One year win!

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.

award-winners

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

LABC.jpg

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

JenDay

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/

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

Conclusion

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. 

The Occupational Therapist Show

The 2016 show was exceptional! Thousands of delegates swept the halls taking in all the knowledge of the exhibiting companies, from big brand names displaying lots of products to more independent firms offering advice and information. Being the UK's free largest OT Show to attend, there were plenty of Occupational Therapists, Case managers, students who were able to attend lectures in the numerous theatres throughout both days. 

In addition, there were over 300+ exhibitors filling the halls showcasing their products and services. As a new exhibitor for 2016, interest was shown in France + Associates creative stand, showcasing simple, effective design using inexpensive materials. The architectural stand was made up of a timber frame with structural steel ties, with feature vintage light-bulbs lighting up our teams handywork. 

OT16_logo.jpg

Director Jonathan France commented: "The stand was an excellent example to demonstrate our use of simple and effective design, which is utilised across the board on projects that can typically attract clinical fittings and fixtures. Practising in the architectural industry, it is imperative to highlight that good design does not have to cost more, and that what is one solution doesn't have to mean it is the only solution".

Our ambition as a practice is to employ this approach on housing adaptations, extensions and new builds to provide well thought, homely environments. The client shouldn't have to be in a clinical environment in their own home, everyone deserves the luxury of their own home comforts while still being accessible. 

All our visitors were welcome, but especially Frank the staffy from "Pets as Therapy"! 

We met so many fantastic people who are a testament to the industry with their enthusiasm, creativity and passion! We can't wait to see what next year brings, hope to see you there!

Completed Project in Beverley

This rewarding project included remodelling of an existing two storey dwelling, as well as extensions and a full refurbishment. An internal lift was provided to enable the end user to benefit full access to all areas, with a comprehensive list of environmental controls to improve independency. The kitchen come dining living space had been outlined as the focal point within the family home, so attention was given to this area to make this an expansive, flexible space, to provide both a private and entertaining hub of the home.

The property was completed to a high specification, which we were able to get involved in through sample boards and specifications of finishes and fittings.

As with all our refurbishments, home comforts are always included, such as underfloor heating, En Suite bathrooms and cast-iron feature stoves over high quality natural slate.

New Build, Holmfirth

France + Associates are pleased to announce the commencement on site of our project in Honley, Holmfirth. The project will commence in October 2016 and will run for 12 months. France and Associates are appointed as contract administrators and will project manage the bespoke new bungalow through to completion. 

Front Entrance.jpg

This forms a continuation of France and Associates' commitment to architecture in Huddersfield and the surrounding area of providing high value, bespoke designed dwellings. 

The bespoke single dwelling will provide an accessible and homely environment for an individual who has suffered catastrophic injuries. The project will serve as an opportunity to showcase accessible design and move away from clinical finishes, which serve as an industry norm when designed by competing disability architects. 

Our new appointment

We have recently been appointed contract administrators and project managers of a bespoke single occupancy residential project in the South Yorkshire region.

The project comprises of a complex construction process involving difficult party wall issues, retaining walls and a property formed over 3 levels, with each level “stepped”. The property will be finished in a low maintenance finish, using render and composite timber boarding. A dark feature brick will be used to knit the build’s design together, with large expansive bifolding doors installed to benefit the far reaching views. Part of the design brief was to ensure natural light is achievable in most, if not all areas. As a result, roof lights are to be located into open internal gallery’s and glass floors, to filter natural light down inside the building to lower levels. The project is estimated to start onsite shortly.