A New Build Begins

Construction has just begun in South London on a new Facit Homes project. The land was previously home to a garage belonging to our client and presents a very small, tight site with an existing building to one side. Combined with a slope that requires stepped foundations it is going to be a technically challenging build but a huge amount of work has gone in to the preparations so that we can go full steam ahead now we are on site. With demolition of the garage already completed, underpinning works to the adjacent property have kicked things off and the groundworks for the new home will commence shortly. With a lack of space for our mobile production facility, the Facit Chassis will be manufactured off site and delivered on demand once the foundations are completed.

The new home uses the topography of the site with a split-level plan that allows natural light to permeate through the entire building, and has a dramatic double-height living space to the front with a study space on the mezzanine. Externally, the entire building will be clad in black standing seam zinc, a bold architectural statement that will create a real impact amongst the mix of house styles on the suburban street. It’s always a very exciting time when a build gets underway and the team are now hard at work to keep things moving on schedule, with completion set for December.

 

First In To Planning

The first of a number of new Facit Homes that we have been busy designing has now been submitted for planning. On a truly incredible site in rural Suffolk, this 420m2 family home will replace a smaller existing dwelling which our clients have fast outgrown. The exterior cladding is deliberately contrasting on the ground and first floor to break up the visual mass of the building and cut outs on the corners soften the edges and bring articulation to the elevations.

Inside, a vast open plan space containing kitchen, dining and living areas with large swathes of glazing will allow the family to enjoy time together and take in the stunning river views to the south. Meanwhile a cosy TV room to the rear will be great for movie nights. Upstairs offers more private spaces, with a master bedroom suite that enjoys a secluded balcony and a study with views to inspire.

As always we built a robust, policy-based planning strategy which this time included a visual impact assessment. The site is sensitive and working alongside a local landscape designer we have created a scheme that we feel gives our clients the home they want whilst respecting the environment and surroundings. Now the wait begins, but we have every confidence that construction will begin in the autumn as planned.

Handing Over

6 months after starting on site near Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire, the latest Facit Home was completed this week and handed over right on time to our fantastic client, Cathy. The design is simple in form but beautifully detailed, with two pitched elements seeming to slide gently past one another. Natural cedar cladding to the gable ends contrasts with an EPDM rubber membrane that continuously wraps up the side elevations and across both pitched roofs. A horizontal stepped detail brings articulation to the smooth black surface, a detail that is also picked up in the laser cut window reveals. Sat in a stunning rural site, it is a striking contemporary home that offers a crisp, almost graphic take on the vernacular.

At 180m2 the home makes very efficient use of space to offer a large open plan living space on the ground floor that looks out on to the peaceful landscape, along with a separate TV room, utility and bathroom. The first floor has a master bedroom with en-suite, 3 further double bedrooms and a family bathroom, all of which take advantage of the roof pitch to create light, airy spaces.

Another great project from our team and another happy client with a beautiful new home to enjoy.

Chocks away

Construction has now been underway for almost 2 months on the latest Facit Home near Bovingdon airfield, Hertfordshire and as winter’s frosty grip takes a hold on the weather the Facit Chassis is rapidly approaching completion. The triple-glazed windows are being installed next week which will take us toward the first major milestone of being wind and watertight, allowing the interior fit out to commence. With the insulated raft foundation having been laid in a very speedy 3 weeks, concurrent production of the Chassis components meant that the erection team were able to get straight on with the job as soon as the 100mm thick slab was dry, keeping us on track for our fastest and most efficient build yet.

Our site agent, Kamran, is running a tight ship, overseeing the team on site and making sure we are on programme, whilst back in the studio project architect David sets the pace with careful coordination of all the technical information, orders and sub-contractors.

Unlike most of our recent projects, the site did not have an existing dwelling on it so all the utility connections will be new, meaning a lot of negotiation with the providers. We have also installed our first ground source heat pump, having dug over 200m of trenches into the ground to lay the pipes that will extract heat from the earth to produce hot water for the new home; with no mains gas available this is a great alternative strategy and will also result in even lower energy bills.

There is still plenty of work ahead for the team but with all of their energy being directed at it progress will be swift over the next few months.

The Next Chapter Begins

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There was cause for celebration last week when our clients Anya, Robin and their 3 children moved in to their beautiful new Facit Home in Highgate. After a flurry of activity over the last month our team, led by project architect George, proudly handed over the impressive 4-floor (inc. basement), 6-bedroom property right on time and within 24 hours the family were already fully settled in to a new life in their very own modern, high performance home. It’s a radical change from the old house that we demolished on the site a year ago and they now have plenty of space to enjoy and no more draughts to endure.

As the most technically complex project we have tackled to date, the delivery has been a triumph of planning, coordination and honest hard work. The result is a bold and welcoming home full of delight, which will meet the specific needs of our client’s growing family for years to come. There is no greater reward for the whole Facit Homes team than knowing that.

Grand Designs Live, Birmingham

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Visit us at Grand Designs Live, the UK’s top contemporary home show, at Birmingham’s NEC from 19-23 October 2016 and find out more about our high performance homes.

You can find us in the Grand Build hall at Stand B65.

Please get in touch if you would like to arrange an appointment to discuss your project or just drop by our stand during the show and speak to one of the team.

More information about the show can be found at Grand Designs Live

The Final Straight

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With less than 10 weeks left on the programme we are now entering the final straight in Highgate with our project architect, George, ensuring every little detail is correct and site agent, Joe, coordinating a plethora of deliveries, trades and specialists. Everyone is fully committed to completing Anya and Robin’s new family home in time for them to move in on schedule.

On the outside, the GRC cladding panels have arrived and are just being mounted on the ground floor elevations. These lightweight concrete panels are around 1000 x 1500mm, with grooved vertical lines giving them a rich texture. Meanwhile, on the floors above the render is going on perfectly and should be finished in the next couple of days. We can’t wait to see the final result, with the concept drawings from the beginning of the project finally becoming a reality.

Inside the final finishes are nearly all in, with the tiling in the bathrooms completed and the sanitary ware installed. On the ground floor we have installed all of the flooring, with large format tiles in the entrance hall running through in to the kitchen and engineered timber floors to the other spaces. Next week will also see the tread and riser finishes going on to our digitally manufactured staircases as well as the bespoke metal balustrades which are being fabricated to our design. Their slim spindles are going to look really elegant and give lightness to the space with a lot of thought going in to the key detail of how they are fitted and relate to the stair finish.

Elsewhere there has been a lot of joinery installed, with fitted wardrobes to the bedrooms and master suite as well as the bespoke kitchen units arriving on site to be fitted by specialists. As always the site is a hive of activity but it is all taking shape nicely, just as a Facit Home should.

Build It Awards 2016 winner!

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We were delighted to be named winner of the Best Timber Frame Home at the Build It Awards 2016 last night in London.

In the most competitive category of the evening, up against 7 other projects from a variety of manufacturers and architects, our home for Terry and Mickey was chosen by the judging panel who praised both our innovative use of BIM modelling and our sensitive response to the client’s brief and site. The team are all delighted to see this fantastic project being recognised by the industry and are thankful to Terry and Mickey for being such incredible clients.

 

Planning Success

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Planning permission has been granted for one of the latest Facit Homes, this time just outside Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire. This 4 bed property is set to replace a ramshackle old bungalow and was quite a planning challenge; together with the client we decided to locate the new home on another part of her large site, as well as substantially increase the GIA. From its previously awkward position among some light industrial buildings, the new home will now nestle next to some existing properties at the edge of the site, joining up with them to create a gentle cluster of dwellings. A combination of careful and sensitive design work, a well considered strategy and a robust planning submission meant that we achieved permission first time for exactly what our client wanted. A great team effort.

Work is now fully underway on the technical design of the building, groundworks tenders are out and we plan to get on site as quickly as possible. Watch this space for more updates.

All Systems Go

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It’s all systems go as we press on toward the finish line of the project. It still feels like there is a lot to do but the progress is fairly rapid and each day on site results in lots of visible changes. With all sorts of activities taking place both inside and out, the home is truly coming to life before our eyes.

The internal fit out is now very much in full swing, with bathrooms starting to get their second fix and sanitary ware being installed. With 6 bathrooms and a ground floor WC, there is a lot for our teams to put in, but careful coordination by our site agent means that things are going smoothly. The staircases are all in (so no more ladders between floors!) having been lovingly designed and engineered in the studio and then produced on site by the CNC machine in our Mobile Production Facility. The canopy over the front door was also produced before the MPF was finally taken off site, its work completed. This was one of the tightest spaces that we have ever squeezed the unit on to but it was a true embodiment of a Facit Homes project, with sheets of plywood arriving on site and being transformed in to precise, digitally designed elements such as the stairs.

External finishes are due to start next week, with the rendering on the first and second floor elevations being done first. At ground floor level there will be a Glass Reinforced Concrete cladding, a hard wearing material which has the appearance of stone and will give the home a solid, robust presence at street level. The way these two materials meet is a really important detail and we have been setting out a fabricated aluminium angle piece which will form a nice clean edge between them.