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Stephen Donald Architects Rank UK’s Top Practice Fundraiser for Charity

RIBA – Shelter Initiative Architect in the House

London based Stephen Donald Architects (SDA) have announced the results of its 2008 fundraising campaign for last year’s Architect in the House initiative. Run annually by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and Shelter, housing and homelessness charity, Architect in the House offers members of the public an hour-long consultation with an RIBA Chartered Architect who gives their time free of charge for a suggested donation of £40 to Shelter. SDA, who specialise in housing projects, sustainable housing, commercial, leisure and listed buildings and working in conservation areas, ranked Number 1 in the UK for raising the most money for a single architect’s practice, securing over £3,000 in donations. The nationwide total raised by RIBA Architects reached £92,500.

Architect in the House is a unique opportunity for homeowners to discuss design changes and improvements to their home with an RIBA architect. From knocking down an interior wall to a loft conversion or from a kitchen makeover to a new extension to your home, a consultation with an architect can help make your dream home a reality and add value to your property, while raising funds to help Shelter’s vital work.

SDA processed over 100 applications for free consultancy advice from homeowners between August and December last year and due to the popularity of the scheme, the practice decided to continue the initiative throughout the entire year, whereby all homeowners approaching SDA now receive free, initial consultations for a £40 donation to Shelter.

As a result of the successful Architect in the House initiative, Steve Donald, Chartered Architect and Director of SDA, has recently produced a very helpful homeowner’s information pack entitled ‘Move or Improve’. Mr Donald commented: “The current economic climate in the UK housing market begs the question of any property owner: Move or Improve? As developers/investors and other homeowners are now buying and selling less property than ever before this century, it is becoming increasingly difficult for people wishing to move to sell their property. Overall, the housing market has reached a substantial level of stagnation, especially over the last 12 months. However, there are a number of ways in which you can adapt and improve your home and perhaps eliminate the need to move. Whether it be to extend, remodel or refit, updating and customising your existing property to suit your specific requirements, can provide you with a more suitable home to live in, without the stress, worry and expense of moving.”

Mr Donald continued: “Our information pack provides useful information about Architect in the House and how it works. It highlights various strategies for home improvement - whether it be to extend, secure planning permission for a house sale, remodel, refit or even build a new house. It also presents details about your specific project which has been registered, what happens next and how SDA can help. Work done to your existing home will produce a positive investment. It can provide all your living requirements for now, and can increase the potential value of your property, in preparation for the property market stabilising and picking up again in the future. ”

Mr Donald concluded: “I would like to thank all the homeowners who have donated to the scheme which I am convinced will become even more popular this year with homeowners’ uncertainty of the property market, being unable to sell or buy and who decide to improve the value of and quality of space in their existing property instead. We were also fortunate to be appointed to take 20% of our Architect in the House projects forward to commencement, following the initial, free consultation. Architect in the House is a fantastic way to show homeowners how a little help from a local, professional architect can bring many cost effective, creative and imaginative benefits in designing improvements to an existing home. Such an expert can help you create more space, make your house more energy and carbon efficient, add value to your home and allow you to enjoy it more for years to come. We also help secure planning permission on home extensions, even if not built, as this often facilitates a house sale.”

SDA’s ‘Move or Improve’ information pack contains live Architect in the House case studies and client housing projects which involve rear extensions, basement and loft conversions or extensions, internal remodelling, interior design and refitting, efficient storage designs, room gardens, and new build homes. It also highlights ‘SMART’ homes which are becoming an increasingly attractive option for homeowners as a way of updating homes to align with 21st century electronic and Wi-Fi technologies. The booklet also gives practical tips on reducing a home’s carbon footprint and on decreasing household bills.

As a preamble to the 2009 initiative, SDA have been asked by RIBA and Shelter to prepare a report on their recent experiences in order to examine the effectiveness of the AITH initiative and identify ways in which it can become even more useful, providing greater and more focused opportunities for home owners to access some free professional advice from RIBA chartered architects and also raise much needed additional funding for Shelter.

Adam Sampson, Chief Executive of Shelter said: “Shelter is very grateful to SDA for raising the most money for Shelter as a single practice. We also extend our thanks to all RIBA members who give up their time for the home consultations. We do appreciate that it is often more than just the free hour that is given to homeowners. The architects need travelling time, meeting preparation time and post consultation follow up time. Many of us take pleasure in improving our homes, but sadly one in seven children in Britain are growing up homeless or badly housed, with devastating effects on their health, education and future chances. Architect in the House is a great way for homeowners to get some expert advice on making the most of their property, while helping thousands in desperate housing need.”

Sunand Prasad, President of the RIBA, said: “We often know our homes need changes but how to start and what will it cost? It can be daunting to take the plunge and many of us simply never get around to it. This scheme is a great way to speak to a professional about design potential, adding value and discover what works best. And thanks to the architects generously giving up their time, Architect in the House is a great way for the profession to raise money to help people struggling to find a place to live. We are appealing again to both the public and to our architects across the UK to become involved again this year in this valuable initiative which benefits home owners, architects and Shelter alike. Architects offering their design services are chartered members of the RIBA and have extensive skills and expertise with home improvements and extensions and many have won some very prestigious awards for their designs of private homes. This is a wonderful opportunity for anyone thinking about design changes to meet with a local architect for some valuable, no-strings advice and, in the process, helping to improve someone else’s housing situation through the work of Shelter.”

Homeowners wishing to sign up to the scheme with SDA can visit www.sda-net.com if you are based in London, or telephone 020 7490 0665.


Notes to editors:

1. Stephen Donald Architects is based at 45 Mitchell Street, London, EC1V 3QD, Telephone 020 7490 0665. Email sda@sda-net.com, www.sda-net.com.

2. For media enquiries, images or case studies of SDA’s domestic home projects, a copy of SDA’s ‘Move or Improve’ information pack, or an interview, please contact Carri Crook, Carisma Communications on 01842 815910 or email carri@carismacommunications.co.uk.

  1. For further information on the RIBA, please contact Mina Vadon on 020 7307 3761 or email mina.vadon@inst.riba.org.

  1. For further press information on Architect in the House or the charity Shelter, please contact Rachael Orr on 020 7505 2162 or email rachael_orr@shelter.org.uk. Architects can register to take part at www.riba.org/archweek

5. One in seven -1.6 million children overall - in Britain are either homeless, living in temporary accommodation or living in housing which is either unfit for habitation or is overcrowded (Shelter estimate based on official statistics of children living in overcrowded, temporary or unfit housing across England, Scotland and Wales).

One Response to “Stephen Donald Architects Rank UK’s Top Practice Fundraiser for Charity”

  1. Eryn says:

    This looks very interesting congratulations SDA

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