Planning permission for rare barn conversion

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Living Space Architects has been granted planning permission for a Class Q barn conversion, a rarity for architects and an exciting project to have underway.

Why are Class Q barn conversions so rare?

Class Q barn conversions are renowned for being difficult to secure planning permission for. Planning Managers Councils are still working out the amount of ‘new build’ that is acceptable in this conversion category. Open barns do not meet the criteria, however, barns with three or more sides enclosed are acceptable for conversion, so long as enough of the original building is kept intact.

The barn in question…

We have been fortunate enough to have found a diamond in the rough – a three-sided timber-framed barn that is acceptable for conversion. It has a concrete block and timber clad walls, and a box profile metal sheet roof and is surrounded by trees providing a beautiful plot.

How did we secure planning permission?

It’s still a little ambiguous as to what is regarded acceptable and what is not for permitted development planning permission. Therefore, we are proud that our beautiful and contemporary design has made the cut!

The pitched design provided a means to convert the barn into a home, without undermining the fundamental look and character of the barn, and retaining the existing frame and structure.

The existing building is open-fronted and we have in-filled this with a glazed screen with aluminium frames, a timber front door and the aluminium louvres. The two side elevations are to be left unchanged with the addition of a single window to each side. The permission allows for the implementation of mains services, and the provision of drainage, and the new property will have two bedrooms and bathrooms, and an open-plan living, dining and kitchen area.

 

The designs…

Our March Newsletter

Site visit to our Stoke Poges build

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It’s always exciting to see a project that you have created coming together.

That’s exactly how we felt on our latest trip to Stoke Poges, to visit the site of our innovative new build with a contemporary design and similar feel to a German Huf Haus.

The greyness of the day didn’t attract from the immensity of the building as it has begun to take shape, complementing the plot with its innovative structure and creative design.

With the main structure built, and character of the interior being established, we are well on our way to completing the project in time for our May target.


So, what makes this project so unique? 

Even at first glance it is clear that this property doesn’t fall in line with convention. Its dramatic pitched roof, high ceilings, glass exterior and timber structure give it a different feel to the brick houses that Britain has grown so accustomed to. Its open-plan design and use of windows and glass allow it to capture sunlight and create a bright and modern place to live.


What inspired the design?

Our client came to us with a brief of creating a house with a similar feel to the award-winning German Huf Haus design. Big open spaces and natural light appealed to them, however they wanted the house to have a little more privacy and a more ‘homely’ feel than the original German design. We therefore designed a house with some Huf Haus characteristics, such as the pitched roof, high ceiling, terraces and large glass windows to capture natural light, while maintaining some more British features of a home and tailoring the property to suit our clients preferences, such as supplementing a brick wall on the outside ground floor.


What other features does the house have?

We decided to use innovative construction for the new building, settling on Structural Insulated Panels (SIP) from Kingspan TEK. These are made of wood, but their invisible structure gave us freedom with the interior design. Furthermore, their prefabrication meant that construction time was less and there was limited on-site waste. The panels also have high energy efficiency, allowing for a thinner construction than usual insulation.


What comes next?

Although our Stoke Poges build has begun to take shape and acquire character, there are still things to be done before our May deadline. Currently, underfloor heating and electrics are being fitted and then decorating and finishes for the property will commence. We can’t wait to follow the progress of this contemporary and modern design, and are looking forward to seeing the finished product!

Our January Newsletter

Living Space Architects awarded Best of Houzz 2018 award

Big things expected from Living Space Architects after completing ‘BIM’ training

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This week, two of our architects attended a three day ‘Building Information Modelling’ (BIM) training session in Bristol, equipping them with the insight and tools to more efficiently design, construct and manage buildings and infrastructure.

BIM is an intelligent 3D model-based process that uses innovative software to better quantify data and manage information and costs for elements of the build. It is often used by large firms, as it increases the ability to deal with larger scale builds. It also allows architects to make more informed design decisions, build more efficiently and cost-effectively, and maintain buildings with greater ease.

A rising number of government and commercial organisations are making the use of BIM mandatory, and with increased work with local authorities and larger scale projects, Living Space Architects were pleased to be able to participate in the training.

“BIM training allows a firm to develop from a micro-practice and take on larger-scale projects” said Stuart Bayley, Director of Living Space Architects. “With the training, we can continue to step up and achieve the scope of our ambition.”

BIM is managed by Autodesk, which claims that the software not only allows businesses to operate more productively, but also produce higher-quality work, attracting new talent and winning new business. The benefits of the software are evident throughout the project building lifecycle, from enabling better design decisions, to accommodating efficient building and  guaranteeing predictable managing costs.

“We had a great grounding in all of the software functions which will enable us to get modelling our schemes from an early stage” said Living Space architect Kate Sammons, who attended the training. “It allows us to gradually build up the levels of detail and building information until we have a really intelligent model.”

With this competitive edge, Living Space Architects is looking forward to realising its creative visions using these innovative technological solutions and fulfilling its promising potential

“The training was excellent” Stuart commented. “It was very detailed but also quite interactive. We’ve come away with the feeling that we can take it on and get stuck in!”

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Design Award from Devon Historic Buildings Trust

Architects in Residence at The Maynard School Exeter

Policy changes to accessible housing standards across England ‘optional’


Important policy changes to accessible housing standards across England came into force on 1 October 2015.


While the new accessibility standards will be included into the Building Regulations, there are concerns about adoption as the government’s new standards are optional.

In effect to comply with the new regulations, a housing provider need do nothing more than comply with the old ‘Part M’.  This seems very short-sighted, as there is a lot to be gained from creating homes that are more accessible to all.


Housing Association Habinteg specialise in the provision of wheelchair accessible homes and have written a briefing document for the Housing LIN giving seven points about the latest standards.

This briefing makes the case for an increase in accessible housing, with an approach that acknowledges the benefits and savings available when building to higher access standards.

Some of the suggested benefits include reducing the number of accidents in the home, reducing the time required in hospital and enabling people to live in their own homes for as long as possible, without having to be moved into residential care.

According to HabintExtracteg, one week in a residential care home can cost up to £550, yet increasing the specification of a home to meet Lifetime Homes standards would likely more than offset this cost.

There are calls to make it mandatory to provide homes to the new Category 2 (Lifetime Homes similar), something that would appear to be common sense when overall costs and actual value are taken into consideration.

At Living Space Architects we endeavour to design all our projects to Lifetime Homes standards.  We believe it not only benefits older people and those with disabilities, but also creates homes that are better for all of us to live in.  This can give improvements not only for health, but overall well-being and enjoyment of life.

We hope that the government will be brave enough to review the standards, so that we have support in giving clients the best design solutions and providing long term improvements for communities.

Read Habintegs briefing for Housing LIN here: www.housinglin.org.uk/Design