Building Regulation Updates

From 15th June 2022, new Building Regulations come into force in England which will help the built environment meet the net zero targets set by Government for 2050.

The changes are limited to Approved Document F (Ventilation) and L (Conservation of Fuel and Power), and also the creation of two new documents;

  • Approved Document O (Overheating)
  • Approved Document S (Infrastructure for the charging of electric vehicles).

The new regulations will have a transition period. If a building notice or full plan application has been submitted to a local authority prior to 15th June 2022, and the building work commences before the same date in 2023, the new regulations will not apply.

All applications beyond 15th June 2022 will be required to achieve the new standards.

Part F:

Requires the ventilation in existing buildings to be maintained or improved when energy efficiency work is carried out, and guidance is provided with all installations of mechanical extract ventilation.

Part L:

Improves the U value requirements for walls, windows, roof lights and doors to improve the thermal efficiency of domestic buildings and requires the SAP method of compliance for extensions to existing properties.

Part O:

Aims to reduce overheating in new residential buildings by minimising solar gain and removing excess heat from new developments. This will be achieved by considering cross-ventilation, orientation and the amount of glazing.

Large overhanging roofs to help prevent overheating

We have undertaken CPD to understand the technical changes of the Building Regulations and what it means for our practice and our clients.

 Southwest Home & Garden Show

On the 9th and 10th of April, we will be at the Southwest Home & Garden Show

The event will be held next weekend at Westpoint Arena, Exeter and we have 10 free tickets to give away.

If you would like one please email Studio@livingspacearchitects.com with the following:

We have a limited quantity of tickets although you can book a ticket below:

New Build Interview – Exeter Living

Building your own home?

We asked Stuart Bayley for his top tips…

What ‘homework’ should a person have already done before they approach an architecture firm like yours?

It is helpful to have created a scrapbook or Pinterest board of houses and projects that you like – including their materials.

What is a really important thing to think about before proceeding?

Consider the orientation of the house to the sunshine and views – ideally, combine the two together so the house can open up to the landscape whilst still benefitting from an ideal solar orientation for natural/passive design.

What are the main pitfalls? 
Rising material prices and construction costs are increasing the contingency that builders are having to apply to their tender / fixed prices – making the overall projects more expensive.


When it comes to design how much do you do and how much does the customer do? How does that relationship work?  
We like to create a few alternative layouts at an early stage for our clients which can then lead to a strong element of client-guided development and working together in developing a suitable design. Many of our clients are families and couples – rather than developers – so they engage us to help them create their unique dream house.


Any new trends we should be paying attention to? 
the increasing need to incorporate renewable technologies to heat our houses in the future and the need to create our own PV for electrical supply – often in conjunction with a large storage battery for the home.


Is there an increased demand at the moment for new builds/ extensions? How has Covid affected your company? 

land with planning permission and that is suitable for new houses in short supply – so consider barn conversions or replacement dwellings as a fall-back position for a new contemporary home.

The brief was to create an eco-friendly family home. The client’s vision was rather unusual though they wanted an upsidedown house. Stuart Bayley, co-director at living space architects, tells us how they did it…

As anyone who loves their property programs will know connecting with nature is currently a big thing for those designing and producing a new home, especially in these parts. few pull off the development which immerses itself so unequivocally in the surrounding landscape as this family home though.

Located in Dunsford, just outside of Exeter nestled into lush greenness the smooth curved roof is the first thing you notice it sets the tone for the property and conveys that this is a place of calm; a gentle space where there is something of a free flow between the inside and outside.

“The roof was originally concived to replicate the form of local dutch barns which sit around the lower edges of Dartmoor,” says Stuart Bayley, co-director at Living Space Architects, the local architecture firm who designed the house.”

“Our client is a big surfer and loved the idea of a natural wave form

The green roof sits on a highly insulated roof with a rubber membrane waterproof finish so the green roof is a significant visual improvement. The natural environment benefit for birds and insects form a green roof is significant and enjoyable.”

The house split level is a quirky design; all the bedrooms are on the ground floor, the living spaces on the first floor (hence being called an ‘upside-down’ house); and amazingly, all rooms in this property have access to the outside garden.

“As you enter the house, the light and staircase draw you up to the first floor living accommodation.” adds, Stuart.

“The open plan first floor configuration creates the sense of open space with no internal walls to disrupt the light across the space from all four sides of the building.”

Stuart tells us that his favorite space are the windows of the ground floor bedrooms as these are designed to avoid any potential overlooking off the neighboring land and house.

“They create a unique character to both the inside of the rooms as they draw your eye to a different view, whilst the north-facing elevation glazing is reduced to keep down the heat loss and an intriguing rear elevation is created.”

What are the other eco-friendly credentials of the property?

“The house is a timber framed, highly insulated and air-tight building which helps to reduce the overall heating requirements. the heating its self is provided by the air-sorce heat-pump which is an increasingly popular method of heating our homes.”

Read the full latest edition of Exeter living here.

Our Latest Eco-Homes

Planning Win: New House In Exminster

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We have received planning permission for this exciting new house design just outside Exeter.  A replacement dwelling, the home will be constructed using ICF insulated blocks to a high level of insulation and airtightness.  
The heating will be supplied via an air-source heat pump and use mechanical ventilation and heat recovery meaning it will reach near Passive energy standards.  The broken form was designed to respond to views, light, and the prevailing winds, with large overhands offering shade and reducing glare. 

On-Site: Modern English Farmhouse, 

This is a contemporary single-storey new house with local stone and timber external details. The house has a low profile and will sit comfortably within the site and agricultural surroundings. 

On-Site: New Family Farm House, Dunkeswell

The design of the proposed dwelling is a two-storey farmhouse with local flint stone details and a timber oak frame kitchen and sunroom. 

Planning Win: Listed House Extension in Exeter

We have received planning permission for a replacement extension to a Grade II listed detached townhouse, situated on a private road in St Leonards. The replacement extension features crittal doors and a section of glass flooring to allow natural lighting into the basement.

Our RIBA Work Stage Videos

We are in the process of creating videos to explain our Architectural Design stages from start to finish. Here are the first two:

Stage 1 – we complete a measured survey of the project and or site. The laser scanner produces a 360º image and laser scan data for each room, we then align the scans from each room with the last. When we are back in the office we use the point cloud data to draw a 3D model in Revit bim software, based on the existing plans elevation and site.

Stage 2 we illustrate the basic concept of the designs. We do this by creating a series of sketch designs or design options for you, looking at how to make the most of your site, existing building, or interior. This stage is essential to help you make the most of your brief and budget. In the second half of stage 2, we draw up the sketch designs in Revit and provide 3D views to our clients. 

This phase also includes developing the designs based on client feedback.

Featured in Self Build And Design

We are pleased to see our ‘Origami’ Project featured in the September 2021 edition of Self Build & Design!

Dartmoor Planning Advice

Going to visit a new project on Dartmoor is one of our favourite parts of our job.  No matter what time of year, Dartmoor always has a new colour to reveal, new light over the moorland or mossy corner down a lane.  Dartmoor is full of contrasts and those of you who have chosen it as your home know only too well; a special kind of magic.

Living Space Architects Project: Forestry Houses, Dartmoor, UK Joakim Borén Photography 2008

Planning advice

Designing architecture in Dartmoor national park requires a particular sensitivity to these special things; the changing light, materials and existing farm buildings that nestle into the landscape.  It isn’t the place for high-end architectural acrobatics, however, it is for the creation of quiet, beautiful spaces.  When we start a project we begin by considering what makes the place special?  What is the particular microclimate of the site? And of course what will work with the particular landscape and site features?

If you are creating an extension or altering an existing home on Dartmoor, it is important to consider the design guidance available on the local authority website.  This includes a wealth of information about what you need to consider in relation to their planning policy. 

You may think the guidance would steer you towards a more traditional approach, but appropriate contemporary architecture still has its place and there are some really good examples of how modern design approaches can sit really well within the National Park.  You can access the design guide here.

Of course if you are thinking of carrying out a project on Dartmoor we would be delighted to come and talk to you or have a remote chat on Zoom or Skype.

Living Space has a wealth of experience working within Dartmoor National Park and carry out planning applications and appeals for clients across the south-west.  If you have a particular question or would like someone to get in touch fill out our enquiry form here:

Shortlisted For the Build It 2020 Awards

Living Space is delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted for the Build it awards, under the category: ‘Best Architect or Designer for a Self Build Project’

*Voting closes on the 12th November 2020*

Using Virtual Reality at Living Space

At living space architects, we offer our clients the opportunity to experience their designs.

Reference: https://www.livingspacearchitects.com/http:/www.livingspacearchitects.com/news/the-class-q-craze

Our 3D visualisation software creates a walkthrough experience, which allows the client to gain a better spacial understanding of their project long before it is built.

These 3D visualisations are created by our rendering software, Enscape, which you can try for yourself by following the link below.

https://api2.enscape3d.com/v1/view/72bf5c61-9fb8-4da0-bbaf-79e95e4c93f2

(Currently there is no support for Internet Explorer/Edge/Safari or iOS devices)

View of what the client sees when viewing their home in virtual reality

A a result of lockdown, we have not been able to have meetings in the office to show clients our designs. Instead we have been sending over web links, (like the one above) that the clients can use to explore their projects from home.

The Process:

When we visit the clients site we use 3D scanning and point cloud technology to measure the property. We can then use these measurements to create the existing structure on Enscape.

Virtual reality view of the clients home
VR view of the clients home

Class Q Barn Conversions

Class Q legislation provides a means of increasing the value of agricultural buildings through transforming them into new accommodation. We have worked on many of these projects, taking unused barns and converting them into spacious new homes or ancillary living quarters. Gaining consent for the works requires careful consideration in order to justify the barn’s eligibility for Class Q conversion.

Crucially important to the success of these works is the collaborative effort involved. Both Alister King-Smith of Stags planning services as well as Robert Thomson of Simon Bastone Associates have been involved on a range of our projects, providing the necessary specialisation to make our designs fly.

At the moment, we are working on a number of different schemes and below we highlight a few case studies of recently-approved Class Q applications that we have been involved in:

Conversion of Two Barns – Cullompton

Our clients in Cullompton came to us with the exciting brief of converting two barns on the same plot – one steel-framed and fully clad, the other mainly block.

Our designs for the barns transformed the larger, steel-framed structure into a three-bedroom dwelling and the finalised designs can be seen below:

Dutch Barn – Bickington, Newton Abbot

This Class Q conversion project has created a two-storey dwelling within a barn situated in the garden of a farmhouse. The steel structural frame and curved roof, archetypal features of Dutch barns, will be retained whilst some of the cladding is removed in order to allow for the insertion of windows and doors.

This plan details a cross-section view of the proposals, displaying the new first floor and changes to the exterior structure of the barn in order to allow access and bring light in.
At ground floor level, open-plan areas are overlooked by a mezzanine floor.

Piggery – Stoke Climsand, Cornwall

This project concerned the change of use of an old piggery into a residential property. The building lies on farmland and we have worked in collaboration with both Stags planning as well as Simon Bastone Associates’ structural engineering services in order to gain permission for its development.

The building has always been in agricultural use and will retain its current external materials whilst having windows, doors and services installed in order to enable it to become a three-bedroom residential dwelling.

The Original Timber Framed Barn