Year: 2012

The Stirling prize 2012

Although high brow architecture prizes aren't my usual territory, I think that this years Stirling prize has some exciting projects on the shortlist. Best if we pass over the Olympic stadium, which looks so much like so many other stadiums to the lively Lyric Theatre project. Highlighted on last nights BBC2 Culture Show, this looks to be a lovely, well designed quality development, informed by function and form rather than vanity and ego. I also rather like the bomb-shelter chic of The Hepworth, rarely has concrete looked so lovely. The shortlist is well worth a look on ribastirlingprize.architecture.com
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Building Progress September 2012

The end of days approach (at least in terms of this stage of the conversion)… The utility room is now completed. Painted, shelved and ready for storage. I've also all but finished the high level kitchen shelving, just a small 'decorative' detail to add to the supports at either end of the shelf to cover up the new wood brackets with some of the reclaimed timber. I've also progressed with the flue guard that I've been building from various perforated steel sheets, solid lengths of aluminium and a resin based adhesive. It's been slow going as I only stick one…
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Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part C Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture

Part C is about ensuring that the site for new buildings is prepared in a manner that will promote resistance to contaminants and moisture for the structure that is to be built on the site. As of the date of writing, Part C was last revised in 2010 as a result of the Building Regulations 2010. There are a number of subjects that fall within this part of the regulations. These include weather and water tightness, drainage and measures to deal with contamination and hazardous substances such as radon and methane. Part C Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and…
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Green Deal Launch

The Green deal launched in the UK on Monday of this week. Fanfares? fireworks? a deluge of marketing? ... Not as far as I saw, instead a more 'low key' launch. Apparently, environment minister Greg Baker wasn't even in the country, instead he's been off on a jolly in Tanzania. Only British Gas and the Mark Group are ready to provide solutions and no finance is available under the scheme until January 28th 2013. But it's OK, surveys can be booked now! So the softest of soft launches, but it's alright, it's not like this is about anything important....
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Gabions

There's something about gabions...! Heavy stone and twisted metal, what's not to love about them. These aren't mine regretably, they're at the National Botanic Gardens of Wales. I include them here as reference and inspiration, both for my guardening aspirations and yours... From MyBarnConversion Garden
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VAT and Conversions

I was tweeting the other day about VAT on conversions. https://twitter.com/ScarrattMartyn/status/249114792260947968 https://twitter.com/barnconversion/status/249137026006401024 https://twitter.com/ScarrattMartyn/status/249139411659390977 https://twitter.com/barnconversion/status/249144473039294465 An article in Homebuilding Magazine titled (somewhat harshly) 'Incompetent Inland Revenue, helpful H&R' provided the 'revelation' that the conversion of a building that hasn't been occupied for 10+ years (or ever) is VAT exempt. Although 5% VAT is payable during conversion it can be reclaimed at the end of the project. Personally I thought that was bloody obvious. HMRC provides the following guidance (a simple Google search on "VAT on conversions" will get you there): Where the building is a conversion, it must be of a…
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Plaid Cymru’s Green New Deal promise

Borrowing from the New Economics Foundation (in July 2008 the NEF published a report A Green New Deal), the leader of Plaid Cymru, Leanne Wood has promised a "Green New Deal" to rejuvenate the Welsh economy and to help maintain Wales' position at the forefront of Green policies. With a reference to US President Roosevelt, whose New Deal is seen as instrumental in reviving the US economy after the 1930s depression, Wood said: Like Roosevelt in the United States of the 30s, Wales needs a new New Deal. A Green New Deal aiming to provide skills, work, hope and opportunity…
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Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part B Fire safety

Part B is about ensuring that all new buildings are safe in the event of a fire. As of the date of writing, Part B was last revised in 2010 as a result of the Building Regulations 2010. Part B is split into two volumes. Volume 1 deals with dwelling houses and volume 2 with buildings other than dwelling houses. The regulations provide guidance in areas such as fire safety in multi-storey buildings & domestic loft conversions, smoke and heat alarms, the use of door-closing devices and sprinklers, the materials used in the structure and the building methods employed. Both…
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Building Progress August 2012

Shelving and lime mortar dominated August. In the utility room, work continued installing shelving, using wood reclaimed from the animal stalls that once occupied the current kitchen. Using the same materials, I also built a wide high-level shelf in the kitchen that runs level with of the top of the kitchen cupboards and hides the slightly off centre vent pipe for the kitchen extractor fan and provides some more much needed storage. I've also tidied up around the foot of the external walls, filling any small gaps that remained in the pointing or in the join between the wall and…
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