The Better Choices Blog – where do we start – retrofit, extend or move?
Hi I’m Jo one of the directors of Ecotecture and Ceri and Ben who run the energy consultancy Arctium are our retrofit clients. They approached us in 2010, as the family of four were faced with a choice of either moving to a bigger home or addressing the needs of their current home with a possible retrofit.
We’ve started a blog to follow our experiences whilst working together as a case study to help others make decisions in similar situations.
It’s important people consider carefully their designer. We’re eco architects that specialise in retrofit, so we’re obviously a good choice and we were also recommended by past clients.
From our point of view, the issue for this family is that there were lots of advantages to staying living exactly where they were, community, distance to local facilities, social interaction which makes us all happy. However the house was/is slightly too small and they wanted a kitchen they could eat in, and space for storing home made preserves from the allotment!
Our project has been to run through a feasibility study, starting with the planning process to extend in conjunction with addressing energy efficiency in the house and this included maximising space.
We’ve also discussed the implications of various options on cost. Moving costs are in the region of £20K, so that choice has been relatively easy here!
Architecturally here we are looking at a 1970’s terraced property which is a brick finished cavity wall at ground floor and block cavity and tile hanging at first floor. The roof is a relatively shallow pitch with trussed rafters and the terrace itself is stepped slightly with its neighbours allowing some possibility of a front extension. The majority of the windows are UPVC but some are new and perform better than others.
Planning has just been gained and we are currently looking at the building regulation drawings and retrofit. This is going to be sent out to tender to three builders.