architects huddersfield

How important is the privacy of your garden?

With the weather being as wonderful as it has been in the UK recently, there’s no doubt many of you will have been out enjoying soaking up the rays in the garden. However, have you ever thought about how much you value the privacy of your garden space?

The truth is, we all know that having neighbours that can see over your fence, or having properties nearby that overlook your garden can be a bit of an obstacle to being able to truly unwind and relax.

It is important to make these considerations during the initial stages of designing or even when it comes to extending a home.

Unfortunately, not all architects will take the time and effort to consider just how their design choices will affect the privacy of each home’s garden area, despite the fact that most homeowners agree that it is important.

Fortunately, here at Fibre we pride ourselves on not being the same as most other architects as we have a strong commitment to what we like to call ‘considerate design’.

By this we mean design that is not just high quality but also thinks about the practicalities of the people who are going to live in the homes we help create.

We go the extra mile to ensure that conscious decisions are made not only with respect to the garden but also the size of each room and the layout of the home to make each home we design a series of spaces that will be a pleasure to live in day in, day out.

Making sure the garden is a truly private and relaxing space is just one of the ways we make considerate design choices when designing homes or groups of houses, and rather than just looking to maximise number of houses on a plot we believe good considerate design can add additional value too, sometimes more so than mere numbers.

Over our many collective years’ experience, we have developed a unique approach to home design that goes above and beyond each client’s brief to develop something really special that can be truly enjoyed.

If you want to find out more about what makes Fibre a different kind of architect, get in touch!

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Think it’s time for you to move? Maybe you should think again…

So, you’ve decided you need to change your living arrangements. Either you need more space, or you just feel that your current home is tired and has lost that ‘spark’ that made you fall in love with it in the first place. This is something that adding a ‘lick of paint’ won’t solve, so where do you go from here?

The first thing you might do is look into relocating. This could be an opportunity for a new start somewhere that is entirely different. However, after doing some research you’ve decided that the cost and the disruption that’s involved is too much, and you may actually like the location of your house, and some of the features it already has.

So, what’s next? You’ve heard of people having home extensions built, but you’re worried that sometimes they can look like an ill-thought through add-on. What you need is an architect that really understands the importance of delivering exquisite, high-quality home design to help make an extension and remodelling the right choice for you.

Luckily, here at Fibre Architects we are experts in designing extensions that feel like they have always been a natural part of your home, and creating spaces that you won’t know how you lived without. Working together with you, the client, and talking extensively about your priorities and preferences in your updated home, we create designs that turns mere ideas into reality, and add value to your home at the same time.

So, what about design? We know people are different and as the home is a very personal thing, everyone will want something slightly different from their home extension project. For example, in the past we have built both ‘statement’ extensions (as shown in the photograph above) that modernise and contrast the existing property or ones that acts as a seamless addition to the home (see some examples below). Whatever it is you’re looking for, we can help.

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Building a home extension is a great opportunity to introduce not only space, but floods of natural light that just weren’t available to you before. By designing the right extension, we can transform your home in a way you didn’t think possible before. So, it turns out your dream home might not actually be on that property website, or in that Estate Agent’s office after all – with a little bit of help, it may have been right under your nose the whole time!

Getting the process of redesigning your home started isn’t always easy. It’s often accompanied by the question – “where do I begin?”. Here at Fibre, we can make achieving the home you want an easier and genuinely more enjoyable and exciting process. So get started today by contacting us here for a free consultation if your project has a construction budget in excess of £120k + VAT!

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Fibre’s sustainable design building tips

As time goes by, we are becoming increasingly conscious about issues like climate change and the impact that our lifestyles are having on the planet. Many of us are making choices to try and reduce the harmful effects we have on the environment, whether that is by using public transport instead of driving, recycling or using low energy light bulbs.

There are numerous options to live our lives in a more environmentally friendly way, and there’s also another great opportunity for you to help fight climate change with the way your home is designed too.

Sustainable architecture carefully considers design factors such as the materials used, energy efficiency and the location and orientation of the property to try and ensure the finished building is as eco-friendly as possible.

Here at Fibre Architects, sustainable home design is at the forefront of our minds when advising our clients, so we thought we’d put together a few tips on how to design an environmentally sustainable home.

Use sustainable materials

Locally sourced sustainable building materials should be a top priority wherever possible. and using reclaimed or recycled materials as well as more natural products that don’t require a lengthy manufacturing process can all reduce the environmental impact your home has on the environment.

East-facing homes are best

If possible, there is potential for energy to be saved by opting to build an east-facing rather than a west-facing home. This will maximise your home’s sun exposure and reduce the amount of time you have to have the heating on, saving you money and energy. South facing pitched roofs are usually preferable for solar renewable technologies though.

Install a rainwater harvesting system

Rainwater harvesting systems collect rainwater from your home’s roof and store it in a tank. This water can be used in sprinkler systems and toilets and can reduce your impact on the environment.

Smaller homes are better

The unfortunate truth is that the larger the home, the more money is spent trying to heat it, and the more resources and land it takes to build it on. Opt to keep your home a manageable size in order to maximise the sustainability potential, and keep your carbon footprint down.

Insulation, insulation, insulation

Make sure the design of your home allows for it to be sufficiently insulated. Having a well-insulated home reduces the amount of energy that is used to heat it. Read more about the importance and regulations for home insulation here.

Air tightness within the building fabric is also important (with controlled and adequate ventilation) to reduce heat loss and therefore energy demand.

Have double or triple glazed windows fitted

As you have probably gathered by now, keeping heat inside your home is one of the key ways to save energy and reduce your home’s impact on the environment.

Make sure any design for a new home includes double or triple glazed windows as standard, and of course – if you live in an older home, you can still install more efficient replacement windows or consider secondary glazing options.

But remember you should also ensure that the house is not inadvertently designed to suffer from overheating due to excessive solar gains through too much glazing or heat generating appliances such as computers, so solar control glass, shading or mechanical ventilation may also need to be considered.

These are just a few ways that your home can be designed in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way, and we haven’t even mentioned Passivhaus design, all the renewable energy options, smart home technologies (including motion sensing lighting and heating), bio-diversity and sustainable drainage solutions amongst other things!

If sustainable home design is something you have been thinking about, here at Fibre Architects we are experts in this field! So why not get in touch to arrange a free telephone consultation today?

 

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Reasons to build an annexe

If you need more space in your home, building a home extension may naturally be the first option that springs to mind. But, if you haven’t already, why not consider a new-build annexe instead? An annexe can provide all the additional space you need, whilst having a few select advantages over other building options such as an extension.

To house a lodger or loved one

There is a reason that annexes are often referred to as ‘granny annexes’, and that’s because they are often built to house a loved one. With an annexe comes the opportunity to allow this person an increased level of privacy.  If you need more space to accommodate a family member or a lodger of some kind, it may be important to them to have a space which they feel is their own. An annexe can offer a space that allows a feeling of separation and independence, whilst still retaining easy access and strong links to the family home.

For a self-contained office space

Similarly, if the reason you’re looking for more space is because you need to work at home, your very own self-contained office annexe could be the perfect answer. An annexe offers a workspace of your own that is separate from the inevitable distractions of the family home, allowing you to work more efficiently and with a clearer head, and even a separate entrance for visiting clients. Also, when compared with work in a ‘normal’ office, walking across the back garden to get to work seems a lot less strenuous than the average commute!

To allow your design dreams to run wild!

For us here at Fibre Architects, the most exciting thing building an annexe can bring to the table is the opportunity for great design. As a separate entity from the main house, you can often go much further in terms of design than you would with an extension. Sometimes free from the constraints of having to match with the main house, you can often create something exciting and original on your property. Alternatively, you can create a self-contained building that has echoes of the main house, whilst having features that make it its own. The possibilities are endless (as long as they adhere to planning and building regulations of course).

An annexe can be the solution to space issues that you never even thought of! We have years of experience bringing clients’ annexe ideas to life for a variety of purposes. If you want more information on how we can make an annexe that is perfect for your property contact us here.

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Top 10 things to consider when choosing a self-build plot

With a lack of affordable housing in the UK, more and more people are deciding to self-build. However, when looking for a plot of land to build on, what are the most important things to think about?

Fibre Architects have put together a list of the Top 10 things to consider when choosing a plot of land for your self-build project…

Is the location desirable?

This may seem like an obvious thing to think about, but would you actually want to live where the plot is located? Ensure the location of the site is convenient and well connected, i.e. close to schools and/or local centres, if these are things that are important to you.

Is your project likely to achieve Planning Approval?

Does the style of house you are looking to build fit into the local area? There’s no point charging ahead with planning a project if it’s likely to get rejected. Looking around to see if the house you’re planning to build is in line with other local properties can increase your chances of gaining planning permission.

Are there barriers to building?

The plot being near a listed building, having protected trees on site or restrictive covenants in the deeds can all offer a restriction to development, so do your research. Remember, Planning Approval does not override any legal obligations that the site owner may have to adhere to.

Think about views

Are views to and from your new house or garden important to you? If so, are they acceptable for your future enjoyment and privacy and will the garden size and the views after development of the new property be acceptable too?

Another important thing to bear in mind is, views can change over time too. Consider current and proposed land uses around the plot – you can do this by consulting the Local Plan or UDP to assess future land uses if required.

Is it accessible?

Is there adequate access to the property for vehicles and pedestrians (and wheelchair users, if necessary) without major obstacles? The likelihood is people will need to gain access the both on foot and by car at some point. And don’t forget access for maintenance!

Be flexible

Don’t always just look for a vacant plot of land, a small house or commercial building ripe for extension and/or conversion is sometimes much easier to find and work with, especially in much sought after locations.

Do the maths

For most people, the last thing they want from a self-build project is to be out of pocket. Does the purchase price when added to development costs create a property that is equal to or worth more than the amount spent? If in doubt, consult a Local Estate Agent for their guidance on this.

Consider amenities

Take into account the availability of statutory services, electric, water, gas, and broadband. If your site doesn’t have some of these, maybe it’s time to think about a backup plan, e. g renewable energy sources.

Think about the topography of the site

Are levels an issue and are there means of dealing with foul and surface water drainage from the new property, or is the plot in an area with a risk of flooding? If so can these be overcome by design?

Are the ground conditions suitable for building with traditional foundations and is there little or no contamination from any previous site uses or activities?

Is sustainability important to you?

At Fibre Architects we are working on an increasing number of projects where sustainable design is important to our clients. This may consist of low energy, low impact design or incorporation of renewable technologies and sometimes only certain plots of land can accommodate this. If sustainability is a key concern for you, make sure to think about whether the plot is appropriate for your desired approach in this respect.

Fibre Architects have a great deal of experience assessing plots for their self-build viability, taking all of the above into consideration and more. We offer a free assessment and consultation on any plot you have in mind. If you think you could benefit from our expert help, contact us.

 

Top 3 Fibre refurbishment projects!

Breathing new life into tired old properties is one of the most satisfying things you can do as an architect. Whilst there’s no doubt that designing a new building from scratch allows for an enjoyable amount of creative freedom, refurbishment projects present the unique challenge of maintaining the attractive original features of the property with creating modern and up-to-date internal spaces.

This makes refurbs so exciting to work on and at Fibre, we’ve been lucky enough to be involved with a variety of these types of projects with some stunning results. We’ve put together a list of three of our favourite current refurb projects, so check them out below…

Cote Royd Dental Practice

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In 2014, Fibre were tasked with designing a conversion of Cote Royd Dental Practice’s Grade 2 Listed building into luxury apartments. The building was simply too big for the practice’s needs, and due to its age was struggling to keep up with ever-tightening hygiene standards within the dental profession. We put together plans that sensitively split the building into seven large self-contained apartments that maintained many of the original features of the building, which you can see above.

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In addition to this, we were also asked to design an extension and refurbishment of the former stable building to provide bespoke new accommodation for the practice, which is where the team happily reside today.

Huddersfield Community Church

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Last year we announced that we had won a bid to design the re-development of the former Britvic factory in Birkby, Huddersfield. Fibre have begun to draw up plans to convert the building into a church and community hub for the whole of Birkby and its local community to enjoy.

The large existing spaces provide more than enough opportunity to create a variety of spacious accommodation for all of the client’s needs, including events spaces, meeting rooms for charities and support for local families, and those in need in the local community. This exciting project will be moving forward significantly in 2017 and we can’t wait to see the final results!

Brendon Drive, Birkby

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Our clients had lived in Birkby for many years and loved the area but not their existing tired house that had too many poorly proportioned rooms, little open plan space and insufficient natural light in its heart. After many unsuccessful attempts to find a more appropriate house locally, they turned to us to see whether we could help.

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Following consideration of a number of options, the preferred solution was to carry out a major refurbishment, effectively gutting the existing house and giving it a new lease of life with open plan internal living, kitchen and dining spaces, larger rooms, new (and more) windows and a new central feature staircase. Together with refreshing new external cladding and render truly makes this feel like a totally new house, for a fraction of the price of one and in the best possible location for our clients! A very successful refurbishment project indeed…

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If you have a refurbishment project in mind, Fibre Architects are here to help. We are proud to have designed a number of high-quality refurbishment solutions and conversions for some very happy clients. If you want some more information, or simply want to discuss the feasibility of a project you have in mind, get in touch with Fibre Architects here.

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Top 6 questions to ask your architect to make sure they’re the right match

Choosing the right architect for your project is key to creating a home that you are proud of. Here at Fibre Architects, we are passionate about listening to exactly what each of our clients wants, and going above and beyond the brief every time.

In order to be able to do this, we’ve put together a list of questions for you to ask us, or any potential architect, in order to ensure you find the perfect match for the design of your project.

  1. How would you approach this project?

Every architect will approach each project in a slightly different way. Don’t be afraid to ask each architect how they would tackle your project.

  1. Can I see some examples of your work?

The best way to judge an architect’s work is by looking at the projects they have worked on in the past. Architects should be proud and want to show off their work, take a look at some examples of Fibre’s previous work here.

  1. Can you refer contractors that you like?

One of the biggest advantages of using an architect can be the connections they have to builders and contractors in the local area, so ask if they are able to make recommendations.

  1. What are going to be the largest obstacles with this project?

A good architect should be honest with you about the challenges you may face with your project, and how they will help you overcome them.

  1. What are your fees?

It goes without saying that costs are going to be a consideration for any project, be clear right from the start what kind of fees you will be expecting from an architect’s work.

  1. How long would you expect the Planning Application, Building Regulations Approval and construction to take?

Although there are a number of factors that can alter this as the project develops, architects should be able to give an estimated time frame for each aspect of your project. Then you have to decide whether this fits in with your own desired time scale.

If you want a local, reliable architecture firm with a passion for high-quality design we’re sure that Fibre Architects will be the perfect match for you. Contact us to arrange a free consultation – and an opportunity to ask us any of the questions above and more.

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The Fibre team is expanding!

Fibre is delighted to reveal that we’re expanding and will be hiring a brand new member of staff over the next few weeks. This is in addition to taking on our latest recruit, Architectural Technology Assistant Jess, who began working at Fibre only a few months ago (read our blog about Jess here).

 

Thanks to Fibre’s ongoing success, our team is set to grow again as we are recruiting a new Architect or Architectural Technologist. This is following the successful progression of a number of projects to detailed design and construction stage, and therefore we felt it was the right time to make this exciting new addition to the team. As a practice, we’re looking forward to being able to provide our great service to even more clients with another new member of staff on board!

 

At Fibre, our work is very diverse. We provide high-quality design for both residential and commercial projects, so the search is on for someone who has a diverse skill set, with plenty of experience working in a variety of sectors. In order to maintain our impressive record of successful and deliverable planning approvals, we’re also looking for someone with a good knowledge of building regulations and construction detailing and specifications. Take a look at the exciting range of both commercial and residential projects we have reaching completion in the next year in our blog here.

 

Our Managing Director Martin said about the new recruitment drive: “We’re so excited to be in a position to be hiring yet another member of staff, after hiring Jess recently too. The growth that Fibre has seen over the last few years has been phenomenal and we couldn’t be happier! We can’t wait to welcome another member of staff to the Fibre team.”

 

Here at Fibre Architects, we take a lot of consideration into our decisions about hiring new staff, as a high level of customer satisfaction and the great relationships we make with our clients are one of our most important priorities as a company. We’re confident we’ll find the right person to help us achieve our ambitious goals for the future and continue providing the best possible service for all our clients.

 

If you would like to apply for this position please email your CV with some examples of your work to info@fibrearchitects.co.uk

 

We’ll be sure to keep you updated with more blog posts on how the recruitment process goes, so stay tuned!

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Fibre Architects has won the Best of Houzz Award 2017!

We’re delighted to announce that Fibre has won the Best of Houzz Award 2017! This national award is presented to the best-reviewed firms on the popular architecture, interior design and decorating website Houzz.co.uk.

We’ve won the award for Customer Service due to a number of high ratings for client satisfaction on the website. We focus on providing high-quality building design, and offering a unique take on architecture, and we’re glad to see that has been well received by our clients. We are also a helpful and friendly firm that are there to help our clients with any queries or issues that may arise throughout the design and construction process.

Our Managing Director Martin Booker enthused about winning the award: “We’re so thrilled to have won the Houzz award here at Fibre. We always strive to impress our clients by going above and beyond their brief, so getting such a great response from them is really encouraging.”

Andrew Small, Managing Director of Houzz UK and Ireland said: “we’re so pleased to award the Best of Houzz 2017 to this incredible group of talented and customer-focused professionals, including Fibre Architects,”“Each of these businesses was singled out for recognition by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts for helping them turn their home improvement dreams into reality.”

“Each of these businesses was singled out for recognition by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts for helping them turn their home improvement dreams into reality.”

Here at Fibre, we always keep the customer and their brief at the heart of our designs. We’re proud to have a reputation for being attentive to our clients and taking their vision and using it to create some truly exciting and creative home designs.

We have an exciting year ahead, with some big projects reaching completion, winning this award is the perfect start to an exciting year for Fibre Architects!

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Fibre’s top 3 projects with Planning Approval being built in 2017

At Fibre Architects, we’re confident in our ability to secure planning approvals across a variety of different types of residential project. We’ve got a number of exciting projects that have successfully received planning approval that will be built this year. We’ve chosen three of our favourites to make our top three planning approved projects due for completion in 2017:

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Stanley Road, Liverpool

Fibre worked closely with property developer New Regen Ltd to design a proposal for 30 new-build houses. Our design team worked hard to create high-quality homes that were both affordable and cost effective, using clever design techniques in order to maximise living space and keep construction costs down.

The homes were a hit with both the local authority and potential buyers. Our proposals were deemed “excellent” by the Liverpool City Council Planning Committee and over half of the properties have sold already despite being several months from completion. The projects should be completed just before the end of this year and we can’t wait to see the finished product!

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Listed Building extension, Quarmby

Following the successful implementation of a modern garden room in the grounds of the Grade 2 Listed house in 2014, Fibre successfully obtained Planning Approval for a modern “glass-box” style extension to the house in 2015.  This private client has decided to build out this exciting addition to the property this year, with construction work starting in April.

The new extension will bring abundant natural light and more much-needed family space into the heart of this impressive Georgian home.

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Extension in Scholes, Holmfirth

It’s not only old buildings that can benefit from a modern and exciting extension and remodelling project. Traditional, more recent house-builder type dwellings can also benefit from a fresh approach and this is exactly what Fibre designed for another private client for a property in Scholes, Holmfirth.

Planning approval was granted last year for a predominantly timber clad rear extension with large areas of sliding folding glass doors at ground floor opening up the remodelled house to an improved garden terrace area, including a brand new external pizza oven! Construction work has just started on site for this project, with an eagerly awaited completion due in around 4 months’ time.