Category Archives: Uncategorized

Awards Season

Wednesday, October 4th, 2023

The Autumn of 2023 has so far been very fruitful, with two of our projects gaining recognition in separate awards ceremonies.

Henlow Academy in Bedfordshire received ‘Highly Commended’ at the Central Region, LABC Building Excellence Awards in the ‘Best Public or Community Building’ category.

Henlow Academy was the first middle school to change to secondary as part of the Central Bedfordshire Schools for the future (SFF) programme. The works were split into 5 phases to extend the School and provide the required specialist classrooms to enable teaching of the curriculum up to GCSE.

Haddenham Airfield Pavilion was ‘Runner Up’ in the Climate Change & Nature Category at the Buckinghamshire Design Awards.

The Building is a sustainable, modern community space that will support many generations of people living in and around Haddenham.

The pavilion building was carefully designed to sit comfortably on the edge of the new playing fields within the recent CALA Homes development. It boast a combination of a green, living roof as well as zinc sections, with solar PV panels. The shape of the building provides a striking glazed entrance off of Tibbs Road and affords views across the playing fields and beyond.

Shortlist success for local project!

Friday, August 25th, 2023

We’re delighted that one of our projects has been shortlisted for a Buckinghamshire Design Award. The Haddenham Airfield Pavilion is a sustainable, modern community space that will support many generations of people living in and around Haddenham.

The building itself comprises a function space, complete with a modern catering kitchen, a large foyer space as well as two team changing rooms.

The pavilion building was carefully designed to sit comfortably on the edge of the new playing fields within the recent CALA Homes development. It boast a combination of a green, living roof as well as zinc sections, with solar PV panels. The shape of the building provides a striking glazed entrance off of Tibbs Road and affords views across the playing fields and beyond.

The building fabric contains high levels of insulation in the floor, walls and roof. This, coupled with a combination of electric and natural gas hot water and heating, has resulted in achieving an “A” grade Energy Performance Certificate.

The project has been put forward to the “People’s Choice” award, which is voted for by the public. We think the Airfield Pavilion is a worthy contender and the link to cast you vote is here.

Works completed at Winslow Public Hall

Friday, July 7th, 2023

An ambitious project, undertaken on behalf of Winslow Town Council to improve the functionality of Winslow Public Hall and carry out improvements to the surrounding public open space bordering the hall, has recently been completed. The works were carried out by local contractor JET Construction (Milton Keynes) Ltd.

Winslow Public Hall sits within a triangle of land in the heart of Winslow. The aspiration of the Public Hall Trustees and Winslow Town Council was, from the outset of the project, to provide a new visible principal entrance to the existing building whilst at the same time maintaining and improving the current access routes and external areas.

A wrap around single storey extension provides a new kitchen, additional toilets and the new entrance. Internal alterations around the stage area have provided a dedicated internal route for users accessing the meeting room and the stage. Additional storage created within the main hall provides increased functionality for regular hall users. New energy-efficient LED lighting has been provided throughout the building and decorations and replacement flooring refresh a tired interior.

The external areas surrounding the hall have been paved with permeable block paving and new lighting, planting and cycle parking hoops create a more cohesive and welcoming public space whilst still maintaining segregated access for authorised vehicles and pedestrians.

Solar panels have been installed on the existing building and these, together with a battery installation provide a sustainable energy solution to help power the building for the future.

Conversion works start

Monday, February 6th, 2023

Works to a convert the former Jehovah Witness Hall in Thame, into three social housing flats for Thame & District Housing Association has started on site.

The building will comprise of one 1-person flat and two 2-person flats. The flats will form part of the Pearce Court site. The project has been funded by SODC, Homes England and Thame & District Housing Association.

As part of the decarbonisation of the building, solar PV panels will be installed to power the building, which will be topped up with mains electric thereby avoiding dependence on fossil fuels. Refurbishing and upcycling the building will not only meet current standards, but also provide three much needed new dwellings.

Works are being carried out by JET Construction (Milton Keynes) Ltd and are due to complete in August 2023

New Two Storey Extension at Clifton All Saints Academy

Thursday, September 22nd, 2022

Our project at Clifton All Saints Academy has recently completed. The brief was to provide the School with two additional classrooms to enable them to accommodate years 5 and 6 changing them from a Lower School to a Primary School.

The school is situated in the heart of Clifton Village and therefore the site is very constrained, being built up on three sides the space for expansion was very limited.

Through the feasibility process it was clear the only way to fit the new classrooms on the site was to build up, this would involve the demolition of a section of building at the rear of the site and a new two-storey extension was built on a slightly larger footprint in one direction and a reduction in the other therefore enabling a larger playground to be created.

To minimise the mass of the building a monopitch roof was introduced, this helped with keeping the height of the building to a minimum. The type of materials were important to the project, given the natural feel of the site with a large wooded area at the back of the School, a sedum roof was installed to help with biodiversity and to help the building blend in with its surroundings and timber cladding was used to break up the brickwork.

As part of the design we wanted to ensure that the new and old parts of the School worked together, as with many Schools built in the 1970’s there were no corridors, just room through room walkways. With minor adjustments to two existing classrooms there was enough space to create a new corridor that links to the new extension which immensely improves the flow of the school.

The completed project gives the school four new classrooms, two group rooms and an Intervention/Breakout room with a net increase in building footprint of 32m².

Successful Planning Application for Launton

Friday, August 12th, 2022

Members of Launton Parish Council were delighted to hear that their planning application for improvements to the Parish Hall has been granted permission by Cherwell District Council.

This gives the green light for substantial improvements to the hall to bring it up to modern standards, providing new facilities and enhancing the energy efficiency of the building. An old side extension will be demolished and replaced, to provide a new catering style kitchen. The building will be re-roofed with zinc, a tough, natural and recyclable material. PV Solar panels will generate electricity with the potential for battery storage. And replacement windows and doors will help to stop drafts and keep in the heat.

We have guided the Parish Council and Hall Working Group through the steps towards achieving planning permission, and look forward to being of further assistance when funding is available to carry out the improvements.

3D Visualisation of Improvements to Launton Parish Hall

More Developments at Henlow Academy

Friday, July 22nd, 2022

Our long-term project to extend and redevelop the site at Henlow Academy in Bedfordshire reaches its latest phase, with the addition of a new passenger lift to replace an old platform lift. This will enable pupils, staff and visitors with impaired mobility to access the first floor classrooms and facilities, and is a very welcome addition to the Academy site.

Also in this development phase was the refurbishment of the design & technology room and art rooms, refreshing the spaces and giving them a renewed lease of life. A new corridor leads to the Henlow Hub. Two existing rooms were knocked into one to create a larger library/hub space, with a moveable library shelving system to give more flexibility. The interior design scheme for the room combines the four colours that have been used throughout the extension and refurbishment of this block.

New Passenger Lift at Henlow Academy

Why your educational construction project needs a project manager

Friday, July 15th, 2022

Nothing stays the same for long these days, and so it’s almost inevitable that at some stage, your school accommodation will need to either change or grow (or both!). Perhaps a forthcoming increase in the school roll means that additional classroom space is required, or improved facilities (new science labs or DT rooms, for example) are needed to help deliver the national curriculum.

Of course, you are getting on with the important task of running your school and teaching children, and so appointing an experienced project manager in conjunction with suitably qualified architectural designers at the very infancy of a site development project is key to its success.

PCMS Design is such a firm, and our expertise in this field is broad and deep. There are many ways in which we can add value. At feasibility stage, we can properly assess the potential of your building (against DfE guidance) and make recommendations as to how it can be cost-effectively and practically expanded and changed.

Project Manager site meeting with client and site agent

We will carefully guide you through all of the various stages involved in a construction project.

We understand the planning process, and have strong links with many local authority planning and building control departments. We will handle the procurement of suitable building contractors, the contract administration and detailed project management of the build.

Accurate cost control is obviously vital for public sector projects and this is a major benefit of using a project manager. And with our emphasis on sustainable construction, we will ensure that the build uses the best, most environmentally-friendly materials and has features such as renewable energy generation as standard.

In essence, using a project manager can save you time and money, ensuring successful and stress-free delivery of your school building projects.

Listed Building Transformation Progresses to Next Stage

Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

Work is progressing well on the renovation of and extension to a Grade II listed dwelling – which is a former shop – in the historic heart of Haddenham.

The main part of the building is constructed from witchert, which is a common historic building material in the Haddenham area. With a plinth of rubble stones known locally as ‘grumplings’, the earth wall was constructed above with a lime render finish. The programme of works has also involved repairs to the roof structure, floor strengthening and re-plastering with lime plaster.

A new rear extension will allow space for an extra first floor bedroom with en suite and a larger kitchen, with bi-folding doors opening out onto the rear courtyard.

Completion of this interesting project is due at the end of the year.

Social Housing Refurb at Croft Court

Friday, May 27th, 2022

We’ve recently completed a phased refurbishment project for Thame & District Housing Association, a Registered Social Landlord providing rented accommodation in the Thame area.

The works at Croft Court, which is a residential block with eight single bedroom flats for the over 60s included replacing the kitchens and bathrooms in each, removing a sliding door into the kitchen and enlarging the opening to create a more usable and modern space. The works also incorporated the replacement of the roof. We provided drawings and specification and following a procurement process, principal contractor JET Construction (Milton Keynes) Ltd was appointed to carry out the building works. By paying close attention to the project programme, we ensured that the flats were refurbished in a phased way, so there was the minimum of disturbance to existing residents.

Thame & District Housing Association Facilities Manager Mick Hancocks said: “We have appointed PCMS Design to carry out the project management and architectural design for a number of our properties. We have found that they are sensitive to the protection and privacy needs of our residents, which is very important to us. I would not hesitate to use PCMS Design again.”