Award Finalists

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France and Associates are finalists for the Alan King Award for Excellence in Architectural Technology 2018

We are very proud to announce that France and Associates are amongst the 6 finalists for the CIAT Alan King Award 2018. This is for our recently completed project in Eckington, for a client who is visually impaired. This will not only benefit the clent now but also in the future. 

If you would like to look at our award submission please view the documents below.

Industry Changes

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The majority of changes to the building industry are those affecting the private rented sector. “Part L” of the Building Regulations governs the “Conservation of Fuel and Power” in new and existing dwellings, and helps set out the energy efficiency standards that must be adhered to in domestic buildings.

In previous years, Part L helped the industry to switch to condensing gas boiler technology by making their installation mandatory in all new homes and most replacement situations.

Energy Performance Certificates (EPC’s) were made mandatory for all rented homes in October 2008, rating all properties from ‘A’ to ‘G’ (‘A’ being the excellent, ‘G’ being worst) scale of energy efficiency and making recommendations on how it can be improved. At the time, information from these homes lead to an understanding that most average rented properties in the UK are ‘D-rated’, with 8% ‘F-rated’ and 3% G-rated. These ratings indicate a much higher rate of poorly rated properties in the rented sector, rather than the private owner occupier sector.

Since April 2016, tenants have been able to request that landlords carry out ‘reasonable’ efficiency improvements, but as of April 2018, if the efficiency of the home is poor, changes will become mandatory.

As of 1 April 2018, all rented properties must have a minimum energy efficiency rating of E and above in order for it to be rented out to new tenants, for tenancy renewals or extensions to the present lease. This will make in the region of 500,000 homes that are ‘F’ and ‘G’ rated illegal to rent.  

As of 2020, the regulations will tighten further to apply to all private rented homes, including existing tenancies. Failure to comply will come with a fine up to £5,000.

How They Can be Improved

Improvements to a buildings efficiency is possible through various guises, or a combination thereof. In some cases it may the provision a replacement hot water and heating system, for a more up to date boiler, with assurances that all pipes are “lagged” or insulated whilst installed, which would protect from heat being lost as the hot water is dispersed to various radiators in the home. There is also the provision of insulation in lofts, internal wall insulation (IWI), external wall insulation (EWI), replacement of all external windows and doors, provision of mechanically controlled ventilation systems and much more!

Surveyors and Architects will be able to help with this industry change, to guide you or your client’s through the process of improving the energy efficiency of the building.

How this could affect the Solicitors

Where a disabled person is renting a home temporarily, it is important to note the above changes which legal professionals can use when negotiating terms of a lease for their client. An EPC is usually provided with the property particulars, so there should be an understanding at the time of considering the viability of the property, as to whether or not it requires improvements to its energy performance.

In usual circumstances a home is bought under a trust, bought specifically for the disabled individual with their needs in mind. In all circumstances, a building condition survey report would normally include a list of works to be carried out, as well as an “Energy Performance Certificate”. The EPC would indicate the property rating, and prior to the disabled client moving in to the property, necessary work would likely be carried out to improve the dwelling’s performance.

Most persons with life changing conditions and injuries require higher than average heating temperatures, so improving the dwelling’s energy efficiency would likely ensure the building remains warm and draught free, would require less use of energy to run and with the avoidance of damp would prolong the lifetime of finishes and products within a home.

Speaking at the Litigation Project Conference 2018

 
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We are delighted to be speaking at the first ever Litigation Project Conference this May! Innova Care Concepts are hosting this event, and it will be full of private occupational therapists, case managers, solicitors, equipment specialists, and other architects who specialise in creating accessible homes for clients.

Our Managing Director Jonathan will be appearing at the event and discussing how architects see case management and overcome possible issues. He’ll be giving a unique insight into the work of an architect and how OTs and case managers can help with the design process. Jonathan’s experience and background in this sort of work makes him a leading figure in inclusive design for disabled clients.

Delegates will also be able to get their hands on the latest equipment like ceiling track hoists, specialist electric wheelchairs, hydrotherapy pools and other bits and pieces that we’re usually accounting for in our designs.

To be held on Tuesday 22nd May, the Litigation Project Conference is one of the few case management training events taking place in the North. It’s completely free, and attendees will be given the chance to network with other professionals from all walks of litigation work. As we are well-aware, getting everyone involved in a case management project in the same room at the same time can be rather difficult, so this is sure to be a truly unique experience for all!

So if you’re free on the 22nd May and fancy coming along, then please book your free place here. We look forward to seeing you!

France + Associates feature in latest architectural journal

A great start to the new year, having featured for the "practice profile" article in one of the UK's most read Architectural journal, the AT Journal Winter Issue. The article showcased our award winning project in Yorkshire, which offers a snapshot of our services and the rewarding industry we work within.

Click on the 'AT ARTICLE' button below to find out more. France and Associates are featured on pages 16 and 17.

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Yorkshire Children of Courage Awards

France and Associates often see first-hand the difficulties families face when they have a child with extra difficulties and disabilities and the challenges these young people endure. Yorkshire Children of Courage Awards was an opportunity for us to reward these young inspirational individuals, which we are proud to be a part of.

Many of our current clients are young children who have sustained life changing injuries. France and Associates help them to reclaim their home which forms part of a process to increase independence and provide the foundations for improved private care.

France and Associates attended the well-known Yorkshire Children of Courage Awards on 13th October 2017. The event celebrates the youth of Yorkshire who put their all in and don’t expect anything in return. Whether this is living with a life changing illness or a sibling caring for their ill sibling and taking on so many more duties than they should have to at their age. France and Associates decided that it is important to celebrate the unrecognised youth around us, that’s why we decided to sponsor an Award. We chose the category The 13-18 Special Recognition Award, which was received by Finn Knaggs, 15, from Leeds who at just 7 months old contracted pneumococcal meningitis which resulted in profound sensorineural hearing loss, complex epilepsy and left-side hemiplegia. Despite his mother not been given much hope, Finn is now very active!

We were privileged to meet a former client, cheeky chappy Charlie Senior! Charlie of Huddersfield picked up the award Special recognition (0-12 years): Charlie has come such a long way from when we last saw him. Amazing to see his progress!

As the importance of supporting the courageous youth of Yorkshire is, there were many familiar faces in the crowd presenting awards on the night.

France + Associates Appointed as Designers on Landmark Case

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Jonathan France MCIAT, accommodation expert witness and architectural professional, has been appointed on a landmark case to assist the Claimant (JR v Sheffield Teaching Hospitals) and their family to successfully adapt a property to be fully inclusive of their needs.

On consideration of the landmark case, JR v Sheffield Teaching Hospitals appears to be the first decision on the application of the Roberts v Johnson formula since the discount rate was reduced to minus 0.75% in February 2017. At the time of writing, it is also the largest court award of compensation to a disabled claimant, recovering an award that had a capitalised value of at least £24.3 million.

The claim was made on behalf of 24-year-old JR, who sustained a catastrophic brain injury at birth. In respect of accommodation, it was agreed as part of the case, that the current accommodation of JR was wholly unsuited to his needs and that a new property must be either purchased and adapted or constructed.

Roberts v Johnstone explained

When someone has significant injury for no fault of their own, the house they lived in before their injury will often be unsuitable for their needs.

Accordingly, there will be a claim for new accommodation which will usually be more expensive than the value of their pre-injury accommodation. The way in which accommodation claims are calculated is not to compensate for the capital value of the required accommodation but the annual loss incurred by the Claimant due to the loss of income from the capital spent on the property.

A calculation known as a Roberts v Johnstone calculation (so called from the case in which the calculation was established) is used to calculate the accommodation claim. The calculation takes the difference in the price of the current property and the price of the new property that is required as a consequence of the Claimant’s injury. Investing in a new property means that the Claimant has to use part of their capital and to reflect this a discount of minus 0.75% is applied (representing the annual loss of investment). Prior to February 2017, the discount rate was set at a rate of 2.5%, and had remained so since 2001.

This figure is then multiplied by the “life multiplier”, accorded based on the Claimants present age and life expectancy, adding the cost of adaptation, increased utility bills and moving costs.

How did it affect the case JR v Sheffield Teaching Hospitals?

When calculating the appropriate award for accommodation, it was clear that using the established rule of the Roberts v Johnstone would award the Claimant with nil loss.

The Judge in this case recognised that there had been numerous criticisms and attacks on the Roberts v Johnstone approach. However, he was bound by Roberts v Johnstone and, given the negative discount rate, he had to consider the return on a risk free investment as representing JR’s loss. On the evidence (and discount rates) there was thus no loss. The Judge did however go on to add that there was an urgent need to “find a proper solution to the accommodation conundrum“.

As a result of the present discount rate, the Judge’s hands were tied and a nil loss was awarded, despite the Judge recognising that the Claimant has very high care needs, is reliant on motorised wheelchairs to mobilise, and requires a suitable adapted property for a home. Despite awarding a nil loss, the Judge had assessed the appropriate purchase price for the Claimant’s accommodation at £900,000.

Following a later appeals process, an offer was made 3 days before the Appeal was due to be heard and JR accepted an offer of £800,000. This figure is the cost of accommodation as determined by the Trial Judge, minus a reasonable valuation for the accommodation that the Claimant would have purchased or rented uninjured.

Our Role

Now the case has settled, our role is to assist the Claimant and their family with adapting the property to make it fully wheelchair accessible. The property in question has, like all of our client’s properties, numerous challenges in terms of levels, access, layout and use of spaces. As with all of our clients properties, the main challenge is to make the home both accessible and a beautiful, enjoyable space. This will allow the Claimant unimpeded access along with the enjoyment and comfort you should expect to benefit from in your own home.

The next steps in the process are to complete the various surveys the property, then manage the design once approved by the Claimant, OT’s and various healthcare professionals, through the statutory approval process and the later tender and construction process. A challenge, no doubt, but one we are certainly looking forward to!


Sources used for this article:

www.bto.co.uk; www.switalskis.com; www.crownofficechambers.com; www.clinicalnegligence.blog

One year win, for France and Associates

Award presentation

After just one year in business France and Associates are thrilled to have been awarded Highly Commended in the recent LABC Building Excellence Awards.

Jonathan France Director of France and Associates said “It’s been an interesting and challenging first year and to have been the recipients of such an accolade is a great testament to the hard work and dedication our team have put in to achieve such a great outcome for our client”.

The property based in Beverley, East Yorkshire was a full house conversion for a client with acute additional needs. The building needed a complete make over and conversion to make it accessible to our client. France and Associates were awarded the prized accolade due to designing the home to be both accessible and inclusive of our clients specific needs and meeting the requirements of providing a beautiful home environment for all family members to enjoy.

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The event was a dazzling, champagne awards ceremony, which took place at the Principal Hotel in York and was hosted by the LABC in conjunction with North Yorkshire regional councils. The award was presented to Jonathan France and John and Paul Mundy of Hillam Build who were the principal contractors on the project, by TV personality Nicki Chapman. Jonathan was joined at the event by fellow colleague Andy Scott, John and Paul Mundy of Hillam Build, the Quantity Surveyors Rex Procter and Partners, partner and fellow colleagues of the Irwin Mitchell LLP team who represented the client, managing partner of The Pentelow Practice as well as the care management team from CCMS.

Award Finalists

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WE'RE FINALISTS AT THE BUILDING EXCELLENCE AWARDS FOR TWO CATEGORIES ON OUR BEVERLEY PROJECT.

 

The Beverley project has been nominated for the LABC Excellence Award in the category for best extension or alteration to an existing house and best inclusive building and has been shortlisted as one of the finalists for our area. The winners from each of the 3 areas then go to the grand finals in London. 

We thought we'd show you our submission so you can delve deeper into how our bespoke design has been carried out and has been nominated for such a prestigious award.

Click the image to download our submission for the award.

3 Peaks Challenge

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We're doing the 3 Peaks Challenge for our friend Jen!

Jen was born extremely prematurely. She suffers from Cerebral Palsy, Scoliosis of the spine and Raynaud Syndrome a Peripheral Circulatory disorder and as a result is a wheelchair user.

Jen is now 26 years old and would love to be able to experience the everyday things that most us would take for-granted, like making a meal or even a cup of good old yorkshire tea!

All we ask is that you read Jen's story via the link below and if you are able to, donate on Jen's just-giving page to help in anyway, little or large! By participating in The 3 Peaks Challenge on the 3rd of June and a series of other fundraising events, the family are hoping to raise £25,000 to get Jen a bespoke, accessible kitchen along with minor improvements to her home, which will significantly improve her independance.

The team at France and Associates are pulling on their walking clogs, and are looking forward to being part of a great cause!

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/jen-day-3-peaks 

Home is Where the Heart Is

France and Associates provide a national service, but our hearts are in Huddersfield, which is why supporting local charities means a lot to us.

With a lot of our work committed to improving homes for children and vulnerable adults, we have seen first hand how simple home adaptations can improve the daily lives of the person, their family and their carers.  

This has taught us the immense effort the families and carers make to create a happy home environment.

The Forget Me Not Children's Hospice provides all the help and support needed to help mums be mums and dads be dads, all while enjoying quality time with their young one and their siblings.

Russell House is an excellent example of inclusive design being friendly and feeling like home, along with providing the essential requirements for wheelchair accessibility.

We are proud as a company to continue to support a charity, even if our contribution is a fraction of the £3.8M it takes to run the respite and care, which is almost entirely supported voluntary contributions.

The 99ers club enables you to contribute as little as 99p per day. So what's stopping you? 

https://www.forgetmenotchild.co.uk/