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Should your next home be a project?

The way people are approaching housing is changing quickly. A UK-wide lack of quality, affordable homes has forced people to think outside the box when thinking about accommodation.

Finding a house that is right for you is hard enough, but when you add into the mix other considerations such as location and cost it can become a seemingly impossible task. More and more people are taking matters into their own hands and getting creative with a self-build, extensions or building conversion projects.


A self-build can be ideal if you’re struggling to find the ideal property and have a particular area in mind where you want to live. Instead of continuing on the house search it might be time to begin searching the market for plots of land to build on.

Alternatively, if you are lucky enough to already own land that would lend itself to a self-build site, this can be a great way of creating your perfect home from scratch, as opposed to trying to find the qualities you want in a pre-existing property.

Self-build projects can take patience and can at times it can be a difficult process, but the end result often more than justifies the means. However, if you’re not experienced with self-build projects, when looking for a potential site for your new home, it can be hard to know exactly what to look for. Fibre Architects offers a free, no obligation evaluation of plots of land to advise on their suitability for self-builds and on what type of properties would be suitable for them.

New government regulations have made it easier to get a self-build underway, just read our blog here for more info.


Lack of housing has lead to a rise in people turning to the conversion of old commercial properties into accommodation. Factories have become flats and warehouses have been split into homes. These kind of projects can provide additional character to your property with exposed brick and trendy, deliberately industrial interior design.

If you’re brave enough to take on a project of this kind, the reward can be great. Check out the market for some commercial properties if you fancy getting stuck into something a bit different, with the potential to make it your own. Again, Fibre Architects would be happy to review any potential sites and evaluate their scope for conversion into a domestic space.


If you find a property that’s in the right location, but has a lack of space, the best idea may be to move into a smaller property and add an extension to it. We have seen an increasing number of people opting to extend smaller homes due to a lack of properties the right size in the area buyers want.

In a market where the choice for housing is coming increasing scarce, it’s important to explore all options for securing your perfect home. If you have a project in mind, and want advice from experienced and creative architects, Fibre Architects is here to help.


Home extension – a beginner’s guide

It is common knowledge that if your home has a lack of space you need, it can often be less hassle and cost simply to build an extension to your property, rather than moving home. However, obviously there are some important considerations involved when thinking about extending your home, including some that might not immediately spring to mind, such as:

– car access;

– soil conditions on the site;

– services;

– surrounding trees

– any history of flooding;

– right of way

Once these are out of the way, naturally questions turn to cost. So exactly how much will a home extension set you back?


Figures vary hugely due to a variety of factors, such as location or design specification, but as a rule of thumb it is said you should allow around £1,000 – £2,000 m². Remember to balance the amount you are willing to spend on your extension with the estimated value it will add to your home.

In an ideal world we would all finance our projects using savings, however, if you need to borrow the money for an extension it is possible to finance them using a credit card, loan or by re-mortgaging your home. Each of these options has its own individual benefits. If in doubt, arrange a meeting with your bank to discuss your options and ask for advice.

Planning permission

Another thing to think about is the issue of planning permission, will your extension adhere to planning regulations? If you have an idea for a project, here are just a few aspects of planning you may want to consider before the design stage

– You can extend a detached dwelling by 8m to the rear if it’s single storey or 3m if it’s double.

– It must be built in the same or similar material to the existing dwelling.

– Extensions must not go forward of the building line of the original dwelling.

– Side extensions must be single storey, maximum height of 4m and a width no more than half of the original building.

– An extension must not result in more than half the garden being covered.


The next step is where Fibre comes in. After considering and overcoming all of these practical considerations, it’s time to think about design. Choosing an architect that you have confidence in and that shares your values is so important.

At Fibre Architects, we’re passionate about providing high-quality home design that often does something a little bit different and has some creative flair, and we love working with clients who share that passion. With over 20 years’ experience designing residential extensions, we help make the process of helping create an extension you can be proud of run as smoothly as possible.

If you’re thinking about extending your home and think Fibre Architects is the right company for your project – get in touch!

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Cote Royd Dental Practice

In 2014, Fibre Architects were commissioned by Cote Royd Dental Practice to investigate the feasibility of converting their large Grade 2 Listed building into luxury apartments.

This was due to the fact the property was simply too big for their needs at that time.

It was also deemed necessary as increasingly stringent regulations within the dental profession meant it was becoming more difficult to maintain hygiene standards whilst retaining the features of the listed building.


We drew up plans to successfully and sensitively split the building into seven large self-contained apartments with generous rooms which maintained their original proportions and many of their existing features.

At the same time, we were asked to consider the extension of the former stable building to provide bespoke new accommodation for the practice, with a new separate entrance to the rear, accessed from the car park.

Planning Approval and Listed Building Consent for both projects was successfully granted in July 2015.

Cote Royd House was then sold with the planning approval which added considerable value to the property, and construction work began on the extension to the former stable building in early 2016.

Fibre worked closely with the contractors to ensure that careful attention to detail, together with considered specification and use of appropriate materials made the new extension a seamless continuation of the existing building.

The practice was very happy with the end result and moved into their new premises (seen below) in October 2016.


Here at Fibre, we always enjoy working with beautiful old buildings such as Cote Royd House.

We are always proud to be able to work creatively whilst still maintaining the charm and character of the original building – and we look forward to many more projects of this kind in the future.



How to Renovate for Profit

Even the most ambitious of renovations can turn a profit if you follow these basic rules. Property developer and author of Renovating for Profit, Michael Holmes, shares his top tips.

1. Buy the Worst House on the Best Street
You can’t influence an area or change the street, but you can completely transform the house and totally rebuild it if necessary. At this point the price you pay is absolutely critical.

2. Get the Essentials Right First
Prioritising your budget, always put money towards the essentials first, to make sure the building is warm, dry and free of damp, and is a secure property.

3. Don’t Get Carried Away
Think: Who is going to buy this? What are they looking for? Do your research, have a look at what other developers are doing in your area.

4. Add Central Heating
Updating the central heating system will always add more to the value and is a priority to buyers. Seal any draughts, replace windows with double glazing and adding insulation into the loft space. If the existing boiler is in reasonable working order, try to make use of it by adding new radiators, a heated towel rail, or underfloor heating.

5. Consider Remodelling While Renovating
After looking at the basics, focus on making the best use of your space. Add space in order of cost-effectiveness:
• First, remodel the space that you have already got.
• After that, convert spaces perhaps the loft, a garage, or a cellar.
• Next, think about the possibilities of extending up because that’s always cheaper than extending out, and you don’t lose garden space; if that’s not a possible extend backwards or sideways.
• Extend down and create a basement, but that is expensive.
• If nothing else works, you can usually add extra space at the bottom of the garden with an outbuilding.

6. Fix Superficial Defects
Small defects don’t directly affect the value of a property. However, together they will prevent it selling at the optimum price. Examples of typical defects:
• Peeling paint
• Squeaking or sticking doors and windows
• Door latches that don’t work
• Mouldy sealants in kitchens and bathrooms
• Dripping taps
• Loose tiles

7. Remember the ‘Ceiling Value’
There is a ‘ceiling value’ – a maximum value that any property can achieve. The best way to identify this is looking at what other people’s homes have sold as; look on Rightmove or Zoopla.


Fibre Architects win bid to design new Huddersfield Community Church

Fibre Architects are pleased to announce that we have won a bid to design the re-development of a former local factory into a community hub and worship area; a space that all the community at Birkby will be able to enjoy.

The factory based at Willow Lane, Birkby, was formerly used to bottle Britvic drinks and was put up for sale when Britvic stopped production in January 2014. The Rivertree Trust, who now own the site, held a competition to determine which architecture firm would partner them in the redesign of the site. After a detailed and lengthy selection process, our proposals and approach wowed the Trust and we’re glad to say that we came out on top!

The new church and community hub is intended to be multi-purpose, hoping to offer not only a place to worship, but meeting rooms for charities and a place to offer support for families or those in need in the local community which is why we are so proud to be taking the lead on the design aspects of the re-development.

Our MD Martin Booker said; “We are really pleased to announce our appointment as architects by the Rivertree Trust and Community Church Huddersfield for the design of the exciting re-development of the former Britvic Factory on Willow Lane in Birkby into their new Community Hub Facility.”

“An application for full planning approval with more detailed proposals for the new facility should be submitted next year, and in the meantime we will be working hard with the client team to ensure the proposals are appropriate, deliverable and of a high quality design fitting for this important new community development for Birkby and Huddersfield as a whole.”

The Operations Manager of the Rivertree Trust Chris Haygarth also added; “We are very pleased to be partnering with Fibre Architects on the project. Out of 7 potential partners, Fibre, as a local company, really stood out to us as being passionate about Huddersfield. I am very thankful to have found a partner who understands us as an organisation and is willing to work with us to co-create this exciting Community Hub Venue in Huddersfield.”

We will keep you updated with news of this project as it develops next year.

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David McGrath Designs

As Architects, Fibre are probably one of the first people to be involved in a residential new build or renovation project, we know the buck doesn’t stop with us. What happens after we have helped design your new home’s exterior and structure is what helps complete the process of making a house a home.

That’s why we value the work of great interior designers and what they can bring to the projects we work on. One of our most favoured partner companies in this profession is David McGrath Designs, based in Mirfield. We have worked with him for several years now and we’re always extremely happy with what the team bring to our projects.

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Much like us at Fibre Architects, the staff at David McGrath Designs have been working in their field for over 20 years, creating and installing bespoke interiors all over Yorkshire. David is always very flexible and accommodating in his approach to creating designs with clients, and will work hard to deliver according to specific taste and budget.

We appreciate the way that David McGrath Designs share our contemporary approach to high-quality design and the way in which this adds tremendous value to any property. Whether it be in the kitchen or the bedroom – David delivers designs that are simultaneously modern and homely and that create a ‘ready to move into’ feel for the projects we work on.


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At Fibre, we realise the importance of working with the best people to make a home that not only we are proud to have helped design for you, but also a home you are really happy to live in yourself. That’s why we only work with the best possible people throughout every step of the designing and building process, and we look forward to continuing to work with David again in the near future.

If you want to learn more about David McGrath Designs and see more of the great design work he has done, take a look at the website:


Fibre on the new ‘right to build’ legislation

It’s no secret that Britain is in the midst of a grave housing shortage, the likes of which we haven’t seen for many years. In response to this, local councils have taken action in order to help increase the supply of affordable homes with the new ‘right to build’ legislation.

From next month, under the legislation, councils in England will be obliged to ensure that plots of land are available to anyone wanting to self-build their own homes. It is thought that this will provide a much-needed boost to the number of housing options available across the country. The policy is following in the footsteps of a similar drive that has taken place in the Netherlands and has seen positive results.

Aspiring builders need to register their interest in creating a self-build and the council is obliged to satisfy their demand within three years of their application. Possible sites for these homes include public sector land, perhaps that owned by the NHS or the Ministry of Defence. As architects, we are really excited about the design possibilities this new legislation represents.

We’re designers who always put the client first, we always enjoy working on self-build projects as it allows us to assist people in achieving their dream home. By essentially ‘starting from scratch’, it gives potential buyers the freedom to pursue a design that is to their specific tastes.

As well as the design opportunities a self or new-build can represent, in terms of budget, there is evidence that a self-build could save up to 30 percent of the cost of buying an existing home. The drive also presents the opportunity for different kinds of building, including sustainable builds – which is something we hope to be doing more of here at Fibre Architects.

We look forward to seeing how this new legislation affects the number of self-builds taking place, and we hope to be involved in a lot more of these types of projects in the future!


Top tips to reduce carbon footprints in construction

Fibre Architects is a company that is particularly passionate about sustainable low carbon design and building in general. With the recent news that the concentration of carbon dioxide emitted has now reached 400 parts per million, it has become increasingly important for construction projects to reduce their carbon footprint and provide buildings which are not only economical, but are also sustainable in their designs.

Sustainability is something we always take into account when creating our designs, and here we take a look at some tips to reduce carbon footprints within the construction industry as a whole:

Use of materials

When designing or renovating buildings, it is always important to plan which type of materials will be utilised, but there is now an increased focus on implementing materials which are not solely cost effective, but sustainable and energy efficient in order to provide long-term benefits and lower carbon levels. This can impact on the overall design of builds, where they are going to be built and the logistics surrounding construction work.


It is also imperative to recycle materials such as aluminium within builds, which will effectively reduce the level of waste products which are currently sent to landfill, providing increased advantages for the building industry.

Insulation & Solar

In order to reduce CO2 emissions further, ensure builds incorporate cavity wall insulation and double glazing to ensure heat does not escape, but also ensure the heating is set at certain times whilst also lowering the thermostat.

Burning less fuels to retain warmth in the home will reduce carbon footprints further.

Solar panelling systems have become increasingly installed in both traditional and modern properties in order to capture as much natural energy as possible to reduce CO2 emissions.


Having a shower instead of a bath reduces CO2 levels significantly. Designers are increasingly being asked to build sustainable solutions by utilising and harvesting rainwater, which can be used for irrigation.


Although transportation of materials and goods drives a huge increase in CO2 emissions, in order to lower this, construction companies could source materials locally and provide increased sustainable benefits. However, if transporting vital resources is necessary, utilising energy efficient vehicles will produce lower emissions.

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Fibre’s latest residential development project

Fibre Architects have secured a project for a high-quality residential development with a local property developer. After being chosen based on our 20 years’ experience working with major and local housing developers we were commissioned to develop 12 individually designed detached properties to be built in Birkby, Huddersfield.

We were asked to create unique & bespoke 4 and 5-bed detached houses types with generous internal accommodation & gardens. The properties were designed to complement the site which is situated in a discreet & desirable location just north of Huddersfield Town Centre, surrounded by a number of existing mature trees.

The planning permission for the houses was approved in December 2015 with work set to begin on site this year. Completion of the houses is due in 2017. The developer has experience in delivering well-crafted, new build homes, with a reputation for excellent attention to detail in construction and build quality.

Following our strongest financial year so far, Fibre Architects are enthusiastic for work to start on the build. Our team of local architects design both commercial and residential architectural projects, with over 80 percent of our projects being residential.

Our Managing Director at Fibre, Martin Booker commented “We have put a lot of time and effort into designing these exquisite homes and we are very excited for work to begin on site. The development will be a positive addition to the area and we look forward to seeing the end result.”

Keep up with our blog, and follow us on Twitter on @FibreArchitects to keep up-to-date with all our latest news and developments



Why move house when you can renovate?


Here at Fibre Architects, we have noticed that people are increasingly opting to renovate their existing homes, instead of undertaking the expense and stress of moving house.

There is a growing appreciation for the transformative effects of renovation. If you have lived in your home for some time, it’s likely that your needs and those of your family will have changed over the course of your ownership. The features that you found quirky and homely when you first viewed the property, may feel tired and cramped 10 years later. If this is the case, it’s worth investigating a potential refurbishment before jumping back on the property ladder.

If you are thinking about selling your property, ask yourself why it is that you want to move. If you are happy with the area that you are living in and have no desire to relocate, then, again, a tailored, remodelling project could work for you. When it comes to your own property, you’re the expert. You know what works and what doesn’t, for you and the people you live with. So start making notes as you go about your daily routine to identify challenges.

Ask yourself, are the issues that are bothering you simply aesthetic? For example, if you feel your home is dimly lit, then you could look at installing extra lights, hanging more mirrors or even fitting additional, large windows. A more practical problem, such as the less-than-perfect layout of your property causing disharmony in your household, then it may be time to call in the experts for a serious overhaul of your home.

The easiest way to create more liveable space is to extend upwards into the loft. Most of the work can be done from the outside, minimising the impact on your life at home. No planning permission is required as long as you do not exceed specified limits, visit for more information. If you can’t go up, then you could go underground and create a truly unique extension to your space, but be aware this can be a costly option.

While the focus of the refurbishment is to add a new lease of life to your existing property so you can continue to live in it, the improvements you make will add value if and when you do choose to move. With the right architects and building firms on board, your property can be beautifully remodelled and your bespoke project realised.

If you are thinking of renovating your home, contact us at