alterations to the exterior of the building have been kept to a minimum to maintain the rustic character of the building in the rural setting. A small patio and garden area will also be incorporated.

New Modular Classrooms are Lifted In!

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018

It was exciting last week to be present at the lifting in of a new modular double classroom unit at Maple Tree Lower School in Sandy. The classrooms have been constructed off-site in a specialist factory, which has considerably speeded up the construction and delivery time. From signing contracts with the modular company to installation on site has been a matter of weeks rather than months, and the two classrooms will be up and running towards the end of September.

The ‘bays’ arrive with many fixtures and fittings already installed including walls, doors and ceilings – many already finished off with their final decorated surfaces. Sinks, sanitary ware and WC cubicles are also fitted at the factory, along with external wall finishes such as cedar cladding. The bays are simply craned into position on pre-prepared foundations and bolted into place.

Weather conditions were perfect for the installation which all went according to plan. Head Teacher Cath Bainbridge was on site at the time, and was full of praise for the speed and efficiency of the installation: “These new classrooms will be used by our pre-school and nursery children, and I am thrilled by the quality of the finish, and how quickly you have delivered this project for us.”

Success for Kitchen Extension Application

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018

We have recently secured Householder planning permission for a new single storey kitchen extension at a house in Milton Keynes. Because of poor design, their existing kitchen was isolated from the rest of the house and garden, and could be cold in winter. The owner felt that their 1990s house could benefit from a better ground floor layout, to create a more open-plan and family-friendly kitchen and relaxation space. We agreed, and suggested demolishing a rear section of the original dwelling to replace it with an extension which stretches across the width of the house.

Our design includes a feature glazed roof lantern to allow lots of natural light into the space, and bi-folding doors to make the most of the garden. As you can see from the 3D visualisation, when completed not just the internal layout will have been improved, but also the appearance of the dwelling when viewed from the garden.

Planning Permisson for The White Lion

Tuesday, August 7th, 2018

We were all extremely pleased yesterday to hear that planning and listed building consent has been granted by Chiltern District Council for The White Lion public house in St Leonards, which is Grade II Listed. This extension and renovation project will see the historic building rejuvenated and the pub re-open for business – hopefully by 2019.

Our design details a replacement rear extension to allow the bar and trading area to be extended and refurbished, and a number of repairs to the fabric of the building to safeguard it for the future. Care was taken to retain the original charm of the building, whilst addressing some significant building condition issues.

The pub has been closed for business for some years now, and since a new owner took it on we have assisted them with securing consent – which can be a painstaking process with a listed building. Strong support for the application was also given by the local Save the White Lion campaign group and the Mid-Chilterns branch of CAMRA.

On hearing the news, owner Mandy Grimwood said: “Thank you to everyone at PCMS Design for all your hard work to get the planning decision we were hoping for. We are now looking ahead to the future with optimism, when we can start trading again.”

Picture: Robert Gladstone

Extension to Family Home

Friday, July 27th, 2018

We have recently managed the construction of a part two-storey and part single-storey rear extension to a family home in Buckinghamshire. Our clients had already received planning permission for the scheme, but needed assistance with producing construction drawings, finding suitable builders and then administering a building contract.

On the first floor, a new master bedroom was added with an en suite bathroom. Downstairs the extension has allowed not only for a large open plan kitchen / breakfast room with folding doors into the garden, but also a useful utility and storage room.

Everything ran very smoothly and finished on time and within budget. Our clients are delighted with their larger home: “PCMS Design’s assistance in liaising with the building firm and administering the contract was invaluable, and everyone worked together really well. We could highly recommend this service to others in a similar situation.”

Family home transformed by new kitchen

Thursday, July 19th, 2018

Residential clients have recently completed a project to extend and improve their kitchen after using our design and planning application service. The old kitchen/breakfast room was relatively small and had an awkward configuration. We suggested firstly creating an opening through to the adjacent double garage to integrate some of the space, and secondly the construction of a small rear single storey extension. Though relatively modest in scope, the design scheme has allowed for the creation of a much larger usable space. Modern grey kitchen units and a combination of a marble-topped central island with cream work tops make for a stunning finish.

Large sliding doors were installed in the rear extension leading into the back garden, and the garage door to the front elevation has been replaced by a small window which gives the appearance of having always been there.

The homeowner is absolutely thrilled with the finished result and the new kitchen has already drawn many compliments from friends and family!

Plans to Extend House in Aylesbury Move a Step Closer

Friday, July 6th, 2018

Aylesbury Vale District Council has this week given planning consent to extend a semi-detached house to the side and rear. This will create an additional bedroom and en-suite, taking the house from three to four bedrooms and the rear extension will allow a large scale reconfiguration of the ground floor.

The first stage will be to demolish a small single storey element which is cold and damp and of little practical use. This will be replaced by a two story side extension which will have an integral garage at ground floor level together with a utility room, and the new bedroom and en suite above. An old conservatory will also be removed from the rear of the house to make way for a new modern kitchen – the ground floor living spaces will be open plan and much more spacious. A new entrance porch will also be added.

When complete, this dated house will have become a bright and comfortable four-bed family home. Stripping away the old and dated parts can often be the only way to improve a house such as this one. The home owner has already made a start on the transformation.

Planning Permission Secured for Village Dwelling

Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

Residents in a village not far from our office have recently secured planning permission from South Oxfordshire District Council for a series of improvements to their home. This is an interesting example of how a series of proposals can be conveniently rolled up into one planning application.

Consented changes include a partial conversion of the integral garage to create a new utility space, a series of alterations to the walls and doors within the ground floor of the house to open up the space, and lastly conversion of an annexe outbuilding into guest accommodation. 3-D visualisations helped the homeowners to realise the potential for each of the interior spaces.

It’s not always appreciated that a series of desired home improvements can be combined together into one application, but there are advantages as this can save on planning fees and administration time. Homeowners usually have up to three years to start on the construction works, but providing some elements have already been completed they can decide to carry out the remainder at a later stage.

In the case of this village project, it is hoped that works can begin on each of the elements later this year.