With the economy still flat and very little sign of any uplift in peoples lifestyles we were highly surprised at the number of clients deciding that moving wasn’t a good idea but choosing to invest in extending their own home. From the 51 clients we served in 2012 the vast majority were homeowners who were extending their home or converting their lofts.
By far the biggest project type carried out by us last year was the single storey rear extension, closely followed by the loft conversion. These were spread all over the uk with a large proportion being in the greater london area or midlands. We had a few at opposite ends of the country, ie Cornwall and Aberdeen, as well as a small number in Edinburgh, Glasgow and the Scottish Borders.
I think the reason why the single storey house extension and loft conversion were so popular is purely down to the fact that most qualify for Permitted development, ie there is no requirement for planning permission providing a strict set of parameters are adhered to. Of course building regulations still apply and this is the area we are strongest.
Another trend we seem to be mirroring from national reports is the conversion of large properties such as vacent hotels, public houses and large houses into self contained flats. We carried out 4 of these conversions in 2012, most converting listed buildings and we are glad to say we had a 100% record in obtaining planning permission and listed building approval. From speaking with a number of these clients who also used alternative Architectural companies for projects running simultaneously, unfortunately they were not able to match our clean sheet of approvals, so although we are Architectural technician’s, its evident we also have a very good sense of design which we were delighted to find out.
This good design sense is reflected in our 100% record of approvals for homeowners too. 99% of applications were approved first time, with a couple requring a resubmission to gain the approval. This is something we are looking to approve on in 2013.
Our Cad and Architectural support service to other industry professional saw a number of new and now repeat clients come on board. We now provide Architectural support to Clearspace buildings, who produce timber framed, Cedar clad buildings to schools around the UK. We also now work alongside Arcterra Building surveyors who have a very strong workbook for last year and growing into 2013. A major client being Hargreaves Ltd with a large portfolio of properties and land projects around the UK which were delighted to be involved with. Our introduction to this client was to produce an outline planning scheme for an industrial park containing 4no 50,000sqft industrial buildings to serve the transportation and storage market sectors in Lincolnshire.
We are constantly developing our skills, looking for ways to break into BIM software but in all honesty are finding this step quite a difficult one due to time allocation required for training, and more so, Cost. Once implemented we are sure it will project us into areas that we currently cant reach in terms of efficiency and detail we can provide.
We have also started 2013 with a new area of service, topographical surveys. While not something we will be directly marketing for a while, if required we can produce full 3D topographical surveys of buildings and sites. Our first survey is already underway and I was astonished to find that the equipment we have access to is costed at £50K plus. Careful handling is probably an understatement!
2013 is already showing signs of being an improvement on 2012, both in terms of our own commitment, services we offer and growing client list. Hopefully you are our next client!!