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Posted by lecerveau , 08 January 2016 · 962 views

My plan is to knock down the existing bungalow and re-build it with a 2 story house. This blog will be a record of the journey (hopefully), I will pass on any lessons (good and bad) and also ask the wise collective for advice (some of which I may take).

The first question is why? We have a perfectly functional 4/5 bedroom bungalow that my mother lives in. I own the house (having bought my sister out of her half) and I wish to build a house to retire to. I am currently in the Royal Navy so have never lived in one location for more than 3 years, been in many houses and have an idea of what is good an what is not. Our children (10 and 12) consider this house and the other grandparents as homes but not the houses we inhabit!

One important factor is my mother is in a wheelchair (not that she lets that stop her) so the house if fully accessible, as you can see from the existing photographs, ramps all round.

Attached File  Existing Photographs.pdf (839.24K)
downloads: 60

The bungalow itself is a 60/70 build, extended on the back (obvious from the photographs) with the garage re-build also, however, there are mice under the floor boards (in the old part), there is an internal level change between old part and extension (gentle slope), there is damp in the chimney breast (penetration from above) and it leaks like a sieve, yet suffers from horrible condensation and mould.

So it would be a not inconsiderate sum to put right and the house would still be not ideal, so we have decided to knock down and re-build. We are going 2 storey to provide additional space for the whole family, Ourselves and my mother plus space for my sister and her brood (4 boys) to visit (they live in the USA) as it was her home at one point.

So initially I created lots of ideas, basically the overall plan was to keep the same footprint, fill in the cut-out bit and make it 2 stories, we filled in slightly more than the cut-out but the frontage was the same. I also created about 20 pages of specifications (my brain dump/wish list). We than sat down with a local architect (Architectural Technologist) who did the garage re-build for us. The overall concept is a modern, efficient house, build along Passive House lines (Insulated slab and walls, warm roof, MVHR, UFH,……).

His first statement was for us to have a professional topographical survey done; this has paid dividends as it is exact, covers the neighbour’s extremities and all the surrounding ridgelines that were essential when battling with the planning department. He then took my drafts and my 20 page specification and turned it into a viable plan, after a couple of iterations over the next 6 months. The major one of these being to push the house 3 feet to the SW to take if off the boundary and any 3rd party issues, it also move the house further away from the power lines that run down the side of the plot, hopefully simplifying build issues that would be associated with them.

Attached File  Topographic Survey.pdf (2.1MB)
downloads: 61

There were several iterations, subtle changes but this is what we ended up with.

Attached File  GF Plan.pdf (1.77MB)
downloads: 56
Attached File  FF Plan.pdf (1.8MB)
downloads: 52
Attached File  Elevations.pdf (1.9MB)
downloads: 58
Attached File  Site Plan.pdf (2.12MB)
downloads: 40

I will stop there for now. The next post will by my battle and ultimate victory with the planners.

This sounds like an architect who is worth the money.

I trust you are some way up the hill, unless you want the continued Navy experience.
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Yes the architect was well worth it (more in the next post).
We are well up the hill, over 20m higher that main street (Google flood pictures), if our house floods there is a lot of the UK under water!
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Thanks for introducing me to the term "Architectual Technologist". Can an AT handle the aesthetic parts of architecture as well? On what sort of projects would you not employ one, anyone know?
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From my own experience of ATs, as long as you've done what any sensible person would do with an architect and seen examples of their work (and hopefully spoken to their customers - who they will happily have referred you to) and like it, then - again in my experience over a considerable time and a number of different jobs - to all intents and certainly to most purposes you won't tell the difference between an AT and an architect.
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