Matchbox Architects have been shortlisted for Best Individual New Homes in their project Conway, located in Oxford.
Their client wished to replace their existing dormer bungalow, with a new energy efficient dwelling on the same site. The design provided them with a contemporary reinterpretation of the surrounding houses, which was also highly insulated and efficient. The building met Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes and achieved an EPC rating of A (94%).
The design is a contemporary and innovative solution to replacing a dwelling in an existing characterful street, with a highly sustainable home, which makes a positive contribution to the street scene. The choice of construction method, the requirement for Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes along with the planning restrictions, led to a project that was unique to the area.
The decision by the client to run the project themselves gave them a high level of input into the finer details of the build and the flexibility of the construction method allowed them to adapt the internal layout once the space had been created. This allowed them to resize rooms to better suit their needs.
The building was designed to take the use of timber-framed construction methods to enable swift construction on site. Val-U-Therm insulated panels were installed to give a wall uvalue of 0.13 W/m2K. Triple glazed Unilux windows were used to further enhance the thermal efficiency. Underfloor heating was used across both floors to make use of the heat provided by the solar panels. The plant was installed in the garage and the underfloor heating pipes for the house were looped across the garage floor, to make further use of the residual heat.
The client oversaw the complete build, sourcing products and subcontractors. The main subcontractor was Flight Timber Structures who produced the timber frame and ValUTherm panels. The client sold elements of their original house and recycled timber – this enabled waste to be kept to an absolute minimum. The client frequently combined waste and recycling trips with visits to the builder's merchant to minimise vehicle movements. As the client directly appointed the subcontractors, they were able to retain control of the project to ensure it was completed to the high levels required by the Code for Sustainable Homes.
The plan check was carried out by South & Vale building control who worked with mba* to ensure the building would meet the requirements of the Code for Sustainable Homes. The onsite inspector assisted the client throughout the process – this was especially important as the clients were self-builders and there was no project manager involved.