Shiplake timber frames

Great to see both our Shiplake houses taking shape simultaneously.  Ground floors complete and now the first floor walls are being lifted into place.



Keeping your house cool in a Heatwave

Very topical subject for this week;

Six Natural Ways to Cool your House in a Heatwave;


To prevent your home from heating up like a greenhouse, keep your blinds and curtains closed in the day time when you’re out at work. The US Department of Energy says that smart management of window coverings can reduce heat gain by up to 77 percent.

You might want to invest in blackout blinds which stop any sunlight coming in and heating a room up. This is even more advisable if your home has lots of south facing windows.

Neutral coloured window coverings reflect more sunlight and so the lighter the curtain or blind the better in terms of reflecting heat.



If all the doors in your home are closed, cooler air from colder parts of a house (north facing rooms for example), will not be able to work its way into warmer rooms. A freer air flow throughout the home will undoubtedly make your whole house feel cooler.



Keeping extractor fans in a bathroom on for a while longer than normal after a shower will make sure the hot air is expelled from the room, rather than permeating through the house.



If you’re struggling to sleep because of the heat and your bedroom is at the top of your house, consider a temporary move to a room lower down in your home. If you have a spare room on a lower floor, it should be cooler because heat rises.

If you don’t have the space to move a bedroom on a lower floor, you could instead invest in a chillow. This pillow is filled with cool water or gel and slips under your existing pillow case and will cool you down.



To let the naturally cooler night air in to your home, open windows before you go to sleep. Just remember to close the windows and blinds when the temperature spikes again in the morning.


If you still use traditional incandescent light bulbs instead of an energy efficient alternative such as CFLs or LEDs, your home will be much warmer than if you made the change to more modern bulbs. According to the Centre for Sustainable Energy incandescent bulbs waste 90% of the energy they use, which is given off as heat. Changing your light bulbs will make a small difference in helping you to keep your home cooler.

These six easy steps will help to keep your home cool naturally even in a serious heatwave. Your wallet and the environment will both thank you for keeping it natural.

Source: Federation of Master Builders


Permitted Development rights update

The extension of permitted development rights to allow homeowners to extend their properties without a full planning application has come into permanent effect.

Under the rules, homeowners can put a single-storey rear extension on their property of up to six metres for terraced or semi-detached homes – or eight metres for detached homes.

Do remember that materials need to match the existing and that if you are extending beyond 3m for a semi -detached / terrace house or 4m on a detached, you still have to go through a neighbour consultation scheme.

Extensions have strict guidelines and you do need to consider impact on neighbouring properties

Read More….


We are delighted for our Shiplake clients who have just received Planning Permission for their 99sq/m extension and full renovation of their new family home.

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The extension will comprise of a new Kitchen open to a contemporary Family Room Orangery with new Master Suite above.

The existing layout is to be altered whilst all elements upgraded to include under floor heating, air source heat pump, solar PV and increased levels of insulation to make it as efficient and comfortable as possible.

Permitted development rights extended

The extension of permitted development rights to allow homeowners to extend their properties without a full planning application – as well as high street conversions to offices and homes – has come into permanent effect.

The regulations, which were laid before Parliament earlier this month, do not include the right to allow upward extensions.

Under the rules, homeowners can put a single-storey rear extension on their property of up to six metres for terraced or semi-detached homes – or eight metres for detached homes.

You should however note, that if you do wish to extend this far, you will still need to apply for a neighbour consultation and consideration to neighbours will still apply.

Read more….

Marching on

Planning is in for the extension & refurbishment of the house in Shiplake, so now its a waiting game.  The new plot which included planning for two new houses in the rear is soon to expire, so the race is on to start before the expiry date.  However before work can begin, the technical plans need producing, root protection fencing and trackway need installing, the site cleared and a new boundary wall with the neighbours needs to be built.

20190312_114039The Site in Shiplake

Back in March I report a 3 week lead on the Chalfont St Peter project and of course that cursed it.  Bricks became impossible to get and so, we are now 3 weeks behind!  Luckily they are now on site and progress is once again moving on.  Internally, we still ahead, but until the brickwork gets a little further on, we are having to pause there too.  Frustrating!


Kicking off 2019

What a start to the year,  January has definitely been a challenge!!

The Chalfont St Peter project is going very well and we are currently 3 weeks ahead of schedule.  Of course now I’ve said it….

Brickwork is on the go slow due to the cold snap, but that is the beauty of timber frame.  Windows are in one of the houses, with the other following next week, and internally we are first fixed and boarded on the first floors.  A great achievement.

Shinfield seems to be the opposite.  From the initial project plan, we should be wrapping the project up now, but all the drainage and underpinning issues set us behind from the start.  Now a last minute change of window supplier by the client before Christmas, has left the rear of the building open to the elements. With the freezing conditions, progress is slowing!


On the flip side, the front is looking great, with some beautiful detail around the front door of which I must get a photo to share.  I’m looking forward to seeing those windows and pushing on to finish!

A new project is in the pipeline with the refurbishment and extension of 380 sq/m house in Shiplake followed by two new build houses, then a new block of flats.  Design for the existing house is currently underway with a mix of traditional and contemporary elements but all in,  this will be a 3 year design and management project!  Always good to have in the pipeline.

In other news, I am now working towards attaining Chartered Architectural Technologist (MCIAT) status and have become a Parent Governor for my local Primary School.

Nothing like making life easy for yourself!!