labc awards 2019
  • Extensions, disabled adaptations and remodelling of barn conversion
  • Winner of the 2019 Northern LABC Building Excellence award for Best Inclusive Building
  • Challenging planning issues in the Green Belt and in a Conservation Area
  • Fabric and heating upgrades raised the EPC energy rating to Band C

This project presented a number of challenges, both technical and aesthetic. The existing property, located in a Conservation Area and actually in the Green Belt, was converted from a barn in 2006. It comprises a single storey former cow byre with rooms in the roof void and a separate, small 2-storey annex at the rear (The Hemmel). The former conversion project had added three new single storey extensions to the original barn plus internal modernisation work providing three bedrooms and two bathrooms on the ground floor with four ancillary rooms on the first floor with limited headroom

Before the adaptation project, the grounds comprised a large, red gravel driveway and parking area and lawns to the front and stone flagged patios and lawns to the rear. Along the south boundary is a line of mature trees. There is a single ash tree near the west boundary which, in spite of being badly disfigured by pruning after lightning strikes, the Planners insisted on retaining. The close proximity to the existing building also placed severe restrictions on the proposed new buildings and extensions

The construction phase of the project was started in April 2017 and was completed in October 2017

The house was purchased for a client who had been paralysed from the waist down in an accident. She had spent 2 years in temporary accommodation in Teesside when she was awarded insurance damages which enabled a project to be developed to provide her and her partner with their own accessible home back in the area where they used to live, plus accommodation for a live-in carer

The poor quality of the original barn conversion and the location of the property in the Green Belt presented the design team with a number of major challenges in delivering a wheelchair accessible home including all the accommodation required by the clients, their carer and visitors

the Byre Front Elevation As Existing
Front Elevation As Existing

The barn was extended at the western end to provide a new Utility Room plus an oak-framed porch canopy over the front door. A single-storey extension at the rear provides a new Dressing Room off the Main Bedroom which also has an accessible en-suite Wetroom. Vehicular and pedestrian access has been improved by replacing the loose gravel driveway and stone flagged paths and patios with new resin-bound gravel providing continuous wheelchair access throughout the site

the Byre Front Elevation On Completion
Front Elevation On Completion

The ground floor of The Hemmel annex has been converted for the client’s special equipment for exercise and massage. This room has level external access to the Dressing Room. A platform lift has been installed to provide wheelchair access to the first floor Study for relaxing after therapy. This room has good views over the rear garden and open fields to the west plus a woodburning stove

Internal alterations on the ground floor of The Byre have widened all the internal doors and opened up the Kitchen / Dining / Family Room layout with a fully accessible Kitchen and new Utility Room. New bi-folding doors in the Family Room and Lounge improve daylight, views over the garden and wheelchair access to the patios and paths. Window cill levels in the Kitchen and Utility Room have been lowered to provide views from a wheelchair over the garden and open fields beyond

New oak staircases have been installed and internal alterations on the first floor of The Byre have provided a Carer’s bedroom and en-suite Shower & WC plus two guest bedrooms. New rooflights have been added in two of the bedrooms and en-suite Shower Room. As there is underfloor heating on the ground floor and radiators on the first floor, the heating system has been modified

the Byre Rear Elevation On Completion
Rear Elevation On Completion
Rear Elevation On Completion Showing The Hemmel Annex
Rear Elevation On Completion Showing The Hemmel Annex

The property did not have any garage accommodation and this was required by the clients for their adapted vehicle, all-terrain wheelchair and various pieces of outdoor equipment. The mature trees meant that piled foundations had to be used for a new double garage in the front garden which was initially opposed by the Planners. The materials and design of the new garage mimics that of the adjacent barn on the farm nextdoor and the natural cedar boarding will eventually turn grey

The energy conservation measures include new triple-glazed windows and external doors plus a new, gas-fired boiler and solar thermal panels. All lighting has been replaced with LED fittings. The EPC rating is now Band C. All external door openings are min 900mm wide and have a level threshold

In July 2019 at The Hilton Hotel Gateshead, the project won ‘Best Inclusive Building’ at the Northern Regional LABC Building Excellence Awards and went on to the Grand Final in London

New double garage
New double garage
New Accessible Kitchen By Porcelanosa
New Accessible Kitchen By Porcelanosa

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