Set in the leafy outskirts of Worthing, 57 Lawrence Avenue was a derelict 1930s bungalow when investor Steve Gardner and developers Glen and Ben of GB Developments spotted its potential. Just twenty weeks after receiving planning permission, the property had been transformed into a magnificent five bedroomed family home.
This ambitious project wasn’t Steve Gardner’s first experience of property development. Having swapped a corporate career for the world of property development, he set up Steve Gardener Projects Ltd and began by renovating a flat and providing property makeovers.
While the Lawrence Avenue transformation was much more ambitious than any of his previous work, bringing experienced builders Glen and Ben on board meant that the project was in very safe hands. Knowing that they were likely to gain permission to extend upwards, the team made a bold decision to buck the trend and build a spacious family home instead of squeezing extra properties onto the plot.
Although the exterior of the finished home had to remain traditional, Steve was keen for the interior to reflect modern lifestyles. As a result, architect Steve Barrett designed a ground floor open plan living area with plenty of room for busy families and their guests. This would lead to a South facing garden, making warm weather entertaining easy.
With the number of blended families on the rise and young adults living at home for longer, Mr Barrett’s plans needed to include plenty of flexible accommodation. He designed three first floor ensuite bedrooms, a first-floor family bathroom and extra off road parking to cater for multiple commuters.Teamwork was key to the swift completion of this project and Mr Barrett praised the relationship between himself and Adur and Worthing Council’s appointed surveyor, Paul Parfitt, who he consulted before submitting any plans. Liaising regularly with all members of the team meant that when plans to create a third-storey extension were scrapped mid-development, the amended application was dealt with quickly.
Several other challenges arose during the building process, including restrictions on the use of new techniques and materials. Because the local planning department wanted the extension to blend in with surrounding properties, they wanted the contractors to choose either brick or render for external wall finishes and traditional clay tiles for the roof.
However, with a little persuasion from the project’s architect, Glen and Ben were eventually allowed to use concrete interlocking duo tiles “which gave the effect of plain tiles with a more modern appearance, allowing the project to stay within budget whilst complementing the street scene.”
Creating the open plan living area also presented challenges, as building regulations required new load bearing walls to be built in order to provide stability. To comply with this, GB Building and Developments removed all except one of the existing load bearing walls, along with the chimney stacks.
Due to the age of the original bungalow, improving sustainability played a big part in this project. The builders removed the existing floors to provide thermal insulation, as well as removing the original skin of the existing property’s walls to install cavity insulation. Additionally, the building was kitted out with double glazed windows and new drainage, along with a modern boiler that would heat the extended property economically.
The positive working relationship between Steve Gardner and the LABC proved to be very fruitful, as it led to plans for the refurbishment of an old council storage building. The resulting café will include new public toilets, saving the council much-needed cash.
57 St Lawrence Avenue was highly commended in the 2017 Local Authority Building Control Excellence Awards
Client – Steve Gardner, Steve Gardner Projects Ltd, 07468 532077
Contractor – Glen Lamley, GB Building and Developments UK Ltd, 07710 929237
Architect – Steve Barrett, BSB Party Wall & Architectural Services, 07974 715009
Structural Engineer – Sean Clark, Sean Clark Associates, 07917 41032
Building Control – Adur and Worthing Building Control Partnership, 01903 221125