How to Build a Healthy Home

According to research by Velux, one in six Europeans – the equivalent of the population of Germany – live in unhealthy buildings that suffer from damp, a lack of daylight, inadequate heating or overheating. In some countries, that number is as high as one in three!

These issues don’t just impact the building, they also have negative health effects on the inhabitants, with more than one and a half times more people living in unhealthy buildings having poor health, compared to those living in healthy buildings.

As Grand Designs Magazine notes, building health issues can lead to asthma, allergies and sleep disorders. To ensure you build a healthy home, the publication recommends the following steps:

Use natural materials for structural improvements

Baubiologie, or ‘building biology’, a building science that focuses on the positive impact certain design ideas and materials have on wellbeing, promotes the use of natural materials like timber, rammed earth floors, and hempcrete. This could include timber-frame windows or exposed beams.

Associate director of The Alliance for Sustainable Building Products, Simon Corbey, noted it can be difficult to find healthy building products in the UK as “there is no comprehensive register of products to use or avoid.”

This is where an architect can come in handy, as their knowledge and experience can help identify such products.

Balance natural and artificial light

Not only is an abundance of natural light an aesthetically pleasing feature in residential and commercial properties, it also has a host of health benefits.

As Architectural Lighting discusses, daylight is known to increase productivity and comfort, and provides the necessary mental and visual stimulation to regulate human circadian rhythms, leading to better sleep and energy patterns.

Meanwhile, too much artificial light can cause issues. Blue light, emitted from some modern LEDs and devices such as TVs, computers and smartphones, is linked to headaches and macular degeneration. Getting the right balance between natural and artificial light can be a simple step to improving a building’s health.

Eradicate impurities

We all know the dangers of outdoor air pollution, but our homes can also be a hotbed for poor air quality.
A 2016 report from the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health noted sources of indoor air pollution include faulty boilers, heaters, irritant chemicals, house-dust mites, mould, and dander from pets.

The report also found that, across Europe in 2012, indoor air pollution is believed to have caused or contributed to 99,000 deaths, the Guardian reported.

Creating warmer external walls, adequate ventilation, and a plug-in air purifier can all help to minimise poor indoor air quality.

The Alliance for Sustainable Building Products has called for internal air quality tests to become the norm, and a register of building products and materials.

If you’d like help building a healthy property, give CASA Studio a call.

Cornish Buildings Group Annual Awards 2018 – CASA Studio shortlisted

We are delighted to announce that our Chapter’s House project, shown above, has been shortlisted for this year’s Cornish Buildings Group Annual Awards! We have been told that “The judges were particularly impressed with the house’s clean and simple lines and with the overall massing and composition.” The judges will visit all of the shortlisted projects on 6th May and decide on the winners shortly thereafter, so watch this space!

Having received a Commendation for the Redannick Mews project, shown below, in the 2016 Cornish Buildings Group Annual Awards, “for two sustainable single storey new houses, showing particular imagination in creating a pleasant modern environment rarely provided by major developers.” We are hoping to go one better this year and win the whole thing!

How to find the perfect Architect

How do you find the perfect Architect? Whether you have dreams of building your own home, adding an extension, or developing a commercial property, turning those aspirations into a reality can be an incredible yet stressful experience.

As Ideal Home notes, an architect can reduce stress, provide specialist expertise, transform your ideas into practical solutions, and guide you through regulations and contractual obligations. Architects are creative problem-solvers that will help you before and during construction.

There’s a good chance this build has been a dream for many years. But, how do you find the perfect Architect for your project? Here’s a checklist to help make sure you find the right person for the job:

Draw up a shortlist

Get recommendations from friends, family or neighbours, and search online databases such as the Architects Register or https://find-an-architect.architecture.com/FAAHome.aspx.  This will help you to create a shortlist of local architects.

Make sure they have the right qualifications

UK law states that everyone practising as an architect must be registered with the Architects Registration Board (ARB), which runs the Architects Register. As HomeOwners Alliance explains, registration with ARB requires extensive training and professional indemnity insurance.

Chartered Architects have membership with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and, if they have a chartered practice, they are subject to random checks.

Anyone calling themselves an architecture consultant, architectural designer or technician will not be an Architect.

Get in touch

Now you’ve narrowed your list down, get in touch with those on your shortlist. You’ll want to make sure that they’re actually available to work on your project, and arrange to meet them to discuss your project and how they work in greater detail.

Make sure their style fits

You’ll no doubt have looked at their website when conducting your research, but ask to see their portfolio at the initial meeting. As well as finding an Architect who is experienced, you need make sure that their style will fit with your project.

If you’re after a modern look, a more traditional architect might not suit you. If you have a listed building, you should find an architect with experience in this particular area. If you don’t like their style, that’s your answer — every Architect has a different feel and you need to find the right one for you.

Check fees align with your budget

It’s no secret that building a house is expensive. Not only do different architects charge different amounts, but they can charge in different ways too. Understand how much they will charge and check this fits with your budget to avoid hiring one you realise you can’t afford further down the line.

Is there personal chemistry?

Your Architect is going to help you to turn your dream into a reality, so it’s important that you can get on. The more they know about you, the more personal your brief will be.

Once you’ve chosen your architect, you need to instruct them so they can get to work!

If you’d like to discuss your project, get in touch with CASA Studio today. We’re an award-winning RIBA Chartered Architect with a keen eye for detail.

CASA Studio joins Householder Accredited Agents Scheme (HAAS)

CASA Studio has been accepted onto Cornwall Council Planning Department’s Householder Accredited Agents Scheme (HAAS). CASA Studio has been recognised by our local Planning Department as a professional Planning Agent, so all of our Householder Planning Applications are now fast-tracked through validation and registration with minimal checks. This means that you, the Client, will get a decision on a Householder Application up to 2 or 3 weeks sooner!