• PLANNING MADE EASIER todays news from the BBC website

    PLANNING MADE EASIER todays news from the BBC website

    Planning rules on extensions to be relaxed 'to boost economy', Government new policy.

    The government wants to get planning officers "off people's backs" with a relaxation of current rules in England.

    For a limited period, people will be allowed to build larger extensions on houses - up to 8m long for detached homes and 6m for others.

    Rules on shops and offices expanding and on developments including affordable housing will be relaxed as ministers seek to boost the economy.Businesses will be able to expand shops by 100 square metres and industrial units by 200 square metres.

    Homeowners and businesses will, for a limited time, be able to build much bigger extensions without planning permission than they can at present.

    The new Permitted Development [PD] Rights will make it easier to install conservatories and loft extensions without going through weeks of planning bureaucracy, the prime minister promised.

    Full planning permission - required for extensions of more than three or four metres from the rear wall of any home - will only now be needed for those reaching beyond 8m for detached homes and 6m for others.

    Businesses will be able to expand shops by 100 square metres and industrial units by 200 square metres.


    I often get involved with projects where the renovation or extension to a property is only a little more than allowed under PD. Applying for Planning Permission puts people off, as they see it as a vague process, time consuming and costly! It is, it costs me more putting an application together, the amount of documentation is daunting for the homeowner and time consuming for myself. If we can design and build without the need for Planning Applications you save money that can then be spent on your property. And on a small alteration the cost for Planning is sometimes disproportionate.


    I think if VAT on build costs for refurbishment to residential property was reduced to 5% we'd see a real boost to homeowners spending on improving and extending their property, the 20% tag is too easy for everyone to calculate in the heads and puts us off spending, it's only 2.5% more than what we are used to but as a lump sum on build costs it's just too much!

    BUT SAVE 15% on BUILD COSTS !!!

    Recently I have had a couple of projects where the dwelling has stood empty, under VAT regulations the HMRC discount the VAT payable on build costs/renovation and extension on a property that has been empty for 2 years or more to 5%.

    A few simple points have to be agreed with HMRC and straightforward letter can cover these issues and save you 15% on build costs - agree it all with HMRC before you start ANY work!

    So if you've seen a shabby property that looks unoccupied it may have a silver lining and think on - if the sums add-up delaying a start date for a few months could save you money!

  • NMD - Member of the AECB - the sustainable building association

    I have joined the AECB foundation, they are a body involved with and promoting sustainable building. This is something that has been embodied in my professional and personal work for over 25 years now. It makes sense for me to be part of a forward thinking and influencial body who take a sensisble and informed approach to sustainable buildings.

    To find out more click on the AECB logo on the left of this text, to jump to their website or there is a resume of the AECB here:

    The AECB is a network of individuals and companies with a common aim of promoting sustainable building. It brings together builders, architects, designers, manufacturers, housing associations and local authorities, to develop, share and promote best practice in environmentally sustainable building. We pride ourselves on our independence, relevance and practicality.

    The AECB develops & publishes standards for sustainable building, and delivers training, including on the use of the Passivhaus standard and design tool.

    The AECB is run by its members and is an independent, not for profit organisation.

    The AECB's standards and advice are founded on a detailed and realistic understanding of the performance of buildings, constructed and refurbished in the real world, for real users.

    The AECB's three main roles are:

    To provide a forum for members and others to discuss, test and share principles and methods of sustainable building.

    To draw this experience together into rigorous standards, and to assist members and others to apply these standards.

    To inform and lobby the construction sector and government so that sustainability of building is improved across the board.

    CarbonLite Programme:

    An AECB initiative providing the tools and knowledge to create low-energy buildings in line with existing and future legislation covering both domestic and non-domestic buildings.

    Available to all AECB members, the CarbonLite Programme is a practical step-by-step guide aimed all those practitioners involved in the design, construction and use of low-energy, low-CO₂ emissions buildings. The Programme is designed to be clear, informative and impartial, and outlines the reasons behind the need for more sustainable building practices, as well as providing wide-ranging yet detailed guidance on the ways in which this change is best achieved.

    Through its unique combination of research materials, technical data, training programmes, discussion forums and useful links and contacts, the CarbonLite Programme represents an essential resource in the building sector’s drive towards low-carbon living and the legislation that will regulate it.

    AECB building energy standards – AECB CarbonLite:

    The CarbonLite Programme is a step-by-step guide to creating and using buildings with low energy use and CO2 emissions, aimed at clients, developers, design teams, builders and building users. It is designed to fill the gap between the aspiration to deliver high-performance buildings and the often more disappointing reality.

    AECB water standards:

    Delivering buildings with excellent water and energy performance. The AECB Water Standards prioritise reductions in the kinds of water use that are most environmentally damaging, targeting hot water use and water use in times and places of drought stress. The standards aim to avert the very real risk that building users will retrofit inefficient appliances, by specifying performance that real people find acceptable, thus delivering real energy and water savings in real-world use, rather than merely on paper.

  • Homebuilding & Renovating

    Self Building Magazine - August 2012 profiles with a front cover article the scheme we completed with a private client in the North East

    Download a pdf of the article here!

  • Charles & Ray Eames

    The Eames House, Case Study House #8, was one of roughly two dozen homes built as part of The Case Study House Program. Begun in the mid-1940s and continuing through the early 1960s, the program was spearheaded by John Entenza, the publisher of Arts and Architecture magazine.

    In a challenge to the architectural community, the magazine announced that it would be the client for a series of homes designed to express man's life in the modern world. These homes were to be built and furnished using materials and techniques derived from the experiences of the Second World War. Each home would be for a real or hypothetical client taking into consideration their particular housing needs.

    Charles and Ray proposed that the home they designed would be for a married couple working in design and graphic arts, whose children were no longer living at home. They wanted a home that would make no demands for itself, and would serve as a background for, as Charles would say, "life in work" and with nature as a "shock absorber."

    The You Tube video by the Eames themselves gives an eclectic image of the house with glimpses of their own artifacts and collection of 'precious things' in the setting of their house.


    And this trailor about the Eames Design Studio:


    These images give an insight into the 'feel' of the house, not as an industrialised architecture but the relationship that is created by the house in terms of inside and outside, the direct relation to landscape, colour, organic form & the remarkable shadows and light that create spaces and volumes that are the Eames House.

    Have a look at:


    The Ice Cube produced You Tube video, also here, is a great insight on the impact of these 1940's designers on the sharp point of today's culture - as he says, the house was built in 2 days!


    Our scheme for Ogleforth House in the centre of York has been shortlisted for the only design awards given for outstanding architecture & design in the central York area.

    This new house project, recently published in a magazine article by Yorkshire Post Newspapers, is unique in it's setting and location, only a stones throw from the Minster.

    In one of Europes premier historic city centres, we were so lucky to find ourselves over the last 12 years designing & working in this environment to finally build a house which I feel is a worthy contribution to the city fabric & history.

    The design competition is always high in York, as well of a plethora of great local designers and architects, York attracts some of the top designers in the country and europe. So I'll not hold my breath too long as I feel a second accolade in consecutive years would only be beyond imagination! But i still hope ...........



  Blog help facts & links

 Issues I'm always asked about at the beginning
 of a project, that need to be addressed but
 shouldn't cause you worry. There is a usual
 process to be followed and I can guide you through
 this with help on:

  - Different steps, what needs to be done
  - The process - don't worry
  - Talking to the Planners - questions to ask
  - Where to find more information online or locally

 Building Control:
  - What you need to know, how to find out
  - Common issues ignored
  - How to work with the process
  - Does your contractor know what he's doing?

  - How to form a cost plan & how to use it
  - Who is best to help with costings

  - How to choose a contractor or trade
  - How to tender & invite prices
  - How to use the right contract for your project


est 1990

Welcome to my blog

my blog

© 2011 web design NMD

we use cookies to view site use if you do not wish this to happen please leave our site and delete any cookies from your system

Web feed

to view more scroll across page

HSE Roof Safety
statement pdf


building control


www.rhocostaircases.com I work with James for some of the best steel & stairs imaginable


You are viewing the text version of this site.

To view the full version please install the Adobe Flash Player and ensure your web browser has JavaScript enabled.

Need help? check the requirements page.

Get Flash Player