Conversion of a detached house in Hornchurch

Clients Deputy:

Irwin Mitchell Solicitors


ARA Architects (Specialist Disability Architects)


Family of 5 including a physically and mentally disabled daughter

Property as Acquired:

The existing property acquired was a detached 2 storey house with 3 first floor bedrooms originally built circa 1930. A single storey extension across the rear of the house had been added during the 1980’s which housed a kitchen and secondary reception room.   To the rear – the garden included a stepped patio area leading onto a lawn in which a swimming pool had been built in the 1990’s. A changing room annex had also been built towards the rear of the garden. The front garden was blocked paved allowing parking for several vehicles. Access to the front porch was via a stepped threshold.

Proposed Conversion:

ARA Architects’ design included to build a second storey on top of the existing single storey rear extension thus creating a fourth bedroom to the first floor. The roof would be hipped and tie into the existing pitched roof. A further single storey extension would then be built to the rear of the property thus doubling the footprint of the ground floor. This extension would have a flat roof finished with a membrane weathering.

Internally the first floor would be remodelled to include a family bathroom as well as the new master bedroom. The ground floor would be remodelled to ensure level access throughout from the front door to the rear bifold doors.  The Swimming pool would be removed and backfilled and a level access stone patio installed across the rear of the house. A ramp would give level access to the grassed area. The front entrance would be changed to level access threshold including adjustment to the block paved levels and introduction of new drainage.

Internally the ground floor would be remodelled to include a large bedroom opening onto the patio with assisted wet room en suite; a cares room with en suite and cooking facilities; sensory room; large level kitchen/diner and through lounge.

The house would be rewired to current electrical regulations with a partial new heating system, decorations and floor finishes throughout.

Contract Sum:


The Project:

John Ford Group was invited to be included in the traditional competitive estimating process.

During this time – as well as pricing the tender documentation – we produced a construction programme using AstaPowerproject software to understand the critical path (the shortest route through the programme). The sequence was interrogated in order to consider savings in time. As a consequence we were able to value engineer 4 weeks from the critical path and therefore bring the handover date forward by the same. This was critical to the success of the project as the family were living in rented accommodation which wasn’t fit for purpose.

John Ford Group was instructed as Principal Contractor via a JCT minor works programme.

Access to the rear of the property was tight for machinery but after discussions with the neighbour, we were allowed to remove fence panels in order that diggers could access the rear and commence demolition and foundation excavating.

The project was managed by a John Ford Group working foreman on a day-to-day basis with a visiting contracts manager one day per week.

Full site meetings were held monthly and updated progress reports issued including actual progress and forecast progress for the following period. Site reports also included critical schedules (RFI and CVIs) and updates on cost, quality and health and safety issues.

After general protection and temporary fencing works around the front garden, demolition and strip out works commenced on 1st September and the project continued through the winter months completing as agreed, 20 weeks later (which included an agreed two week extension of time due to additional foundation depth requirements and redesigns).

The project was handed over on time, within budget and with zero health and safety issues.


We were very pleased to receive the following testimonial from the architects:

John Ford Group Ltd undertook an extensive adaptation & extension to a detached property in Hornchurch for a severely disabled client and family.  John Ford Group Ltd completed the contract on time, within the contract sum and to a very high standard.  This is due, in our opinion, to their attention to detail, excellent site management and the willingness to work as part of a team with the client, ourselves and the quantity surveyors.

We would have no hesitation in recommending John Ford Group Ltd in regard to undertaking adaptation & extension works for disabled clients.

ARA Architects.