Refurbishment

If your home is in need of refurbishment we have plenty of experience in this field. We can provide the necessary skills and drawings for your refurbishment project.

Real Homes have lots of examples of renovations

Design Parameters for Refurbishment

Refurbishments come in different shapes and sizes. Our experience comes mainly from working in London. The Capital has lots of refurbishment projects going on all the time. These are to a high level of specification, with budgets to match. London housing stock is varied, but much that we have experienced is pre-1900. These homes are large, with good proportions not seen in modern housing.

The key to a good renovation is striking the balance between old and new. This involves retaining the features which make the room or building feel full of character, while improving the performance and finishes to suit modern levels of comfort. It often involves, large open plan kitchen-diners with contemporary extensions. There are usually bifold doors onto gardens. It can involve finding space for additional en-suites bathrooms.

Outside London, renovations have changed. We have seen what’s possible and expect the best. Television and the internet showcases exemplary design that we remember and aspire to. All over the country we understand what makes a great refurbishment and clients expect it for their own homes.

Planning & Permitted Development

Refurbishment work is primarily internal renovation and as such, planning is often not required. However, when there are major changes including additional sleeping rooms and extensions, modifications to listed buildings or changing windows in conservation areas, the planners need to know and make judgements.

We can advise on whether planning will be necessary.

Visit our Planning page

Party Wall Notice

Observe the Party Wall 3m and 6m rules. Sometimes you are building within 3m of your neighbour’s property. Your excavations may be deeper than their foundations. A party wall surveyor will need to issue a party wall notice to your neighbour. You may be within 6m away from your neighbour’s building. Your excavations may be deeper than a 45 degree angle downwards from theirs. Again, the party wall act applies. A party wall notice will need to be issued to your neighbour.

Sometimes you share a boundary wall impacted by the design. Again, a party wall notice will be needed. This informs the neighbour of your project and how it will impact upon them. The neighbour can agree to the contents of the notice. If they do not agree within the timeframe, a party wall award is developed, which states that both parties agree to the changes. Both parties must sign the award before development begins.

Click for party wall information

Refurbishment – Technical Design

There is a great deal to do in terms of technical design on refurbishment projects. In many ways it is simpler to work on a new building from scratch. However, it is very rewarding to renovate an old building. The building regulations are different for existing buildings so a good knowledge of how they differ is essential. It is also necessary to possess a good knowledge of traditional construction methods. We have experience in working with existing buildings and we understand their details. We can upgrade it to current regulations, and beyond, if required.

Structural Design

On refurbishment projects the structural design can be an iterative process. You might be creating large openings in an existing external wall for bi-fold doors. You could be or removing walls to make way for a large kitchen. Whatever the reason, a structural engineer must do the necessary calculations and specify any steelwork. There is a process for this. The architect normally takes the brief and works with you to develop the basic parameters of the design. We then send it to the structural engineer to develop from a structural perspective.
The engineer may design as much as he can in advance of construction to enable a price to be sought from a contractor.

However, some factors will be hidden by ceilings and finishes, and may be left in abeyance. During refurbishment projects it is usual to open up and show the structure during demolition. This gives the engineer a complete understanding of what is there. He can then come to a workable solution with the contactor, client and architect. The design may not have changed considerably. If it has, the architect may need to amend their plans. It is important to have both designs co-ordinated. From here, both sets of information are sent to the contractor to build from.

Creating large openings in existing walls requires calculations. It is important to have a structural engineer provide these. They also provide structural details for the extension. There is a process for the structural work. The architect normally designs the basic parameters of the extension. The architect sends this to the structural engineer to develop the structural design. The structural engineer issues the structural design to the architect. The architect reviews it and co-ordinates both designs. This can involve changes to both the architect’s works and the structural engineer’s work. When complete, the co-ordinated designs are ready for issue. Both sets of information are sent to the contractor to build from.

Enquire about Refurbishment

We are very keen to work on refurbishment projects. Justin attended the RIBA Conservation Course in 2014, which covers heritage buildings in detail. The course can lead to becoming a conservation architect.

Call the office on 0113 318 3078 or 07772 750 855, email enquire@we-draw-buildings.com or send a message via the contact page.