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Archiblog Knowledgebase

As a trustee I think it about time I introduced one of a human's oldest skills to the World of the Internet 🙂 We train people in the traditional building skills of stonemasonry and will be celebrating our 50th anniversary later in the year. BUT, and it is a big but, as a charity we are constantly in need of funds to keep going.

Contrary to You Tube's insistence we are not in Peterborough, and never have been, but based in the small village of Orton near Kettering in Northamptonshire. We do have a website


In an economic environment where young adults cannot afford housing  and when they can the 'homes' on offer are infeasibly small we need a rethink. There is now a very odd situation in that if you can afford to buy a home, that home is smaller than the public sector could provide those who cannot afford to buy! An equally inequitable situation happens at the other end in that the elderly cannot afford the home-based care they need as the 'Old people's homes' (as they used to be called) are no longer available for many.

There is a solution and that is multi-generational housing. Homes that are big enough to cater for children, parents and grandparents at the same time retaining longer ownership of property and keeping families together (if they get on well enough). Larger homes housing more people uses land more efficiently too in the market towns and villages we have an abundance of in the County. A side effect being that because there is a lesser need to move the property market should slow and regain a bit of balance after decades of opportunistic profiteering. Adding to existing homes to make them more useful to the family can mean a move is unnecessary. Young families staying with parents / grandparents saves on bills and child care costs. Looking after aged parents is very much easier and affordable if they are living with you.

It is a shame that the many larger Victorian villas that are perfect for such a lifestyle are being divided up into increasingly smaller apartments and HMOs. Multi-generational living is more viable now that the historical 'workplace' is being replaced by a dispersed workforce operating from home and communal workspaces where businesses and individuals can work from closer to home meaning commuting can, if we want it to be, a thing of the past.

Having people around all day in homes means energy use can be more efficient as heating up a house from cold at the end of every day uses a lot of energy. Similarly the use of renewable energy and batteries etc become more viable too.

Are there any developers / builders / funders out there in the market place interested in exploring this further as they are in other parts of the Country and World?


If your workplace or home is no longer working for you but you don't want to move:

  • Don't just talk to a builder about an extension or a separate new building. They how to build but not what to build what would be best for you.
  • Non-architects who offer 'architectural services' will 'draw up' what you want, but not necessarily what you need.
  • Your ideas about what you want are also not necessarily what you need.
  • One of the many skills of an architect is to help you determine your needs as the project manager during the pre-planning stage. We offer a cost effective preliminary 'Needs and Options' Report to get that process underway.
  • By discussing possible solutions with you and the other building design professions (chartered engineers and chartered surveyors etc), architects are the project manager during the design stage.
  • By using a 'proper' and formal building contract for the construction the architect administers that contract. The 'project management' of the construction' is always best left to the main contractor as they manage the programme. As contract administrator the architect certifies progress, payment and completion.
  • The architect is therefore the best 'project manager' for a building project, it has been our role since the profession began as 'master builder'

I have frequently advised clients how their money could be much better spent making smaller improvements, reducing the structural cost by increasing the logic of the structure. Extending a building to have the beams within the floor thickness provides pleasant spaces but having a down-stand that supports the floor over from underneath rather than from within can half the cost. Likewise, adding additional space within the attic saves on foundation costs and leaves the garden the same size.

Un-used upper floors in town centres are a wasted resource but if opened up can be let to tenants or sold to increase income. The same is true of vacant industrial units, if the structure is sound simply re-cladding the unit to reduce energy costs and refitting the interior to suit other uses brings them back into use and can start the regeneration of an area. The Yards in Kettering is a very mild version of that but has missed some opportunities, much like most of Kettering 🙂


The time has arrived for June's Newsletter:


My website now contains a number of free PDFs to assist you and/or your clients in an architectural project from explaining what an architect is and how we can work with you collaborating in achieving the best building design that meets your needs within the budget and timescale that you have available. We will also advise you when the variables of quality, time and budget need to be adjusted for the project to reach fruition.

Architecture is the Art, Science and Technology of building design. Other chartered professionals can and do provide part of that service but non chartered and under (or non)-qualified service providers cannot provide the quality of service that an architect can nor the level of customer protection afforded to you as client from the ARB and RIBA.

It is now nearly 40 years since I started on this career path having wanted to be an architect for at least a decade before that. With a string of letters after my name along with the additional experiences, training, skills and knowledge gained along the way I think that I can consider myself an expert in my numerous specialisms of healthcare, resort villages, small commercial buildings and homes especially those in the context of historic buildings 🙂


Reasons Why an Architect Should Design Your Home

An architect is the only design professional, who through education at major universities at graduate and postgraduate levels, plus training, plus comprehensive registration examinations, decades of exhaustive experience, and ongoing continuing education, that has the training, abilities & vision to best design your residence and buildings and guide them through construction into becoming real, built facilities.

Reasons for an Architect to Design Your Home

  1. YOUR HOME IS A HUGE INVESTMENT - Not just in money terms. why risk unqualified designers, engineers or surveyors?
  2. EXHILARATION & SATISFACTION OF GETTING WHAT YOU NEED - Not just want you say you want.
  3. WHAT YOU WANT DOESN’T EXIST IN MASS MARKET ’HOUSE-BUILDER’ HOUSES - Because they are designed to meet the ‘wants’ of others, not your needs.
  5. A ‘Needs and Options Review’ forms a useful pre-design function to help avoid mistakes later, click here.
  6. YOU ONLY WANT A PROFESSIONAL - Why would you employ an amateur anyway?
  8. BIDDING & PRICING MANAGEMENT CAPABILITY to help obtain a reasonable construction costs.
  9. HEALTHY HOUSE - It can help you live a longer, healthier life.
  10. VIEW FRAMING - ‘Off the shelf’ housing cannot do that, and doesn’t.
  11. SPECIAL SITE ISSUES SOLVED - ‘Off the shelf’ can’t even more so than for views.
  13. LOW PROJECT VOLUME - Architects focus on YOUR project.
  14. DESIGN ABILITY & EXPERIENCE - Efficient, Logical & Inspired  Arrangements. Proven through education, qualifications, training and experience over a minimum of seven years BEFORE becoming architects.
  15. VALUE & PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS - Proven through accreditation, education, qualifications, training and experience over a minimum of seven years BEFORE becoming architects.
  16. RESALE ABILITY & VALUE - An architect-designed home can be worth more than a standard builder house, and the architect-designed residence can sell faster, depending on circumstances.
  17. ENJOYMENT OF YOUR LIFE - A home designed to your every wish fits you like a glove.  Everything is a enjoyable, without the problems you have had living in other people’s used homes that you have bought in the past.
  18. YOU DESERVE IT - don’t you?
  19. YOUR  ARCHITECT IS ON YOUR SIDE - helping you.
  20. SPECIALISED SKILLS - of an architect. Proven through accreditation, education, qualifications, training and experience over a minimum of seven years BEFORE becoming architects.
  21. DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENT CREATION SKILLS - We are extensively trained in construction detailing too.
  23. COMPUTERISED PROJECT DOCUMENTATION - Use of BIM for coordination, accuracy and speed.
  25. DEGREED PROFESSIONAL, Registered, National Architectural Accreditation through a Royal Charter.
  26. ENVIRONMENTAL, GREEN AND INSPIRED ARCHITECT (help you; help the planet).
  27. BEAUTIFUL AESTHETICS - There IS a difference between ‘building design’ and architecture.
  28. YOUR ARCHITECT MANAGES COMPLEX ISSUES  (making your part in the process more enjoyable).
  29. LOW-MAINTENANCE & DURABILITY - Better designed homes work better.
  30. FURNISHING ARRANGEMENTS PART OF THE HOUSE - We are trained in Interior Design too.
  32. YOUR WISH-LIST & COST ALIGNMENT - Matching aspiration to budget.
  34. KEEPING YOU ALIVE - Your architect MUST comply with ALL legislation, regulations and good practice. a stronger house by your architect.
  35. ON-GOING TECHNOLOGY IMPROVEMENTS - keeps your house drier & more energy efficient.


It is time for a newsletter. The website is being added to and more ArchiBlogs added as well. newsletter-18May

As a practice we are always on the look out for owners of land and buildings who would like to bring redundant buildings back into use to allow them to continue to be useful. Whether they are town centre with under-used upper floors or agricultural buildings no longer suited to a modern agriculture or historic buildings that are already in use but badly adapted to modern home or business uses in terms of function or energy use. KR.eativ: Architects Ltd specialises in sustainable spaces and places, especially in historic contexts.


The death of Will Alsop is a sad loss of a great architect and the Architects' Journal's tribute (link below) is a good one. He was born in Northamptonshire and proposed, against the philistines of Northampton, a terrific scheme for the riverscape of the town that would have made people sit up and pay a bit more attention to the benefits of Architecture with a capital letter rather than lowercase building design, which whilst more 'inclusive' includes a lot of very unsavoury non-professionals influencing the poor standard of design in the County:

As a County we have produced, very occasionally, some wonderfully maverick architects (from even before it was a profession) such as Sir Thomas Tresham (Triangular Lodge etc.), Sir Clough Williams-Ellis (Portmeirion etc.). Lets hope Will will not be the last. As neither Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire or Rutland have a School of Architecture why doesn't Northamptonshire set one up? We need more like Will Alsop to brighten our built surroundings.


We are celebrating 7 years as a limited company by launching a new service to any potential clients at the very early, information gathering stage. A free 20 minute telephone conversation to discuss the generalities of a project.

Ask the Architect

Once 'all your ducks are in a row' we can forward further helpful and informative reading matter, arrange an initial visit, carry out a Needs and Options Review etc. Even if you decide not to proceed with us you will be 'armed' with information that another architect can use.


Now that Landlords are required by law to ensure that their properties meet minimum energy standards now is the time to consider other aspects of older properties of any kind. Most owner-occupied residential and commercial properties could also benefit from better use of the spaces within in order to function better in the C21.

Even insulating older property needs to be considered properly. Just adding it to a cavity within a wall or internally can create more problems that it solves. Even adding the insulation externally can cause problems and is not allowed on many properties but there are ways of upgrading such buildings, those suggested by salesmen are rarely to the benefit of the property in the longer term.


If you need guidance from an architect qualified to architectural conservation who has worked on many projects to existing properties for 40 years why not give us a call, the first 20 minutes of non-specific advice is free. If your property would benefit from my help and you have the budget we can arrange a preliminary, paid for, consultation.

To quote from a recent article by the President of the RIBA "Architecture is the only independently regulated profession working in the built environment. At a time when society is looking for reassurance that its safety and wellbeing is in competent hands, we are keen to demonstrate that the relationship between the RIBA and the ARB is effective and well understood by the profession, the public and our clients."

"The RIBA promotes the profession, advancing civil architecture in the public interest, and the ARB maintains and raises awareness of the Register of Architects so that clients and the public can make informed choices about who they instruct. Both are important and working together we support the maintenance and improvement of standards of behaviour and conduct in the profession."

"We plan to work together on practical measures for protecting the title ‘architect’. While the ARB already raises awareness of the Register and tackles about 300 instances of misuse of title annually, we agree that more can be done to raise awareness of title restrictions and deter transgressions of the Act."

NOBODY with 'architectural' in their job title is an Architect or suitably qualified in Architecture to use the title 'architect'. Building design includes other professions such a Chartered Engineers, Chartered Surveyors and Chartered Technologists and a host of unqualified plan-drawers and designers but that is NOT architecture, architecture is of a higher quality, usefulness and value than mere 'building design'.

Architecture is good for business, adds value to property and 'works' better.