Planning granted in Fareham

We are pleased to announce that we have just gained planning permission for the remodelling and extension of a 1960s bungalow in Fareham which will transform it into a a contemporary house.

First floor extension Fareham

Whilst we might make the transition from single storey bungalow into a desirable house look easy, obtaining that all important planning permission was anything but straight forward.

First floor extensionWith consideration about the impact of creating a two storey house with bungalows each side and concerns about the overall height of the proposed property, our initial response to a client that loves all things modern was for the property to become a contemporary flat roofed house. Rather than simply raising the external walls and adding a pitched roof as others have done in the road, our approach was to set the two storey element back from the part of bungalow nearest the road and to set it in from the side gable wall nearest the neighbour. However our cutting edge design did not cut it with the planners. Despite no opposition from the neighbours, the planners initially said that the whilst the design was commendable, they did not wish to see flat roof houses being built in the main Fareham area and that the design was too bulky.

Contemporary house Fareham

So having got nowhere with the flat roofed house, we turned our thoughts to a shallow pitched hipped roof design, which bizarrely gained the approval of the local planning authority despite being bulkier and taller than our earlier plans.

Our design will see the entire roof of the bungalow removed and another storey added, with a two storey extension being built to the rear. The design will incorporate a series of different shallow hipped roofs at both the ground floor and first floor levels, wrap around glazing and rendered and timber clad elevations. The design follows the stepped approach used for the earlier flat roof design but has been fully reworked to make it fit the hipped roof design.

Inside the house will have four bedrooms, bathroom and ensuite on the first floor, whilst the ground floor will be reconfigured to include a large open plan kitchen / family room (55m2 ) with wrap around glazing on three elevations, study and living rooms.

By adding 100m2 of additional space, the design will more than double the size of the original bungalow.

If you have a similar project in mind give us a call on 02392 525100.


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Planning granted in Hill Head

We are pleased to have gained planning permission for an interesting project near the sea in Hill Head, Hampshire.
Contemporary House Hampshire

Having worked successfully on two of their earlier projects, our clients were keen to unlock the potential in their new bungalow by building a whole new floor above the existing.

The bungalow originally built in the 1980s with a very shallow roof offered no scope for a loft conversion to create first floor accommodation without raising the ridge. Working closely with our client we developed an idea that would see the entire roof removed, the external walls raised by around 1m and a new steeper roof placed on top. Simple though it might sound, extending a property in this manner can often lead to objections from both the neighbours and the planning authority.

Our design creates a contemporary barn style property with a double height hallway with galleried landing, oversized windows with sliding shutter doors and acres of natural wood cladding.  The property will increase by 151m2 at first floor level with the finished overall internal floor area of the living accommodation over the two floors being 274m.

Contemporary house Fareham

Inside the changes to the internal layout will be just as dramatic as the exterior. Three of the original ground floor bedrooms will be opened out to create a 9m long kitchen and social area. Despite a very large area being created on the upper floor, only three bedrooms are proposed with each having its own ensuite bathroom, whilst the master suite will have a balcony on the south elevation.

Despite the increase in size our careful crafted proposal helped ensure that there was no opposition to the proposal from neighbours and the planning application ran smoothly.


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Planning granted in Alverstoke

3 storey basement extensionWe have just gained planning permission for a multiple level contemporary extension on a detached house in Alverstoke, Gosport.

The house originally built to an individual design is located on a deep plot with a significant change in level between the front garden at street level and the rear. The garden to the rear of the house drops away with a steep bank which meant that linking the ground floor of the property with the lower garden level was crucial to the design.

Existing house

Despite the long rear garden, the depth of the house is quite small with the existing kitchen and living rooms running front to back at ground floor level with the overall depth of the property from external front wall to the external rear wall being just 5.2m. The shallow depth of the house therefore provided much scope for extending to the rear.

The brief required us to create additional living space, two additional bedrooms, alterations to create a social kitchen and a clever way to link the house to the garden. Our solution creates a cellar which is level with the rear garden and a double storey family room to link the existing ground floor with the garden.

Working with the existing hipped roof design of the original property, our design introduces three additional hipped roofs to the house with new walls in render and timber. New bedrooms are created at first floor and cellar level, a timber deck and patio area are accessible at ground floor level with the patio area being cited above the cellar guest bedroom.  Our design rearranges the ground floor layout and opens up the rear rooms to a two storey rear garden room that links the house to the garden.

Our detailed design smoothed the path for gaining planning permission.

3 storey basement extension 2


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What happens when the builder goes off-piste?

The problem

We have had a number of instances where during the build the builder has decided to go it alone and change things from our detailed design. In deviating from the design these builders have moved from a safe area where by following the drawings the work would meet Building Regulations and client approval to one where there is no certainty that the work will meet regulations, the homeowner maybe unhappy and withhold payment and the responsibility for failure shifts from designer to builder.

A set of plans and drawings does not mean that the build or method of construction cannot be varied, but those variations do need to meet the stringent criteria that the original design met. The sort of issues we have come across suggest that the builders involved had not studied the plans and had little understanding of certain building principles resulting in the work contravening Building Regulations due to serious structural issues.

Roof spreadWhat are the risks?

The type of worrying changes we have seen lately include changing the specification of roof beams and their positions, omitting important structural details and fabricating from sections of steel beams a corner lintel, where a tried and tested manufacturer of corner beams had been specified.

The risks associated with the incorrect installation of roof beams can lead to excessive deflection and cracking of finishes or roof spread where the roof would simply push out  the walls. Moving from a specialist corner lintel to one that has been “knocked up” by the builder or his steel supplier are less obvious. Whilst the steel beams might be strong enough, has the method of connecting them to each other and method of weatherproofing and insulating been given the same degree of research and thought as the specialist item? Or to put it another way, the knocked up one is just a one off prototype made by a bloke with a welding torch, compared to one made by a national company that has been making them for over a decade in factory conditions by a technical team who base their designs on research, sound engineering principles and feedback.

Why do it?

Builders may decide to change something to save money, speed up the supply of items to the site or simply due to a lack of understanding.

There is no defence for changing structural elements without the approval of the homeowner, the designer and the Building Control body. It is unlikely that a project of extending or altering an existing house is going to run on such a tight schedule that lead in times for ordering of glulam beams or corner lintels cannot be met. However if the lead in time does necessitate looking elsewhere for specialist items, the homeowner, designer and Building Control Office should be consulted to arrive at the alternative that is costed and approved before proceeding. 

The message

If a builder plans to make changes to the design, homeowners should be aware of the implication to the costs and possible knock on effects to other parts of the build. If the change is to save the builder money, what deduction and saving will be passed on to the client? The next step is agreeing the change with the designer and the Building Control authority.

One final point worth considering when deciding to accept those changes or not, is the implication to the planning consent. If the change involves the external appearance of the building the Planning Office may require either an application for a minor amendment or in some cases a fresh planning application.

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Planning granted for Coppershades

Contemporary flat roof house designWe have just been granted planning permission to dramatically remodel Coppershades, a 1970s chalet bungalow near Netley Abbey. Working largely with the existing footprint of the building we created a tailored design that will nearly double the first floor accommodation, whist reducing the overall height of the building. Our proposal removes the existing flat roofed dormers and tiled roof to create a contemporary flat roofed home with wrap around glazing and high levels of insulation. The design rearranges the ground floor layout and opens up the rear rooms to create a large social kitchen and family room which will have access onto a private courtyard in the vicinity of the old garage.

Sited within designated countryside, a strategic gap and bordering the Netley Abbey Conservation Area and part of the former grounds to the abbey, planning permission for such a contemporary design could have been tricky. Despite local opposition to the proposal on design grounds, we were able to work with the local planning office to deliver a proposal which they considered to be of good design, adding to the mix of house styles in the area.

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Conflicts in regulatory requirements

We regularly come across scenarios where there appears to be a conflict between the requirements of one regulation or requirement and another.

Requirement B1, Means of warning and escape of the Building Regulations requires means of escape windows in the upper storey of a house to be positioned in such a way that people can readily climb out of them in the event of a fire. This requirement can create problems when trying to design a layout that involves placing a room in the centre of the house with a window overlooking a side boundary. Whilst the Building Regulations require the escape window to be positioned with the opening no higher than 1100mm above the floor level, the planners will want to protect the privacy of the neighbouring property and they do this by controlling the type of glass or the position of the window.  If the proposed window would look out over a boundary to an adjacent property the planners are likely to ask for the window to be either non opening and obscured, or positioned at a height of more than 1700mm above the floor.  A non opening window with obscured glass in a bedroom is likely to be claustrophobic, would not comply with B1 or indeed F1 Ventilation, whereas a window placed at 1700mm above the floor would also not comply with the requirements for means of escape. Even though B1 is concerned with saving people’s lives in the case of the fire it will not trump the planning requirements for protecting the privacy of neighbours. If your design relies on this solution it is time to come up with another design.

In  Victorian or Georgian properties sash windows are often positioned with the cills a short distance above the upper floor level. Heights of 450 to 600mm for the height of the window above the floor level are not uncommon.  The design of any extension to these properties is likely to work well when the position and shape of windows in the extended or altered part has some relation to the existing windows, indeed the planners may actually insist on it. Here the conflicting requirements stem from requirement K2 Protection from Falling of the Building Regulations which aims to protect people from falling out of an open window that is less than 800mm above floor level.  A solution to keep both the planning office and building inspector happy is to incorporate a fixed guard on the inner face of the window at a height of 800mm.

Another conflict which clients often complain about appears to be between L1B Conservation of fuel and Power in Existing Dwellings and F1 Means of Ventilation. At first glance the need to have trickle vents to all rooms and mechanical extract fans in kitchens, bathrooms and WCs, or an alternatively system of permanent vents in the ceilings linked to a passive stack system appears contrary to the requirements of high levels of insulation and draught proofing as required to conserve energy and reduce CO2 emissions. But a greater understanding of the problems associated with condensation in buildings with highly insulated envelopes explains the reasons why the ventilation is so essential.

Requirement B1 can also require dramatic changes to the escape route when a two storey house is converted to a three storey building with a loft conversion.  These requirements include the need to create a protected stairway from the new 2nd floor which would necessitate the existing doors in the house from bedrooms, living rooms and the kitchen that access the hallway and staircase being replaced with shiny new fire doors.  Proposing this change on a listed building is likely to rub the Conservation Officer up the wrong way.

A full understanding of all regulatory requirements at an early stage of the design by a professional designer such as Space and Style Home Design can prevent the design running into unforeseen problems further down the line.

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