Sunday 3 October 2010

Office Refurbishment....

An office refurbishment in the heart of London is now one week from hand over to client. R Taylor Design Associates have prepared design and construction drawings.

Wednesday 14 July 2010

Building work progress...

Building work is progressing nicely in Stowmarket with the construction of the new administrative, supply and service headquarters for Eastern Concrete.

Thursday 27 May 2010

More on latest B. Regs 2010 Changes...

Building Regulations latest changes...

The 2010 versions of Part L, F & J have now been published, along with the transitional provisions to be applied at their introduction on the 1st October 2010.

Part F: Ventilation.

Part J: Combustion appliances and fuel storage systems.

Part L1A: Conservation of fuel and power New dwellings.

Part L1B: Conservation of fuel and power Existing dwellings.

Part L2A: Conservation of fuel and power New buildings other than dwellings.

Part L2B: Conservation of fuel and power Existing buildings other than dwellings.

As expected there are new requirements for:

  • Testing of mechanical air flow rates in dwellings
  • Commissioning of mechanical ventilation systems
  • Information relating to mechanical ventilation systems to be supplied to the building owner
  • TER / DER calculations and specifications to be submitted to the building control body before work starts on site
  • Carbon monoxide alarms where combustion appliances are installed

A more detailed review of the main changes and implications for designers and builders will be published by NHBC shortly.

The 2010 amendments do not apply to:

  • Sites where work has already started, prior to the 1st October 2010, or
  • Sites where an Initial Notice has been issued, prior to the 1st October 2010, providing work starts on site before the 1st October 2011.

The published transitional arrangements mean you will not need to obtain a Plans Certificate for a scheme prior to the 1st October 2010, just ensure an Initial Notice is served.

SAP Calcs...

Why do you need a SAP Calculation?

With Governmental and Public focus on C02 emissions, Designers and Developers need to consider the impact that their designs are having on the environment like never before. Part L1a of the Building Regulations requires that SAP calculations are carried out on all new build developments to prove that they are not contributing excessively to carbon emissions. Each dwelling must demonstrate that it meets the Target Emission Rate as stipulated within the SAP calculation.

There are 2 stages for the SAP Calculations. The Design Stage is completed and submitted at the same time as your building control application to your Building Control Body or Approved Inspector. If there are changes to the specification after the Design SAP has been completed then the Building Control Officer or Approved Inspector may request that an amended Design SAP is submitted.

The As-Built Stage is calculated when the premises is complete. From the calculation a 'pass' Certificate will be produced for submission to the Building Control Officer or Approved Inspector.

Approved Document Part L1A

Part L1A is to do with Conservation of Fuel and Power in new dwellings and is just one part of the Building Regulations in England and Wales. Since the government announced that it intends to reduce the UK's carbon emissions by 60% by the year 2050 there has been a concerted effort to look at ways of reducing emissions from within the built environment. 50% of the UK's carbon emissions can be attributed to the built environment so it stands to reason that the biggest cut backs can be made in this area. Part L1a contains the legislation that aims to make this happen.

There are five criteria which must be met to achieve compliance. One of these criteria is that the Dwelling Emission Rate should be equal to or less than the Target Emission Rate. This is achieved using the government approved calculation methodology, which in this case is the SAP calculation. Other factors that are covered by Part L1a include air permeability rates, restricting U values and limiting solar gains in summer.

EPC (Energy Performance Certificate)

The Energy Performance Certificate is now a mandatory requirement for all new homes completed after 6th April 2008. The certificate sets out the dwellings sap & energy efficiency ratings and also has a list of recommended upgrades in order of cost effectiveness. The certificate is required for the sale of the property.

Building regulations – Full Plans or Building Notice...

You can make a building regulation application in two ways – full plans or building notice. Listed below are the main differences between the two.

Full plans
• You can use it for all types of building work.
• You need to send two copies of plans and application forms (four copies for designated buildings).
• You will pay charges when you send the application to the local authority the plans and again after the first site inspection.
• The decision can take up to five weeks (two months if agreed).
• As long as you follow the approved plans, the work will normally meet building standards when it is inspected.
• You can send the local authority amended plans as long as the scheme is generally the same.
• Approval notice ends three years after the work has been approved.

Building notice
• It is best suited for small uncomplicated work.
• It cannot be used for designated buildings or buildings within three metres of a public sewer.
• You only need to send to the local authority a block plan showing the proposals in relation to existing buildings, boundaries and nearby streets, and details of any drainage. If it is an extension (including a room in the roof), you must provide details of its floor area together with two copies of the building notice application forms. (Remember, you should send the local authority as much information as possible.)
• No decision notice is issued.
• You will pay one charge when you forward the Building Notice to the local authority.
• There is more emphasis on site work and your builder – this might mean that work will need to be removed or altered if it does not meet certain standards.
• The notice ends three years after being accepted.
• It may not be accepted by some lending organisations.

Designated buildings are offices, shops, railway premises, hotels and boarding houses, factories and other places where people are employed.

Note: You will have to pay charges for both applications, and they are the same whichever method
you choose.

Tuesday 9 March 2010

WHY Yachts... because you can...

The future of mega yacht design with a low environmental impact? The WHY (Wally Herm├Ęs Yachts) concept, according to the press release, "offers comfort, privacy, stability, space, independence and sustainability", at a cost no doubt we mere mortals can only dream of. "It has a diesel-electric propulsion system that is the most efficient motorisation today, and the surface of the photovoltaic panels, almost 900 square metres, covers most of the boat’s auxiliary system needs".
This is a beautiful example of Naval Architecture and maritime interior design that will inevitably, if put into production, be seen sailing around the Burj Al Arab Hotel in where's that two pound coin for a Euro millions lottery ticket??.....

Monday 8 March 2010

On your marks...

Building work has commenced on the headquarters for Eastern Concrete in Stowmarket.

Tuesday 16 February 2010

Holiday Lodges...

Drawings were prepared for the siting of 2No. holiday lodges from Wessex Park and Leisure Homes - "The Coach house". Presented for a planning application submission, the proposal was granted permission in October 2009.

With Swimming Pool!...

Ground Floor Plan.

Front and side elevations.

Rear Elevation visualisation with trees that exist on the site.

Prepared for a submission to the local planning authority, this design has been created for 2No Executive homes in a pseudo 'period' style on a site in Exeter.

Barn Conversion...

Internal layout design and Building Regulations for the conversion of a Grade 2 listed stone and cob former milking parlour stalls and roundhouse in to a holiday let in rural Devon.

Monday 15 February 2010


Planning Permission

Rules governing outbuildings apply to sheds, greenhouses and garages as well as other ancillary garden buildings such as swimming pools, ponds, sauna cabins, kennels, enclosures (including tennis courts) and many other kinds of structure for a purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the dwellinghouse.

Other rules relate to the installation of a satellite dish, the erection of a new dwelling or the erection or provision of fuel storage tanks.

Under new regulations that came into effect on 1 October 2008 outbuildings are considered to be permitted development, not needing planning permission, subject to the following limits and conditions:

· No outbuilding on land forward of a wall forming the principal elevation.

· Outbuildings and garages to be single storey with maximum eaves height of 2.5 metres and maximum overall height of four metres with a dual pitched roof or three metres for any other roof.

· Maximum height of 2.5 metres in the case of a building, enclosure or container within two metres of a boundary of the curtilage of the dwellinghouse.

· No verandas, balconies or raised platforms.

· No more than half the area of land around the "original house"* would be covered by additions or other buildings.

· In National Parks, the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and World Heritage Sites the maximum area to be covered by buildings, enclosures, containers and pools more than 20 metres from house to be limited to 10 square metres.

· On designated land* buildings, enclosures, containers and pools at the side of properties will require planning permission.

· Within the curtilage of listed buildings any outbuilding will require planning permission.

*The term "original house" means the house as it was first built or as it stood on 1 July 1948 (if it was built before that date). Although you may not have built an extension to the house, a previous owner may have done so.

*Designated land includes national parks and the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, conservation areas and World Heritage Sites.

Please note: the permitted development allowances described here apply to houses not flats, maisonettes or other buildings.

The Building Regulations on Outbuildings...

If you want to put up small detached buildings such as a garden shed or summerhouse in your garden, building regulations will not normally apply if the floor area of the building is less than 15 square metres and contains NO sleeping accommodation.

If the floor area of the building is between 15 square metres and 30 square metres, you will not normally be required to apply for building regulations approval providing that the building contains NO sleeping accommodation and is either at least one metre from any boundary or it is constructed of substantially non-combustible materials.

Saving Energy...

Solar Panels...

In many cases fixing solar panels to the roof of a single dwelling house is likely to be considered 'permitted development' under planning law with no need to apply for planning permission.

There are, however, important exceptions and provisos which must be observed.

These permitted development rights apply to houses. If you live in a flat and are considering fitting solar panels you are advised to contact your LPA for guidance.

If you wish to install a solar panel on your roof building regulations will normally apply.

The ability of the existing roof to carry the load (weight) of the panel will need to be checked and proven. Some strengthening work may be needed.

The Building Regulations on Solar Panels...

Building regulations also apply to other aspects of the work such as electrical installation. It is advisable to contact an installer who can provide the necessary advice.

Wind Turbines...

The planning regime for installing wind turbines is complex and evolving.

At present in most cases you will need to apply for planning permission from your local authority to add a domestic wind turbine to your house, or grounds surrounding your home.

It is up to each local authority to decide what information you may need to provide with your application. It may be helpful to contact your authority before applying to discuss the following planning issues

· Visual impact

· Noise

· Vibration

· Electrical interference (with TV aerials)

· Safety.

Always check with your local planning authority about planning issues before you have a system installed.

The Building Regulations on Wind Turbines...

If you wish to install a wind turbine which will be attached to your house building regulations will normally apply.

Size, weight and force exerted on fixed points would be considerable.

Building regulations also apply to other aspects of the work such as electrical installation. It is advisable to contact an engineer who can provide the necessary advice.

If the wind turbine is not attached to your house, then only the electrical installation and connection will be captured by the requirements of the building regulations.

Loft Conversions...

Planning permission is not normally required. However, permission is required where you extend or alter the roof space and it exceeds specified limits and conditions.

Under new regulations that came into effect from 1 October 2008 a loft conversion for your house is considered to be permitted development, not requiring an application for planning permission, subject to the following limits and conditions:

· A volume allowance of 40 cubic metres additional roof space for terraced houses*

· A volume allowance of 50 cubic metres additional roof space for detached and semi-detached houses*

· No extension beyond the plane of the existing roof slope of the principal elevation that fronts the highway

· No extension to be higher than the highest part of the roof

· Materials to be similar in appearance to the existing house

· No verandas, balconies or raised platforms

· Side-facing windows to be obscure-glazed; any opening to be 1.7m above the floor

· Roof extensions not to be permitted development in designated areas**

· Roof extensions, apart from hip to gable ones, to be set back, as far as practicable, at least 20cm from the eaves

*Bear in mind that any previous roof space additions must be included within the volume allowances listed above. Although you may not have created additional space a previous owner may have done so.

Roof windows...

You do not normally need to apply for planning permission to re-roof your house or to insert roof lights or skylights.

The new rules introduced on 1 October 2008 allow for roof alterations without the need for planning permission, subject to the following limits and conditions:

· Any alteration to project no more than 150 millimetres from the existing roof plane.

· No alteration to be higher than the highest part of the roof.

· Side facing windows to be obscure-glazed; any opening to be 1.7m above the floor.

· The permitted development regime for solar panels has different limits on projections and in relation to protected areas.

These permitted development rights apply to houses. If you live in a flat and are considering work on your roof you are advised to contact your LPA for guidance.

The Building Regulations on re-roofing...

If you want to carry out repairs on or re-cover less than 25 per cent of the area of a pitch or flat roof, you will not normally need to submit a building regulations application. You will need approval, however, if:

1. You carry out structural alterations

2. The performance of the new covering will be significantly different to that of the existing covering in the event of a fire

3. You are replacing/ repairing more than 25 per cent of the roof area, in which case, the roof thermal insulation would normally have to be improved.

There are separate rules for construction of new roofs.

Monday 25 January 2010

Building Regulations generally...

The control of building standards is completely separate from Development Control, and approval under the building regulations must not be confused with planning permission. Approval under the building regulations does not mean that planning permission has been given and vice versa. Once approval has been given, you are required to notify Building Control of commencement and subsequent visits as required.

Some building works are exempt from the Building Regulations, although Planning Permission may still be required. Even if the work does not need planning permission, it may require approval under the Building Regulations.

Building Regulations are concerned with maintaining the health and safety standards of buildings, energy conservation and access and facilities for disabled people. These are broken down into guidance notes, more commonly referred to as Approved Document A, B etc. The full list is as follows:-

A - Structure
B - Fire Safety
C - Site Preparation and Resistance to moisture
D - Toxic Substances
E - Resistance to the Passage of Sound
F - Ventilation
G - Hygiene
H - Drainage and Waste Disposal
J - Heat Producing Appliances
K - Stairs, Ramps and Guards
L1A - Conservation of Fuel and Power (for new domestic buildings)
L1B - Conservation of Fuel and Power (for works to existing domestic buildings)
L2A - Conservation of Fuel and Power (for new build non domestic dwellings)
L2B - Conservation of Fuel and Power (for works to existing non domestic dwellings)
M - Access and Facilities for Disabled People
N - Glazing - Materials and Protection
P - Electrical Safety

Completion Certificates

Council's can now issue Completion Certificates for the benefit of developers and purchasers alike, this is ESSENTIAL when selling the property.

With certain small exceptions, no one may demolish a building unless notice of this is given to the Council. An inspection will then be made of the building to be demolished and a notice will be sent to the person concerned, specifying certain works which must be carried out, e.g. disconnecting, sealing or removing drains; supporting and weatherproofing exposed walls; removal of rubbish from the demolition to leave the site level and free from danger. If this work is not carried out satisfactorily, the Council can undertake the work and recover the cost.