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

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. 

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. 

Homes – The New Normal

For the past 80 days, most of us have spent more time at home than ever before.  Our ‘Home Sweet Home’ has been acting less like a hotel and more like a makeshift workplace, school, pub, gym and most of all a safe place to retreat to, from the virus.

Coronavirus has encouraged us to rethink the kind of life we want to live post-pandemic and the role our homes will play in this.  The future design of practical living has changed and we now know what works and what doesn’t in our home layout.

Have the light and airy open-plan living spaces you once craved been a major cause of stress during this period, due to the lack of privacy and unforgiving acoustics? 

And, has the major shift with so many of us working from home encouraged you to realise that your spare bedroom is no longer a suitable ‘WFH’ solution?

Has it become clear that your dining room is perfect for dinner parties, but highly impractical for home-schooling?

Our gyms have been closed for months and with the sale of home exercise equipment reaching stratospheric heights, it seems that home gyms have become almost as crucial as a home office!

The Kitchen has always been the most essential room in any home, but with the closure of restaurants and pubs they have become even more important as they are used as a central hub for work, schooling, cooking and also a place just to ‘hang out’.

We will all be striving to make our homes cleaner and healthier, with fewer indoor visitors and less room for cross-contamination. Our future housing designs will be responding to what people perceive as priority features in their homes and the new realities of home education, working from home as well as a healthier lifestyle. 

Sir Winston Churchill once said, ‘Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it’

Indeed, many of us are now understand the surprising advantages of historic homes and their separate rooms that nowadays would differentiate places at home for work and for living.

We also now may prefer the exercise in our own homes or in public outdoor spaces as opposed to visiting the local gym.

Who knows…. we may even see the return of the ‘outside toilet’!  Once deemed as a sign of hardship, but could now be seen as luxury addition, designated just for visitors to your home post COVID-19.

If it is time for you to think about a better functioning home with clearly thought out spaces, smart solutions, family-friendly acoustics and beautiful outdoor living spaces, let us help you make your home one that can withstand the future of change.

Stay safe, stay healthy.

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.

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.

Moving your architectural project forward and safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

M P Architects are here to support your project through challenging times.

Today one of our senior architects Kate Murray who is working from home had a successful video conference call with the client and planning consultant. 

Kate’s feedback after the meeting was “it went better than expected!”. She felt everyone was more focused to listen to each other than a normal face to face meeting.

We would like to ensure our clients that our office and Architects are equipped with digital conference call facilities.  We have software such as Facetime, WhatsApp, Skype, Messenger, etc.  Therefore we can still help to move your project forward if there is restrictions or preferences of not to have a face to face meeting.

Our office will not be closed during the coronavirus outbreak.

We are following the UK government’s official health and travel advice closely, and we have an office policy in place to ensure any risk and disruption is minimised.

Why not give us a call to discuss your dream development and see how we can help you to truly maximise your next opportunity.

5 Small developments that show why investing in good design pays dividends for developers

Homebuyers are attracted to new build properties because they are ready to move into, require very little work to maintain in the short term, appear to be highly specified and, can be cheaper than older, local housing.

However, new build homes have acquired a poor reputation for quality – cracking mortar, shoddy brickwork, faulty drainage, second-rate fittings, sub-standard finishing as well as poor street layouts and lighting among the many complaints regularly made.

Many purchasers realise that their property was not built to last and, rather than accruing value, will lose value and be difficult to sell in the long term. This has tarnished the reputation of many developers.

Developers are also charged with cramming smaller homes onto a site in what they perceive as a way of extracting the maximum profit from a project. In their defence, they state that the price of land, rising production expenses and increasing material costs preclude investment in build quality, architectural design and planning.

 

We would argue that quality design sells!

Only by investing in better design can developers really maximise the value of development in a way that enhances and builds their reputation. This is supported by data from London estate agency ‘The Modern House’ which shows well-designed homes average a 12% premium in value over other properties in an area.

Poorly designed homes and housing schemes can be considerably more costly to a developer in the long run, both in terms of the cost of ‘making good’ post-construction and in potential legal claims.

 

Architectural design and quality space in a home really matters

What happens if we think outside the box a little and design homes that fit the local environment and provide higher quality living spaces?

At M P Architects we understand that property developers want to maximise the profit on their projects. However, filling a plot with small homes is not the only way to capitalise on its potential.

We understand value creation and believe ‘real value’ to a developer can be created in many ways. While how a property looks, its ‘kerb appeal’, is one key value driver, equally important is how a property ’feels’. Interior specification, for example, is about more than just selecting expensive materials – considered layouts to meet patterns of habitation, highly functional fittings and modern, easy to maintain finishes all need to come together to create spaces that people really want to live in.

 

Our ‘holistic’ approach

At M P Architects we have built our reputation on the integrity of our designs, delivery of projects and our attention to detail.

We utilise our extensive design, planning and negotiation expertise to:

  • Create environments that facilitate and support contemporary life
  • Contribute to efficient and effective planning
  • Reduce the running and life cycle costs of new homes
  • Specify efficient materials and construction processes
  •  Ensure that the maximum value is generated from every project

We pride ourselves on our ability to intelligently configure housing within a given site to create exemplary living spaces while also satisfying the financial restrictions and expected returns of developers.

And importantly, our local knowledge of the area and of its specific planning processes allows us to achieve a high level of submission success.

Take a look at 5 of our small development case studies that showcase how our design, technical and planning expertise has added value:

 

M P Architects LLP are a RIBA and ARB registered friendly team of 8 architectural staff who provide added value through affordable high-quality design thinking, technical knowledge, and planning expertise. Why not give us a call to discuss your next development and see how we can help you to truly maximise your next opportunity.

 

 

Architects Offer Huge Advantages When It Comes To Planning Permission For New Houses & Extensions

How Architects Can Save You Major Headaches When It Comes to Planning Permission on New Houses and extensions

Anyone planning a new house build or adding to their existing house will benefit from taking M P Architects from the very beginning of their project.

We are a RIBA and ARB registered practice meaning our staff are fully qualified and have spent years training to be experts in our field.

We offer services from initial consultation, through design and achieving planning consent to project managing your project for you. Therefore, taking the stress away and making sure it is built in accordance with the plans and compliant to the current regulations.

We will concentrate on the benefits you can receive by appointing M P Architects in terms of planning permission for new houses and extensions.

Do you need planning permission?

This largely depends upon the project you are undertaking. If you do need planning permission, then you need to make sure this is in place prior to any building works being carried out.

Some extensions fall under ‘Permitted Development’ which we will cover in another article.

If you are looking at building a new house(s) or extension that does not fall into Permitted Development, then obtaining planning permission is essential.

This is where M P Architects can be of immediate benefit to you. With our free initial consultation, we are able to come and meet you, discuss your requirements, advise you whether planning permission is required and how we think we can help you make your dreams come true.

If your project does require planning permission and work commences without obtaining it, then it is possible that an enforcement notice will be served. This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to continue building, but you should stop and get M P Architects involved to advise you on the best way forward and achieve planning consent for you.

Different rules for designated areas/listed buildings:

Extending or building in the conservation area and altering a listed building can sometimes prove challenging, but it doesn’t mean you can’t do anything.  M P Architects have a very good working relationship with the local authorities, especially with the conservation officers to achieve permission for altering or extending your listed building.

Submitting a pre-application enquiry to the council prior to a planning application can save a lot of time and money. M P Architects often attend the pre-application meeting with our client at the Council’s office or on site, to discuss different design options with the planning officer and establish the principle of the development.

M P Architects can offer an invaluable service

When it comes to planning permission, experienced local architects such as M P Architects is key to gaining permission.

Here are some key reasons why:

  • Rules on planning permission vary depending on your location and the type of project you are undertaking. M P Architects can offer invaluable insight and service in this respect.
  • Experienced local architects are intimate with what is acceptable and what is not when it comes to your locality. M P Architects have extensive experience of how planning permission is viewed by the local authorities.
  • Professionally qualified local architects can advise on what (if any) changes to plans should be made before (or during) application. This advice will help greatly in terms of obtaining planning permission for new homes as well as extensions and outbuildings.
  • Timing of applying/amending (where necessary)/receiving of any planning permission is crucial to the success of start dates of any project. M P Architects can advise this at the beginning of your project.

Taking the weight off your shoulders – Carrying out a project related to the building of a new home involves many strands. If M P Architects have been appointed to carry out the full service of project managing on-site.  We will ensure your house will be built to a high standard, we will check all the construction details have been built to the correct design and specifications.  We will liaise with the builder for any queries so you don’t have to. Most importantly, we will ensure the project is completed on time and on budget.

Using a respected local architect like M P Architects makes eminent sense:

As we touched on at the beginning of the piece, availing of the services of a respected local architect will most certainly benefit your project.

In most cases, the more involved an architect is in a project, the more rewarding the outcome.  Visit our testimonial page to see what other people said about using our services.

 

 

A beautiful two-storey attached annexe completed

We have recently completed this beautiful two-storey attached annexe in Harlow, which M P Architects were involved from initial design to construction completion covering all the RIBA Stages 0-7.

We are very pleased with the final outcome.  One of our recommended builders Thornwood Construction Ltd won the project through the formal tender process, and they have worked closely with our client and Architect to build this annexe.

The attached annexe, which is the left-hand-side extension in the photo (taken on the 4th December 2019) has received a number of compliments from neighbours.  The extension feels like it has been part of the original house since the beginning; its size, style and materials matched the site perfectly.

Throughout the project, our goal is to achieve the best design and value for our client and keep the designs within their budget, while still delivering a high standard of finish to match the existing house.

The planning for this project was challenging at the beginning, as the Council refused our initial application due to the large size of the extension.  However, after our experienced Architect liaised with the Planning Officer and discussed the design with him, we then resubmitted the drawings without changing the size but with a 600mm set back from the main house and achieved consent for our client.

M P Architects is honoured to have carried out a full architectural service for this project, and we are delighted with the result.   We are also very pleased to have received the following compliment email/feedback from our client on our last day of site inspection:

 

“Dear Martyn,

I have mentioned on my emails in the past to you how grateful we were to have Dandi remain on our project. I do not think i am able to being to thank her enough for what she has done for us.
I emailed you about Thornwood, and the quality of the build, but please can you note how Dandi has gone above and beyond what I ever imagined an architect would be able to do; and ask that this email is to be held considerably higher in regard.

Being at the end of a phone, on WhatsApp, FaceTime, not only in office hours, but when a query or worry arose that we knew she could help with.

I have searched endlessly with RIBA and ARB and then spoke to them to how to officially compliment her as an architect but sadly, I have been informed there is only a complaints procedure and there is no formal route to comment on her excellence.

I am emailing you today ahead of our meeting as I wanted to personally say thank you.
I am very happy to recommend you as an architectural firm but also Dandi for her individuality.
Her kindness, support, personality and sense of humour has added a valuable layer to her architectural experience and skill.

Once again, thank you.

Kind regards”

 

I wish our clients all the best in the future and we hope they are enjoying living in the new spaces.

If you have a residential project in mind and don’t know where to start, at M P Architects LLP we offer a free initial site visit to discuss your goals and aspirations and we will provide a free quotation for our work.  Please feel free to drop us an email or a phone call.  Click the text to see our Testimonial page and our Portfolio of some complected projects.