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Simon Open Door is a partnership between the Simon Communities of Ireland has partnered and the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland(RIAI). Almost €600,000 has been raised for the Simon Communities of Ireland by Simon Open Door in the last fourteen years.
Anyone can sign up to Simon Open Door and in return for a €95 donation to the Simon Community, you will receive an hour long consultation with a certified RIAI Architect (in the Architect’s own office, unless otherwise stated). They can give advice on a range of issues relating to your home.

Since 2005, the Simon Open Door initiative has been a permanent fixture in the calendar of RIAI Architects who, open their offices and offer their time and expertise to members of the public. Every cent raised goes toward’s the work of the Simon Communities of Ireland.

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What is NZEB?

NZEB Explained – Nearly Zero Energy Buildings

NZEB, meaning Nearly Zero Energy Building, is a building with a very low (if not zero) energy consumption. This means the total amount of energy used by the building on an annual basis is almost equal (if not equal) to the amount of renewable energy created on the site, or renewable energy sources elsewhere nearby.

In Ireland on 20th January 2017 Minister Simon Coveney signed into Irish Law the requirement to meet NZEB as part of Building Regulations (Amendment) Regulations 2017; and defined the term ‘Nearly Zero-Energy Building’ to mean ‘a building that has a very high energy performance, as determined in accordance with the Annex I to Directive 2010/31/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 May 2010 on the energy performance of buildings (recast) (O.J. No. L 153, 18.6.2010. page 13). The nearly zero or very low amount of energy required should be covered to a very significant extend by energy from renewable sources, including energy from renewable sources produced on-site or nearby.

Under Directive 2010/31/EU it is required that all new buildings occupied and owned by public authorities shall be nearly zero energy buildings after 31 December 2018, and all other buildings by 31 December 2020.

Residential buildings: The Irish Government is implementing the Energy Performance Building Directive 2010 Recast through revised building regulations for homes which are proposed to come into force on 1st April 2019. This means that any dwelling receiving planning permission after 1st April should meet the nZEB standard. Substantial completion must have been achieved by 1st April 2020. After 2020 all homes irrespective of when they received planning permission should achieve the new standard.

The new proposed TGD Part L, Conservation of Fuel and Energy – Dwellings has been published and can be found on Department website, TGD-L Dwellings

Update On Garden ‘Log Cabins’

Proposal for garden ‘log cabins’ rejected due to safety fears

Proposals to permit ‘log cabins’ in the back gardens of family homes in Dublin to ease the housing crisis have been rejected amid fire safety and substandard accommodation concerns.

Architectural Conservation- The Large Farm House


Architectural Conservation- Large Farmers House

Description: Detached three-bay two-storey house, built c.1890, incorporating fabric of earlier house, c.1800, to rear. Double-pitched and hipped slate roof with yellow brick chimney stacks with red brick bands and polygonal clay pots. Yellow brick walls laid in Flemish bond, roughcast rendered to rear. Square-headed window openings with granite sills, granite lintels and two-over-two timber sash windows. Segmental headed door opening with carved timber doorcase and replacement timber panelled door, c.1985, with sidelights and overlight. Interior not inspected. House is set back from road in own grounds; landscaped grounds to site; hedge boundary to site with iron gate. Stable complex to site, dated 1864, about a cobbled courtyard. Detached two-storey building to site with corrugated-iron roof.

Photos Prior to refurbishment

The brief is to carry out alterations to the house to make it a pleasant family house with good daylighting, spacious kitchen/dining area, additional bathroom space and incorporating a farm office
while maintaining the character of the protected structure.

Photos following refurbishment works

Playground Design

Children and Play

‘Play is the work of children’: this expression is now common place among experts in the area of childhood development. Play is no longer regarded as something children do when they have nothing better to be doing. Play is in fact an integral aspect of being a child; as internationally renowned play researchers Opie and Opie have noted, children will play anywhere, anytime and with anything.

Play is the medium through which children learn to understand the world around them. That world is a highly complex set of systems and structures, both physical and social. From early babyhood children begin to explore their physical world through play. As they grow and develop play remains the primary medium through which they develop an understanding of the physics of their environment, its chemistry, and the mathematical possibilities. A jump in a puddle displaces the water, the same water mixed with mud creates a pleasing squishy lump and it takes great skill to fathom the meaning of volume as that water is poured from one container into the

As children develop an understanding of their physical environment they are learning new skills and exploring their own possibilities. From picking up a little marble to leaping across a stream, children learn how to use their smallest digits to their largest limbs to best effect.

At the same time children are learning about their social world. As soon as they begin to interact with other children they learn about turn taking, teamwork and the challenges of sharing. They also begin to develop coping mechanisms for the emotional ups and downs of human interaction.

Children are highly imaginative. They will create whole new worlds around
themselves which are ripe for all kinds of exploration. They are zombies chasing along the footpath, earnest shop keepers sorting their wares and even changing from one to the other in the blink of an eye. They act out the emotional and psychological challenges of the world they live in through the equally complex imaginative world they create. Play is utterly absorbing, children become lost in the moment of a toy car chase through the difficult terrain of a muddy pathway or the complex task of building a den from branches, boxes, old tyres, rubble or whatever they find lying
around. Indoor play offers many possibilities while outdoor play generally implies more space to run, jump, shout or hide and offers children the chance to engage with the possibilities of organic world they live in.

Architectural conservation- Resurrecting a Mill



Architectural Conservation- Resurrecting a Mill

When I received a phone call to examine an old mill project I had hoped there would be at least four wall to work with! There was no roof structure or intermediate floors. The ground floor was compacted crushed stone. Some openings had been partly/fully closed with infill stonework. Timbers used for lintels had deteriorated. Pockets in the wall indicate where timbers forming intermediate floors would have been supported. There was no north gable wall. Lime mortar had deteriorated in a number of areas and posed a risk to the structural stability of certain areas of the walls. Ivy was in evidence on a number of walls and required removal in line with conservation best practice.

Local stonemasons were employed to carry out repair work to the existing stone walls. The stone masons are well versed in conservation techniques for traditional stone walls. Traditional lime mortar was specified for all repairs and re-pointing. The selection of the correct sand to be used was also an important consideration in terms of colour and coarseness. A number of sample areas to be prepared and approved prior to works commencing throughout. Stone found on the farmstead was used for repairs just as the original stonemasons would have done originally. the following photos demonstrate the level of finishing after repair works. They blend well into the existing fabric. Stone was dressed to the corners which match the detail on the existing stone corners of the building.

Latest Project 3

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Latest Project 2

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