Brightspace.

My good friends at Brighspace Architects have launched their new website today. Check it out!

http:// www.brightspacearchitects.com

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The Farrell Review

As you may be aware, The MP Ed Vaizey has called upon Sir Terry Farrell to recommend ways in which the government can promote good design. So in an undertaking imaginatively labelled “The Farrell Review” Sir Terry, ably assisted by a panel of others, will undertake a review of design in this country with the ultimate aim of raising the bar.

I’m all for this, design IS important, even in these times of austerity – good design DOES NOT mean throwing money at expensive materials necessarily!

If you want to have your say, you can here —-> http://www.farrellreview.co.uk/

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SUPER cool house

I absolutely love this house If you know anyone who wants one similar to this designed make sure you send them my way!!!

http://www.contemporist.com/2013/06/24/house-in-ofuna-by-level-architects/

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Lookalikes!

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Several times in my 34 years, I’ve been likened in appearance to other people. Some good, some not so.

As a child, apparently, I possesed more than a passing resemblance to sad sack from the raggy dolls. Yes really.

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In my teen years I progressed to looking like tennis star Pete Sampras

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A few years ago, I walked into the barbers shop, and the lovely lady barber said, and I quote, “You’ve got the look of that Lewis Hamilton about you.” “Cool” I thought, until she followed it up with “You’re a lot fatter than he is though” Yes, really.

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I can’t argue too much, it is a fact, I AM a lot fatter than Lewis Hamilton, but still……..!

Recently I’ve been working with the super cool guys and girls at BrightSpace architects, and, yesterday saw both a new high (kind of), and a new low in my lookalike career.

Firstly, it was alledged that I look like Uncle Ben of rice fame

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Now, for someone who is knocking on for 80, Uncle Ben looks pretty good, but I’m in my mid thirties……

Secondly, I was likened to Vin Diesel.

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Except strictly speaking, I wasn’t. Rather than looking like him, supposedly, I sound like him when I speak, and, do you know what, if it’s a choice between that and looking like a miserable eighties cartoon character or an octogenarian rice peddler, I’ll take it!

So, who do you look like?

Cheers,

Zak.

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The best staircase in the world.

Not sure what I think of the overall design of this house, but I want that stair/slide thing in my house!

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A whole new world…..

Having been a hardcore AutoCAD LT user for more years than I care to count, I’m currently in the process of switching over to Revit.

I’m beginning to think “Why on earth didn’t I do this MUCH earlier?”

I’ve dabbled with various 3D packages in the past, such as Sketchup and Rhino, and at a push I can knock up the odd (semi) convincing model but have always done all my working drawings in conventional 2D CAD.

Ok, so let’s go back a few steps, and answer the obvious questions, what are AutoCAD LT, Sketchup and Revit and how do they differ?

Well AutoCAD LT is pretty much the industry standard 2D drafting software, basically a clever electronic drawing board. Essentially you start off with a blank sheet and using various tools you “draw” your drawings in 2 dimensions inside the computer, but they remain very much 2 dimensional, and every drawing you need to produce has to be drawn separately – electronic lines on an electronic page.

With a 3D package like Sketchup, rather than just 2D images, you can create pretty impressive 3D drawings like these and while it can be fantastic for presentation type images when you’re looking for that wow factor, when it comes to getting into the real detail of the building, you normally have to revert back to a 2D package because the primary function of this type of software is to create visual impact rather than produce detailed design drawings.

Revit however, is different again. While you still “draw” the plans in a similar (ish) fashion as you do in AutoCAD, rather than simply drawing lines on a page you’re actually creating or “building” a model of your proposed building inside the computer. This might not sound very impressive, but take it from me, it’s a total game changer! You see, when you use AutoCAD, every plan, elevation, section and detail you need to draw has to be done separately, but with Revit, because you’re making a detailed model, all the different drawings you need are there waiting for you at the click of a mouse! Instead of drawing lines to represent walls and inserting blocks that represent windows, you actually build walls and place windows making the production of working drawings much simpler. Additionally  because it’s a 3D model you’re also able to create stunning perspective type images just like you can in Sketchup.

I know I’m several years behind on this, but better late than never! There’s a steep learning curve to be scaled, but everytime I learn some new trick on it I’m like a kid in a sweet shop, it’s brilliant!

Having just written the most heavily cliche laden paragraphs I’ve ever written I’m gonna sign off!

 

Cheers,

Zak.

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Are you looking for a CAT?

CIAT have produced this little video. I thought you might like to see it.

 

Cheers,

Zak.

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I might be a wanted man

I reckon I’ve robbed PC world.

A few days ago I went to PC world to buy a new printer. I went for the Brother blah blah blah blah one. (I can’t be bothered to look up the actual model number, and if you’re honest, you’re not that fussed anyway…) Essentially it’s a small business printer that can print A3, I need an A3 printer because I tend to most of my drawings at A3 – I tend to do most of my drawings at A3 because I can’t afford the thousands of pounds it costs to buy a proper wide format printer, but that’s another, equally dull story.

Anyway, back to PC world. I got the printer at a reduced price of £100 from about £180 because Brother have apparently brought out a newer model that does exactly the same thing, and looks remarkably similar to the one I bought.

When I got to the till to pay for it, the unusually friendly and helpful assistant, asked if I wanted to spend an extra £20 on a 3 year any reason, instant replacement warranty. Normally, being the discerning chap I am, I immediately say no to this kind of warranty talk, but, given his aforementioned helpful friendliness I decided to give him a chance.

He explained that now that so many people shop online, PC world are struggling to compete price wise so in order to survive they’ve had to start offering much better service, and that part of that is to offer this “whatever happens” warranty. Basically, if at any point in the next three years my printer stops working for ANY reason I just take it back and they replace it no questions asked.

Too good to be true, I thought and quizzed him some more, but from what I could tell, and from reading the bumf he gave me, it really does appear that if this printer stops working they give me a new one, end of, and, because the printer I’ve bought has now gone out of manufacture, they give you the latest version.

He then went on to tell me that these types of printers are only really designed to last 2 years anyway, so for £120 I’ve got this printer for the next two years ’til it gives up and then they give me a brand spanking new one. Like I said, I walked out feeling like I’d robbed them!

That can’t be bad, can it? Can it????

Cheers,

Zak.

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Center Parcs

We’re at Center Parcs longleat.  Love it.

That is all.

Cheers,
Zak.

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Building Control Partnership Scheme

Well that’s an exciting blog title if I ever read one! I should imagine that visitors to my blog will triple over night!

I’ve just signed Lacey Architectural Services up to the LABC Partner Authority Scheme, which I hope will make the whole building control experience much easier for me and my clients.

If you’re still reading, you might be wondering what on earth I’m talking about, well here goes….

Traditionally, almost all building work in the UK has to meet building regulations. Normally, when you start a building project, a building control officer employed by the local authority will inspect the plans and subsequently the work to ensure that it all complies.

Now, broadly speaking, the building regulations are good. It’s good that we live in a country where minimum standards of construction are met. We can walk into any modern building and know that it has been constructed to a decent standard, I don’t imagine many people would disagree with that, however, during my years in construction the problem I have found isn’t so much with the regs themselves, but with the way the building regs are administered.

While broadly the regulations are supposed to be objective, there is room for negotiation, and the BCOs are at liberty to be more relaxed about certain items if the need arises, and sadly, therein lies the problem. What I have found as I’ve worked with different Local Authorities in different places across the country is (and this is merely an observation NOT a criticism) that different BCOs have different expectations, and put different emphasis on different sections of the regulations. This can lead to frustration, because unless you’ve worked with a particular BCO previously  you don’t know until fairly late on what his/her expectations will be, which in turn can lead to difficulty later down the line. For instance, one BCO in one county might be quite happy for you to detail a particular element in a way that the BCO in the next county deems unacceptable  This has happened to me several times and is wildly frustrating (not to mention potentially costly) for everyone involved. Again, this isn’t a criticism, it’s just how life is, we’re subjective beings, we view things differently, and we put prioritise things in different ways. If I was a BCO, I would be exactly the same, if not worse than some (of what I have deemed to be) the most awkward BCOs I’ve ever encountered!

This is where LABC comes in. Basically the idea is that instead of dealing with lots of different authorities, you just deal with one, normally of your own choosing, which gives you the opportunity to build relationship and trust and should lead to a much improved experience for all involved.

Historically, the construction industry has always been a very adversarial industry, with the different parties almost pitted against each other. In my view, anything like this that won’t cost the client more money, but harbours and encourages relational working can only be a good thing. I guess I’ll find out over the next few months…..

Cheers,

Zak.

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