This project is a great example of how a house can be adapted to a family’s changing needs with only internal reconfiguration and remodelling.

The Brief

We had previously added bedrooms and living accommodation for this client and were delighted to be invited back some 10 years later to discuss how the layout could be transformed to reflect the changing family dynamics – with kids off to university the clients’ new goal was to create a large, bright open-plan room for entertaining, preferably accessing directly onto a secluded side garden with uninterrupted views across the Irish Sea.

The Design Process

Having produced a range of preliminary design options we met with the clients to discuss the various aspects of each which were worth further development, and which aspects either weren’t feasible within budget or simply weren’t achieving the best effect.

The preferred options were then further analysed in terms of structural practicality and cost benefit, and developed further until the final layout was agreed. This final solution involved the combining of three distinct areas and rooms into one large, open-plan area with kitchen, casual & formal dining areas, seating and three separate walls of glass opening up into the garden, flooding the room with natural light and exploiting the panoramic views. This was a highly technical and structurally complex design but it was certainly one which fulfilled the brief in its entirety.

The Procurement Method

As well as being a great example of internal reconfiguration, this project was also exemplary in the procurement method used for design development and contractor appointment.

Being in business themselves, the clients understood the benefits of professional cost control and they readily agreed to the appointment of a Quantity Surveyor to assist in a fully tendered construction process.

With a tender package produced on a detailed specification basis a number of suitably qualified and experienced contractors were identified for invitation to tender. Tenders were returned and the chosen contractor was appointed under a JCT Contract. Whilst smaller domestic building works are often still undertaken without the designer being retained throughout the construction phase (in spite of recent Health & Safety legislation aiming to discourage this), the complexity and high quality expectation on this project made 9yards’ involvement on site the only realistic option.

The Construction Phase

With Quantity Surveyors in place for both the client and the contractor, a fully detailed design, priced tender document, formal construction contract, an accountable Principal Contractor and 9yards appointed to the Contract Administration role, the project commenced on site on the agreed date.

Regular site meetings enabled technical issues to be discussed and agreed without causing delay or increased costs. Valuation of the contracted works at each of these meetings ensured the cost certainty which the client sought, and also allowed any additional works to be priced and agreed in advance so that the running budget was always openly known and certified.

The Result

The outcome of the formal design & tender process, along with the managed contractual works on site, was that the project timescale and costs were fully controlled, all sub-contractors were under the direct control of the Principal Contractor, and the client received a completed job of exceptional quality on time and on budget.


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