SUSSEX Small Business Awards Winner 2013

Thursday 5th December 2013 Sussex Business Awards at the Brighton Dome, Brighton, East Sussex, UKARCH-angels Architects were presented with the Small Business of the Year Award in front of 500 of the county’s leading business people gathered to celebrate twenty five years of business excellence, many of whom were previous award winners themselves.

Nicola Thomas, Partner – Architect said “We are delighted to win this award and make a significant contribution to people’s understanding of low energy building in a creative way. Richard and I have a strong, talented and dedicated team who have helped build the practice in what has been challenging times.”

Thursday 5th December 2013 Sussex Business Awards at the Brighton Dome, Brighton, East Sussex, UKIain McKenna, Heart FM Sussex – One of the Panel of Judges said, “It was fundamental, the detail and clarity they had in their answers to all the questions the entry form asked. When I read the entry, I immediately felt that they had put a lot of thought into the future of their business. If they didn’t have the expertise in house they seemed happy to bring experts in. The level of detail was consistent on each question, which demonstrated to me that they had a detailed business plan that they referred back to often.”

RichardSUSSEX Small Business Awards Winner 2013

Understanding Permitted Development

So, you’ve decided to extend your property? Before we let our creative minds roam free, we need to ensure we’re within our rights to realise our dreams. We may not have to go through the rigmarole and cost of seeking planning permission. Recent amendments to legislation for permitted development have ushered in major changes to planning law, which introduce a relaxation of what you can build without requiring planning permission.

What can I build under permitted development?

How you alter your property is subject to many of the same rules as before, so if you own a flat, maisonette or a property other that a house, permitted development is not the route for you.
If you live within an area of outstanding natural beauty, such as the South Downs National Park, then chances are, any proposed extension will have to go through planning.
The big changes – as of 30 May 2013 until 30 May 2016 – apply to extensions so the planning permission you thought you may need, you probably will not.

What do changes mean for householders?

Two amendments are key: the size of the extension and the new ‘neighbour consultation’ process.
For domestic houses, the rules apply to single-storey rear extensions only, while for grander designs, you must still seek planning permission.

  1. First, the great news is that homeowners can erect far larger extensions than before; doubling the limit from 4m to 8m for detached houses and from 3m to 6m for all others.
  2. Second, `neighbour consultation’ has caused a bit of a stir, so it’s important to clarify the facts.

39 Lawrence Road -Residential Extension 2

Homeowners must now seek consent from any adjoining neighbours. OK, the days of nattering over the fence may be gone for many but being on good terms with your neighbours has no bearing on the law even though, under permitted development, you do need their consent and ‘prior approval’ from the local planning authority.

Once the applications are submitted, your neighbours have 21 days and the local authority 42 to raise any objections. If none are forthcoming within that window, regardless of whether both parties actually object, you can proceed. If an objection is made, however, you still have the right to appeal.

Always check the details first


It’s always best to err on the side of caution, so before diving into a building project, check for any restrictions on your properly. Seek advice from your local authority planning department and always consult an architect, planning consultants or builders for professional advice.

For more information on householder permitted development and the new neighbour consultation scheme visit

RichardUnderstanding Permitted Development

Guardian Article – Green Architects

             “Why lean and green does not have to be mean on design”

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Stunning barn-like architecture replacing an outdated 1950s bungalow

As environmental awareness has grown, architects have become increasingly focused on Capture One 38745resizedsustainability, energy efficiency and green building. But in the quest for green growth, many are conscious this should not compromise the scope of design. ARCH angels Architects in Brighton is one such practice committed to integrating sustainable, cost-effective construction with sophisticated, practical designs.

Co-directors Nicola Thomas and Richard Zinzan share more than 20 years of developing an environmental identity through private practice.
Founding ARCH-angels Architects in 2009, they saw the opportunity to take this further. “Our aim is to create green designs that do not forgo on form or function and deliver on the use and quality of space for our clients to enjoy,”
says Nicola.

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New country house project with plans for an educational facility to serve local school children and public artworks using reclaimed materials

The practice strives to constantly push the boundaries of eco architecture; taking on large scale community projects as well as small domestic renovations. And now, the team have incorporated bespoke one-off new-build houses into their repertoire. Whatever the project and whatever the size, it seems ARCH-angels Architects are intent on exceeding current building regulations as well as client expectations. “We can often find solutions a client or builder might not have been able to envisage,” says Richard.

Many people shy away from green architecture, because of the misconception that sustainable building is more expensive. There is also the fear that architects will impose their own ideas and style onto a project. But that’s exactly where ARCH angels Architects come into their own. “Matching our ideals with those of our clients is at the heart of what we do. It is important to us that our clients are at the centre of their project and we work on a fixed fee basis so there are no hidden costs,” says Nicola.

ARCH-angels Architects understand that an integrated design process is fundamental to the success of a green building project — and that should actively involve all members of the team as well as the client. As a result, every building is unique in its architectural style. “As you will see from our projects, our practice does not have an ‘office’ style,” says Richard. “The look and feel of the property is dependent on the wishes of the client and the context of the development.”


“ARCH-angels’ expertise took our project from ordinary to exceptional. We are delighted with the results”

CF018780WEB A typical example of domestic-scale architecture carried out by the practice is Radinden Manor Road in Hove. The project came to them as an uninspiring modern house with no green credentials. ARCH angels Architects introduced much needed space and natural light by creating a versatile free-flow space between the ground floor living areas and the garden. Additional accommodation was added through a roof extension with locally sourced and coppiced sweet chestnut cladding, completely transforming the front of the building.

The practice has taken a radically different approach to a new country house project in East Hampshire. The building’s orientation turns the archetypal country house on its head. As well as maximising passive solar gain, the building addresses any potential planning issues due to its green field location. All the requirements of modern living are quietly dealt with underneath a timber gridshell roof, while earth sheltering keeps the visual impact minimal and increases biodiversity.

Adding bespoke one-off new build houses to their portfolio, ARCH-angels Architects have recently completed a stunning family home with barn-like architecture. Other projects in the pipeline include an impressive contemporary 5 bedroom 3 storey house in Brighton as well as an interesting two storey ‘upwards’ extension to a bungalow in the same town and two new eco-houses in Leatherhead. “We have a strong green vision,” says Nicola. “One which we can apply to different types of projects, from the most ordinary to the most extraordinary.”

The article appeared in The Guardian in October 2012


RichardGuardian Article – Green Architects