Choosing the right materials can give you the best start………

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You will have often heard the saying, but does this apply to everything?

At Fibre we believe that design and planning correctly in the first place gives you a solid foundation to be creative and innovative with your designs and this opens up the doors (literally) to the use of an amazing range of materials currently being used in the architectural field.

Starting with a ‘fabric first” approach to building design concentrates on maximising the performance of the building’s components and materials that make up the building’s fabric, allowing you to achieve a well-built thermal and energy efficient build; once you have a solid foundation then you can focus on imaginative use of the many available materials available – elements that help reduce capital and operational costs and lower carbon emissions. The fabric first method can also reduce the need for maintenance during the building’s life.

Buildings designed and constructed using this method aim to minimise the need for energy consumption through their processes such as:

  • Maximising air-tightness.
  • Using super-high insulation.
  • Optimising solar gain through the provision of openings and shading.
  • Optimising natural ventilation.
  • Using the thermal mass of the building fabric.
  • Using energy from occupants, electronic devices, cookers and so on.

Concentrating on fabric first is considered to be more sustainable than installing energy saving technology or renewable energy generation later on; this can be expensive and often relies on you, the user being efficient in the way you use the technology.

Having energy efficient materials integrated into the building means that occupants are required to do less to operate their energy efficient building, creating fewer changes to their living habits.

Fabric first building systems can be constructed off site so they are likely to be higher quality and therefore have better performance, lower labour costs and increased speed of build.

Technology is changing the way architecture uses materials, from stronger concrete to nano enhanced plastics and the use of self-clean coatings; for example, researchers at the University of Missouri have developed a new way to control elastic waves—which can travel through materials without altering their composition—that could protect structures from seismic events.

At Fibre, we are constantly keeping abreast with the latest materials, so why not talk to us about your ideas and plans in a free consultation so you can get the best foundation for your next build.

 

Image source: www.pixabay.com

 

 

Dreaming of a Grand Design that will make your dreams a reality

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When you look out of your window into the sometimes grey British sky do you ever think I wish I could live in ….? Many coaches and successful people tell you to write it down, get your dreams in writing, on paper, make them real.

Take your idea and doodle it down, then think about the space you actually need for a functional purpose like the kitchen – how many hours do you spend in there? Are you a budding gourmet cook or a home baker? Is your special place the bedroom to relax and chill? Do you paint and need a room with natural light or do you want a home that supports your ethical and environmental values?

Fibre Architects can take the stress and worry out of your paper dreams and make them a reality. We can give you a free consultation to discuss your dream home. We don’t just draw up the plans, we can discuss material, planning permissions and work with you to create the ideal living space with the perfect outlook.

Considering all the above will make planning your dream space a reality because we can work with you on your timeline, budget and space planning.

Here are a few more tips to help you start the dream…

• Take a look at websites like Grand Designs and Houzz for inspirational ideas – don’t be put off by BIG IDEAS, we can help you adjust them to fit your space and budget

• Think materials – what would you love? What is out there now?

• Think space – what do you have now that can be adapted and used more effectively? Do you need to look at land purchase? Do you have a big garden that can be adapted, changed or used?

• Plan with expert advice, it could save you thousands of pounds

Don’t let the dream die from fear of asking a few questions, give us a call and we can help you with your project.

 

How important is the privacy of your garden?

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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!

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

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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!

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.

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

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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.

The Fibre team is expanding!

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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!

Barn conversion design top tips

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Here at Fibre, we are taking part in an increasing number of conversion projects. One of our favourite types of conversion projects is barn conversions. We love the combination of maintaining the quirks and characteristics of the original building, whilst making the space a habitable, exciting and sustainable home.

However, finding the right balance between maintaining old features and making a modern, functional family home can be difficult. That’s why we’ve put together some tips on how to sensitively and successfully approach a barn conversion.

Embrace the functional beauty

The recent changes to planning rules for barns have opened up the possibility of residential conversion for many agricultural structures previously considered not worthy. Embracing what makes each barn conversion unique is the key to a successful conversion. Barns have a real beauty in their pragmatic simplicity, but you have to work with their core character and make the structure, form and materials work for you rather than forcing them to be what they’re not.

The barn form lends itself to so much of what we want in a modern home — space, height and massive openings for walls of glass. They allow for experimentation in affordable, interesting materials, too. Metal, timber, fibreboard, rubber can all be used and you can be bold with your barn conversion’s designs.

Getting the interior spaces right

Another challenge with barns is fitting in all the rooms and functions necessary in a modern home without subdividing the space too much. Large rooms and uncluttered space can create a kind of ‘drama’ to the architecture of barn conversion projects. It is important to maintain this unique quality that barns possess whilst still creating something that works as a home.

The interior and exterior should chime. This could be through simple, rustic, agricultural-inspired construction using traditional materials, or contrasting super-sleek modern minimalism. This creates an interesting take on the project

Don’t forget about introducing light…

When built, barns were not made for human habitation. As such, they usually have very few openings, but those openings which they do possess tend to be either very large or very small. Getting light into all the rooms without punching the building with too many new openings, is one of the single biggest challenges facing converters. Most barns are a simple rectangular shape, so roof lights are key to getting light into the middle of the building while maintaining the monolithic integrity of the walls. Here too anything domestic is the enemy so think large single roof lights rather than multiple small ones.

…and minimising energy use.

Thick stone walls can create lovely exposed internal features but remember to consider introducing good levels of insulation where possible in walls to reduce heat loss, and don’t forget the roof and floor too. Air tightness is also important and well installed high-performance windows, doors and glazing can all help in this respect.

Barn conversions can present challenges, however, the rewards of a barn conversion project far outweigh any of these. If you have a barn conversion project in mind, Fibre can help. We offer a free no obligation review of potential conversion projects, so get in touch!

 

 

artcle source: https://www.homebuilding.co.uk/barn-conversion-design-masterclass/

Is pre-fab housing the answer to the UK’s housing crisis?

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There has been a lot of discussion recently about pre-fab housing and its potential benefits to the UK housing market.

Pre-fab (or prefabricated) houses are specialist homes that are manufactured off-site in advance. These homes are made in small sections that can be easily transported and assembled when they arrive.

This type of building grew in popularity in the UK in the 1950s and ‘60s, and were hailed as the future of construction. However nowadays as few as one in six houses are made in this way. With the lack of housing in the UK reaching crisis point, it has been suggested a return to this type of construction could be a sustainable solution. Prefabs allow new homes to be built quickly and cheaply but are they really the answer?…

Just how quickly can pre-fab homes be built?

Although time frames are project dependent, most estimates are that off-site built homes can be produced in about half the time of traditional construction. Some modern-day prefab buildings can even be erected in as little as 24 hours and finished to look very similar to traditional brick or rendered buildings if required.

What about cost?

In our experience here at Fibre Architects, the cost saving benefits of pre-fab housing is entirely dependant on the type of project. Pre-fab housing works well for medium-sized or large projects that involve a lot of repetition. When homes are mass-produced in this way, costs come down and profits increase. Material waste is also minimised compared to traditional building techniques.

However, when using pre-fab methods for individual plots or projects with a large variety of house designs and plot sizes, pre-fab construction soon gets comparatively expensive.

Does quality suffer with pre-fab housing?

Historically pre-fab homes have a reputation for being lower quality than their traditionally built counterparts, but is this entirely fair? In recent years, the quality of pre-fabricated houses has increased considerably thanks to technological improvements in the industry. As with anything, some companies provide a higher quality ‘product’ than others, so do your research about the reputation of the developer and system before buying or considering a pre-fab home.

There are a number of benefits to pre-fab homes (in whole or part) and if you are looking for a new home or development, they are perhaps something you should explore. The quick turnaround on building pre-fab homes combined with their relative cheapness makes pre-fabs particularly attractive, for example, to developers who are looking to get their houses to market quicker and/or for first-time buyers who are looking to get on the housing ladder sooner – so they are certainly an option worth considering.

Pre-fab building certainly has its pros and cons, however, with the government setting out plans to build more of these types of houses in the coming years it looks like the pre-fab housing is here to stay, and systems and costs should continue to improve with time.

Meet Fibre’s new member of staff!

Fibre Architects

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve hired Jess Wormald as our brand new Architectural Technology Assistant.

At Fibre, we always like to help out the next generation of architects and technologists and we love the fresh new ideas they bring to the table.

Jess is currently studying Architectural Technology at Sheffield Hallam University and will be completing her placement year here at Fibre Architects.

Her role will largely involve helping the architectural design team with the preparation of support drawings and technical information.

Jess shares our passion for high-quality, creative design and we’re really excited to watch her grow and develop her skills in her role here.

Jess explains she’s most excited about assisting with the old and listed buildings we often work on here at Fibre.

She says: “I’d heard a lot of good things about Fibre from growing up in Huddersfield. I really like their innovative approach to design and I look forward to gaining valuable hands-on experience in my time here.

We have lots of experience doing conversions and extensions for old buildings, read about our project working with listed building Cote Royd House here.

Our Managing Director Martin said about hiring Jess: “At Fibre, it’s really important to have the right staff on board and Jess has been a great asset to the team and we’re really impressed with her work so far!”

Jess will be with us until her placement year finishes in September, and we’ll be sure to keep you up-to-date with all the team’s updates on our Twitter and Facebook pages.