Posts Tagged ‘Architects’

Mayoral reception at The Braid Arts Centre

It was a great privilege for Slemish Design Studio Architects to be recognised by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council 

We were invited to meet Madam Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council for being finalists in 2 categories in the Belfast Telegraph property awards.

The awards we are finalists for are:

  • Residential Architectural Practice of the Year
  • Innovative Use of Smarthome Technology

kilgad house Handover

our traditional style house in Moorfields, Ballymena has been completed & handed over.

New Project | Gladiator Gym Ballymena

internal images for warehouse for gladiator gym in ballymena

We’ve recently been commissioned to make a planning and building control application for one of Ballymena’s best-known gyms – Gladiator Training.

Ran by Scott McGarry over the past 3 years Gladiator gym has gone from strength to strength.

With the additional space, we are proposing the gym will end up with an additional 12000square foot of extra space to train in.

making Gladiator Gym one of the largest in Northern Ireland.

should you have a project you’d like to discuss, feel free to get in touch

new project | replacement dwelling ahoghill

A new project through the planning process & heading onto site.

replacement dwelling outside ahoghill ballymena

We gained planning approval for a replacement dwelling (Policy CTY 3 – Replacement Dwellings) on the outskirts of Ahoghill, Ballymena.

the image above shows the state that the existing dwelling was in.

historical maps showed that a building was in the same position, which was used in our statement of case to planning ni.

Anyway, with the boring text out of the road, we’ll post updates of it onsite 🙂

If you have a project you’d like to discuss, feel free to get in touch with our office.

lisnafillon house complete

We have recently overseen the completion of our Lisnafillon house, just outside Ballymena, County Antrim

This modern house has been kitted out with all the latest in smart home technology, from motion detected CCTV to battery backup solar PV

Materials such as western cedar cladding soften the front elevation against the Kilkenny limestone & smooth Weber render

modern house in ballymena by slemish design studio architects

Internally we’ve gone with a neutral tone, using white paint, light grey porcelain tiles & oak doors.

light & airy entrance

Head over to our project page for more images & information on this project.

should you have a project you’d like to discuss, feel free to get in contact with ourselves.

woodtown manor project moving along well

Our housing development at Woodtown Manor, in Ballymena, is coming along nicely on site.

Today we had Creagh Concrete on-site with their Spantherm concrete slabs.

Spantherm is an insulated, precast concrete flooring system designed specifically for residential and commercial ground floors.  By producing high performance insulated structural concrete units off-site we have redefined the speed of installing a fully insulated ground floor. 

Spantherm plus Flooring

Spantherm Plus Flooring on our site Woodtown Manor Ballymena, nothing but the best !

Posted by AMD HOMES LTD on Tuesday, 24 September 2019

if you have a project you’d like to discuss feel free to contact our office

new project | modern replacement dwelling broughshane

replacement dwelling & conversion of barn in broughshane

we’ve another existing replacement dwelling on the board outside Broughshane, Ballymena.

converting the barn back to use as the kitchen area, along with bringing the old water wheel & pond back to life.
these along with a new modern house will appeal to everyone that loves old & new.

eco, sustainable or renewable whatever the buzz word is these days.. this house will have it.
from air source heating to solar & PV panels with mvhr.

that and what a view of slemish mountain

modern replacement dwelling outside broughshane

new project | ex-garda station Roscommon, Ireland

The Barracks, Tremane, Roscommon, Co. Roscommon

Over the past 5 years, over 40 former garda stations in Ireland have been sold or auctioned as part of a nationwide station consolidation programme from The Office of Public Works.

Luckily for ourselves, we have been instructed as architects for an ex-garda station that has been bought by a young family in Roscommon.

Set in a long narrow site surrounded by old deciduous trees, the 1800’s building isn’t the best house to be living in, but with minor renovations & adding a modern extension, this can be brought to life, merging old & new buildings, along with retaining the character of the property.

Using local stone, along with clean render & timber cladding with plenty of glazed opening, this will give the family the design & quality of life they are looking for from their home.

This is the second police station we’ve worked in the office, with our Glenarm police station being renovated & extended into a 5 star B&B.
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click here

should you have a project you’d like to discuss, feel free to get in touch with our office, either via our website, or our facebook page

2 New projects in overlooking Galway Bay in Salthill, Ireland

Not the best day to be taking a video, but right in front of us is Galway Bay.
We’ve been appointed as architects for 2 new projects Outside Salthill in Galway.

Client’s Case Study Martinstown house

Client’s Case Study at our Martinstown house takes us to, Self-builders Ciaran & Catherine. They give us an insight into what it’s like to build your own grand designs.

case study martinstown house architects ballymena

Why did you decide to build your dream home?

We were given the opportunity to build beside my parents. While it has always been a dream to build my own house I didn’t expect the opportunity to arise so soon! As the plot is on family land we felt we really needed to honour the site and ensure that the house would be a home for life.

How did you come about Slemish Design Studio?

I had seen some of their work online and I liked the style of architecture. When I went to meet Steven and Joe I felt we clicked and would work well together, they are both really lovely guys and I felt that we had really similar taste in material finishes and designs. They were really supportive throughout the building process and really approachable.

When putting your brief together, what was top of the list?

My list was about 4 pages long! I was careful not to impose limitations on what they could create but I outlined how I wanted the house to ‘feel’ and work as a home. Some priorities were that I wanted to be able to reach the gardens from any point in the house. I wanted to be able to see through the house to the view upon entry. I liked single storey buildings and courtyards and I wanted a contemporary house which borrowed from the local vernacular.

What is your must-have feature you wouldn’t compromise on?

As with most things in life budget can dictate how a project becomes a reality. There are always compromises to be made! One thing I was determined we would include is black timber cladding and I am so glad we did as I love the finish.

How have/did you found the experience so far.

Many people say building a house is the most stressful experience of their lives but I genuinely loved it. I feel really fortunate to have had the opportunity to build my own house and I really tried to relish every moment, there is nothing quite like poring over the plans for your home or visiting the site as the design drawings become real walls and windows. I remember seeing my views framed for the first time by walls and realising that this was what I would wake up to every morning!

What was your favourite part of the process?

I find it really difficult to pick just one, I so enjoyed the process of working with the architects, liaising with the builder, designing the kitchen etc. I suppose having the opportunity to work with people who are passionate about their jobs was the best part.

During the whole process, what did you find the worst

As this was going to be a ‘forever home’ I got myself tied up in knots about where to prioritise budget. There are very important decisions to be made in terms of the spec of the house as insulation/windows/roof decisions can only be made once. We had to really wrangle with this to ensure the budget was allocated sensibly. In the end, we decided to invest in the ‘bones’ of the house and accept that certain aspects such as the landscaping and some rooms would have to wait until after we moved in.

Have you used anything different such as MVHR/Eco etc in your house

We installed a BEAM MVHR house, invested in a deep cavity and lots of insulation in the walls and roof, the windows are triple glazed and while we currently use oil for our underfloor heating, long term we will explore more eco-friendly options like a heat pump.

How would you describe your project

It was a pleasure to plan and build and is a pleasure to live in.

Have you any tips for any future self-builders

Just really enjoy it, make sure you have a positive mindset towards the project. Choose your architect carefully and encourage them to push the envelope with your brief a little. Remember they have trained to create new and exciting buildings. Look at lots and lots of architecture online and challenge your tastes. I read that your taste will change every 5 years.
The builder will make or break your experience, do your research and speak to past clients to check out how the houses they have built are standing the test of time and how they found the builder to work with. I struck gold with John (ESTCO LTD). I would build another house in the morning but only if I knew John would be my builder, he was wonderful.

 

Merry Christmas Everyone

We’d like to wish all our clients, friends, family & all those who just like our work a very Merry Christmas & Happy New Year… Hope Santa comes & we’ll see you all for a very exciting 2018

 

happy christmas architects ballymena

How to Build a Dream Home

When someone says “dream home” to you, what comes to mind?

 

modern dream home outside newry

 

Everyone has a dream home locked away at the back of their brain but even though building that dream home might be a labour of love, it should also be carefully planned out and considered before pen is ever put to paper or materials have been bought.
We know that the idea of a dream home can represent different things to different people but there are a few constants in the process so, if you want to make it a reality, the points below should help guide your thinking.

 

Select Your Team

 Selecting and surrounding yourself with the right individuals can have a massive impact on the speed and success of your dream home project…as well as your own sanity!  When it comes to your dream home team the key individuals will include your architect, builder or contractor, bank lender (should you need credit or a self-build mortgage) and a solicitor, amongst others.  Whilst you don’t need everything set up from day one it helps as each member of the project will provide their own unique perspective which, all together, should help you avoid major pitfalls and problems.  Do your research, ask plenty of questions and choose wisely.

architects office ballymena kinsale belfast

 

Think Big Picture

Thinking “big picture” might seem obvious (you’re building a house after all…) but what we really mean here is constantly ask yourself questions before any major decision.
Your architects should be able to help during this process. If you want plenty of natural light then think about what that means to the building. Likewise if you prefer dark, cosy spaces, the design should follow this preference.
Similarly, you should ask yourself questions about what you want to do with the space available and where you want to place key features of the house.

 

Focus on Small Details

After you’ve nailed down big picture features it’s time to consider all the smaller details that can have a real impact on your home.One major consideration, as we move into an increasingly digital world, should be “smart home” product integration. Smart Home products include Google Home, Amazon Echo and Apple Homekit and they can help control things like heating, lighting, security and entertainment in your house all from a smartphone app. Building with these near-future additions could help save costs in the long run.   Other small details could include the inclusion of under floor heating in certain areas of the house, wardrobe placement and storage space, access for pets, placement of bins, parking and more.

 

Style & Materials

Almost all of us are aesthetic animals at heart meaning that, when designing our dream home, we want to dive straight into the style, materials, colours and interior design.  That’s fine as long as you remember that finding a plot and deciding on major elements of the project come first. After that it’s time to get creative.

This is all part of the process and your architects will be able to help steer your thinking but you’ll most likely already know whether you prefer traditional or modern designs, stone cladding over timber, inside outside garden designs and so much more.

At this stage it’s important to be as clear as possible when delivering your brief to the architects. Give them as much information as possible, including specific opinions and preferences, so that they can create designs you’ll love.

 

Pick the Right Plot

For many picking the right plot isn’t an issue as families gift or inherit land between each other. However, if you’re completely starting from scratch then choosing the right plot will have a major impact on your dream home.

Not only do plots demand a large chunk of your budget, they also determine the location of your dream home, your future neighbours, the surrounding landscape and environment, views, access to public resources and amenities and so much more.

In short, choosing a plot is a massive decision and we’ve written a guide to help you through this process which you can access by clicking here!

Put all your effort into choosing the right plot. Everything else will flow from there.

 


 

Are you still in the “dream home” phase or are you ready to act?
Sometimes the best thing to do is to chat through all your ideas with experienced heads ready to offer guidance and direction where needed.

We’ve worked through loads of different projects, from new builds to extensions and barn conversions to modern designs, so we’d be happy to chat. You can contact us by clicking here or just reach out on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!

How to Find the Perfect Plot

How to Find the Perfect Plot for your self-build

For many, finding the perfect plot of land is the start of the home building process but it can be a daunting task for first-timers and those of us who are inexperienced.  In reality, there are plenty of people out there ready to help and guide you through the process and the “perfect plot” is determined by only a few key factors.  Over the years we’ve worked on loads of different projects on various plots of land so we thought we’d collect together some of the key points that, in our opinion, make the perfect self-build plot.


modern house on building site

 

Set Your Budget

The first stage in the process, as with almost every aspect of building your own home, is to determine your budget. There are various rules of thumb to follow but for most self-build projects the plot of land will command between 20-40% of your total budget. This might seem like a substantial amount but, as we regularly hear from property experts, location is very important and plot prices will vary considerably depending on where in the world (or Northern Ireland if you’re a local reader…) you want to buy and build!

 

Talk to the Experts

We would recommend talking to experts regardless of your experience but if you’re a first-time buyer (and self-builder) then we would consider this an essential part of the process.  Who are these experts? They could be estate agents, architects like us, solicitors, builders or developers. Each profession will have their own thoughts and opinions on what makes the perfect plot of land so talking to as many people as possible will give you a clearer, fuller picture of what exactly you should be looking for.

traditional cottage being built outside ballymena

 

Analyse the Area

This is where most people actually begin the perfect plot process.  As mentioned above, location is extremely important and impacts everything from your own happiness in your new home to the property value, should you ever want to sell in the future. Analysing what you can get, and where, will help you hone in on the perfect plot. Analysis of the surrounding area will also help shape your future project plans alongside your chosen architect. Surrounding buildings, or lack thereof, will most likely impact the design and style of your new home.
As a result of these impacts, you should carefully study your new potential neighbourhood and consider whether or not your self-build project will work there.

How to Find the Perfect Plot

 

Identify Vehicle and Services Access

Another major factor in determining the perfect plot is to identify vehicle access via main roads and access to key services like water, gas and electric.  Without proper vehicle access, the plot is unlikely to get planning permission, if it hasn’t already, as builders won’t have the access they need to carry out their work.  Similarly, if the plot doesn’t have proper access to the services and amenities mentioned above you will have to budget for these features to be installed and connected to your future home.  Awareness is key here. Identify exactly what the property needs or already has and then make an informed decision from there.

 

Identify Planning Permissions

Planning permission is a serious issue and we would highly recommend that you never purchase a plot of land under the assumption that planning permission will be granted. There are so many factors at play when undertaking your own self-build project that you should treat planning permission like a “black or white” issue. The plot of land in question either has planning permission or it hasn’t and if it hasn’t then we recommend waiting until everything is officially signed off or moving on to the next plot of land on your list.

 

Make Your Move

 After everything has been thoroughly considered it’s time to make your move.  It might seem strange, especially if you’re a first-time self-builder, to commit such a large amount of money to a plot of land and nothing else but this is the first stage of the self-build process. Talk to the experts in your world, make sure the plot ticks as many boxes as possible and then go for it. After that, you can look forward to the design process and eventually be laying those first foundations.

 

If you have any more questions about finding the perfect plot we’d be happy to give our thoughts and make it as specific to your situation as possible. Just contact us here or on our facebook page 

I’ve read recently on facebook about spray foam insulation.. What is it?

What You Need to Know About Spray Foam Insulation

SPRAY FOAM INSULATION: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Spray Foam Insulation: The Essentials

Although spray foam insulation has been in use since the 1940s, primarily for aircraft, for the past 30 years, continual product innovation has seen the increased adoption of spray foam insulation in residential and commercial construction. The rapid growth of sprayed foam insulation in building construction, thanks in part to its immediate and long-term benefits, has allowed the insulation material to sit confidently alongside traditional insulation types in providing thermal comfort for building occupants.

But what is spray foam insulation?  Are there different types available for different applications? And, how does spray foam insulation address the latest building codes while anticipating any changes to the building code? In this post, we explore the fundamentals of insulating foam and more.

 

What is spray foam insulation?

Spray foam insulation, also known as foaming insulation or sprayed insulation, is a two-part liquid insulation material(link is external) that insulates and air seals wherever it is applied. The material comes in two large 55 gallon drums – an iso and a resin. These two liquids are kept separate until applied at the job site by a qualified, licensed spray foam installer. The two liquids travel up through a heated hose to the spray gun where they are combined to create the foam. The foam expands within seconds to fill the cavity surface.  Depending on the type of sprayed-in foam insulation used, closed-cell or open-cell, the foam expands between 40 and 100 times its size upon application.

Open cell spray foam insulation is ideal for interior use

The types of spray foam insulation

Product innovation over the years has seen the introduction of several different types of spray foam insulation. Primarily in residential and commercial construction, open-cell and closed-cell spray foam is used while high-density spray insulation is used as roofing foam in commercial or industrial construction. Open-cell sprayed-in foam insulation, a soft low-density material, is typically used for interior applications such as wall cavities, the underside of roof decks, attics, basement walls and crawlspaces. The open cell structure of low density foamed insulation allows for moisture permeability to help contribute to moisture management and bi-directional drying of the wall assembly.

Closed-cell spray insulation, a rigid medium-density material, can be used in exterior applications such as continuous insulation applications, as well as interior applications. This type of foam insulation has a higher R-value per inch making it also suitable for small areas that require the highest possible R-value to meet building code requirements. Closed-cell spray foam’s rigidity help reject bulk water making it a recognized flood-resistant material by FEMA(link is external).

The benefits of open-cell spray foam

As mentioned, open-cell foaming insulation is best suited for interior applications/house insulation, offering an array of advantages of traditional fibrous insulation materials. Benefits of open-cell foam insulation include:

  • Allows for bi-directional drying
  • Can accommodate long-term creep and seasonal movement
  • Can be installed at a significantly lower cost and target the same specified R-value*
  • Is not considered a food source for mould
  • Provides sound dampening qualities, ideal for use in media or theatre rooms, office’s 
  • Lower installed cost, per square foot

The benefits of closed-cell insulation foam

While open-cell foamed insulation has many benefits over traditional insulation types, closed-cell sprayed-in insulation goes beyond to offer additional advantages.  Although closed-cell sprayed insulation foam has a higher per board foot cost, there are benefits that the material offers including:

  • Ability to reject bulk water (closed-cell foam insulation is recognized as a flood resistant material by FEMA(link is external))
  • Can be applied at very low temperatures (as low as 5°F)
  • Adds wall racking strength as well as impact resistance
  • Higher R-value* per inch  – easier to accommodate high R-value* requirements in narrow spaces
  • Lower vapour permeance (can be a Class II VDR)
  • Higher tensile and bond strength

Closed cell foam insulation can reject bulk water

How does spray foam insulation R-value compare?

R-value, the thermal resistance measure of insulation, varies between all insulation products whether they are fibreglass, cellulose, open-cell spray foam insulation or closed-cell sprayed-in foam insulation. Generally speaking, the rule of thumb is the higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power.  Focusing on spray foam insulation materials, there is a difference between the two main types. According to an industry publication, Fine Home Building(link is external), the R-value for open-cell spray foam is between R-3.5 – R-3.6 per inch. However, there are open-cell spray foam insulation products actually offer R-3.7 per inches such as Icynene Classic and Icynene Classic Max. The open cell structure of low-density foam insulation means the R-value is lower than its closed-cell counterpart. Nevertheless, open-cell spray foam does offer superior and consistent thermal insulation and air sealing properties.

In regards to closed-cell sprayed in foam insulation, R-value can range between R-4.9 to R-7.1 per inch. Closed-cell insulation products, such as Icynene ProSeal, allow builders and architects the ability to achieve R-21 in a three-inch pass. Innovations such as Icynene ProSeal LE allows for an initial pass of five inches (5”) to achieve R-35.

Spray Foam Insulation & Global Warming Potential (GWP)

Global warming potential (GWP), as defined by the EPA(link is external), is a measure of how much energy the emissions of 1 ton of a gas will absorb over a given period of time, relative to the emissions of 1 ton of carbon dioxide (CO2).  Spray foam insulation products that use water as the blowing agent – typically open-cell foam, however, Icynene’s ProSeal Eco is a 100 percent water blown closed-cell spray foam – have a global warming potential of 1, the lowest possible number.  This is because water in the mixture reacts during the application process to release carbon dioxide and heat. The GWP of the blowing agent is that of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide has a GWP of 1.

A major part of the innovation of spray foam products over the last three decades has been the evolution of blowing agents. Blowing agents are the gases used to expand the cells of foam plastic insulation and give it additional insulating properties. Closed-cell spray foam products typically use synthetic compounds as blowing agents because:

  • they offer improved insulation performance
  • their longer molecular structure migrates out of cell more slowly
  • the closed structure of closed cell foam restricts gas loss best

Today’s “third generation” of blowing agents have a GWP of 700 to 1000 which is still remarkably high considering water/CO2 has a GWP of 1. However, innovation from some chemical manufacturers like the Chemours Company has introduced the next generation of HFO blowing agents such as Opteon 1100, which significantly reduces the GWP impact when using closed-cell spray foam insulation products.

Spray foam insulation and global warming potential

Using SPF to address various IRC Building Codes

While the immediate and long-term performance attributes, the flexibility of use and various types of foaming insulation make a strong case for using the insulation material in residential and commercial construction, how does it address the ever-changing building codes?

Today, each of the 50 states follows a different set of building codes making navigating these codes confusing, particularly for architects or builders that have projects in multiple states. In some cases, the building code changes significantly between the state and certain cities or counties within the state. For example, at the time of writing Arizona had adopted the 2015 IRC Building Code, however, Phoenix was on the 2012 IRC, IBC and IECC code. With the majority of states either on the 2009, 2012 or 2015 code, below are some high-level points to consider and about how spray foam insulation contributes.

  • 2009 IRC Building Code
    • Houses built under this code are required to be 15% more energy efficient than the 2006 Building Code.
    • Prescriptive requirements call for higher insulation levels in most building elements in virtually every climate zone.
    • This is the first code that prescriptively calls for a home to meet a defined airtightness standard, though no testing is required.
    • Visual inspection is required for all areas of the house that need air sealing and thermal insulation spray foam can typically attain 8-9% of the needed energy reduction by sealing the house in hard to reach areas.
  • 2012 IRC Building Code
    • House built under the 2012 Building Code are required to be 30% more energy efficient than the 2006 Building Code.
    • 2012 Building Code also requires higher insulation levels in many climate zones and introduces “continuous insulation” requirements on the exterior walls in several colder zones.
    • Homes in Climate Zones 1 to 2 must have an Air Tightness 5 ≤ Air Changes per Hour @ 50 Pascals while homes in Climate Zones 3 to 8 must have an Air Tightness 3 ≤ Air Changes per Hour @ 50 Pascals.
    • Spray foam insulation easily and reliably achieves 3 Air Changes per Hour @ 50 Pascals.
  • 2015 IRC Building Code
    • The 2015 IRC Building Code introduces the Energy Rating Index (ERI) number as a measure of overall building energy efficiency and sets an ERI target for performance in each climate zone.
    • Spray foam insulation still is considered the most economical method to attain the Air Tightness Requirement of 3/5 ACH and lowest ERI.

Foam insulation as an air sealing material

One of the key differentiators between traditional insulation materials and spray foam insulation is the latter’s ability to insulate and air seal. Foam insulation provides an air barrier to wherever it is applied to help mitigate air leakage from the building. Air sealing the building envelope with sprayed-in foam insulation also helps address moisture ingress to reduce the risk of mould and mildew growth as well as the formation of ice dams in colder climate zones during the winter months.  When you compare foam insulation with traditional fibreglass insulation and cellulose insulation, sprayed insulation minimizes air infiltration, it assists in limiting moisture vapour from entering and escaping the home, which in turn reduces the load on heating and cooling systems. Below is a video that compares fibreglass, cellulose and open-cell spray foam in terms of insulating and air sealing value.

 

 

Spray foam insulation is a complex, but high-performance insulation material, that has helped evolve the category further in the past 30 years to allow architects and builders to advance the way they imagine, design, and construct residential and commercial structures.

this information has been taken from the Icyene Website on advice from our spray insulation  subcontractors One Step Insulation

Should you have any questions feel free to get in contact with ourselves or One Step insulation

doagh house coming along well

On site at our Doagh project, all’s going well & another well kept site from Estco NI Contractors.

doagh site eco home

should you have any projects you’d like slemish design studio to look at, please do not hesitate to contact our office