We’re delighted to report that along with our team of sub-consultants, we have been successful in a competitive tender for Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s first Custom Home Building project. The former Penkhull Farm site on Newcastle Lane in Stoke-on-Trent has been chosen by Stoke City Council and the design team led by Axis Design will be carrying out an initial site appraisal and submitting an outline planning application.
The outline application proposals will be designed to provide guidance to future investors regarding the key principles of the site and must acknowledge the need to create low energy homes. Our recent work around the Affordable Passivhaus project led us to develop house type models that deliver the highest level of energy performance at low cost. We hope there will be an opportunity to incorporate our PassivHaus research into this project.
In our experience the most successful housing developments are those created through a collaborative approach. As such, the Custom Home Building project will be supported in its delivery through the use of our web-based project management system to improve liaison with all stakeholders. In addition, we will be including the use of BIM as part of our service on this project.
A little more about Custom Home Building in Stoke….
The Government published their Housing Strategy paper in November 2011, and are proposing to offer financial support for self-build developments, referred to as ‘Custom Home Building’. Through this paper (pdf of ‘Laying The Foundations’), councils are being asked to assess the demand for custom-build in their area and take positive steps to facilitate it.
Stoke City Council recently launched their Mandate for Change, setting out a clear plan to make Stoke-on-Trent a great city to live in and in support of this, there is a proposal to promote Custom Home Building to assist in improving housing quality across the city. The council are hosting a Housing Summit later in 2012 and this project will be used at the event to publicise Custom Home Building to local residents and potential partners.
“It is recognised that Custom Home Building can make a stronger contribution to economic growth and a significant contribution to the number of new homes built…. In the case of Stoke, there is a desire to attract wealth creators to the city, as part of a wider regeneration programme.”
Together with our project partners at Brooks Devlin, Capita Symonds and EH Smith, along with specialist product suppliers, we gathered together 17 housing associations and representatives from the HCA to share Passivhaus construction principles at a dedicated event in Birmingham City Centre on 21st February.
Our affordable PassivHaus project was initially created in response to a call for solutions by the BRE in 2011. The event was an opportunity share our knowledge with developers interested in how to design and build Passivhaus standard housing. We began with presentations from the design team to explain the technicalities and design based on passivHaus principles, followed by an exhibition from specialist product suppliers.
Responses to the presentations from our audience addressed important questions about lifecycle costings, ongoing maintenance, simplification of mechanical and electrical engineering in early design stages and alternative systems.
In week #5 of 2012 we’ve been talking about drawing in 2012 and how it should speak of the poetry and the data in our architecture…
Last week we took part in the WMCCE seminar on Building Information Modelling and presented a talk on how our decision to adopt BIM across the office has improved our work. We’re interested in how better use of our computer processors can help us raise our game and provide a better service, as well as helping us consider the quality of the way we draw.
Over the last few months we have been carrying out a detailed R&D project into making Passivhaus design principles a financially viable option for social housing. Working alongside environmental designers, and certified European Passivhaus consultants Brooks Devlin, our proposals for an affordable Passivhaus were created initially in response to a call for solutions by the BRE Passivhaus competition in 2011.
We took up the challenge to develop our proposals further because we think that construction standards in the UK will require a significant move towards Passivhaus principles. We are launching the project at an event in February aimed at local authorities and housing associations in order to disprove the myths surrounding Passivhaus build costs and share our research.
Axis Design have adopted a full BIM strategy this year and all our future projects will be delivered using Graphisoft’s ArchiCAD. There are many aspects to how this will change the way we work and collaborate with others in 2012 and beyond.
As part of our ongoing to commitment to sharing best practice knowledge we have joined a new group of BIM experts organised by WMCCE and in January we will be helping to deliver the group’s first event. Rob Annable will be speaking about our experience with BIM so far and exploring its impact on smaller practices.
We hope you can join us. Here are the full details:
David Philp – Head of BIM Implementation at the Cabinet Office and Director of Tech Services, Balfour Beatty
Would you like to learn how the transition to Building Information Modelling can make the Design, Construction and Management of your projects more efficient and cost effective?
Do you want to find out how the Government intends to drive the roll out of BIM throughout the Industry by 2016?
This is YOUR opportunity to listen to a keynote address from David Philp to hear the Government’s viewpoint and get ahead of the game. By 2016 all public sector construction projects will have to use BIM.
Bringing together leading practitioners this conference aims to showcase the benefits of using Building Information Modelling (BIM) and explain how its adoption will require changes in workflow, practices and procedures.
The event will also include case study presentations, workshops, Question and Answer session and opportunities to meet software providers.
Workshop session topics
1. Breaking down the barriers for SMEs – Diagnostic tool
2. Open BIM – Collaborative Working
3. Legal Considerations
4. Facilities Management
Axis Design have been working with Birmingham City Council since 2009 to help deliver the local authority’s ambitious social housing project, Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust (BMHT). To date we have designed new housing on seven different sites across Birmingham and over the last few months, the team’s hard work has been rewarded with a total of four awards including the top prize in two of the industry’s most prestigious awards ceremonies.
“I think that one of the things that impressed me, and still does, is the quality of the team. They’ve got very strong leadership, officers, developer partners – everybody lived and breathed this enterprise. The dedication is amazing.” Mary Holt director of planning and development at Scott Wilson and judge for the ‘Best Use of Housing’ category at the Regeneration & Renewal Awards, 2011.
In November we were pleased to achieve another double win at the Inside Housing Magazine Awards (left); taking the trophy in the Outstanding Achievement in Housing in England category and also becoming the overall UK winner.
An update on one of our previous projects… A number of years ago we designed the first phase of a project called Pride in Camp Hill in Tuttle Hill, Nuneaton. We’ve mentioned it here previously in the project section but we’re returning to it again today and sharing more images because we’ve just discovered that the development has been awarded ‘Project of the Decade’ at the recent Regen WM awards. The awards covered a number of categories including this overarching one that asks the chair of the panel to choose their favourite of all the shortlisted nominations.
We’re delighted to have been involved in a project that has achieved such a fantastic accolade. Thanks to all the team members at Pride in Camp Hill and Lovell that we collaborated with.
We’ve been visited today by an A-level student who had the foresight to visit a number of offices to find out more about the profession before she committed herself to life as an architect. To complete her experience it seemed appropriate to ask her to blog about her experience…
When I tell people I want to be an Architect, they usually reply with one of two things. The first (usually from from my fellow A level students) is to remark on the length of the university course, the second is to decide that it’s a fantastic choice because I’m a girl. Basically, people point out the obstacles. In truth, neither of these things really phased me. Many of the architects I visit have (jokingly) tried to put me off, but it can’t really be that bad?
I want to be an architect because the skills seem really appealing. I see buildings as a public art that everybody sees, as well as a clever use of light, space and materials. I love art and maths, and architecture seems to find the perfect balance between the two. The offices I’ve visited (Axis Design is the third) have all shown me what they do and so far I can’t complain. They’ve shown me drawings, sketches, models and how to survive on multiple cups of tea. I’ve been to client meetings, site visits and finished projects. I’ve also been shown the importance of organization, the relationship with clients and the responsibilities as a designer. Importantly for me, I’ve really enjoyed the atmospheres. Architecture involves many skills, one in particular being able to communicate with people and because of this, everybody I have met has been friendly and helpful, and although some try not to show it, enthusiastic about my future plans for university.
The best part of my visits to architecture practices is that I’ve been shown things I already know how to do. I can’t pretend I wasn’t nervous visiting a group of new people for the first time over and over again, but I was quickly reassured by the fact I can already draw, already alphabetize and MAKE tea. I haven’t found anything boring and at certain points in the day, hours have flown by. I just need to get myself a university degree and a stronger need for caffeine and hopefully one day I’ll fit in an architect firm just right. In truth, all careers have obstacles, and for the time being I’m still going to pursue this one.