Fiendishly Complex Refurbishment

Posted 2nd January 2019


Total demolition and redevelopment of a site is costly in a number of ways and not always a viable proposition. There are also the sustainability aspects to consider. Demolition inevitably creates waste (although strategies to limit the amount being taken to landfill can help mitigate waste). Furthermore, new construction entails “embodied energy” – that is the total energy consumed throughout all processes of sourcing, manufacturing, delivering and installing new material and building components.

This project, a collaboration with one of our long-standing clients, is a comprehensive thermal upgrade, extension and remodelling of a 1960’s house. As existing, the layout amounts to a confusing sequence of spaces, not conducive to 21st century living. Built at a time before thermal insulation was even mandatory, it is a thermally very inefficient building. What the property can boast of, however, are the views from the first floor rooms across the valley and the Kent coastline.

This was a borderline case; the temptation might have been to demolish the whole building and start again. The house was built in various piecemeal stages using different construction methods, which in itself makes insulation details and structural alterations more awkward to design.

However, by applying our experience of upgrading existing buildings, and by engaging closely with the client and structural engineer, we have been able to support the client’s brief to design a marketable, thermally efficient, modern family home.

The project is currently in the process of being submitted for Building Regulations approval and we anticipate that works will commence this Spring.