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Building Progress October 2012

Category: Barn Conversion Journal November 6th, 2012 by mbc

The flue guard that I’ve been building from perforated steel sheets, aluminium joints and resin based adhesive is finished and does the job of keeping stray clothing and children away from the potentially hot flue.

I had a visit from the building control officer at the start of the month. Went really well with just a couple of pieces of paperwork to chase up and get completed before the barn is signed off.

I’ve added extra security in the form of locking door bolts to the top and bottom of the exterior doors and locks on the roof windows. I must admit I think that the roof window locks are probably overkill, but the whole place is now very lockable.

I did some further work on the cabin bed in the second bedroom. I removed an annoying squeak that had developed between two touching but unjointed pieces of wood by inserting a small sheet of metal. I also reworked the walls around the bed to tidy things up and did some further work on tidying the boxing in. I’m thinking of using the whitening oil that I used of the stairs and banisters to give a toned down finish to the bare wood that I’ve used for the boxing in.

At the end of the month I was away in Brittany for the week, which helped contribute to my lack of progress, but did provide a great week away from things and an excellent time with my family.

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Your barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

Category: Conversion Design Advice October 19th, 2012 by mbc

This comment from robertloxton was posted on one of my how much does a barn conversion cost posts the other day.

Hello,
I bought a threshing barn and subsequently got pp for conversion to one dwelling. There are so many different ideas and prejudices out there about how and where to go about this.

The best advice I had…..was to make sure you applied for what you really wanted for yourself. Not to be unduly influenced by other peoples experience. Sometimes you find that experience (including professional) is 20 years old….and in truth matters have moved on. The economy has moved on.

So my answer is to spend a huge amount of time reasearching and establishing for yourself what you want. Head up the applications yourself and use the professionals as back up to you. Don’t let them be the lead players.
Clearly you have to be doing this in an informed way. But rocket science it ain’t.

I think there are some really important points in there…

I’m not anti-architect, I’ve never used one myself but I know a few and value their advice and opinion. But Roberts point on your conversion being about “what you really wanted for yourself” is key to personal success for most fool-hardy instigators of conversion projects. I’m not wanting to pick on architects, but I see them as a key source of opinions that differ from your own and the most likely to be able to shift your project away from “what you really wanted for yourself“. By all means seek advice, explore differing opinions and adjust your own thoughts, but I strongly believe that you should own the overall vision for the conversion yourself.

It can be alluring to seek advice and delegate decision making, to play the part of a patron rather than project manager, but that’s rarely the route to personal success and the satisfaction gained from a vision made real that should come from a successful conversion. Unless you truly have more money than sense & a willingness to create the vision of others then conversion is surely not for the weak-hearted.

It was never planned this way, but I realise now that the name of this website enshrines this approach, it is after all, MY Barn Conversion.

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Building Regulations, Approved Documents Part D – Toxic substances

Category: Essential information October 18th, 2012 by mbc

Part D is about ensuring that there is no risk to the occupiers of a building from toxic substances used in its construction.

As of the date of writing, Part D was last revised in 2010 as a result of the Building Regulations 2010 and Building (Approved Inspectors etc) Regulations 2010.

Part D Toxic substances contains the following high-level requirement:

  • D1 Cavity Insulation

This is a short document, of limited relevance to historic building convertors as the requirement contained in the document relates to cavity walls. In the UK, cavity walls only became a common template for wall construction in the 1970’s and a requirement of building regulations in the 1990’s so a wall cavity is absent from most older buildings.

In short, the regulations state that where and insulating material is placed in a cavity, reasonable measures must be put in place to ensure that no toxic fumes are able to permeate into any occupied parts of the building.

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The Stirling prize 2012 winner – the Sainsbury Laboratory

Category: Architecture October 16th, 2012 by mbc

So the Stirling prize was won by what seemed to be a long shot. I think two things blinded me to the potential of the eventual winner – the Sainsbury Laboratory. The first, the association with a supermarket (boo-hiss), or at least with the family that setup the supermarket. The second, the fact it was a lab, just how interesting can a laboratory be?…

Well, seemingly very interesting, very motivational and very inspirational, both as a piece of architecture and as a place to work. I must admit that my initial impression of some of elevations was that they were a little third-Reich (albeit a softened, gardened third-Reich). Having taken another look, with newly opened eyes, I have one thing to say…

I wish I worked there.

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The Stirling prize 2012

Category: Architecture October 11th, 2012 by mbc

Although high brow architecture prizes aren’t my usual territory, I think that this years Stirling prize has some exciting projects on the shortlist.

Best if we pass over the Olympic stadium, which looks so much like so many other stadiums to the lively Lyric Theatre project. Highlighted on last nights BBC2 Culture Show, this looks to be a lovely, well designed quality development, informed by function and form rather than vanity and ego. I also rather like the bomb-shelter chic of The Hepworth, rarely has concrete looked so lovely.

The shortlist is well worth a look on ribastirlingprize.architecture.com

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Progress

Autumn 2013

Right that’s the summer over with, now I can get on with some real work without the distractions of other things (like holidays and playing with children, all that enjoyable stuff that gets in the way of progress)… With few major jobs (painting, boxing in – nasty stuff!) left inside, mainly fiddly things that need […]

I’m having a moan on twitter… https://twitter.com/barnconversion/status/368427314868396032

A lovely Flemish barn conversion

I love the interior of this conversion and the great use of horizontal slats on this conversion. I retains the essential ‘barnyness’ of the building… flemish-barn-by-arend-groenewegen-architect

Coming soon, my barn conversion guide… Interesting earthship greenhouse project on Kickstarter

I really like this Kickstarter project >> The Farm of the Future: Earthship-Inspired Greenhouse This project is “Prototyping the First 100% Off-The-Grid, Affordable, Low-Maintenance Greenhouse using Earthship Principles and Aquaponics“. If any of those words meaning anything to you you’ll be interested in the project if not, pass it by… It’s already funded so I […]

Barns

Barns Gallery on Remodelista

There is a lovely gallery of barn related inspirational photographs available on Remodelista.

Barns – the Long House

Situated on the North Norfolk coast, this is a building to admire…

Barns – the Balancing Barn

A stunning piece of architecture, although not entirely to my taste…

New fast-track planning permission for the development of barns proposed

The Daily Mail reports on a new fast-track route through planning controls for the conversion of barns…

De-assembled, re-assembled, re-cycled barns

“A bit like a private sector, modernising, repurposing St Fagan’s…”

Design

What is a shadow gap?

A shadow gap – a mysterious dark place between two plains…

Your barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

Thoughts on making YOUR barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

Building Regulations, Approved Documents Part D – Toxic substances

An overview of Building Regulations, Approved Documents Part D – Toxic substances

Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part C Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture

An overview of Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part C Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture

Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part B Fire safety

An overview of Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part B Fire safety

Architecture

Your barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

Thoughts on making YOUR barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

The Stirling prize 2012 winner – the Sainsbury Laboratory

The 2012 Stirling prize was won by a outsider, the Sainsbury Laboratory…

The Stirling prize 2012

I think that this years Stirling prize has some exciting projects on the shortlist…

Our engineers … our architects – Le Corbusier

The efficient, shiny world of construction in 1923…

Design in Storage

When designing a layout it’s easy to forget to plan for storage…

News

Green Deal slow beginnings?

Oh dear! The green deal hasn’t got off to a very auspicious start… As reported in the Telegraph today since it was launched nearly a year ago just 12 homes have taken advantage of the Green Deal with a few hundred more in the pipeline. 71,210 households had been assessed for Green Deal measures such […]

The property roller coaster – planning reform to be rethought

Eric Pickles vague compromise on planning reform keeps the house happy (for now).

Energy policy, smoke screens, fracking, confusion and big bucks

There seems to be only one thing that is certain in the world of energy policy and that is that costs will rise annually above and beyond anything that inflation can currently throw at us. Beyond that, smoke screens & confusion seem to reign. Take the recent news for example… It’s reported today that the […]

Flanking manoeuvres and good design…

It seems that the government are undertaking flanking manoeuvres on the green belt…

Green Deal Launch

The Green deal launched in the UK on Monday of this week. Fanfares? fireworks? a deluge of marketing? … read more …

Plaid Cymru’s Green New Deal promise

The leader of Plaid Cymru has promised a “Green New Deal” to rejuvenate the Welsh economy and help maintain Wales’ position at the forefront of Green policies.

Permitted development extension limits to be doubled

The government is due to announce a temporary increase in the maximum depth of extensions that can be built under permitted development rules.

Lloyd Khan, making shelter simple.

I wanted to share an interview with Lloyd Khan that I recently found…

Just what is ‘sustainable development’?

Sustainable development – with the term now enshrined in planning law, what does it mean?

Sir Patrick Abercrombie – “It is a matter for serious thought…”

While reading up on the response of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) I came across this quote from Sir Patrick Abercrombie…