Speaking at the Litigation Project Conference 2018


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.

AT Mag.jpg

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


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.


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




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


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!


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? 


Laser Cut House

To illustrate how our innovative and creative architectural practice operates we've sent some prospective clients something to inspire. Our carefully designed and created laser-cut house reflects the careful thought and patience we spend on each project we undertake. France and Associates engages the latest technology and modern materials to produce homes and buildings which give individuals comfort, accessibility and style - real places that people care about.

If you would like to be shortlisted to receive one of our beautiful laser-cut houses, send your name and address to becky@franceandassociates.co.uk 

We're really proud of them, we hope you'll love them too! - we've got just 50 to give away. So once they've gone, they've gone!

What to expect in 2017

A start to any new year usually results in changes within industry, and no different than with the upcoming changes to the building industry.

Firstly, we hope you have had a well-deserved break and wish you all the best in 2017!

We would like to make you aware of the following developments in the building industry, which could affect your clients or upcoming projects. These changes affect most markets and development types, whether you're a large developer or a homeowner undertaking domestic improvement work. if in doubt, feel free to give us a call! 

The Building Regulations in 2017

The 1st of January 2017 saw the “Approved Document R” under the Building Regulations to take effect. The approved document is to include highspeed electronic networks in all buildings, be that dwellings or other buildings.

The change applies to all buildings, including new dwellings and those undergoing major renovations or adaptations.

Exactly what is classed as a major renovation or adaptation is unclear from the documentation, but this will likely be considered by the local authority / approved inspector’s building inspector, and determined in the application’s conditions. As with other regulations, this may be interpreted differently from one local authority to another.

The change only affects building regulation applications submitted after the 1st of January 2017, and not those already onsite or with necessary approvals in place.

In simplest terms, the change is to include a network box on an external wall, there is no requirement for increased network cabling or equipment within the property. However, it is between the developer and the broadband provider to determine who will pay for the cabling within the property boundary outside of the dwelling, so increased costs may still be incurred to your client to accommodate external cabling infrastructure.

The network box is to facilitate future copper or fibre-optic cables or wireless devices capable of delivering broadband speeds greater than 30 Mbps to be installed. For comparison purposes, a standard copper telephone cable when connected to a service provider with a fibre network, can only deliver broadband speeds of up to 70 Mbps. Further guidance can be found in Approved Document R on the Planning Portal Website.

Local Plan

In the last number of years, Local Authorities were given a time frame to produce a local plan and to consult with the public in their locality. This also gave the public an opportunity to suggest their own proposals on potential development land. Thereafter, the consultation would end and a revised local plan would be offered to the Planning Inspectorate for approval. For it to be granted approval, the local plan would have to comply with various regulations and statutory requirements and would need to include various onerous development requirements, such as “sustainability appraisals” etc. Following approval, it is then adopted by the local authority.

According to one report by Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners in March 2015, only a quarter of all local authorities at that time had a compliant, up to date, adopted plan in place.

From information available at this time, it is reported that 82% of local authorities have published local plans, with 65% now adopting them. There are a remaining 20% of local authorities who have not published a local plan at all.

2017 marks the year where if local authorities do not have a local plan in place, the government will intervene, according to former Planning Minister Brandon Lewis.  

In some rare cases where the local plan is still under review by the Planning Inspectorate, it is possible that a contentious application may be refused until it is clear what policy will apply and whether the development proposal would have a negative effect according to the revised local plan.

In some instances, land opportunities may become available, which may offer greater scope. What was green belt land or another contentious use, may become relaxed and offer an opportunity for development when compared to the past.

Contaminated Land

Under the Building Regulations Approved Document C, contaminated land must be removed or made as appropriate, according to the relevant guidelines.

Contamination can result from obvious uses such as former petrol stations and power plants, as well as farms, former factories, railway land, textile centres etc. Contamination can range from asbestos to oils, ceramics, cements, farm waste etc.

Contaminated land can have an effect on ground conditions leading to damage to foundations and the structure from subsidence, as well as a person’s health.

2017 marks the year that the government grants available to clean up sites that are contaminated, administered by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural affairs, will be phased out by the end of the calendar.

VAT Flat Rate Scheme

The changes to the VAT Flat Rate Scheme outlined in the Autumn Statement in 2016 will generally only affect smaller businesses who are registered under the scheme and have a gross annual income of £150k. This may affect your organisation in the consultants you may contract who could offer a different VAT rate, specific to their profession. This typically applies to small business with an annual gross income below £150k.

With regards the building industry, we could see some price fluctuations in labour, where a tradesperson is VAT registered and employed by a building contractor. 

Inflation Rates of Building Costs

Various reports noted in the third quarter of 2016, specifically the quarterly analysis of construction costs and prices from Davis Langdon dated the 8th December 2016, that building costs could rise overall, due to material cost inflation being a major contributing factor. Building labour costs would rise but at a much lower rate.  

On a local level, we have recently received notification from building contractors with enclosed letters from their own building suppliers, that as of the 1st of January 2017, the material costs will increase in some instances by up to 15%.

We have asked one of our trusted partners Rex Procter & Partners, who are leading cost consultants in the construction market, to comment on future building cost increases:

“The Construction market is always sensitive to fluctuations in the prices of materials and labour. Price changes however do not necessarily translate into the Tender arena. Tenders are linked more closely to labour and resource availability, construction outputs and the need for contractors to secure work and maintain a busy order book.

 Wider market forces are however at play following the Brexit vote and as a result the Building Cost Information Service of the RICS has produced three forecasted scenarios, a “Central” Scenario, an “Upside” scenario and a “Downside” scenario.

 In summary the “Central” scenario shows tender price rises slowing over the next year—static over the following year then rising to 13% above current forecasts by 2021.

 In contrast the “Downside” scenario shows tender price falling by 10% over the next two years with a recovery to 6% above current prices by 2021.

 In contrast again the “Upside” scenario shows tender price increases slowing over the next year then rising to 24% above current pricing by 2021.

 You will note that the above scenarios create widely divergent results making tender movements difficult to predict.

 It is interesting to note that the BCIS tables utilise the “Central” scenario model in their indices tables.

 There are of course variations within the above models for particular types of work—eg housing and infrastructure.

 It is essential to view each scheme on its merits and if in doubt seek advice.”

 -      Joe Deegan , Executive Director, Rex Procter & Partners


This information was prepared by Jonathan France. If you have any further queries in relation to the above information, please feel free to give us a call and a member of our team would be happy to help.