We have just completed one of the first 6m extensions in St Albans!

We have finally completed one of the first 6m extensions in St Albans which was allowed under the Relaxation of the Planning rules which is due to end in 2016!  The Client is delighted with her new space!  There are five adults in the family, between mum and dad, two teenage kids and an elderly grandmother and the home was becoming to tight for everyone to get together.  The new space allows the whole family to eat, chat, relax all together, plus plenty of space for friends and family to come and visit!!

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enjoy the outdoors all year round.

enjoy the outdoors all year round.

 

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Estacchini Architects has been given the prestigious Smarter Planning Champion Award!

We have been awarded the smarter planning champion award

Estacchini Architects has been recognized as a Smarter Planning Champion Practice

Planning Permission Obtained for a lovely family home!

An extension wich allows for lots of light while avoiding overheating

An extension wich allows for lots of light while avoiding overheating

A KITCHEN EXTENSION WARM IN WINTER AND COOL IN THE SUMMER

Bring the sun into your home!

When extending your home remember that you don’t want to make the existing house a dark cavern

A KITCHEN EXTENSION THAT IS WARM IN WINTER AND COOL IN THE SUMMER

WE DESIGNED THIS LOVELY KITCHEN EXTENSION TO BRING THE SUN INTO THE HOME IN WINTER, BUT NOT CREATING OVERHEATING DURING THE SUMMER

WE INTEGRATED TWO LOVELY, TRIPLE GLAZED ROOF LANTERN THAT LET THE HEAT INTO THE HOUSE DURING THE WINTER, BUT REFLECT THE HEAT IN THE SUMMER, AND FOR EXTRA COOLING IN THE SUMMER WE ALLOWED FOR CROSS VENTILATION BETWEEN THE BI-FOLDING DOORS AND THE SIDE WINDOWS.

ALL WALLS, FLOORS AND CEILING ARE SUPER-INSULATED FOR EXTRA WARMTH IN WINTER AND COOLING IN THE SUMMER.

THE RESULTING SPACE IS LOVELY AND BRIGHT IN WINTER AND ALLOWS FOR THE ENJOYMENT OF THE GARDEN IN THE SUMMER!

THE SMALLEST EXTENSION IN ST ALBANS?

The smallest extension in St Albans

The smallest extension in St Albans

PLANNING PERMISSION AND BUILDING CONTROL PERMISSION HAVE BEEN OBTAINED FOR WHAT IS PROBABLY THE SMALLEST EXTENSION IN ST ALBANS!

THIS LOVELY COUPLE NEEDED A DOWNSTAIRS BATHROOM BUT WERE FINDING IT DIFFICULT TO FIND AN ARCHITECT INTERESTED IN GIVING THIS TINY EXTENSION ALL THE ATTENTION TO DETAIL THEY REQUIRED.  AT ESTACCHINI ARCHITECTS WE  GIVE EACH INDIVIDUAL PROJECT ALL THE POSSIBLE ATTENTION, INDEPENDENTLY FROM THE SIZE!  THE RESULT IS A LOVELY SPACE WITH AN OPEN CEILING TO CATCH AS MUCH NATURAL LIGHT AS POSSIBLE!

PLANNING PERMISSION OBTAINED FOR AN EXTENSION TO AN ART DECO BUNGALOW IN ST ALBANS

Extension to a beautiful Art Deco bungalow in St Albans

Elegant Extension to an Art Deco bungalow in St Albans

THIS LOVELY ART DECO BUNGALOW IS LOCATED IN A CENTRAL AREA OF ST ALBANS AND IT IS SITED NEXT TO A DIFFICULT SLOPING BOUNDARY WALL.

THE COMPLEXITY OF THE PROJECT WAS FOCUSED ON HOW TO NOT COMPROMISE THE TRADITIONAL ART DECO DESIGN WHILE HAVING TO INTEGRATE A VERY MODERN ‘SLOPING WALL’  REQUIRED BECAUSE OF THE PARTICULAR SHAPE OF THE BOUNDARY.

WE MAXIMIZED THE USE OF SPACE AND DECIDED THAT A CEDAR CLADDING WOULD HELP DISGUISE ANY DISCREPANCY BETWEEN OLD AND NEW WHILE CREATING A TRADITIONAL DESIGN WITH A MODERN TWIST.  THE PLANNERS APPRECIATED THIS APPROACH AND HAVE GIVEN US AN UNCONDITIONAL PLANNING PERMISSION!

How much is my extension/refurbishment/new build going to cost?

Detail design of a bay window. We ensured that the elderly lady living here was able to look outside the window even on her off days when she would have to rest in bed

When it comes to building costs and professional fees one of the most frustrating things for Clients is that they find it difficult to get a clear answer.  How much will my building cost? The answer is unfortunately: it depends! For example are you thinking to go for a high specification or a low one?  What area of the UK do you live in?  Do you want your Architect to look after the project up to completion on site or would you rather risk higher costs and go to a Contractor after obtaining Planning permission? Will you change you mind during construction? These are only some of the issues that may affect how much your extension/refurbishment/new build is going to cost.

Estimating Building Costs (Please note that these figures are indicative and they are not intended to be anything more than a helpful guide).

It is very difficult to give an accurate cost per sqm of the building expense as there is no exact average to go by as every site is different: drainage positioning, access to site, site conditions, etc. But assuming that we have ‘normal conditions’ and assuming that the specification is ‘standard’ and that you do not make any changes during construction (which would immediately increase the cost and time of the project):

1)      Standard construction, no significant structural issues, standard specification

£1,500.00 per sqm

2)      Higher specification some structural or site related complexity

£1,700.00 per sqm

The two main problems in identifying building costs are that contractors can quote very differently from each other and the other problem is unexpected surprises during construction (i.e. an old drainage chamber or extra structure is discovered to be required only once the walls have been demolished etc.), which hopefully can be covered by the presence of a 10% contingency fund.

Your Architect can help you get a more accurate building cost:  if you employ your Architect to prepare a specification, a Scope of Works and detailed drawings your costs will be kept under control.

What is a Building Specification? Let’s say you have obtained Planning Permission and Building Control clearance for a small bathroom extension, the next step would be for us to prepare a Specification.  In a Specification we will help you make decision regarding for example the kind of wall tiles you want to use, or the kind of bathroom fittings you want and compile this in a document which will also give instructions as to regards the supplier you want to use and the way you want things done (example: you require a ceramic bead at every corner to give a higher standard of finishes!).  This will give the Contractor clear instructions as to what materials you want to use, and will enable him to price things more accurately and ensure you get exactly what you like (not some cheap tiles from the contractor’s best friend!).

What is a Scope of Works? In this document we will give a general description of the works, allowing the contractor to familiarize with the works before he gets stuck in the complexity of the specification.  We usually do the room by room on a big project and do an entry for floors, ceiling and wall treatment/demolition etc.  We also give an indication to what kind of electrical and mechanical system is to be used.  This is an important document and will again be used by the contractor to give a more accurate estimation of costs.

What is a detail design? Detail designs are important because they show the contractor how we want the construction of the building to look like.  So for example a detail of a flat roof will show the contractor what materials he is supposed to use.  For example, often bad Contractors, like to use cheap insulation that are inflammable and not made by natural materials becasue they know that the Client ‘would not know better’ without the guidance of an Architect!

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Once the Contractor has read the documents and looked at the detail design he will give a price for the works.  We will ensure that we get at least five contractor to price for the works and help you to make a decision as to which contractor to use and also ensure that he sticks to the price he has given by putting it in writing in a Contract.

Remember that an extension can add around 25% to the value of your property!

A 6m extension in St Albans

Natural light and ventilation,St Albans:  This is a typical St Albans 1930’s semidetached home in need of extra space to the rear as the family is growing and is looking after an elderly relative.  The extension takes advantage of the new Relaxation in the Planning Laws and will be 6m deep, a roof lantern will bring lots of natural light and ventilation into the new family and kitchen areas.  Construction is nearly terminated and the Client is delighted with the new space which allows her to cook while overlooking her lovely garden! Photos soon to come!005-Building Regulations

More information related to the Relaxation of the Planning Laws: under this new scheme which is currently to last until 2016, home owners will be permitted to extend a semidetached house from 3m to 6m (only ground floor) and detached homes from 4m to 8m (only ground floor).  The extensions are allowed without planning permission, but the process is more complicated than it first appears to be.  For a start a set of plans still will need to be submitted to the Council together with a list of all the neighbours name and address.   After the Planners ensure that the proposed plans are acceptable within the permitted development parameters they will contact the neighbours for their view.  You only need one neighbour to be unhappy with the proposal to run into troubled waters!  If all neighbours are happy, the Council will issue a first approval.

But this is not the end of the story!  The Council in fact requires that after overcoming the first hurdle described above, the same set of plans is submitted again to the Planning Department so that you may obtain a ‘Ccertificate of Lawfulness’.   The certificate could still be refused at this stage! Which means making modifications to the plans and resubmitting the whole lot again!  In conclusion this will not be an easy ride, but as our lovely client concluded ‘well worthwhile once you look at the results!’

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A Barn Extension with a SPA

A Barn Extension with a SPA

A warm comfortable place that will allow for the enjoyment of the beautiful Hertfordshire countryside.

 

UGLY HOUSE MAKEOVER, ST ALBANS

 

Ugly house makeover:  this house was the ugliest house in the road!  All the other houses had the same outlook at they have been built by the same developer, but they had received some ‘Tender Loving Care’ throughout the years and looked pretty neat and looked after, unlike this house which the owner nicknamed ‘Ugly Duckling’.  On top of this the house is quite cold as it was built in 1979 when homes where not insulated properly, so that when the heating goes on most of it is dissipated through the walls and the heating bills are huge, considering it is such a small house.   To make matters worst the cavity walls can’t have any additional insulation pumped in as the construction is timber with an outer layer of bricks, so quite a dilemma!  How do you make a house like this one more energy efficient without adding insulation in the walls?

As part of our home improvement we made an energy analysis of the house and found that the following items could immediately help keep the house warmer: new energy efficient boiler, insulation in the loft, replace double glazed windows to triple glazed.  This would help a lot, but something more radical was needed.

Transforming the Ugly House:  someone once said that we ‘are all partial to the pitched roof!’ not everyone would agree with this, and 70′architecture with it’s big windows and modern outlook had a lot of positive outcomes.  But sometimes a style can be used in the wrong way, as in the case of the Ugly House, where a pitched main roof had been combined with a flat roofed porch creating an unelegant outlook to the house.  We decided that the best way to move forward was to do lots of sketches and drawings until we developed a design that could radically upgrade the house, and the pitched roof became center stage! Additionally, to address the energy efficiency issue, we decided that the best way to extend the house was to ensure that the new extension would ‘wrap’ around the existing house as much as possible while retaining the existing main door. This allowed us a double advantage , the owner would not be too disrupted by the works as she simply needed to ‘close her existing main door’ and the retaining of the double door would allow for an 11% of heat being retained in the house as the current front door let lot’s of cold air in and masses of hot air out.

The ‘wrap’ around would have to be super insulated, so that we inserted 150mm of natural insulation in the walls and floor and 200mm in the ceiling!  Consider that builders would normally want to put only 100mm!

Also we needed the space to be very airtight as their is no point in super insulating a space if you don’t make sure the heat cannot find a path to get out.  This was more complicated than initially thought as the contractor had not plastered and sealed the two new internal  meter cupboards.  We made sure that the contractor came back and rectify the problem!

All is well now and the Ugly House has become the most Beautiful House On the Street!

 

11 Harefield Place St Albans - before

 

 

 

 

 

 

11 Harefield Place St Albans - after