We reached an important milestone last week when members of our team made the first site visit to a new development project at Henlow Academy in Bedfordshire. This is following our successful application to Central Bedfordshire Council for planning permission on behalf of the Academy, to a building design we had produced.
Construction has begun on a four-court sports hall and new classrooms, which will form the cornerstone of a larger site development project. We have already overseen the construction of a link extension and internal alterations to the main building in 2017, but the Academy will benefit still further from the latest increase in sports provision and additional teaching space.
The principal contractor, Borras Construction, has made a start on foundation trenches with the first inspection completed by Central Bedfordshire Council Building Control. We are looking forward to seeing progress as we oversee the construction throughout the nine month build period.
From time to time, we are asked to design residential extensions for clients which fall under permitted development (PD) rules. Householders are permitted to carry out a range of extension projects to their home without first obtaining planning permission, providing the proposed works satisfy a list of rules.
However, in certain cases we advise clients that in order to provide additional reassurance, that they should apply for and obtain a Certificate of Lawful Development from their local authority.
This is a simpler and cheaper process than applying for Planning Permission, and means that should the property be sold in the future, all of the paperwork confirming that the extension is permitted is readily available.
We achieved this recently for a client in Oxfordshire; the proposal involved demolishing a conservatory and replacing it with a single storey rear extension – see 3D visual impression. The local authority agreed and duly issued the Certificate. Our client can now go ahead with the project, reassured that everything complies with permitted development rules.
We can provide lots more advice on how to improve and extend your home.
Thame & District Housing Association is a Registered Social Landlord which provides rented accommodation for people over 60 years of age. Pearce Court in Thame is a very popular residential development with a number of flats and some recreational/shared space. However, over the years it became clear that there was insufficient parking for residents as more people run their own cars, or have visitors arriving by car.
As the Housing Association had already secured planning permission for enlarging the car park, our role was to procure suitable construction firms and then subsequently project manage the works. We also carried out the contract administration.
If you have a similar project that would benefit from some professional management, then we would be very happy to discuss it – you may be surprised at how we can add value and take away a lot of the stresses of construction projects of any kind, not just extensions and new builds
An office extension has just been completed at Ashridge Estate near Tring for our client The National Trust. The estate office is a busy hub for rangers, volunteers and managers engaged in taking care of estate which includes over 5,000 acres of woodlands. Our role was to design an extension for the timber framed building, apply for planning consent and produce the technical specification and construction drawings. We also took care of contract administration during the build.
A biomass boiler to provide heating and hot water was installed as part of the extension project, and the fuel will be supplied from the woodland which surrounds the estate. New offices, a team room and a changing area have all been provided, and staff can also enjoy an external decking area in the warmer months.
As the estate office is constantly in use – including at weekends – the improvements are being already appreciated by staff.
We are delighted this month to welcome our new Chartered Architectural Technologist Kathleen Pratt to PCMS Design.
Kathleen has over 30 years’ experience of working within a multi-disciplinary practice, and honed her skills at an architectural firm based in Oxford where she worked on a wide range of health care and educational projects.
We are very pleased that she has joined our team, and look forward to working alongside her on public sector, commercial and residential schemes, where she will play a key role.
“I am delighted to be joining PCMS Design. I have a passion for creating beautiful and functional spaces which meet the needs of the client, and I am also looking forward to being able to contribute proactively, using all my experience to good effect.”
Henlow Academy undertook a number of improvements to their site over the summer. These included a link corridor extension to improve dining facilities, and also internal alterations to a couple of classrooms and the science laboratory.
We were brought in at the beginning of the project by the Academy’s Headteacher, Caren Earp. Our involvement included preparing drawings, administering the planning application and building control process with Central Bedfordshire Council, creating the technical design and specification, and subsequently the procurement and contract administration of the builders.
The first floor science room refurbishment presented some interesting technical and logistical challenges. A specialist laboratory furniture company was brought in to design and install a new bench configuration to increase the workstation capacity. The gas supply to the lab was also upgraded.
A new bright coat of paint has completed the refurbishment scheme, and the Academy is now well-equipped to cover the science part of the curriculum in the future.
We have recently completed our second project on the site of St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Caddington. The school was seeking to provide extra accommodation for some of the pupils as a break-out space. Our suggestion was a neat single classroom unit in the form of a timber lodge, with a simple internal space suitable for teaching smaller groups. Fit-out costs were kept to a minimum, and the building is kept warm with electric storage heaters, avoiding the need for expensive service connections.
In addition, the lodge is environmentally-friendly with the use of a timber frame, cladding and recycled building products, as well as low energy lighting. Construction firm JET Construction were respectful and efficient, as well as accommodating last minute requests from the client, creating a well-finished learning environment.
The school is delighted with the new lodge building, and is already seeing the benefits of having the extra independent classroom space.
One of our residential clients with a detached house in West Byfleet has recently been granted planning permission by Woking Borough Council for a new garage and workshop.
This is a slightly challenging site, as the current asbestos-clad garage (which is old and unattractive) forms part of the boundary with the next door neighbour. A good case had to be made to the local planning authority; our design has a pitched tiled roof to make it neater and more linear, and the building will be timber clad which will smarten up the appearance for both the homeowner and their neighbour, replacing the current old concrete walls.
The new building will offer superior useful storage space, and enough headroom for a modest workshop.
We opened up our office doors last Friday morning to host a Coffee Morning in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. Colleagues, our closest office neighbours and some of our clients came together to have a chat and to share some delicious cakes and desserts.
Our ‘Guess the Height of the Cake’ competition and generous donations on the morning raised a grand total of £317. This is the third year we have supported the charity and each year the total has grown.
Thank you to everyone for donating cakes and attending the event, and helping to raise a fantastic total for such a good cause!
A new vacancy has arisen within our team for an experienced Architectural Designer.
The primary aim is to support projects by developing designs and specifications according to strict deadlines and to meet a budget. The role includes liaising with other team members and third-party contractors or consultants in order to co-ordinate design details and resolve technical issues.
The successful candidate will have a university degree or equivalent qualification in the field of architecture, architectural technology, engineering or building surveying, and a minimum of 2 years direct work experience in a building design capacity, including aspects of planning and specification. A good working knowledge of current construction techniques, UK statutory requirements (Building Regulations, Building Bulletins, CDM Regulations, etc) and non-statutory design guidance is essential, in addition to demonstrated experience in CAD.
The experience of working both independently and in a team is important. The ability to effectively prioritise and execute tasks in a time-constrained environment is crucial, as are strong interpersonal skills.
Some local / regional travel may be required for the purpose of meeting with clients or contractors, and candidates will need to have a full driving licence. Depending upon the nature of the projects, there may be a requirement for a DBS check to be carried out.
We are flexible about full-time or part-time hours for the right candidate, and would also consider freelance candidates.
To apply for this vacancy, please email your CV with a covering letter explaining why you will be a good fit for this position and stating salary expectations.