SFA/Locate Architects joint venture – new passive house project!

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Delighted to have recently won a new passive house project in Aberdeenshire in a joint venture with Locate Architects, Dunblane…wonderful site with various challenges and a dedicated client with a clear focus. Looking forward to getting the creative design juices going…

(And the photo? Leaves from the Ginko tree superimposed on glass, by Alexander Beleschenko. This panel is in the stairwell of the Lighthouse, Glasgow’s centre for architecture. It shows that you can take a simple form and, through structured repetition, create something mesmerising.)

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Planning for Keeper’s Cottage goes in!

After an interesting design stage and some dialogue with Fife Council planners the planning application for a replacement house just north of Dunfermline has finally gone in.

Set in a lovely spot with fantastic views, the house – a simple timber-clad box with a zinc-clad curved-ridged roof, all supported off the ground on posts to reduce excavation – will be highly-insulated and well-draught-proofed. It has been designed to replace a 1920s cottage that, sadly, can’t be refurbished economically due to years of neglect and lack of maintenance. The replacement sits on the same part of the site and keeps a low visual profile against the surrounding landscape.

Fingers crossed for a positive outcome.

Building Pathology

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Severe damp in a social housing property. Image: Mike Parrett

 

We all love a bit of science, don’t we? Mike Parrett, who runs Dampbuster, gave an inspiring seminar at the Scottish Lime Centre on Friday showing the causes and effects of damp in buildings, and how to use science to measure and solve these problems.

It’s pretty common, when selling a house, to find the surveyor reports that a damp specialist needs to be consulted. Hmmm…they’re not going to have a vested interest in selling their stuff, are they?

The result? Plenty of ill-advised, inappropriate and useless injection DPCs, ripping out of timber floors and replacement with concrete slabs, chemical applications and replacement of lime plaster with gypsum or – worse – water-proof render.

As they don’t deal with the problem they simply displace it until it manifests elsewhere. Which has to be dealt with under another insurance claim…

The simpler, cheaper, longer-lasting solution? Thorough investigation, simple science and holistic analysis. Anyone with a damp problem or a surveyor recommending that a damp ‘specialist’ needs to be consulted should seriously think about looking at Mike’s website or getting his book, ‘Damp in Buildings’.

As we really start to improve the energy efficiency of our existing housing stock dealing with damp is going to become one of our biggest challenges.