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BUILDING CONSULTANCY

A cellar conversion to form a Kitchen dining area.

 

The property comprised a 4.3 x 4.3 metre front living room and a 3.3 x 2.2 metre wide dining area and triangular shaped rear kitchen. The first floor comprises a front bedroom and rear bathroom and there are stairs leading to a small attic bedroom.

The 4.3 x 4.3 metre cellar occupies the front of the property and is accessed down some stone steps from the living room.

Before converting the cellar into usable space, it was damp and full of household rubbish and rubble.

 

A concrete floor was constructed that included insulation and a damp proof membrane. As there is a high water table, a sump pump has been included as a precautionary measure to remove excess water from under the floor. A damp proof membrane and an insulation backed plasterboard was fixed to the walls and finished with a coat of plaster.

A new gas boiler has been fitted on the outside wall at the bottom of the stone steps that have now been covered with a damp proof membrane and covered with plywood. The opening for the coal chute has been enlarged and a UPVC double glazed window fitted.

 

To reduce sound transmission between the new kitchen and the living room, insulation has been placed between the floor joists, and the underside of the joists double boarded with plasterboard and a coat of finishing plaster applied to give a smooth finish to the ceiling that has downlighters fitted.

 

By converting the cellar, there is now a useful kitchen and dining area that is well ventilated, is warm and dry. The area on the ground floor where the kitchen and dining area used to be has been refurbished to create much needed additional floor space.

The Party Wall Etc Act 1996.

A Party Wall Award

Party walls usually separate buildings belonging to different owners but could include garden walls built astride a boundary. Where a wall separates two different size buildings often only the part that is used by both properties is a party wall, the rest belonging to the person or persons on whose land it stands.

Since the Party Wall etc Act 1996 came into force, homeowners in England and Wales have had a procedure to follow when building work involves any of the above mentioned situations and also now includes some excavations close to neighbouring buildings . The Act entitles owners to carry out certain specific works, to party walls whilst at the same time protecting the interests of anyone else who might be affected by that work.

When the neighbour to this semi-detached property decided to demolish his property, rebuild it and put a large extension on the rear both parties appointed Party Wall Surveyors. I was appointed by the Adjoining owners (property next to the one partly demolished) and acted on their behalf.

A Party Wall Award was drawn up which is a formal document stating the rights and duties of each of the parties, it covered a timetable for the project, details for protecting the exposed party wall against the weather so that the internal walls of the adjoining property did not get damp. It also included how the adjoining owner should be compensated for any damage to his property resulting from the building work.

Owing to the nature of the work, it was written into the agreement that the Surveyors would make regular inspections of the adjoining property for any structural damage such as movement and cracking to the walls and damp penetration. There was some damage to the tiles on the roof of the adjoining property as well as damp penetrating through the exposed party wall which affected some of the decorations and plaster work. All the damage to the adjoining property was promptly put right at no cost to the adjoining owner and was supervised and inspected by the two appointed surveyors all in accordance with what was agreed in the party wall award.

Building Survey - Residential

(sometimes called a Structural Survey)

For older properties which have been extended, altered etc., a structural or full Building Survey is advised. The Building Survey is the most comprehensive type of report. The service is a tailor made report covering all the visible parts, including the roof voids of the property.

•The report provides detailed information and advice in an individual format. The Building Survey follows the trail of any faults and finding out why they have happened. Providing advice on how the problems can be rectified, and in which order the work should be carried out. This is particularly useful when you are receiving quotes for the remedial work and will greatly help you when negotiating the purchase price of your new home.

Some examples of what can be exposed by having a Building Survey prior to purchasing a property.

•You will receive a detailed analysis of the causes of problems and the repairs needed. There will be the surveyor’s assessment of the construction and condition of the property, giving technical advice on the remedial works.

•You will get advice on any future maintenance that the property may need. This will help you assess the real cost of the purchase over a set period of time allowing for any work to be carried out. This makes your purchase more transparent and allows you to proceed with your eyes open.

•The scope of the inspection will vary depending upon the property itself and particularly if the property is furnished. The surveyor is not allowed to move items of furniture or to take up fitted carpets, but where it is possible the corners of carpets will be pulled back to inspect the floor below. If a room is heavily cluttered the surveyor can only give a judgement on what is there.

•This style of report is suitable for all types of properties however if required for a flat or appartment, the surveyor will endeavour to inspect all external and internal commartment (shared by all occupants of the building) that can be safely and legally accessed in addition to the fla. or apartment, including the grounds and facilities within the boundary to the property.

Extension and Refurbishment of Dormer Bungalow.

 

Before and After Refurbishment.

This tired four-bedroom dormer bungalow has been transformed into a spacious two storey, four-bedroom home with instant character. The existing brick faced building built in the early nineteen sixties, looked uninspiring. But thanks to the rear extension, remodelling of the flat roofs, over cladding to the front gable, and new roof covering, the outward appearance is now interesting and easy to maintain.

Whilst internal alterations make better use of the floor space, and by replacing the costly outdated heating system with a new condensing gas boiler and under floor heating, and providing insulation to the floor, roof and walls as well as double-glazed windows the house has become more economical to run. The use of velux type roof windows and full height glazing along the south facing façade also fills the interior with light.

The Brief.

The brief was to come up with a design transform and modernise the building, prepare drawings and obtain planning and building regulation approvals, obtain prices from contractors and project manage the construction to a high specification in order to provide a comfortable home that is easy to live in.

The refurbishment.

The single storey rear extension is of cavity wall construction clad in stone. By knocking through what was the outer wall and removing the dividing wall between what were the kitchen and dining room, there is now an enlarged dining kitchen area, with a utility room to the side of the kitchen. Two sets of doors open out from the kitchen dining area onto the south facing stone-flagged patio with steps leading down to the rear garden.

 

To the other side of the kitchen, what formed an earlier extension has been refurbished to form a living room, and what was a living room next to the front bedroom, has now been transformed into a library & study area. A stone porch has been built and the central area opened up to form a large hall with plenty of daylight.

 

On the right of the newly constructed oak stairs, there is an arch under which there is a WC and cloakroom. On the left and to the right there is the master bedroom with large en-suite bathroom.

All the floors to the ground floor were taken up and under floor heating installed, the finished surface to the hall, cloakroom, and kitchen dining area and utility are limestone tiles, whilst the remaining floor areas are of oak floor boarding.

The original concrete tile roof covering was lifted off, insulation placed over the rafters, and an imitation Yorkshire stone slate used to clad the pitched roofs. Pitched roofs were added where there had been flat roofs over the two dormer windows and the garage.

As the walls had no thermal insulation, the cavities were filled with insulation. Insulation was fixed to the front gable wall at first floor level, which is clad in UPVC weatherboarding to match the cladding to the front gable wall of the garage.

 

The extension and refurbishment work has enabled this post-war house to be brought up to the standards of the current Building Regulations, and it is now much more energy efficient and easy to maintain. Remodelling has become much more popular over the last few years in that, in many instances, it is much more cost effective to refurbish or extend rather than selling and moving into a newer property. Clever use of building materials and imaginative design can transform an existing house to suit the client’s requirements for modern day living

 

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