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.
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.
A property in Buckinghamshire has been transformed recently by conversion from an uninspiring dormer bungalow into an impressive spacious family home.
Our clients contacted us after purchasing a house in a good village location, but in need of substantial improvement and refurbishment. The house had already been extended at the back, so instead of extending outwards we recommended raising the roof by one metre; our design allowed the awkward rooms in the roof space to be brought back into use as light and spacious bedrooms, with the added feature of an attractive landing and oak staircase.
By designing this modest upwards extension, we minimised the impact on neighbouring properties, and avoided the need to ‘nibble’ into the garden or drive.
The property has been reconfigured downstairs too; there are new bathrooms throughout, a refitted kitchen / breakfast room, separate utility room and study, and the exterior has a more modern sleek look with rendered walls and aluminium windows. Everyone is delighted with the transformation.
This year has seen the completion of a number of site development projects at Denbigh High School in Luton, four of which we have been involved with. The latest to reach completion is the construction of an extension at the rear of the main school building to provide a larger area for the Chiltern Learning Trust administration team.
There were a number of technical challenges to overcome in order to extend out from the existing two-storey building, which dates from the 1930s and has distinctive windows, some of them arched. We therefore designed a flat-roof extension including windows with glazing bars which harmonise with those around it. We obtained planning permission and building control approval for the new block and project managed the build.
Inside, there is a new open-plan office for staff, together with three separate office and meeting rooms, new toilets and a delivery room, all of which meet the aspirations of the Trust’s expanding administration team. This is part of a longer-term aim to establish a central hub for the Trust in order to rationalise support services.
Sections of the modular classroom are lifted into place
Denbigh High School in Luton has commissioned a number of different construction and improvement projects to take place, and builders are making the most of the six week summer holiday to make good progress. The School has an impressive main building which dates from the 1930s, but consequently it does need an ongoing programme of maintenance and development.
PCMS is currently managing four separate schemes: a refurbishment of the main entrance, an extension to the administration block, a new two-classroom modular unit and finally an extension to the front car park. Regular site visits are made to check on progress and answer any technical questions that the builders may have encountered.
Works are scheduled to be completed by the start of the new term in September, although the admin block project will take longer to finish due to its scale and complexity. We are looking forward to seeing the finished projects put to good use shortly.
Installation of the block and beam floor for the Administration block extension
PCMS Design has recently been involved in an interesting pub-based project in the Iffley Fields area of Oxford. The Chester is an old Edwardian building with lots of character and period detail, situated on a corner in terraced residential streets. The pub closed in the summer of 2012, but an enterprising developer took on the site, simultaneously gaining planning permission to renovate and extend the pub and also to construct a pair of semi-detached houses in the car park.
Following extensive refurbishment work and also the demolition of the old kitchen and its reconstruction on a different footprint, the pub has now re-opened. Our role was to discharge a number of planning conditions, procure suitable local builders and also to provide project management and CDM services during the renovation. The build involved a collaborative effort between the developer, builder, pub tenant and ourselves.
The new tenants have an innovative approach to running the pub, which provides a meeting place for the local community during the day, incorporating a café and corner shop stocking local produce. Then in the evenings and at weekends, The Chester transforms into a pub serving a lively and eclectic menu and real ales. The interiors are modern and welcoming.
We wish the new owner and tenants every success for the future.
Sometimes buildings have to be adapted to meet the particular needs of the occupants. One Bedfordshire school had a requirement to provide special facilities for a disabled child, which needed to include a shower, changing table and separate DDA WC.
Fortunately, PCMS Design staff have specialist knowledge in this area, and therefore were able to design a facility to meet the latest standards as set down in Disability Discrimination legislation. The layout and specification of the new facility complies with Building control and the relevant British Standard.
An area of the existing building was earmarked to provide the facilities, and work was largely carried out when the school was closed to minimise disruption. The School now has a dedicated changing and shower wetroom, which has a wipe-clean printed vinyl wallcovering in a bright colour and capped and coved vinyl floorcovering.
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.
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.