A COSY forever home in the country and a spectacular statement family home on the edge of a bustling seaside resort were both winners in the recent LABC East Midlands Built In Quality Awards.
Toft House, Friskney, owned by the Glen Tuplin Trust, and 358 Drummond Road, Skegness, owned by Dean Gillison, were nominated for the awards by East Lindsey District Council and both came out victorious with Toft House winning the Best Individual Dwelling category and the Drummond Road property scooping Best Technical Innovation and being highly commended in the Best Individual Dwelling category.
During the building stage, the two schemes were overseen by Lincs Building Consultancy, which delivers the building control function on behalf of the Council and promotes the design and construction of buildings that are safe, healthy, accessible and environmentally efficient to comply with building regulations.
The Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Councillor Craig Leyland, said: “These two fantastic developments are worthy winners of these awards. The standard of building and forethought that went into them was incredible. It just goes to show that within current planning guidelines and building regulations , it is possible to create some truly spectacular and individual properties. Working with the Council, Lincs Building Consultancy, architects and builders, these two families now have truly unique and impressive homes.”
Toft House won the Best Individual Dwelling award for the innovative design and sustainable methods used in its construction which required a number of bespoke techniques to complete the build to the relevant standards.
The house was built as a forever home for Glen Tuplin who, 17 years ago, suffered life-changing injuries in a motorbike accident which have left him with a brain injury affecting his short-term memory and speech as well as mobility difficulties. This means he will be increasingly reliant on carers – which is reflected in the house in which he lives with his parents Ken and Jan who took on the role of full time carers for their son, once a talented pianist.
Glen, who has an amazing recall of early childhood memories, said: “When the house was being built I was very nervous about moving to it. I really loved the old house. I had lived there since I was three so have lots of memories, good and bad. This house will have lots of new memories, all good. Now I love this house. It is amazing. It is good, it is better than the old house. The best thing is that it is mine. It is security – my space. No one can make me leave. It would not have been half as good without my parents though.”
The house was built to incorporate both a family home for Glen and his parents, with space for his nephew and niece to stay, as well as a self-contained annex for Glen with accommodation for a carer for when he needs his own space.
The family went through two architects before settling on Sam Culling to design their unusual build. Mr Culling explained: “It was a fabulous project to work on but not without challenges. The brief was a family home, to create space for independent living if needed and room for a carer. It all works well. Working within planning policy is always a challenge but we managed it. It is made to look like a traditional Lincolnshire farm house from the front, but inside is modern and contemporary. You look at it and say ‘wow’.”
And, builder Sam Pesterfield explained that it took a team of 15 people 14 months to finish the project. He added: “The best part was when the windows were in, the roof on and it was watertight. We had a few delays in getting started but we were lucky with the weather and it was watertight before the bad weather or the winter months. It was brilliant to work on this project and I am very happy with the results.”
LABC Chief Executive Paul Everall said of this scheme: “Toft House is the result of years of planning and consultation to make sure it has the life time capability to service the needs of a disabled person. The quality of its finishing, its sympathetic approach to retaining the original look and character and the general all round cooperation between all parties during the build process makes it an exemplar for others to follow.”
Mr Gillison’s newly built luxury family home in Drummond Road, Skegness, won the award for the Best Technical Innovation and was Highly Commended in the Best Individual category. The design for the new home was meticulously researched and included many vernacular Edwardian villa features such as a tower, cupolas and chimney details. But the house itself was a thoroughly modern steel framed construction incorporating many green and energy saving measures to minimise energy use.
Mr Gillison explained: “When we bought the house it was a low squat bungalow between two large substantial buildings. It had been left to go into deterioration. We had been looking for a nice home for a number of years before it came onto the market. We jumped when the opportunity came up and soon put in planning permission for this house. We tested the water. That was not successful so we changed architect to Neil Dowlman Architecture.
“Initially I thought the plans Neil drew up were a bit over the top, but I think the council was looking at the houses either side and looking for infill from our house in keeping with the area. We wanted a family home in the same area as our business, the Marine Boathouse. We lived in a bungalow before so now we have a lovely house but no furniture to fill it as we spent so much money on the house. We were in for Christmas which was good but we were only living in a few rooms due to the lack of furniture.”
The spectacular home, where Mr Gillison lives with wife Paula and their daughters Sam, 23, and Jessica, 15, has six bedrooms, games room, gym, swimming pool and large back garden. Standing in the spectacular entrance hall, with baby grand piano, leading to the kitchen Mr Gillison added: “It is obviously a big house, but being here and living in it, it doesn’t feel that big. You soon get used to it. I used local tradesmen as much as I could. We all worked together, the architect, builders and all the tradesmen, so there is a bit of us all in this house.”
Architect Neil Dowlman added: “When we started, the existing house was very tired and run down. We wanted to build a large property but within the constraints of the planning process, being located in open countryside. That was a challenge. We designed the building with quality architecture in the Edwardian/Regency style which we researched meticulously. All external work has been faithful to the period. The chimneys make the development, I think. A lot of people fail to capture the importance of chimneys whether functional or not.”
Builder Kevin Brady added: “The development was a challenge. When you first see the plans it can be quite frightening, but if you work section by section it all becomes very clear. It was very challenging and we made a few alterations along the way but to me a house is a house – this is just a bigger house. The biggest challenge was the logistics of the whole thing. There were 40 thousand bricks in the boundary wall alone. In total over 40 people worked on the project – it took a team of six people just to put the roof on. Hundreds of tonnes of top soil was needed to lift the ground level due to the risk of flooding and the hexaganol chimneys are all constructed from handmade bricks which were installed in freezing November temperatures. It went really well though.”
LABC Chief Executive Paul Everall said: “This is a remarkable achievement for essentially a self-build project and it couldn’t have happened without the input and advice from Lincs Building Consultancy who were able to ensure the initial designs, while being in the traditional style, were right up to date incorporating the latest green and sustainable technology.”
More than 280 people from the construction industry across the East Midlands attended the regional excellence awards at the East Midlands Conference Centre, University Park, Nottingham. The awards are unique because they recognise how the work of local authority surveyors helps to improve building standards and boost sustainability and efficiency.
Ian Henton, Principal Consultant Surveyor at Lincs Building Consultancy said “We pride ourselves on the way we deliver our services to our customers and it has been a privilege to be involved in two such unique schemes and to play our part in them being delivered to such high standards.
“Both projects were delivered by teams of architects, specialists and tradespeople to standards of the highest quality and we are proud to have been part of this team. The completed projects are indeed examples of excellence and we are thrilled that our customers are in receipt of such prestigious recognition for their commitment to delivering excellence in their buildings.”
Lincs Building Consultancy can be contacted on 01507 613188.