Case Studies

The Old Rectory – Top Floor, Purleigh

Stage 1

In this case study we return to The Old Rectory.  This was our 3rd stint working on this property and this time we worked on the top floor of the building.  The top floor started out as nothing more than open loft space, split in half length ways by a brick running the length of the building.  Our brief from the clients was to turn this space into a habitable area, suitable for guest accommodation, for when friends and family come to stay, as well as creating an area that could be used for family entertainment which took the form of a cinema room.

As the name suggests the rectory is an old building with lots of character and as such it was important to the clients that this character was not lost in the conversion, whilst still maintaining a modern look and feel to the new rooms.  We were able to do this by incorporating the features that were already there, such as the original roof structure woodwork and dormer and by keeping rather than replacing the original windows.

Adding another family bathroom and an ensuite to the house meant that the existing plumbing infrastructure needed to be upgraded and this all had to be considered at the design stage, especially as the client’s brief had dictated that they did not want this to be on show so as not to detract from the overall look of the rooms we were creating.

After several meetings we were able to present the clients with our quote pack which included our proposed floor plans detailing out the separation of the space into the designated rooms and a full 3D virtual model for the clients to be able to see how the final rooms would look.  Once agreed it was time to start and get on with the job.

Stage 2

The first stage of the job was to put in place the additional Plumbing and Heating infrastructure required, to keep this out of view, we build a wooden stand on which the various tanks and accumulators could sit high up in the roof space, with further support provided by the main central wall.  Once in place we added sound proofing as a noise prevention measure and then build a new ceiling underneath which then ultimately formed the overall shape of the new rooms and provided access to the remaining roof space via a hatch in what would eventually become the new kitchen.

With the new ceiling framework in place, the next part of the job was to build partition walls creating the individual rooms out of the overall loft space.  Access to the kitchen was an important part of the design brief, as such during this phase of the work structural openings were created, in order to provide the desired accessibility allowing travel from the cinema room to the kitchen without having to go through the bedrooms.

With the main structure of the rooms built the next stage of the works was to run through all the cables and pipes required to service the new rooms with power and water before installing insulation, boarding over the framework before completing the 1st fix phase with a plastered finish.

Working on old buildings can be tricky especially when they are listed as was the case with the rectory.  The building’s age meant that traditionally the walls would have been finished with a lime render rather then plaster which is a process which is not used very much in this nowadays.  This would have meant that contractors with specialist expertise would have had to have been brought in on this job which would have added to the overall cost.  The lime rendering of the loft was initially a requirement of the listing authorities however after several consultations with them, we were able to show that lime rendering would not have given the u-values required to meet building regulations.  We proposed an alternative solution to the problem which was ultimately satisfactory to us, the clients and the listing authorities which utilized the clever use of air gaps, regular slab insulation as well as super foil insulation in conjunction with a standard plastered finish we were able to get the u-values required and avoid the use of lime render keeping the overall project on budget.

Stage 3

With the basic shell of the rooms in place and with a smooth plastered finish it was time to start the 2nd fix stage of the works.  This included the install of the electrical finishes, the bathrooms, the kitchen and the decoration of all the rooms.  Sometimes clients choose to employ their own contractors to do certain aspect of the work and this was the case with the rectory where the floor finishes were installed by an outside contractor independent of RCM.

The 2nd fix of the rectory was not as straight forward as it could have been, due in part to the age of the building and the way in which the rooms were shaped by the installation of the boarded, plastered framework which enclosed the living areas within the overall structure of the building shell.  This meant that we had to custom make the skirting, architraves and doors in order to match the existing in the older parts of the house.  In addition the pitch of the wall, in the ensuite meant that the shower screen used could not be bought “off the shelf” and so these parts also custom made for this job.  However, because RCM have an excellent selection of expert tradespeople and merchants which meant that we were able to overcome these issues without too much difficulty.

Stage 4

At the finishing stage, all paperwork was complete and any remedial works carried out. The whole site was then cleared out and a cleaning company employed to finish off to a high professional standard.

Stage 5

The works took a total of 10 months to complete and on completion of the job all necessary warranties came into play and the RCM team were on hand for any queries or issues.

For further details regarding any of the above, please refer to RCM Contractors on our website.

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