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RRA Architects

At RRA this month...

There are lots of changes to rules and regulations and we are asking, are you up to date?

Fire regulations (the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005) place obligations on building facilities managers to keep their buildings compliant with fire strategy, we report on how Regents University is ensuring their estate is being keep up to date.

Government is looking to amend / scrap the Code for Sustainable Homes for housing standards, this could mean standards actually drop – find out more below.

Also, we report on how permitted development under planning law is changing, allowing the conversion of barns into housing, whilst it comes with caveats, it is a good positive step forward.

And finally, make sure you go to Cheltenham’s design festival and RRA’s construction seminar, find out more below.

GCA and RRA architects join forces

Fire of London – Regents Park

This month RRA completed an important milestone for Regents University working with the facilities management team to assist in the bringing forward projects to upgrade fire strategy within buildings located on campus. RRA’s conservation team have ensured that important ‘copper light’ features within the buildings can be retained as part of the heritage and character of the site – an impressive new university right in the heart of London.

Property & Construction – Seminar 2014
RRA is hosting a seminar on 1st of May titled: ‘Super-sheds and how to re-organise your company’ in conjunction with Harrison Clark Rickerbys solicitors, other subjects under scrutiny will be the Community Infrastructure Levy and a general construction update on legal contractual matters. Suitable for anyone with a professional interest in the Property or Construction Industry. To register for this exciting free event please visit
Sustainable – Code No More
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has been urged by MPs to reconsider plans to axe the Code for Sustainable Homes that has driven up home building standards and helped to create a thriving sustainable building industry in the UK. Currently it is the only way Local Authorities can stipulate that development meets higher energy and water use standards. Architects are more than able to produce bespoke designs to meet the Code, however, volume house builders are lobbying for the Code to be dropped in favour of cheaper volume housing produced at lower standards. We are monitoring this carefully and will update you over the months ahead.
Conservation – The lights are on

This month sees the completion of phase 1 of the Friends of Pittville’s gate restoration project, a defining moment, RRA oversaw the replacement of exact replica glass and copper lamps being switched on for the first time in decades. Funding is now secured for phase 2, which will see the construction of four replica gates matching the originals that were lost. The cast iron gates are programmed to be in place by the end of July this year. Watch this space.

Barn Conversion – Yes you can

From April 2014, new legislation is issued regarding permitted development for agricultural buildings allowing conversion to residential use. This legislation enables many barns to be converted WITHOUT the need for planning permission. However there are exclusions, and each building needs to be assessed to establish its viability for conversion under the new rules. This could assist many farmers, landowners and estate managers in bringing forward new housing without planning hurdles getting in the way. Contact the office for a summary of the main issues and qualifying criteria.

Design Festival – Cheltenham

4th and 5th April 2104 - This Friday and Saturday sees the 3rd Cheltenham Design Festival, which celebrates all things in the world of design. There are workshops, talks and exhibitions on subjects such as architecture, branding, marketing, product design and even the design of Formula 1 race cars. Click here to visit the official website, we recommend tickets are booked in advance.

21st Century Timber Frame

RRA has secured planning permission for a contemporary new build house in open countryside, in Herefordshire. With numerous energy efficient features the house is not just a sustainable house, it explores the concept of a 21stC timber framed manor. Part earth sheltered, and with rain water collection, this new home will set a bench mark in terms of affordable contemporary timber framed construction and living.