Constructing Excellence in London and the South East Awards 2014 Finalists

ARCH-angels are delighted to announce that they have been shortlisted in the Constructing Excellence Award SME of the Year category. The practice is very excited to be considered for this prestigious award and will be attending a judging panel interview on Thursday 8th May 2014 in London.

This award specifically recognises the challenges and outstanding achievements of ‘Small to Medium Enterprises’, particularly those who have made strides in improving their company through implementing best practice. Judges will be looking for companies that intentionally focus on people development, customer satisfaction, industry best practice, performance management, and/or new ways of collaborative working. Entrants and nominees will be required to demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and health and safety; describing the steps that have been taken to improve performance through the 4 Cs of co-operation, communication, competence and commitment.

Winners will be announced on Thursday 3rd July 2014 at a Gala Dinner and Award Ceremony at the Grand Connaught Rooms in London hosted by the BBC journalist and broadcaster Juliet Morris.

Click here for a full list of nominees

hemanthaConstructing Excellence in London and the South East Awards 2014 Finalists

Common Misconceptions About Listed Properties

There is a lot of confusion about listed properties; what you are and aren’t allowed to do. Not to mention the authorities, which some see as rather dark forces indeed. Especially if you believe the dramatized versions which you may see on “reality” TV programmes.

Alex Villas-15What’s inside counts too!

The most common misconception is that listed status only covers the front façade and that you can do what you like as long as it isn’t visible from the street. This isn’t the case! Common minor works requiring listed building consent might include the replacement of windows or doors and knocking down internal walls as well as the larger works such as extensions.

New additions

Another big misunderstanding is that listed status only applies to original walls and features. This is not true. We’ve had a number of clients wanting to take down interior walls dating from the 1960s thinking they were doing the property a favour in returning it back to its original layout without realising these additions are also protected.

In conservation areas you may need permission from the Council before making alterations such as inserting windows, installing satellite dishes, adding conservatories or other extensions. The guidelines are a little less restrictive than for a listed property.

Custodian of a treasure

Despite the bad press which the authorities sometimes get, they are there to help you and protect your property. There is a wealth of information available through your local Council for instance www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/planning and also The English Heritage website www.english-heritage.org.uk/yourproperty. You should always check before commencing any work, as failure to comply could be very costly or even result in
criminal proceedings.

Above all, it’s important to remember that you never really own a listed property, rather you are the custodian of
a treasure.

 

hemanthaCommon Misconceptions About Listed Properties

Building Your ‘Green’ Dream Home … What Does It Mean?

We often hear the terms ‘green architecture’, ‘green design’ or ‘green building’, but when it comes to creating your Dream Home, what do they mean?  When we say a building is ‘sustainable’ and ‘eco-friendly’, how is that defined?

VP4_v03-low resGreen architecture, or green design is a building approach that aims to increase resource efficiency, (i.e. energy, water and materials), while reducing impact on human health and the environment.  All this may give us an idea of what ‘sustainable’ and ‘eco-friendly’ means, but what elements of green building do we need to be aware of and why?

What are the main elements of green building?

Green building is more than the end result – it is an ongoing process.  It starts with proper site selection as well as the design specifications of your dream home.  It incorporates the practices, technologies and materials used in its construction.  Furthermore, it is determined by how you operate, maintain and develop the building throughout its entire lifecycle.

Energy efficiency is perhaps the most important element of sustainable architecture.  Reducing the amount of energy used within a home is the ultimate goal.  As well as choosing the right heating and cooling system, it involves using the right building fabric, high spec insulation and effective window / door seals.  This helps reduce carbon emission and the amount of energy required to heat and cool your home.  While solar PV panels can generate energy, low energy lighting can maximise its efficiency and so minimise costs.

Reducing water consumption can be a challenge due to modern living habits, but with careful specification of household and garden products, it can be managed effectively.  Low flush toilets, low flow rate taps and showers as well as water butts and other water harvesting systems can all help.   0462_101_Dining

Use of responsible materials to reduce environmental impact is fundamental to effective green building.  More use of locally sourced, recyclable materials as well as natural elements such as eco-friendly timber and less use of UPVC all help to strike a balance between sustainability and cost effectiveness.    

Reducing waste, pollution and environmental degradation is a key consideration in green building.  Making provisions for effective waste disposal and re-cycling as well as use of eco-friendly products all contribute.  Surface water run-off is also considered; specifying permeable paving to reduce flood risk.

Occupant health and well-being is of paramount importance.  Maximising natural daylight and ventilation as well as good sound insulation are all key factors in eco-friendly design.  Making homes more adaptable throughout their lifecycle whilst minimising costs is considered good practice and design criteria is set by the Lifetime Homes standard to achieve this.
(For more information see www.lifetimehomes.org.uk)

Attaining a balance between ecology and design, sustainability and cost effectiveness is definitely a challenge in the architects’ practice.  That’s why everyone is involved in the green build process – designers, planners, developers, builders and of course you, the home owner.  Safe to say, the main goal is to meet your individual requirements, while doing some good for the environment along the way.

hemanthaBuilding Your ‘Green’ Dream Home … What Does It Mean?