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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New zero energy homes from 2016 onwards?

Some of you may already know this, but within the next few years the industry of construction within the UK is being given quite a challenge. It will become compulsory for all new homes built to be zero carbon homes.

There is a system which awards homes a ‘level’ based on how energy efficient and environmentally friendly they are called the Code for Sustainable Homes. Your home is assessed against certain criteria, and you are awarded a level from 1-6 with 6 being the highest level achievable.  Which level you get awarded depends on how many of the criteria your home meets, the more criteria met, the higher the level you will get.We will explain what this code is and how you can reach the highest level in another blog.

From 2016 onwards, the government wants all new houses to be built to level 6 of these standards, level 6 is the highest of these standards and to get rated at this level, all of the new homes will need to be completely zero carbon to comply with this.

Here at Building Tectonics, we’ve been working with some new software on a project recently, and have been able to create a 3D model of a code 6 eco house we have designed for a client. We have created a short video which takes you around the exterior of the project.

If you’d like to view our first ever youtube video, then click here!

Written by Jade Turney – Building Tectonics Ltd.