485 Posts

Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part A Structural Safety

Part A is about ensuring that all new buildings are structurally safe. As of the date of writing, Part A was last revised in 2010. The approved documents descibe the requirements in three parts: A1 Loading A2 Ground movement A3 Disproportionate collapse There's lots of building and construction nerd material in Part A - plenty of information on the required thicknesses of walls, the maximum height of buildings, wind speeds and their impact on building design, masonry chimney proportions and maximum floor areas. Specifically from a conversion perspective, the material on differences in ground levels on either side of a…
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Wabi-sabi and my mossy step

I was just about to begin stripping the moss from the shaded face of the garden steps when I was reminded of the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi. Wabi-sabi, is a Japanese aesthetic concept that beauty can be found in impermanence, transience, and imperfection. So embracing the concept, I saved myself a job, spared the moss and left the steps alone... From Barn Conversion 2012
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Building Progress ~ July 2012

Painting of the internal door frames is now complete. Undercoat plus three coats of eggshell and I'm happy with the finish. I've removed all the masking tape I used and sanded down the doors where a little wayward paint had landed, so job well and truly done and dusted. The utility room, the last room to be decorated, has now overtaken most of the rest of the barn in its level of completeness. Having been painted last month, I then installed skirting boards and have started installing shelving, using wood reclaimed from the animal stalls that once occupied the part…
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Building reclaimed wood shelving

The recently painted utility room has always been bereft of shelves. All the paint tins, barrels of tile cleaner and bottles of white spirit had no proper home and so gathered in those little used corners of the barn instead. Something had to change. Propelled by the freshly painted utility room and the poor weather I started on some new utility room shelving. When we bought it, the end of the barn that now houses the kitchen housed chickens. The chickens resided in some rather nicely built animal stalls, that had been constructed from hard wood that I suspect had…
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Barns Gallery on Remodelista

For all would be convertors and barn enthusiasts, there is a lovely gallery of barn related inspirational photographs available on Remodelista. There are lots of sliding barn doors (that I really fancy constructing at the barn) and there is an American bent to the content. But there is plenty of inspiration that could be applied wherever in the world you are. remodelista.com Remodelista, "the sourcebook for considered living" - barns gallery.
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Building Regulations

I've been skirting around UK building regulations since the start of the conversion of the barn, with building control sign-off looming, I thought I should get a better handle on the regulations, their scope, breadth and depth... In general terms, building regulations approval is required for most building work in the UK, the exemptions are listed at the end of this post. In England & Wales, the Building Act 1984 is the legislation underlying building regulations, the equivalent in Scotland is the Building (Scotland) Act 2003 and in Northern Ireland the Building Regulations (Northern Ireland) Order 1979 (amended 1990 and…
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Barns – the Long House

After my recent complaints about the Balancing Barn, specifically the mismatched blend of Dutch design and the Suffolk countryside, I came across Alain de Botton and Living Architecture's latest development, the Long House. Situated on the North Norfolk coast, this is a building to admire, incorporating a modern reinterpretation of medieval barn roofs with references to the local vernacular through the enclosing giant flint walls and extensive timber work. This quotation from the Observer suggests great success in the architectural design: "Insulated from the elements yet somehow part of the landscape. Which is perhaps the best experience a holiday house…
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Painting colour scheme

I thought that it would be worthwhile to record the brands and shades of paint we've used throughtout the barn, if for no other reason than to remind me when I come to repaint. This is our complete palette for now. I like to keep things minimal, simple and fresh when it comes to the use of colour. I find strong, bold colours rarely pass the test of time when it comes to our ongoing enjoyment of and appetite for them. In keeping with my healthy house ethos, I've tried to use products that are as natural as possible and…
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Barns – the Balancing Barn

For some reason I'd remembered the name of this architecturally impressive holiday-barn in Suffolk as the 'hanging barn', which makes it sound more like the title of a rural horror film than the first of Living Architecture's holiday homes available to rent in the UK. The aim of Living Architecture is to promote world-class modern architecture in rural Britain. Alain de Botton, writer (author of 'The Architecture of Happiness' amongst others), philosopher, television presenter and entrepreneur, is one of the co-founders. Living Architecture In their own words: Clad in elegant silver tiles, the house dramatically cantilevers over the landscape, providing…
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