Building Tectonics Awarded ‘Best of Service 2019′ by Houzz’

Awarded by the community of over 40 million monthly users, annual BOH badge highlights home renovation & design professionals with Top ratings and most popular home designs


MILTON KEYNES, UK, March 25, 2019 –
Building Tectonics Ltd of Milton Keynes has won “Best of Service” on Houzz®, the leading platform for home renovation and design. The Architectural Practice that was established in 1985; was chosen by more than 40 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than 2.1 million active home building, renovating and design industry professionals.

The Best of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 40 million monthly users on Houzz. Customer Service honours are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2018. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognised with the Photography award.

A “Best of Houzz 2019” badge will appear on winners’ profiles, as a sign of their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.

Tony Keller, owner of Building Tectonics Ltd said “We were so pleased to achieve this award 4 years in a row. For us good service is normal service”.

“Best of Houzz is a true badge of honor as it is awarded by our community of homeowners, those who are hiring design, renovation and other home improvement professionals for their projects,” said Marcus Hartwall, Managing Director of Houzz UK and Ireland. “We are excited to celebrate the 2019 winners chosen by our community as their favourites for home design and customer experience, and to highlight those winners on the Houzz website and app.”

Follow Building Tectonics Ltd on Houzz https://www.houzz.co.uk/pro/tonykeller/building-tectonics-ltd

About Building Tectonics Ltd
We are an architectural practice, with 30-years’ experience of re-designing, altering and extending houses across Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. We endeavour to exceed the aspirations and desires of our clients, and do this by generating innovative and intelligent ideas that often achieve much more than the original brief.

About Houzz
Houzz is the leading platform for home renovation and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device.  From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community empowered by technology, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin, Sydney, Moscow and Tokyo. Houzz is registered trademark of Houzz Inc. worldwide.  For more information, visit http://houzz.co.uk

The Fenny Kitchen Restaurant

The main bulk of our projects here involve working on our client’s houses, but every now and again we also get involved in some commercial projects. We recently designed and project managed the interior of a restaurant, this has been ongoing for some time with the work being split into two phases; the first of which was the refurbishment and restoration of the external timber together with some structural alterations. Due to the fact that the building is a Grade 2 listed building, the Local Authorities Conservation Team had to be consulted along with the Planning Department, Structural Engineers and Building Inspector. Many of the details had to be resolved on-site and communicated to the builders on a daily basis.

The building itself was originally a farmhouse built around the 1630’s, it’s been built with a timber frame and brick infill which is of a high standard. As the photo above shows, the top of this timber column has been carefully carved, which leads us to believe that the farmhouse was built for someone of a high status.

When confronted with carrying out work to an older building, it’s good practice to make it clear what’s new and what’s original. In this respect, a bit of ingenuity is sometimes required when necessary structural improvements need to be carried out.
In the photo above, the layering of the structural enhancements can be clearly seen; the dark oak in the middle has been sandwiched between pitch pine in Victorian times, which has subsequently been sandwiched by a steel plate and bolts in modern times. Thus, the existing structural frame is on show but with sympathetic improvements. A carpenter has then filled in some of the oak which was then rotten and decayed with some new oak, and no attempt has been made to create an ‘invisible mend’ quite deliberately.

Once all of the structural work was completed, the second phase could commence. This was working on the interior, which wasn’t easy. A different team of tradesmen were brought in with a different set of skills, but they proved to be unreliable, so we had to replace them with others. The case was the same with the electrical company and by the end of the project, we had a great team of builders, electricians and plumbers.

Often, good design can come about by following obvious structural necessities. In the above photo, a new steel column with cap plate was required to support the timber frame above and following good practice, the new and the old should be bolted together.

The restaurant opened on Sunday to much acclaim, and we are proud to have been involved.

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Listed buildings…What are you talking about?

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We have written about listed buildings before, and so I thought it was about time we explained what they actually are, in case you do not already know.

Listed buildings in the UK are buildings which have been placed on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic interest, there are just over 500,000 buildings in the UK to which this applies.

A listed building cannot be demolished, extended or altered  without getting special permissions given by the local planning authority. Only certain churches are exempt from this, but in any case the church organisation will operate its own permissions procedure. The particular permission which is required for a Listed Building is Listed Building Consent, and is in addition to Planning Permission and Building Regulation Approval that will probably be needed too. Usually Listed Building Consent is given (or refused) by a Historic Building Department, and this is more often than not, part of the Planning Department within a councils organizational structure. However,  it is not uncommon for the Planning Department to give an approval but the Historic Building Department to refuse (or visa versa).

This list is made up of buildings which are from the 1700’s or beforehand and are still near their original state ,or have been altered over the years in a way that is thought to be exceptional or instructive, take, for example Bedford Castle which got its first mention in 1138 (that doesn’t mean that it did not exist before 1138, it may well have for all we know, that’s just when it was first mentioned in writing).  It is not only buildings which are included in this list though, bridges, monuments and statues can also be included. Any post 1945 buildings have to be of exceptional interest to the nation to be listed. The Milton Keynes shopping centre is an example of a modern listed building, this is because its exceptional nature (love it or hate it, you have to admit it is unusual) and some wartime “pill boxes” would you believe have also been listed, in their case because it is excepted that as time goes by, they will be lost or altered and so some should be conserved for future generations to see.

There are three grades of listed building, and they are as follows:

  1. Grade 1 – Grade 1 listed buildings are buildings of exceptional interest, sometimes they’re considered to be internationally interesting. Only around 2.5% of listed buildings are grade 1.
  2. Grade 2* (note the star) – These buildings are particularly important buildings of more than special interest. Around 5.5% of listed buildings are listed as grade 2*.
  3. Grade 2 – These are nationally import and of special interest, around 92% of listed buildings are grade 2, this is the most likely grade for residential buildings.

I hope this brief explanation has helped you to understand a little about listed buildings and when you hear architects and planners use this term you will, hopefully,have a better idea as to what they’re talking about.

Jade Turney – Building Tectonics Blogging Guru.

17th century listed building extention

Listed building and planning consent were gained by architects before Building Tectonics were commissioned to design and detail the next extension proposal on this particular project. Adapting an old technology and building method so that modern standards of construction can be equalled requires special care, especially since we have very exacting standards of thermal insulation to achieve. A specialist company was engaged by the client to further detail and construct the timber frame.

Another complication in this project was this; the new basement was to be formed below the timber frame structure, which of course had to comply with modern standards. Marrying up the modern with the very old in terms of building, but also the method is always a little challenging. We have worked on listed buildings before, so our general philosophy is to try to understand the existing structure and where possible work with it rather than changing it too much.

WAT bestframe

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Written by Tony Keller – Building Tectonics Ltd.

Converted: It was a farmhouse, it’s not now.

In 1997 Building Tectonics designed the alterations of this derelict, 17th Century grade 2 listed building in Fenny Stratford (just outside Bletchley) to form it into 3 commercial units below and 3 flats over. Previously architects had obtained planning permission for the conversion of this unit into 6 dwellings, but this was considered uneconomic.

Having worked on listed buildings before, our general philosophy is to understand the existing structure, and where possible work with it – This is very much close to the heart of the Tectonic philosophy.

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In the case of the 59 Aylesbury Street project, it had been built as a farmhouse, its timber frame being organized in 3 bays. Creating 3 commercial units below and 3 flats over meant there only really had to be minor adjustments as very little had to be done to the timber frame structure itself. This pleased the historic building officer and was an economic and safe solution to the refurbishment.

Stairs after refurbishment

Building Tectonics project managed this to the completion on time and on budget. The flats and commercial units remain very popular to this day and are always occupied.

Written by Tony Keller – Building Tectonics Ltd.