In the ever changing world of technology, architectural CAD software has moved on significantly since the days of the drawing board.
The most current software has revolutionised the way we work. State of the art software forms part of the Building Information Modelling (BIM) system, which allows the sharing of design information between all parties involved in the construction process.
We can work in 2D whilst the software builds the design into a three dimensional (3D) model, giving clients a clearer idea of the design concept.
Here in the office we have gone a step further. By using a 3D printer, we are able to bring to life the 3D model by producing a small scale building model. This gives clients the chance to pick up, turn around and inspect their concept design.
The pictures show how for one client the design concept has become a reality in 3D.
Work has recently begun on a new part two-storey, part single storey rear extension for a residential client in Buckinghamshire. The aspiration for this 3-bedroom semi-detached dwelling is to create a new first floor master bedroom and a larger open plan kitchen and dining area on the ground floor, which will be achieved by removing an outdated conservatory and replacing it with a modern, light extension.
The homeowners approached us to produce the construction drawings, specification and to administer the process of obtaining and evaluating quotes from suitably qualified local builders.
Materials such as roof tiles and bricks are to match the original dwelling and there will be a zinc roof on the single storey element. Party Wall matters have also been dealt with.
We anticipate that the extension will be completed by the end of May.
We were extremely pleased to learn last week that a recent project has been awarded an A-Rated Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). Our client was the National Trust; we recently completed the design and carried out project management for an extension to their Estate Office building at Ashridge Park near Tring. This included new offices and meeting room, and extensive alterations to the existing structure to create a new internal layout.
EPCs are awarded based upon the energy efficiency rating on a scale from G (less energy efficient) to A (more energy efficient). The refurbished and extended building saw a significant improvement due to higher levels of insulation, introduction of LED lighting and a new biomass boiler which has been installed.
Fewer than 1% of commercial premises achieve an A rating so this is a very positive result. To find out how we can help improve the energy performance of your building then please do get in touch.
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.
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.
Parents and children were invited along to attend the official opening of a brand new pre-school building, which has just completed on the site of Clophill St Mary’s Lower School in Bedfordshire. PCMS Design has been involved in this project since its inception, working together with the school governors and management team on the design, planning application process, specification, tendering and finally the contract administration of the build.
There is a large bright playroom with kitchenette, plus a small admin area with office and store room. As the pre-school is on the site of a former Victorian school building, the design reflects some of those features with brick elevations and a slate roof, and tall feature windows at the end of the play room.
The official opening ceremony was attended by the Bishop of Bedford the Rt Revd Richard Atkinson, and staff are now preparing for the first wave of pre-schoolers.
Headteacher Karen Bingley said: “We were so pleased today to officially open our new pre-school building, which is a superb addition to the school site. PCMS Design has looked after the whole project for us, and assisted particularly in the later stages with contract administration. We now have a beautiful and well-designed building for our pre-school children, and the whole community will benefit from it for years to come.”
Following months of preparation, our team was very pleased yesterday when Central Bedfordshire Council’s Development Management Committee granted planning permission for the construction of a four-court sports hall with associated changing rooms, and also six new classrooms over two storeys at Henlow Academy in Bedfordshire.
This is a notable achievement for the Academy, which is seeking additional space to accommodate a temporary increase in pupil numbers over the next 3-4 years. It means that Phase II of the Academy’s site development programme can now go ahead. Phase I, which included a new link corridor and refurbishment works to several classrooms, was carried out this summer.
In addition to the sports hall, which will allow the Academy to substantially expand the range of sports on offer to pupils and the wider community, there will be improvements to the on-site car park, school bus bays and nearby public highway.
We are now looking forward to working with the Academy on the project management of the next stages, with a view to the classrooms being in operation for the 2018 academic year.
When the owners of a lovely barn conversion in Buckinghamshire approached us with a view to extending their home, we made an appraisal of how this could be quickly and practically achieved. A small (and rather inharmonious) conservatory had been added to the side elevation in the past, and our advice was to replace this with a more attractive – and larger – single storey kitchen extension.
An added benefit of our design is that because the extension is to the side elevation and does not exceed the dimensions allowed under Permitted Development (PD) legislation, then planning permission is not necessary. However, we advised applying to the Local Authority for a ‘Lawful Development Certificate’.
Aylesbury Vale District Council agreed that our design came under Permitted Development rights and issued the Certificate. Our client looks forward to moving ahead with the build as soon as possible.
If you would like advice on which types of domestic or commercial development come under Permitted Development rules, do get in touch with us.
Last week, we were pleased to be present at the final handover of a residential rear extension to a detached home in Buckinghamshire.
The original brief was to design a space large enough for a full-sized snooker table. We developed a design for a one and a half storey room with glazed doors, applied on behalf of the homeowner for planning permission, assisted with procurement of suitable builders, and then carried out project management of the build.
What we were not expecting upon our final visit was the bold interior design scheme which had been carefully chosen by the homeowner for his new games room. The green snooker table is contrasted by bright red walls, and a very fetching bar, the front of which is apparently clad in the owner’s family tartan! The room has a bright, fun feel – great to entertain and relax in.
A family in a village to the east of Oxford was extremely pleased this week to receive planning consent from South Oxfordshire District Council for a two storey side extension to their home. Because the house is situated within the Oxford Green Belt, a convincing case had to be made that the scheme complied with current planning policy for development with the Green Belt.
SODC Green Belt planning policy states that an extension should be no greater than 40% of the volume of the original dwelling. As the premises had already been extended to the rear, our design brought the total volume added since first construction to 65%. This is outwith planning policy, and our argument centred on how much the dwelling could potentially be extended using permitted development rights alone. Our convincing explanation, along with a sympathetic design, was accepted by planners.
Once extended, the house will have a new master bedroom and en suite bathroom upstairs and the added benefit of a shower room and utility on the ground floor, creating a more spacious and attractive family home.