Yearly Archives: 2014

Local Community Pub Re-Opens

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

Chester Pub cropped

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.

Chester Arms Bar Cropped

Planning Consent Granted for Thatched Cottage

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

DSC09824 CroppedA Buckinghamshire family was delighted recently to be granted planning consent for extension works to their picturesque thatched home.

Cherry Tree Cottage is a charming house with lots of character. The property has been extended substantially over the years, and the thatched roofs have been maintained across the whole property. Eyebrow dormers over some of the first floor windows add to the quirky and distinctive appearance.

The family’s aspirations included the creation of a porch entrance and boot room and also a total refurbishment and enlargement of their kitchen. Our challenge was to design an extension that not only delivered the desired space on the inside, but also blended harmoniously with the rear gables on the outside. Rather than just enlarging the kitchen, we recommended a two-storey rear extension which would also allow for a bigger bedroom on the first floor. In this way, the appearance of the rear elevation would be enhanced, and not spoiled by a single storey flat roof extension.

A modest single storey side extension was also designed to provide space for the new entrance and boot room.

Following the successful application for planning permission, the family are now very pleased to be able to get on with their improvement project: “We knew what improvements we wanted but were not sure how to achieve them. PCMS Design listened carefully to our plans, and suggested some realistic and workable ideas for extending our home. The application for planning permission went very smoothly and we are looking forward to getting the build underway.”

Accessible Facility for Bedfordshire School

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

DSC00705Sometimes 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.

Completion of three new school projects in Dunstable

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014


Now that the summer holidays are over we are very pleased that three school building projects in the Dunstable area have been completed in time for the start of the new academic year.

Hadrian Academy wanted to reconfigure their building to provide a larger classroom to maximise usable teaching space, which also involved altering some WCs. Works began as the School broke up in July, and were finished by the start of term. Westfield Nursery School has benefitted from a new classroom extension, which also includes dual purpose child’s WCs and changing area, and a brand new entrance. The existing buildings at Watling Lower School have also been reconfigured to provide additional early year’s classroom space, and a new reception and office area for staff, parents and visitors.

The staff at PCMS Design are very familiar with working towards tight deadlines and within the confines of the academic year. Project Manager Alex Bond said: “The summer holiday is the obvious time for schools and nurseries to tackle smaller construction projects as it minimises disruption for staff, students and parents. Fortunately, we are used to working to tight deadlines, and managing construction firms so that essential works are completed on time and within budget.”

The Haven 2000 Nursery Plans to Expand

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Haven 2000 logoWhen The Haven 2000 Nursery in Bedford came up with plans to expand and alter their accommodation recently, they approached PCMS Design to help take their ideas and turn them into reality. The Haven 2000 is a leading nursery provider in the town, offering excellent levels of childcare and with a programme of continuous improvement.

We became involved at an early stage, developing concept designs which involved the demolition of a single storey section of the building at the rear, and constructing in its place a two storey extension. The extended building will provide an additional 45m2 of playroom and activity space, and alongside this some internal reconfiguration will improve access to ancillary areas such as the kitchen and staff room.

In addition, access to the garden areas will be made easier and a new large canopy will be constructed for outdoor play. When complete, the Nursery will be able to accommodate up to 60 children each day, and provide places for an additional 16 children in the 2-3 year olds category.

We have just submitted an application for planning permission to Bedford Borough Council.



Improvements to Two Buckinghamshire Schools

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Prestwood Logo no words

PCMS Design is delighted to have been appointed to work on two separate projects for the Chiltern Way Federation in Buckinghamshire. The first project is at the Wendover Campus, where we are overseeing a refurbishment of the Ramblers Block, a building previously used as a dormitory and vocational training centre, but now receiving a re-fit to provide tutor rooms and a common room area. And the second project is to provide a new shower block on the Prestwood Campus.

PCMS Director Alex Bond said: “Our previous experience of delivering projects for special schools is proving extremely useful, and we are very pleased to be working closely with Buckinghamshire County Council to achieve these improvements for the two schools in the Chiltern Way Federation.”

PCMS Shortlisted for LABC 2014 Building Excellence Award

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

 High Res Photo from Awards Ceremony IMG_2213We are delighted to have been in the running once more for a Central Region LABC Building Excellence Award, reaching the top four in the educational projects category.

LABC is a member organisation representing local authority building control officers in England and Wales, and each year they run a series of regional awards to recognise high quality design and construction work.

This is the third year running that PCMS Design has been nominated for an award. Two years ago, our design and project management of a first floor extension to The Lawns in Biggleswade appeared in the ‘Best Sustainable Building’ category, and last year’s entry in the ‘Best Educational Building’ category was for the creation of a new reception classroom for Laburnum Lower School in Sandy.

This year, PCMS Design was once again nominated in the ‘Best Educational Building’ category for the design and project management of a new single storey free-standing reception classroom building at Southill Lower School near Biggleswade. The School is in a Conservation Area, and therefore had to follow strict design guidelines on a site with limited space. The attractive brick and tile building has high levels of insulation and is easy to run and maintain.

The awards event took place at Jury’s Inn, Milton Keynes on 16th May when the achievements of local firms striving for excellence in construction projects were recognised.


Planning Permission Secured for New Classroom

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

 Westfield Nusery School Logo - altered

We are delighted to report that Westfield Nursery School in Dunstable has just received planning permission from Central Bedfordshire Council to construct a new classroom. The 60m2 single storey extension will allow the Nursery to provide a new early year’s classroom for its expanding school roll. It includes a large playroom area with feature windows and double doors, integral storage, adult and child level sinks and adjacent WCs. A long external play canopy also formed part of the planning permission, and this will be constructed along two thirds of the back of the building.

PCMS has provided the architectural design and project management skills to assist the school in arriving at this point, and will continue to see the project through over the coming months. Construction works are scheduled to begin shortly, ready for the classroom to open in September 2014.

Bright New Kitchen Ready in Time for Spring

Monday, February 10th, 2014

304 Portrait shot of kitchen - brightened

The residents of a three bedroom house in the Buckinghamshire village of Haddenham are very pleased with their brand new kitchen, a project which has just recently been completed in spite of this winter’s wet weather.

In order to provide space for a larger kitchen and utility room, part of the linked garage was put to use and converted to living space. This meant that the washing machine, drier and boiler could be moved to a dedicated utility area. An extension across the rear of the house then allowed a larger kitchen to be created. A set of folding doors allows natural light to flood into the room and provides a clear view into the garden.

When the residents contacted us, they had already secured planning permission a few years previously for a smaller extension. Our role in the project was to prepare new drawings for a full width extension, write a full specification of works and to manage the building project. We made regular visits to site during the build to ensure that the project was on track.

The finished result has delighted the homeowners: “PCMS provided the skill and expertise we needed to drive forward our improvement project, and I am so pleased that we went ahead and achieved our modern extension.”