Yearly Archives: 2013

Extension to Listed Cottage

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

IMG_2721 cropped

Work has recently been completed on a residential extension in the market town of Thame. Our role in the project was to design and specify a sympathetic extension that complied with strict planning requirements, as the thatched cottage is in a Conservation Area and is also Grade II Listed.

The small two bedroomed cottage has lots of character and period features, but was lacking a modern kitchen or living space. We used our design expertise and planning knowledge to best effect. This included seeking pre-application planning advice in order to discover what scale of extension would be acceptable within the context of the existing house and garden.

Our new design included a modest two storey section that was subservient to the main property, but had the addition of a timber and slate conservatory / garden room to the rear to provide extra living space. This feature allows plenty of natural light to flood in. Some internal alterations (such as new conservation-grade windows) were also designed to upgrade the original cottage. The whole project was specified by closely following conservation guidelines, and is consequently harmonious with the original building.

The homeowners are very happy with their new extension: “PCMS Design was very clever in gaining us extra features, which have really turned the project from an ordinary build to a superb living space. Working ‘hand-in-glove’ with our chosen builders ensured everyone was working off the same sheet, which is shown off by the quality of the finished build.”

Big Improvements to Rear Extension

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

Project 275 New Cropped

Work has just been completed on an existing rear extension project in the Buckinghamshire village of Grendon Underwood.

Our clients needed to improve the extension at the back of their home. The interior was often cold due to the old windows and poor levels of insulation. There was also a desire to improve the overall ground floor room configuration and increase the amount of natural light. We recommended a refurbishment scheme for this part of the house, together with a small L-shaped infill extension to allow space to extend the breakfast/family room.

Other improvements included introducing new double glazed windows and doors, a triple glazed Velux roof light, a high specification of insulation and a complete refit of this part of the house including the utility/boot room.

The owners are very happy with the finished result: “Our project ran smoothly, helped by some settled summer weather, and we are so pleased that we took the decision to make the improvements. A major benefit is that we now have a warm and cosy large breakfast room which has made a big difference to the house.”

Project 275 Old Cropped

Rear of the house before the improvements

Clapham Pre-School Goes from Strength to Strength

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

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Back in 2011, we designed and project managed the construction of a new permanent home for Clapham Pre-School in Bedfordshire. The Pre-School currently provides 40 childcare places for 3-5 year olds in two large playrooms, with ancillary facilities such as a staff room with kitchen, an office and store rooms.

However in order to satisfy government guidelines for providing increased childcare places for 2-3 year olds, Clapham Pre-School approached PCMS again with a view to extending the building to provide an additional 16 places. During the earlier design process, space had been earmarked at the side of the existing building for possible future expansion, so we were able to recommend a large extension to provide enough space. A new 40m2 playroom can be provided, including a storage room and  WCs, with very little disruption or alteration to the original building.

Following our administration of the application procedure, we are pleased to report that the proposed extension has just received planning permission from Bedford Borough Council. This now enables the Pre-School Committee to move forward with their expansion plans, and everyone involved with the Pre-School is delighted.

Grand Opening of Hadrian Academy’s Modular Classroom Building

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Hadrian Academy Sketch

PCMS Design was delighted to be present at the Grand Opening of Hadrian Academy’s brand new modular classroom building on 26th September 2013, a project which we completed and handed over in time for the new school year to begin.

After the school was granted Primary School status, Hadrian Academy had to move quickly to accommodate the temporary increase in pupil numbers, and a handsome new building, housing two new classrooms, has been installed in the school grounds.

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New Permitted Development Rights for Home Extensions

Thursday, June 6th, 2013


On 30th May 2013 the Government brought in amended planning legislation, for a temporary three year period, which relaxes the permitted development rules for certain types of extension.

A notable feature of this relaxation is that homeowners are now allowed to build larger single-storey extensions to their houses without obtaining full planning consent. In summary, if you live in a semi-detached or terraced property, you can build out by 6 metres from the original rear wall of the house, and if your house is detached you can build out by 8 metres, subject to certain constraints. Different rules apply in Conservation Areas.

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PCMS shortlisted at the LABC Central Building Excellence Awards for a second year

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

We are very pleased to announce that for the second year running, PCMS was shortlisted for a Local Authority Building Control (LABC) Central Region Building Excellence Award.

In 2012 our entry came under the ‘Best Sustainable Project’ category, but this year we were nominated for ‘Best Educational Development’ with our scheme to design and project manage a new Reception Classroom at Laburnum Lower School in Sandy, Bedfordshire.

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Refurbished Technology Area at Ivel Valley School

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

We are very pleased to have recently completed another scheme at Ivel Valley School in Biggleswade, our fifth for the School in two different locations. This time we project managed the refurbishment of an old Technology suite so that the space could be better utilised as a general purpose classroom.

Old tools and workshop equipment was removed and replaced with desks and storage cupboards. The teaching spaces and adjacent corridor were smartened up with new windows, doors and a lick of paint, and the School is now pleased to have a room for mixed use on a site where space is at a premium.

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Pre-Application Advice for an Ancillary Dwelling in Brill

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

PCMS has recently been involved in an interesting feasibility process for a homeowner in the picturesque Aylesbury Vale village of Brill. Grafton House is an imposing property occupying a prominent hill top location. The house has a number of brick outbuildings, and the owner would like to bring one of them – currently used as a store – back into use as an ancillary dwelling.

PCMS carried out background research on the store house and its potential, and drafted some outline designs and drawings to submit to Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) for pre-application planning advice. AVDC agreed that if a planning application was submitted, providing it was for a dwelling that was subordinate to the main house, that it would be highly likely to receive planning consent.

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Downside Pre-School Receives a Make Over

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Local Authority staff recently approached PCMS to plan, design and project manage a quick and cost-effective space reorganisation for Downside Pre-School in Dunstable. The changes that we designed to the layout of this mixed educational/community site meant that extra room was available for pre-school use.

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Planning Permission Success for Hadrian Academy

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Great news this week for Hadrian Academy in Dunstable, which has successfully received planning consent for a new two-classroom modular unit on site.
The Headteacher and Governors appointed PCMS for the project to provide additional space for the increase in pupil numbers that will occur as the Academy moves towards primary status from September 2013. In addition to the classroom designs, we prepared a planning submission and followed it through to the Committee stage, where the scheme this week received the go ahead from Central Bedfordshire Council.

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