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Practice Areas

  • Education
    Carrying out design work for Crèche Facilities, Schools, Colleges or simply carry out extension works any of these type of buildings.
  • Residential
    Specializing in the design of Extensions, New Builds, Extra Care Homes and Housing Layout Sites.
  • Office
    New Build, Refurbishment or Extension of Offices and some Retail experience with Restaurant/Estate Agent Design.
  • Leisure
    We are working on numerous Rugby Clubs and an Events Centre in England. We cover all aspects of Leisure including sports facilities, events buildings, village community hall/buildings and numerous others .
  • Research
    Currently working on Flood Risk within buildings. Please email for further details.

Case Study

Case Study: Independent Living Studio Apartment

Independent living studio apartment by RA Architects

Architect: Richard Andrews Architects

Works Undertaken: Feasibility and planning, detailed design and tender plus contract and project overseeing.

Client: Private Domestic Client

Cost of Work: Undisclosed

Contractor: So Exclusive Developments 

 

The Brief:

We were approached by our client and their family to help design a new build studio apartment within the grounds of their existing family home. As our client has a disability that affects mobility and is dependent upon using a wheelchair it was essential that we designed a fully level home, that allowed circulation paths for the wheelchair throughout all the rooms. We encorporated wide external and internal doorways and included a ramp leading from the rear decked terrace to a garden area below.

The large bedroom and ensuite was designed to give ample space for hoist access to the bed and bath with the addition of a wetroom style shower, lowered WC and stylish vanity units. 

Another consideration we needed to address was that our client also required a team of carers present at all times. We wanted to design a home that not only allowed our client their privacy and living space but also gave sufficient space for visiting guests and carers. We proposed an upstairs wing, with private bedrooms, a small sitting/study area and a bathroom with shower enclosure. 

r278 studio front exterior r278 studio front door R278 studio interior 2 r278 studio interior r278 studio living room r278 studio kitchen r278 studio kitchen 2 r278 studio level floor exampler278 studio independent living bedroom r278 studio independent living bathroom r278 studio accessible vanity unit r278 independent living studio wetroom r278 studio - upstairs hallway r278 studio upstairs landing r278 upstairs bedroom

 

Making someone's quality of life better truely is the passion behind our practice. If you have a project you'd like our help with call our team on 01633 744144 or email admin@ra-architects.co.uk

 

 

RA Architects Helping Clients Overcome Planning Constraints

Architeural drawings

 

One of the skills we pride ourselves on at RA Architects is our ability to help clients overcome planning constraints to gain a successful application outcome.

Each project we work on has individual planning considerations, however we thought it may provide an interesting insight to blog about one of our more contentious applications and the process undertaken by our colleague Cai to help secure planning approval for our private client.

 

Project Location:

The Vale of Glamorgan (Vale of Glamorgan Council.)

The Project Brief:

A change of use scheme where our client was looking to convert two retail units (one of which had lain dormant for several years) into a single residential dwelling.

Why did the Council recommend refusal?

The Vale of Glamorgan have a well-meaning policy (LDP policy MG15 as detailed below) which protects commercial units in local retail centres being converted to flats; however conversion to a residential dwelling is still permissible if it can be proven that the retail unit is no longer commercially viable.

 

mg15 policy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For our client to be allowed to convert the property they needed to provide clear evidence that the shop units weren’t commercially viable. Our client submitted proof that they had tried to market the property for sale as retail units for several years but were unsuccessful.

One of the planners felt that the evidence submitted by our clients was not sufficient and suggested that the property could be rented or that our client could consider changing the use to other retail, commercial or community type services. The council questioned why there was not a ‘For Sale’ sign outside the property.

Our client responded that whilst every effort was made to market the building they did not agree to a ‘For Sale’ sign outside the property due to the potential negative impact it may have for the business of the client’s wife who ran a cake company from the larger unit.

Once the case officer confirmed that the evidence submitted by our client was deemed insufficient and the planners were going to recommend a refusal our clients called the application to planning committee.

What happens at a Vale of Glamorgan planning committee meeting?

The planning authority present the application and their recommendations and the applicant or agent (in this case Cai,) speak in favour of the scheme. The councillors then vote whether they wish to uphold the planners recommendation.

In this example, Cai explained the submitted evidence and also emphasised that the retail units were situated on the periphery of the retail centre, and were not a prominent frontage in the retail centre. As neighbouring retail units included a newsagents, pharmacy and Tesco express, Cai suggested that the change of use scheme would not affect the day to day needs of the local community.

The Councillors of the planning committee however upheld the planner’s recommendation and refused the application.

What can be done after planning has been refused?

Cai discussed the project with his clients and together they decided to appeal the planning decision. The case was passed to an independent, senior appointed planning inspectorate who would make a final decision. Cai wrote an appeal statement comprehensively explaining why he believed the application met the policy criteria.

What did the planning inspectorate find?

The planning inspectorate concluded that there was no evidence to suggest the marketing of the property had been insufficient and accepted our clients’ reasoning for the lack of a physical ‘For Sale’ board. The inspector also dismissed the council’s idea that the property could be tenanted if not sold. Commenting that ‘prolonging the period of vacancy of [the] retail units with no certainty that a sale could be achieved, would have a negative impact on the vibrancy of the centre.’

Finally, in consideration of all points raised by The Vale of Glamorgan council, alongside the evidence submitted by ourselves and our client the inspector approved the application.

 

If you are undertaking a project and would like to receive some advice regarding planning permissions, please do get in touch. Call the office on 01633 744144 or email admin@ra-architects.co.uk to arrange a free consultation.

 

 

 

Case Study: Cardiff Residential Extension

richard-andrews-architects-cardiff-extension-project

Architect: Richard Andrews Architects, project overseen by Associate Lewis Shaw

Works Undertaken: Feasibility and planning, detailed design and tender plus contract and project overseeing.

Client: Private Domestic Client

Cost of Work: £100,000+

Contactors: TLC Building Services 

 

The Brief:

To create a contemporary single story rear extension, with enough room to accommodate a kitchen, dining space and family area. Also to add a side extension to make room for an office and library space.

Unique Design Features – Once finished the exterior to the property showcases a beautiful white render contrasted against timber cladding. A wrap around window on the corner of the office side extension enhance natural light. Crittall style doors frame the view from kitchen to garden and allow a smooth transition from inside to out and the addition of skylights and high placed windows spanning the width of the extension bring a bright and airy family space.

Before Images:

Cardiff Residential: BeforeCardiff Residential: Before

After:

Our clients contracted TLC Building Services to complete the work with ourselves overseeing the contract administration and project management. 

Cardiff Residential Extension

Cardiff Residential Extension

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exterior Cardiff Residential Extension

Exterior Cardiff Residential Extension

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exterior Cardiff Residential Extension

Exterior Cardiff Residential Extension

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exterior Details, work in progress Cardiff Residential Extension

Exterior Details, work in progress Cardiff Residential Extension

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Side view Cardiff Residential Extension

Side view Cardiff Residential Extension

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Timber Clad Exterior Cardiff Residential Extension

Timber Clad Exterior Cardiff Residential Extension

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exterior Details Cardiff Residential Extension

Exterior Details Cardiff Residential Extension

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Office Interior Cardiff Residential Extension

Office Interior Cardiff Residential Extension

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Office Interior

Office Interior

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Critall Door details

Critall Door details

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interior Details Cardiff Residential Extension

Interior Details Cardiff Residential Extension

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interior Cardiff Residential Extension

Interior Cardiff Residential Extension

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sky Light details Cardiff Residential Extension

Sky Light details Cardiff Residential Extension

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kitchen Interior Cardiff Residential Extension

Kitchen Interior Cardiff Residential Extension

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is still a tiny bit more work to do before the propery is complete (namely applying the crisp white exterior.) However already we can see what an improvement the new living space has made for our clients. If you're thinking of embarking on a similar project, we'd love to get involved. Contact the team on 01633 744144 or email admin@ra-architects.co.uk.

 

 

Case Study – Cwmbran Village Surgery

RICHARD-ANDREWS-ARCHITECTS-CWMBRAN-SURGERY

 

Architect: Richard Andrews Architects, project overseen by Associate Lewis Shaw.

Works undertaken – Feasibility and planning, detailed design and tender plus contract and project overseeing.

Client: Practice Owners of Cwmbran Village Surgery, partly funded by Aneurin Bevan Health Board

Cost of Work: £450,000+

Contractors: White Brothers & Speed

 

THE BRIEF

The practice owners contacted us to help resolve several design challenges for their surgery, which opened 25 years prior and was long overdue an update. We quickly established that the surgery's main challenge was that the building was too small for the amount of patients registered – with a poor internal layout and a lack of consulting and treatment rooms. We proposed a single front extension to expand the reception and administration spaces, with a second two storey extension housing consulting rooms to the side. The heart of the design stemmed from creating a centralised waiting room with the treatment and consulting rooms arranged in wings to improve the patient flow around the building. An installation of a lift to the upstairs floor rendered the practice compliable with the Disability Acts Standards, whilst we improved patient experience through light, modern and airy rooms.

 

BEFORE

Before -Cwmbran Village Surgery    Before -Cwmbran Village Surgery

Before -Cwmbran Village Surgery

Before - Cwmbran Village Surgery

 

The 3D Render Design

cwmbran-village-surgery-richard-andrews-architects-design

Cwmbran Village Surgery, Design By RA Architects

Cwmbran Village Surgery, Design By RA Architects

Cwmbran Village Surgery, Design By RA Architects

 

The dual extension accomodates 4 new consultation rooms and two new treatment rooms, an enlarged waiting/ reception area plus a reconfiguration of the adminstration and staff spaces. This particular project required the use of all three of our stages of work. The first of which was feasibility, planning and design. We gave a number of design options for the practice and worked together to choose the most practical. We then prepared the final design to be put through Torfaen County Council planning department. We submitted the planning application on behalf of our clients (including all forms and administration) and liaised with the Torfaen council to achieve a positve result. 

The next stage was to provide a detailed design. Using our extensive knowledge of constuction and regulations, we created detailed drawings for the builders to work from. Following which we consulted with engineers, building control and other professionals as necessary to ensure the project fully buildable and compliant. We then administered a tender package to a number of building contractors to assure the best price and quality for the build works. 

Our clients choose White Brothers and Speed to complete the works, which took place from early summer 2017 to completion in April 2018. We administered a contract between White Brothers and Speed and Cwmbran Village Surgery, based on our detailed drawings, our understanding of construction laws and contact negotiation. We then throuh regular site visits checked the building work to ensure the work was being delivered in line with our drawings, regulations and was to the standard allowed for in the tender.

 

Finished Result

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Finished-cwmbran-village-surgery-richard-andrews-architects

 

Finished-cwmbran-village-surgery-richard-andrews-architects Finished-cwmbran-village-surgery-richard-andrews-architects

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Finished-cwmbran-village-surgery-richard-andrews-architects

 

 

 

Testimonial from Practice Manager Sian Whitcombe

To Lewis and the team at RA Architects. A big thank you for all your hard work and dedication to this project. Your professionalism has been exemplary and we would not hesitate to recommend you to others. 

 

We will be publishing a video documenting a behind the scenes look of the works undertaken to the surgery within the next couple of weeks. Make sure you follow us on social media to keep up to date!