2020…. a year with a twist, to say the least!

2020…. a year with a twist, to say the least!

2020…. a year with a twist, to say the least!

History in the making, patience, and resilience plus many other lessons have been learnt since the pandemic occurred in March.

I would like to begin by saying, I am incredibly proud of my team who have worked tirelessly and safely to keep our practice running efficiently and keeping all build projects moving at great pace during the unprecedented times of 2020.  

Throughout the year we have seen an incredible range of exciting projects, working with some of the ‘best in the business’ within the planning, development, and construction sectors.  

The practice has enjoyed a couple of significant staff appointments and an exceptionally well-deserved promotion for a key member of our team.   

We continue to be nominated for some incredibly prestigious architectural awards and in November, we celebrated a market-leading accolade win for ‘Barn Conversions in Essex”.  

MP Architects LLP would like to express our sincere thanks for the loyalty and goodwill of our customers, friends, suppliers, and acquaintances in 2020.  We are all excited by the opportunities within the local community that lie ahead for us in 2021. 

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas, whatever tier you find yourself in and may your holiday season be filled with laughter, joy, and peace.   

Wishing you happiness and well-being for a prosperous New Year.  

Best wishes and stay safe.

Martyn Pattie 

Our Christmas Opening Hours 

Thursday 24th December – Closing at 12.00 pm

Friday 25th December – Office Closed

Monday 28th December – Office Closed

Tuesday 29th December – Office Closed 

Wednesday 30th December – Office Closed 

Thursday 31st December – Office Closed 

Friday 1st January – Office Closed

Office re-opening on Monday 4 January 2021


Author : Jessica Parkes. Read more articles for MP Architects LLP https://www.martynpattie.co.uk/news/

Emerging from Lockdown to Tier 2

COVID-Secure Essex Architects

As Essex emerges from lockdown and enters the restrictions of Tier 2, we find ourselves with a new set of rules to navigate. 

Short of a Christmas miracle, it seems that we will be working within the new tier 2 restrictions for the near future…..So, whilst hanging up the Christmas decorations and keeping our festive spirits high, we want you to know that we are just as committed to working safely with you on your build project throughout the festive season and beyond.  

We have robust measures in place to allow our team to work safely and diligently ‘on-site’ and ‘off-site’ following the Governments ‘Hands, Face, Space’ ethos. All of our clients have access to virtual meetings and our superb video conferencing options. When on-site, we will always wear a face covering, adhere to sanitising and the physical distancing rules, by keeping 2 metres apart.  

We hope you will find it reassuring to know there are still many ways we can work together effectively and efficiently to move your project forward in a COVID-secure environment throughout the Christmas holiday period and beyond.  

Happy Advent to you all. Stay healthy. 

Martyn Pattie 


Author : Jessica Parkes. Read more articles for MP Architects LLP https://www.martynpattie.co.uk/news/

You Are What You Breathe – MVHR Systems

Shining the spotlight on the ‘Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery Systems’ For New Build Homes

In recent months client requests for installing MVHR systems are becoming increasingly popular. Let’s face it, when building a new home, who wouldn’t want to include a product that improves indoor air quality, reduces energy bills, preserves the fabric of the building and supports the net-zero movement? 

Nowadays, due to strict standards for insulation and airtightness, new homes and renovated dwellings are incredibly energy efficient, however these measures can affect ventilation and have a negative impact on the home air quality.  

Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery is a whole-house ventilation system that both extracts and supplies fresh filtered, temperature-controlled air throughout the property. It offers a balanced low energy ventilation solution for new build dwellings and re-uses up to 95% of the heat that would otherwise have been lost.  

In layman’s terms, the MVHR uses a quiet fan that draws the stale air out and pumps fresh air in throughout the property and via a grid of concealed pipes. 

MVHR systems are a clever solution to provide controlled ventilation of filtered air that has an abundance of benefits, especially for allergy prevention. 

By including an MVHR in your build project, you can guarantee the perfect indoor temperature, great quality air flow as opposed to weather dictating ventilation, and the elimination of bad odours, damp, mould, and fungus. 

When budgeting for your new home project, the inclusion of an MVHR method can be seen as quite an investment however, the small amount of energy used by the system to operate compared to conventional heating and air conditioning solutions can guarantee substantial savings on heating costs and support the reduction of your CO2 footprint, helping towards more sustainable living.  


Author : Jessica Parkes. Read more articles for MP Architects LLP https://www.martynpattie.co.uk/news/

MP Architects wins top award for Bringing Essex Barns Back to Life.

MP Architects LLP have won the BUILD 2020 Architecture Award – Best Contemporary Barn Conversions – Essex  

This annual awards cornerstone, which is in its 5th year, highlights the extraordinary work and expertise of Architects across the globe.  

MP Architects LLP were awarded this impressive accolade by a panel of industry leaders in recognition of our expertise and skill that strikes the perfect balance of historic fabric with modern tastes when designing and transforming unused agricultural buildings into beautiful Essex homes, Offices and Commercial buildings. 

Seen as a clear front runner in this category for our innovative yet practical design and commitment to the use of environmentally-friendly reclaimed building materials wherever possible, we were recognised for undoubtedly embodying the very heart of architecture with a desire to push boundaries and stay ahead of the curve. 

Click here to see the Build official announcement.

Discussing the success of these deserving winners, Awards Coordinator Kaven Cooper praised the programme’s winners: “The Architecture Awards highlight only those who have proven themselves as paragons in the sector. I am proud to recognise them and wish them the best of luck for the future.” 

Martyn Pattie – BA Arch (Oxford), Dip Arch (Oxford), RIBA, ARB commented,  “We are incredibly proud to receive this award. As specialists in the Barn arena, we are delighted to be recognised for our long-standing history of working with some incredibly rewarding barn conversions in Essex.  My team of highly skilled RIBA Accredited Chartered Architects prides themselves on supporting barn owners to achieve great designs for seamless flow and wonderful living spaces that they desire from a barn conversion along with rapid planning permission. We look forward to continuing to build on our success of this award with some very exciting projects in the pipeline” 

If you own or are considering buying a redundant agricultural building to convert into a home, workshop, or office space, let us share our award-winning knowledge and design expertise with you. 


Author : Jessica Parkes. Read more articles for MP Architects LLP https://www.martynpattie.co.uk/news/

Open with Confidence and COVID Secure

Can I continue to work with MP Architects on my build project during the tier 2 & 3 lockdown?

In response to the on-going pandemic, we wanted to help you understand how you can continue to work with us on your build project. 

After months of uncertainty from the impact of COVID-19 and the continuous changing of rules and regulations, we have taken some practical steps to ensure our Architectural planning and design service can continue safely and effectively. 

As always, we are committed to providing excellent Architectural excellence with the Health and Safety of our staff and customers being paramount. 

We are frequently reviewing the Public Health England guidelines and have put robust measures in place to allow our team to work safely and diligently following the Governments ‘Hands, Face, Space’ ethos. 

Currently, there is no limit to the group size when you are meeting or gathering for work purposes, however, all of our clients have the access to virtual meetings and our superb video conferencing options.  

Where it is necessary to be on-site, we will always wear a face covering and adhere to sanitising and physical distancing rules, by keeping 2 metres apart. 

As much as we know ‘business as normal’ is not a phrase we will be using any time soon, it is reassuring for you to know that even in the event of a tier 3 lockdown there are still many ways we can continue to work together to move your project forward. 

We look forward to working with new and existing clients safely and effectively in a COVID-secure environment throughout the pandemic and beyond. 


Author : Jessica Parkes. Read more articles for MP Architects LLP https://www.martynpattie.co.uk/news/

The A-Z of Architecture Argot

Working with your Architectural project team on a new home, house extension, or development project is always an exciting adventure, however, the hundreds of technical architectural terms we use can be confusing.

Whilst Architectural words and phrases form part of our daily discussions, for someone new to our world it can indeed sound like a foreign language.

To help you better understand this dialect of industry acronyms and colloquialisms we have put together a list of the most common phrases you might hear being used by our Architect team when planning your next building project.

Happy reading!

A

ACO Drain – A drainage system that collects water from the surface of a pavement and directs it into an underground drain.

Aesthetic – The appearance of something.

Arcade – A covered walkway lined by columns.

Archway – An opening with a curved or pointed top.

Asbestos Survey – A survey undertaken on a property to identify if asbestos-containing materials are present.

Architectural Symmetry – Characteristic by which the two sides of a facade or architectural floor plan of a building present mirror images of one another.

B

Balcony – A platform that projects from the wall of a building.

Balustrade – A guard to protect from falling or to assist with walking.

Banal – The architect’s version of “boring”.

Bespoke – Individual and unique. This often applies to joinery, built-in carpentry, or kitchens.

Beam – A horizontal structural member usually in steel or timber which needs to be designed /sized, in most cases by a Structural Engineer

Bracket – A projection from a vertical surface that provides structural and/or visual support for overhanging elements.

Building Envelope – The elements that wrap a building – the outside of the total building.

Build Over Agreement – Compliance for when your extension or conversion takes place near or over a public sewer to confirm the foundations of your new construction have given sufficient clearance from the sewer and that access will still be possible if the need arises. An application to the water authority will need to be made and a fee paid.

C

Cantilever – A long projecting element fixed at only one end, with no columns to support it.

Casement Window – A window frame that is hinged on one vertical side or at the top, and which swings open to either the inside or the outside of the building.

Cashflow Forecast – A chart to show how the total cost of the project will be spread over the whole programme of the building works.

Column – A vertical structural member or pillar usually in steel or timber to support a horizontal structural member.

Conservation Area – An area of a town or village designated by the local authority as needing to be managed and protected due to the special architectural and historic interest of the place.

Contamination Report – A Phase 1 report by a specialist is often needed to accompany a planning application when a barn conversion or new home is proposed to check if any previous use on that land would cause a risk to future residents of a dwelling or other new use. If contamination is predicted then a Phase 2 report will be required, complete with soil and other tests if asked for in the planning conditions, followed by a Remediation Report and finally at the end of the build by a Verification Report.

Contemporary – Current and up to date design.

D

Dimension – The length or height of something.

Domesticity – A description of a place’s homeliness.

Dormer Window – A perpendicular window located in a sloping roof to provide more space, height, and light.

E

Eaves – The projecting edge of a roof that overhangs an exterior wall or opening and supports the gutter (unless there is a concealed gutter).

Elevation – The view when looked at the face on to each side of the building

Extension – The construction of extra floor space for an existing building.

F

Facade – An exterior wall, or face, of a building.

Fascia – A sheet of material timber, plywood, or sometimes UPVC at the eaves and behind the gutter.

Fenestration – The arrangement of windows and external doors.

First Fix – the first stage of fitting in a building project, for example, fitting the wires for the sockets or the pipework to the future radiators or sanitary ware

Floor Plan – The arrangement of rooms in a building at each level.

Floor Area – The total area measured as square metres taken up by a building on each floor, usually taken from within the exterior walls

Foundations / Footings – Designed by a structural engineer to sit under the building to evenly transfer the weight of the building to the earth, most often in concrete.

G

Gentrification – Standardising, normalising and bring wealth into a place.

I

Ironmongery – Items made from iron such as door handles,  locks, hinges window fittings, railings, handrails, switches, and sockets.

J

Joinery – Carpentry.

Joists – A horizontal structural element that supports the floor and/or ceiling

Juxtaposition – Two opposites placed together for increased effect (old and new).

L

Listed Building – A listed building or structure is one that has been placed on a statutory list by Historic England and requires protection not to be demolished, extended, or altered without special permission from the Local Planning Authority.

Listed Building Consent – Permission is given when a Listed Building Application has been made and approval has been given.

Loft Conversion – The process of transforming an existing empty attic space or loft into a functional room.

M

Masonry – Being of stone, brick, or concrete.

Massing – A simple arrangement of the to-be designed spaces.

Modular – Describes a (simple) construction system for a building that could be added to indefinitely.

N

Nodes – The connecting point of a network, usually of roads or paths.

O

Orangery – an extension, which has a solid structure with proportionately more brickwork than that of a conservatory with, a flat roof and a lantern and windows at the sides separated by columns that sit beneath the roof formed of internal pelmets and glass panels.

Organic – Natural and often curvy in appearance.

P

Parapet – Usually a piece of wall that protrudes up above a flat roof, for example, to hide a gutter when you build close to a boundary

Party Wall – A wall, also known as a common wall that is a dividing partition between two adjoining buildings that is shared by the occupants of each residence or business. If you need to cut steel beams into a party wall then a party wall agreement is required.

PEA – Preliminary Ecological Assessment – often required accompanying planning applications for barn conversions or new houses to assess if any protected species are living within the agricultural building or on the land.

Plan – An aerial view, looking down onto the building. They can show the roof, doors, walls, and windows, together with the internal layout.

Planning Permission – Permission is given to carry out certain building works or extensions issued by the Local Planning Authority after an application has been made following the issue of drawings and other related documents.

Planning Conditions – Each planning permission has attached to it certain conditions to be complied with some of these are pre-commencement planning conditions that need to be satisfied before construction can begin by means of extra drawings or reports to be issued with a further planning application for approval of conditions.

Programme – A chart to show which order building work will be carried out over a number of weeks.

Projection – A side wing, tower, or window bay that protrudes from a building.

Proud – Sticking out, as in “the countertop is proud of the cabinet” sits proud

Purlin – Longitudinal, horizontal structural member in a roof (often used in roofs which do not have trusses.)

R

Rafter – A sloped structural member such as a wooden beam that extends from the ridge, wall plate, or eave designed to support the roof deck.

Rebate – A recessed strip.

Regenerate – To improve and bring back to life.

Ridge – The horizontal line at the junction of the top edges of two sloping roof surfaces.

Ridge Beam – The top structural member of a roof either in steel or structural timber

Robust – An object, method, or idea that seems to be flawless and sensible.

Roofline – The top of the part of a building that rises above the eaves of the building.

Rooflight – A window in the slope of a roof or set in a flat roof with upstands.

S

Sanitary Ware – Toilets, basins, showers, shower trays, baths, taps, etc.

SAP Calculation – A rating that is required to produce a Predicted Energy Assessment and an On Construction Energy Performance Certificate.

Sash Window – A window usually made from timber, which has the opening parts sliding vertically (or horizontally) within a frame. Mostly works on a series of lead weights but more recently by a pair of spiral sash balances.

Scale – The size of something. Planning drawings are often at a scale of 1:100 and construction drawings are at a scale of 1:50 or 1:20 with joinery details at a larger scale of 1:10. 1:5 or 1:2.

Second Fix – The final process of fitting electrical or mechanical work at the end of a project – completing actual fittings such as sockets, taps, radiators, and sanitary ware.

Section – A drawing of a vertical cut through of the building that results in the removal of one of the selected parts to reveal it’s the object’s inner elements – used usually to show the space and structure of a building.

Sequence – A defined order of items.

Setback – A step-like recession in a wall.

Site Investigation – A preliminary process used to gather the information needed to carry out the viability of the project.

Soffit – The flat board in timber, ply, or UPVC under the eaves.

Spatial Composition – How a building and its parts sit together and interact with its context.

Sustainability – A measure of how environmentally friendly a building is.

T

Threshold – The boundary between two spaces, often marked by a door, change of flooring, or similar change.

Trial Hole – A pit or trench dug to determine the geology and the water table of the site. Structural engineers can need to commission these to be dug in the ground to analyse the make of the ground at different depths to be able to design the foundations of a building or extension. Particularly needed if there are trees in close proximity.

Topographical Survey – Az survey by a company of existing buildings and land to measure what exists and work out ground levels.

Trusses – A triangular roof structure usually made of wood that actually makes up the roof structure.

U

U Value – The measure of how effective the building’s fabric areas are at preventing heat from transmitting between the inside and the outside of a building.

V

Vernacular Architecture – Vernacular architecture responds to local methods of building construction, local climates, and local living needs and traditions.

Our talented Architects offer exciting ideas and expert opinions on layouts and plans for new homes, house extensions, conversions, home office, pool houses, and much more. Take advantage of our extensive local ‘planning permission’ and ‘permitted development’ knowledge and let our brilliant team turn your concept into a reality.


Author : Jessica Parkes. Read more articles for MP Architects LLP https://www.martynpattie.co.uk/news/

Make Working from Home Work for You

Millions of people have been forced to work from home since the coronavirus outbreak in what could be described as the biggest remote working experiment in history. 

It is without a doubt that working from home can have a positive effect on both your work and life balance, and in a ‘post-crisis’ world you may want to continue this way of living.

Studies have proved that the most common benefit of home working is the elimination of the unrelenting commute. By not traveling to work you can save time and money all whilst having a positive impact on the environment. 

As well as making far better business sense, the extra time may also  provide more you with opportunities to see your family, exercise, cook healthier meals, complete household chores or simply just catch up on an extra hour of sleep.

The technology capability to support valuable working from home is solid and available, however, you do need to be in the right ‘zone’ to be happy and productive. Slouching on the sofa with a laptop or hunched over the kitchen table is far from an ideal work environment. 

By creating a separate office environment you can retain a professional and productive workspace whilst ensuring privacy and less opportunity to be distracted.

Have you considered setting up a home office as a separate structure from your home? This will create a clear distinction between home and work life, especially if your work demands a quiet space away from family life and a barking dog!

Could it be a possibility that you may need to invite colleagues or clients to your home office in the future?  A light and airy garden office, stylish garage conversion, or beautiful home extension could be the perfect place to create the professional arena you may need. 

MP Architects can support you with identifying the best position to situate your home office and create the perfect professional working environment that will retain your privacy and increase productivity.  Also, where necessary we will obtain quick and simple planning permission if your outbuilding falls outside the boundaries of permitted development.

We are here to help you to commit and define this new way of working life.   Your new home office will help you focus and increase efficiency, whilst also giving you the opportunity for mid-morning coffee breaks with your partner, walking the dog at lunchtime, or just clocking off at 5pm to relax in the evening sunshine with a delicious G&T.


Author : Jessica Parkes. Read more articles for MP Architects LLP https://www.martynpattie.co.uk/news/

G & T
G & T

Your Future Way of Living

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to own the world, the Government message remains crystal clear. Stay at Home. 

Could the perfect medicine to pass the time in isolation be re-evaluating your future life and property plans?

It is true that the COVID-19 lockdown has brought the property sales market to a standstill and that our economy will be affected.  

However, once we get past this ‘history-making’ blip, experts say that there could be an economic boom.  People will have re-evaluated life and living and start to spend money on the things that they now deem are most important to themselves and their families.

Has being forced to ‘work from home’ actually been a real success? Whilst earning your livelihood from the kitchen table has been ok for now, if it is to be part of a longer-term solution to your work/life balance, you could be considering building a beautiful new home office.

The imposed downtime may have finally enabled you to spend some quality time, searching online for that perfect plot of land to build your dream new home or even a development project. Is now the time to make it happen?

Or have you realised that for more harmonious living, your growing teenagers need their own space away from the family fold and the answer is building an exercise studio, music room or even a stylish annex?

COVID-19 has changed our outlook dramatically.  Apart from anything else it has given us time to rethink and consider what matters most and how we will all live our lives going forward.

If you have future property plans and would like some professional advice on how to achieve them our fantastic team at MP Architects are here and ready to support you. 

Our talented Architects offer exciting ideas and expert opinions on layouts and plans.  You can take advantage of their extensive local ‘planning permission’ knowledge and let their brilliant drawings turn your concept into a reality.

There is no need for ‘face to face’ meetings or handshakes, we are working just as effectively through contactless telephone consultations and our easy to use virtual meeting resources.  

Please contact us at any time via email or telephone to discuss putting the plans in place for your future way of living.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Stay healthy.


Author : Jessica Parkes. Read more articles for MP Architects LLP https://www.martynpattie.co.uk/news/

Improve your home this Easter Bank Holiday

Traditionally the Easter weekend provides the perfect opportunity to think about some potential home improvements.   Maybe you’re thinking about applying a fresh lick of paint to your bedroom wall, tackling the overgrown garden, clearing the guttering or considering a larger scale project such as a home extension, building that long-awaited home office or pool house.

With the UK still on lockdown, the long weekend could be a great chance to spend a moment considering how to add value to your home, making the most of the space you have or indeed put a plan of action together for that long-awaited house project.

Speaking with neighbours who have undertaken similar projects can offer you some great advice on build time scales, costs and implications.  It is important that ‘social distancing’ is observed, but how about a chat over the garden fence or from the front gate all with a 2-metre distance, of course! 

A sizeable project will need a level of professional help.  MP Architects in Essex are ready and waiting to support every aspect of your project, firstly by bringing your vision to life with expert drawings of the amazing new space you desire.

We will also assist you with our wealth of local authority knowledge, advising on what does and doesn’t need planning permission, along with any building regulations you may be facing.  

Planning applications can be a daunting and tricky task, but with our assistance, we can assure you of a simple, slick and stress-free process.

Once your plans are approved, you may start to think about obtaining quotes for the work ahead. This is another area where we can support you with recommendations for brilliant local tradesmen with a proven track record for quality of work, adhering to timescales and finishing the job on budget.

A good project manager needs to understand drawings and foresee any potential issues, whilst working with the tradesmen to keep the job on course and in budget. Should you need it, MP Architects offer a full architectural service, managing on-site and covering all of the RIBA stages.

So, a pro-active Easter weekend means that your home project will be all ready to ‘hit the ground running’ as soon as life in the UK gets back to normal.

But it shouldn’t all be work, work, work, make sure you take time to relax and indulge in some perfect ‘social distancing’ with a nice cup of tea and a tasty hot cross bun whilst day-dreaming about your lovely new space.

Happy Easter.

Making your home the best version of itself during COVID-19

So, life in general is on hold, schools are shut, lunch with friends is off-limits and a quick pint down the pub has to be postponed.

That’s right, the Government has asked us to stay inside to protect the NHS and the health of the nation.

Some say this is a time to sleep and binge on box sets or even learn a new skill. Whilst it is true that we should all use this down-time to recharge and re-boot our own systems, it is also a golden opportunity to make the most of this recess and stop procrastinating over house plans that have been just an intention and not a reality due to your normal everyday time constraints.

You may love your home, but being hunkered down in it right now with your nearest and dearest could have you thinking that there simply isn’t enough space for you all. 

Recent Government advice is that all house moves should be put on hold wherever possible until the COVID-19 situation is less demanding, that coupled with the inevitable temporary slump in the economy, a new home is probably off of the menu.  

So, how about you use this period of self-isolation as the perfect time to consider how you can add value or improve your home to make it the best it can be.

Have you been considering some renovations in the form of a top floor extension, conversion of a garage, an extra bedroom, and bathroom, a garden room, home office or if you’re lucky enough an in-house haven just to get away from it all?

MP Architects LLP is a local experienced company that can help you improve your home to make it the best version of itself.  

Our dedicated team are working remotely but just as effectively throughout the COVID_19 crisis to support and advise homeowners with ideas, drawings, layouts and plans.  

Our extensive knowledge means that we can advise you on planning permission requirements, specialising in the recently relaxed rights of permitted development, so you may not even need to go through the traditional planning permission channels to create your perfect space.

Please contact us at any time via email, telephone and our easy to use virtual meeting resources to discuss how we can help you design your perfect project.

We would love to hear from you.

Stay healthy.