Completed New Dwelling in Eckington, submitted for “Best Inclusivity” award

A project which has already received national accolades for “Excellence in Architectural Technology” has been submitted for the LABC awards for the East Midlands region.

The project responds to the clients demand for a contemporary building within its setting and area, contributing to amenity. The clients requirements of the home being inclusive of her needs for a partially sighted person, and the family members she lives with, has been met with fantastic client satisfaction. As the client is likely to remain at home more than other homeowners, due to both circumstances and the running of a business from home, the building was also designed and constructed to accommodate potentially large energy consumption running costs, and is therefore highly insulated.

The dwelling incorporates a modern design within a traditional Edwardian street scene. The dwelling features contemporary use of hardwearing and low maintenance materials, yet reflects design principles of both surrounding buildings, and the original dwelling it replaces.

This was achieved using a mix of modern and traditional materials, and making use of colour changes and design details to highlight key building features.

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France+Associates appointed Consultants for Next Step Trust

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Consultations have continued in to 2019 with the fast growing charity, who specialise in day care activities for young adults. The charity have expanded their property portfolio in 2018 to provide a wider variety of services to the community.

France+Associates have been appointed to assist on a number of their sites to assist redevelopment and extending their services to meet community demand. Exciting developments are on the horizon.

France + Associates arrange Emergency Repair before Christmas 

France+Associates were appointed by Irwin Mitchell LLP to arrange and manage the replacement of a conservatory as well as repairs to defective works to a property in Golcar.  

In the final week before Christmas however, the main home suffered a loss of heating. France+Associates utilised their extensive list of trades contacts to arrange a full replacement, with the commissioning successfully taken place on Christmas Eve.

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Steel frame Extension erected to large Refurbishment in Dore, Sheffield

France + Associates were appointed by Switalskis Solicitors to design and manage the refurbishment and extension of a large property in Dore, Sheffield, on behalf of a wheelchair user and their family.

The property once complete will feature a curved, ramped footbridge to accommodate differences in floor level to the upper storey, knitting together the variety of extensions that have been built over the building’s lifetime with differing floor levels.

An enclosed through floor lift, hydrotherapy pool and full adaptation will also take place to meet the inclusive design specification.

This week the steel frame was successfully erected, allowing the extension building to take shape. More updates to follow.

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Meet Victoria Johnson ......

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Would you like to introduce yourself?

Yes, my name is Victoria Johnson.

What is the background that brings you to France and Associates?

I have worked in various jobs all really that needed a lot of organising of people. When I returned to England from living abroad, I took up a job in an architectural office covering for the secretary/ receptionist. I enjoyed it and although I never thought I would end up working in an office I really enjoyed it. So, when an opportunity arose at France and Associates, I took it with both hands.

Which three words describe you best?

Organised, Thoughtful, Resilient.

Did you have any nicknames growing up?

Erm, many some I didn’t like but my family called me Vickyline or Victoria Plum from the character of a book, I think she was a fairy which fits as I didn’t grow very much 😊

If you were an animal what would you be and why?

Well my husband calls me a Cat as I decide on my terms when I want a hug, but it’s ironic as I don’t feel comfortable around cats.

The office calls me the rottweiler in the office as when I first started, I had to chase up utility companies, we all know what they are like, well within a week I had the mess all sorted. But unfortunately got a new nickname.

I don’t know what animal I would choose myself, as I like many.

Do you have any hobbies?

Yes, I am very artistic and like designing from scrapbooking to drawing. I also love to cook and bake, and mostly if I had the money I would travel as much as I could to all the remote areas, as I love to find out about other cultures.

What strengths do you think you bring to France and Associates?

I already said organisation which my manager Sharon stated straight away when asked lol, erm loyalty and pragmatic very decisive.

If you could invite five famous or noted people to dinner (past or present), who would you choose?

I would know my first choice would be Audrey Hepburn as I have always loved her and think she was a very good person. Jennifer Lawrence as I think she is funny and then I would have to invite Chris Pratt as I think it would make the dinner livelier and fun. Tom Hanks as he is just a childhood favourite and would be very interesting with all his stories, on Graham Norton show he seems to just have this presence, and all seem to enjoy his company. Walt Disney as again I would say he had a very interesting life from small beginnings but never let his wealth change the person he was, so is said, so I think he would be an interesting person to have.

Thank you, for taking the time to let us get to know that the ‘rottweilers’ soft side.

Meet Karen McGourty .......

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Would you like to introduce yourself, your name, job title?

I’m Karen McGourty ACIAT and my job title here at France and Associates is Architectural Technologist.  I hail from Emerald Isle (Ireland) but I have been living in England for over seven years.  

Let’s start off with some questions to break you in gently.

Which 3 words describe you best?

Creative, logical and perfectionist

Do you have any hobbies?

Yes I have many hobbies mainly baking, fitness and various crafts including knitting, sewing and candle making.

Would you like to take the hobby further in the future? 

A part of me would like to apply to go onto the Great British Bake Off however I don’t think it would be relaxing having Paul and Prue critiquing my baking!

If you could invite five famous or noted people (past or present) to dinner who would you choose?

Frank Lloyd Wright, Eileen Gray, Mary Berry, Guy Martin and Chris O’Dowd

Can you tell me one thing about yourself that not many people know ……

Both myself and my family like to follow and enjoy spectating closed public roads motorsports like Motorbike Road Racing like Isle of Man TT and Car Rallies like World Rally Championship.  I was a marshal at the last Rally Ireland and a round of the World Rally Championship in 2011.   

What job did you want to do when you grew up?

I wanted to be an actress however my parents gave me a reality check!

What have some of your previous jobs been?

I have previously worked within a national building consultancy alongside building surveyors with my role very similar to them.  Prior to this I worked in a college group estates department with no two days the same!  I have also worked for a small architectural practice in Northern Ireland. 

What was it that made you get in to design?

I have always been interested in design and making things and I have been on building sites since I was a baby!  My parents were in the process of constructing their house when I was born.

What were some of your projects you’ve worked on, within your role as designer? 

In my first job position after I graduated, I got to work on the refurbishment of an Martello Tower in Dublin bay, it was a very interesting structure and converting it into holiday let. 

I also really enjoyed working on refurbishment of existing campus and converting it into an innovative 14 to 16 year old academy school which specialised in vocational pathways alongside traditional GCSE’s.  We had to design innovative spaces for teaching including teaching care apartment which allow training on health care provision within an normal home environment.

What would you say a strength of yours is that you bring to the team

Having worked with building surveyors and also in an estate/ facilities department I feel I can bring extensive practical knowledge on operational side of building like compliance issues.

As a company we specialise in adaptations for people who have suffered catastrophic life injures etc, what is it that gives you the most enjoyment?

I firstly find the clients and their families inspirational and humbling how they deal with what life has given them.  It give me a greater work satisfaction to know the work we carry out contributes to providing suitable space, environment and home for our client’s needs.

Can you tell me about a job that you’re looking after at the moment?

I’m looking after a few jobs which have start and are about to start on site, one is small barn conversion to existing farm house in Durham.  Another a demolition and construction of new dwelling in Greater Manchester and refurbishment and extension of an existing dwelling in Sheffield.

Is there anything specific in the world of architecture that you want to see change?

In the current world where we are always switched on and bombarded with sensory information even in our buildings and environments especially in town and city centres, I feel there is a need to start designing calmer and more socially inclusive environments and buildings for everyone.

Thank you for taking the time for everyone to get to know you a little better!

Meet Sharon McAughey ….

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Would you like to introduce yourself?

Hi, my name is Sharon McAughey and I recently joined France and Associates as the new Office Manager working on the Expert Witness side of the business.  Previous to this I was employed by Paul S Withey Limited who specialised in producing expert witness accommodation reports for the courts as does Jonathan France.

What is the background that brings you to France and Associates?

I have always done office work, from being a Typist, to a Secretary, then to a Personal Assistant and now an Office Manager, I have also been employed as a book keeper in the past too.  When I left school back in the 80’s, I did go to college to study bakery, which is very on trend now, I wish I’d stuck to it and I might have been on “Bake Off”, you never know.

Which three words describe you best?

Happy (mostly), loyal (always) and hard-working (is that one word?).

Did you have any nicknames growing up?

One of my teachers used to call me Monkey-nuts, because he was cruel, and my surname was Monks at that time.

If you were an animal what would you be and why?

I would be a seal, as they are graceful at times and clumsy at others, and they lay around on the beach sleeping or eating.

Do you have any hobbies?

I wouldn’t say I had any ‘proper’ hobbies as such, but I do enjoy going to gigs and festivals with my partner Jamie, although I have yet to tackle one of the big festivals, they are a little intimidating to me.  We have several gigs coming up this year, all of which are very different, from Def Leppard to The Streets!

What strengths do you think you bring to France and Associates?

I feel that I bring experience and knowledge with me, and cool head to handle pressure and stressful situations at work.  I have learned over the years that any problem or situation is not unsolvable, and not to worry about things out of your control.

If you could invite five famous or noted people to dinner (past or present), who would you choose?

Brian Cox, to talk about the universe and his time in a pop band!  Ricky Gervais, he is intelligent and funny and has also been in a pop band, I think they would get along well.  Tom Hardy, self-explanatory.  Edgar Allan-Poe, to tell us some scary stories and I guess Elvis to entertain us all.

Meet Bill Crawford .....

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Would you like to introduce yourself, your name, job title, how you are connected to France and Associates? Bill Crawford MCIAT and I work with France and Associates on projects in Scotland and far northern areas of England. I’m an associate of France and Associates.

Let’s start off with some questions to break you in gently. So, Bill what nicknames do you have? At School I was known as Vince, the Gopher, who was the cartoon character in Deputy Dawg who couldn’t see very well and that was me till I got glasses. Billy Boy which is what most of my chums call me when we meet up.

Which 3 words describe you best? Ordinary, average and try to keep my head below the parapet

Do you have any hobbies? Yes woodturning, scroll saw work, pyrography and working with wood in general

What gives you enjoyment from your hobby? Therapeutic, creative and artistic

Would you like to take the hobby further in the future? Its an interest that never stands still!!

If you could invite five famous or noted people (past or present) to dinner who would you choose? Leonardo da Vinci, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Matt Busby, Tom Petty and Roseanne Cash

If you were a flower which one would you be and why? A thistle, because they survive under all conditions

Can you tell me one thing about yourself that not many people know …… My Father was a professional footballer and Mechanical Engineer by profession and my Mother was from a family of German Builders who emigrated in the 19th century to the North East of England to construct buildings for the mining industry

What job did you want to do when you grew up? An artist but then I became a realist

What have some of your previous jobs been? Structural Engineer, Estates Surveyor, Commercial Garage Owner and owner of a Computer Aided Design company which supplied Apple, Hewlett Packard, Graphisoft ArchiCad software and Xerox products amongst others  to Architects, Structural Engineers, Construction Industry and Graphics professionals throughout the UK

What was it that made you get in to design? I have always had an interest in making and designing things, whether mechanical, artistic or in building construction.

When you did get into design what were some of your favourite projects you’ve worked on so not just the most expensive but ones you’ve enjoyed. Designing a space frame rear sub frame for the original mini only for Ford to bring out the Escort Mexico which put paid to that!!

Assisting with the design of phosphor bronze rocking bearings for steel railway bridges

Recently we converted an 1860 Sheriff Court House in Linlithgow to a Boutique Hotel

You don’t work in office with us, but what would you say a strength of yours you have that maybe others in the team might not have. Probably because I am considerably older than most in France and Associates, I have the advantage of been there, seen it, done it and got the T-shirt so I don’t get too fazed by life in general

As a company we specialise in adaptations for people who have suffered catastrophic life injures etc, what is it that gives you the most enjoyment from working with this calibre of clients? I have designed adaptations over the years for a number of Clients and the satisfaction comes from giving someone a solution to allow them to have a better standard of life despite their physical disability

Can you tell me about the job we have in Scotland that you’re looking after? It is quite a challenging project due to the Client needs, however solutions are being found which will give a positive outcome for all concerned

Is there anything specific in the world of architecture that you want to see change, not only for ourselves but other practices all over the UK i.e conserving buildings design in the era they were made etc.. As the years have progressed, the technology involved in construction products has developed and as a result, selection of products in some areas has become more complicated. This has not been as beneficial as might have been hoped for and has, in my opinion, caused confusion. The Grenfell Tower fiasco is an example of this.

Thank you for taking the time for everyone to get to know you a little better, and we look forward to meeting up soon.

Innova Litigation Conference 2018

Eagerly anticipated ever since Jonathan was asked to speak at the conference!

France and Associates had a fabulous day at the conference, which was held at Wetherby Race Courses. With the chance to discuss lots of our work and how we all work together in giving a better quality of life for those who have been born with disabilities or have disabilities as a result of medical negligence or a catastrophic injury.

Jonathan spoke on how important it is to have open communication between OT/Case Managers and the appointed architect, so the best result can be met for the client.

The knowledge that we took in about the equipment available for such clients was outstanding with the opportunity to view the equipment in working order, the extent of aids available to help with everyday life and the way they operate gives the client an amazing amount of freedom and the ability to move around the home like an able bodied individual.

The conference was fantastic and we can't wait to attend next year.

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