Choosing the Right Architect in Newcastle

Choosing the right architect for your project is an important decision that can affect the success of your project. To make sure you find someone who meets both your needs and budget, it’s important to consider certain criteria when selecting a professional. Here are some key questions to ask potential hires, along with tips on how to make sure you’re making the right choice.

Understand Your Needs.

Before you even begin interviewing potential architects, it’s important to understand your project goals and needs. Consider the size, complexity and timeline of your project, as well as the type of design you desire. Knowing these details will help ensure that you find an architect who can meet your specific requirements and deliver a satisfactory result.

Research Architectural Firms and Specialty Areas.

Once you have an idea of your project’s needs, it’s time to start looking into architectural firms and their areas of specialty. Research a firm’s expertise, past projects, and client testimonials. Make sure to ask questions about the types of projects they have worked on and if their design style fits your vision. Additionally, don’t forget to inquire about their availability and timeline expectations – this is key if you are on a tight schedule!

Make Sure Potential Architects Have Proper Credentials & Licensing.

Before you hire an architect, it’s important to make sure they have the proper professional credentials and are licensed in your state. The license should be up-to-date and there should be no record of any disciplinary action or investigation of the firm or its members. It is also wise to check customer reviews on independent review sites to get a better idea of an architectural firm’s reputation and quality of service.

Check the Firm’s References & Portfolio of Work.

Before you make your final decision, it is critical to research the firm’s portfolio of projects and references. This will provide you with an overview of the type of work they have completed in the past and will give you an understanding of their style and capabilities. Once you have settled on a few potential firms, ask them for client references so that you can speak directly to those who have worked with them in the past. This will allow you to verify their services and get a better feel for how well they handle projects.

Get an Estimate for Services & a Timeline for Completion.

Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential architects, the next step is to request an estimate for the services they will provide. Make sure to get a detailed outline of the scope of work that will need to be completed for the project, including all required permits and any additional consultation services that may be required. Requesting cost estimates from multiple architects can help ensure that you are getting the best value for your money. Additionally, ask each architect for a timeline outlining when various phases of the project are expected to be completed. This will help you get a sense of when milestones should be met throughout the course of the project.

Speak to Acre Design today.

We’d love to talk you through our recent projects and tell you all about how we operate as an architectural design company based in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Timber Fram Extensions

If you’re looking for quality timber frame extension builders near you in Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland or North Tyneside, it’s important to do your research. There are many factors to consider when selecting the right contractor for the job, so here are five expert tips to help you make an informed decision.

Timber Frames

Research Your Prospective Providers.

Start your search by researching local timber frame extension builders to make sure they have the required qualifications and experience for the job. See if any of your family or friends have used a builder before and ask them for their recommendation. Read reviews from previous customers and take time to check out the portfolios of prospective providers in order to get a sense of their services and quality of work. You can also check with a relevant trade association such as The Federation of Master Builders or The National Federation of Builders to ensure that any builder you choose has the proper credentials.

Take a Look at Their Portfolio of Work.

Get an understanding of the types of projects they’ve undertaken in the past and take time to review their portfolio of work. Make sure to look for attention to detail, high quality materials, and visual consistency throughout their projects. Ensure that the builder has demonstrated experience in building timber frame extensions on a similar scale as your project and ask them about any relevant certifications or qualifications. This will help you determine whether the builder can be relied upon for quality workmanship when it comes to your own extension.

Inquire About Their Quality Assurance Processes.

Ask the builder about their practices to ensure the best possible outcome for your timber frame extension. Quality builders will have strict protocols for quality assurance, including quality control inspections during every stage of construction to make sure that everything is functioning and built correctly. The builder should also be able to provide evidence and documentation of any work that has been undertaken, as well as a warranty on their workmanship as part of an overall quality control plan.

Building a Timber Frame Extension

Read the Fine Print in Any Quotations You Receive.

Carefully go through any written quotation you receive from timber frame extension builders and read the fine print. Some quotes may not include certain items that are typically present in such a project (e.g. labour costs). Make sure to clarify anything that is missing or seemingly inaccurate so that you don’t end up spending more money than expected. Moreover, ensure that all of the building materials used are of a high quality and always ask for reviews or references if necessary.

Ensure All Employees Have Up-To-Date Trade Qualifications and Insurance Coverage.

It’s imperative that the timber frame extension builders you employ have up-to-date trade qualifications and appropriate insurance in order to guarantee the longevity of your project. Ensure that all employees have the required qualifications to carry out tasks on the build and check whether they are an accredited builder to further enhance the quality of their work. Additionally, make sure that a liability policy is in place so that you have financial protection should anything go wrong during or after construction.

Ask our Team of Experts for Professional, Honest Advice.

At Acre Design Newcastle, we have worked with a number of builders over the years. We would be delighted to advice you on finding the right timber frame extension builder in Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside and throughout the North East of England. Book and Ask the Expert Call today to talk to us!

Office Manager of Leading Newcastle Architectural Designer – Acre Design



We thought it was about time we introduced you to our team properly! It’s really important to us that we create a trusting and open relationship with our clients, especially in a time where face-to-face meetings are unsafe. We’d like to tell you more about us with a series of interviews.

To kick it off, we’d like to introduce Laura, our office manager and amazingly organised heart of our team. There is nothing Laura doesn’t know about planning permission, building control, managing a team of creatives… the list could go on. Having worked with Alistair since he the very beginning of Acre Design’s journey, Laura has helped complete over 500 home extension, loft conversion and self build projects across the North East. I asked Laura a few questions…

What is your role within the team at Acre Design?

I am the Office Manager at Acre Design, the first point of contact for any client, contractor or planning / building inspector.  I’m always here to answer any questions and arrange telephone calls or meetings with the Design Team where required.

What do you think our clients would say about you?

I would hope clients see me as a helpful and a friendly voice on the other end of the phone to help with any questions and queries that they may have.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I am very much a people person.  I love conversation (sometimes a little too much).  This is usually with clients about their projects, hobbies or even the weather… I thrive on chat.

You’re such a happy, positive person. What really makes you smile at work?

Seeing clients dream homes being created by The Design Team is amazing.  It is like living in a Grand Designs programme every week day.  What more could you ask for?

What are the biggest challenges your role brings?

Being the first point of contact I remember a lot of names, a lot of addresses and the projects in general.  Acre Design has grown so much since I began working here in 2016 that it is slowly becoming impossible to remember everything.  Our computer systems provide a great resource in looking up each individual project and very quickly jog my memory.

What is your biggest strength?

I believe my biggest strength to be organisation.  I have always been one to keep lists, spreadsheets, dates and times.

Working from home can be a challenge, how have you maintained a work-life balance?

Working from home has been a lot more effective in my opinion.  It is so much easier to concentrate and get jobs done when there are no distractions.  Microsoft Teams has been a major help in keeping the team together and allowing discussions to keep everyone in the loop about all that is going on within The Design Team. I have been lucky that my working life can also revolve around my family life, I can do the school run for my children and still get all of my work done and be really productive. Doing the school run actually really helps me start the day cheerful and calm and finish it focused on my family.

You have a young family; how do you manage this alongside working at Acre Design?

My husband and two children are amazing.  Weekends are family time and this is very much a time we all make the most of.  We have 2 Labradors that love to be anywhere they can find water.  This becomes  challenge finding bigger and better places for walks.

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We hope that you find this information helpful, at Acre Design, Newcastle, we are passionate about all things sustainable and innovative. We would love to discuss your project with you in detail.

Take a look at our recent projects for further inspiration! Get in touch to arrange a free, no obligation consultation at your home

Family-friendly interiors: 5 tips for creating a broken-plan living space



More time at home with the family has become the norm for 2020. And while you’re sure to have loved the extra quality time together, it can be stressful when you don’t have designated areas laid out for work and play. Here, Nick Acaster from Rugs Direct discusses how to create a broken-plan living space that’s friendly for all of the family.


Open plan living spaces have been a popular home design for years now. By knocking down walls and maximising the space available to you, it creates a multi-functional area for the whole family. But with the pandemic meaning we’ve all had to spend more time working in and relaxing at home, you may be feeling like the areas in your open plan living area need defining better. And, a broken plan design may just be your answer.

Whether you’re wanting to separate your work office from the lounge, or your dining space from the kids play area, there are plenty of ways you can do this — and best of all, it doesn’t have to cost tonnes! Here, I’ll be outlining some of my favourite ways to create a broken-plan living space that’s family-friendly and stylish.

Consider adding partition walls and features

If you’re looking to make home improvements that will add value to your home, consider adding some partition walls to your open-plan living space. For this, I’d suggest hiring a reliable architectural designer, such as Acre Design, as they’ll be able to analyse the best way of creating a transitional broken-plan space.
This doesn’t have to completely section everything off, but for example, having a fireplace wall that divides your cooking and dining space from the lounge is sure to make it feel like two separate zones without compromising on all of the lovely space you have available to you.
If getting a new partition wall built isn’t within your budget, you can take a traditional approach and implement screens that can separate the space. This is particularly popular in Japanese cultures, as well as Scandinavian interior design styles, so why not give a bamboo screen a go? It can be easily removed if you decide you want to open the space back up in the future.

Divide with soft furnishings

If you still want to make the most of the beautiful open-plan space you chose for your home, you don’t have to add something as drastic as partition walls or large pieces of furniture. Instead, you can use soft furnishings like rugs or carpet to define the different zones within the open-plan space.
For example, you could look at getting the lounge half of the floor carpeted to distinguish it from the tiled kitchen flooring. For a cheaper option, you could make use of area rugs. These will help you to define where the office, lounge, and kids play area is and separate it from other functional areas such as the kitchen. There are so many different types of rugs you can choose from, so there’s sure to be one that fits in with your interior style. Plus, as they’re much cheaper to switch around than carpeted flooring, you can add a new look to your space at any time.

Define the zones with storage solutions

If you’re transforming your open-plan living space to a broken-plan one, you’ll no doubt want to ensure any changes you make add to the functionality of your home. Implementing storage solutions means you’ll have separate zones, which all have their very own purpose and special features to match. For example, if you’re trying to break up the study and the kids play area, adding a large fitted bookshelf in your study will give you a space to store all of your books and folders, while still being in close proximity to the children while they play.
Similarly, you could break up the lounge and kitchen areas by having ottomans on the outskirts of the TV area. These will ensure you can store magazines and remotes away tidily after a busy day, so the mess doesn’t creep over into the dining area.

Make sure the changes appeal to the whole family

When you make changes to the open, communal space, you’ll need to make sure that any decisions you make will benefit and appeal to the whole family. For example, if your teenager gets distracted by the TV when doing their homework in the study, having a partition between them is sure to keep them focussed on the task ahead, and they’ll be grateful for getting through it quicker.  Similarly, if you’re considering adding a partition wall between the lounge and cooking space, you don’t need to compromise on functionality and features. You could look at embedding a TV in both sides of the partition so you can enjoy watching your favourite shows no matter where in the living space you are.

Maintain your interior style

You’ll need to bear your interior style in mind when making any changes to your open-plan living space. For example, if you’re going to be adding a bookshelf to mimic a partition wall, make sure it fits in with your current design whether that’s natural wood or something that’s painted to match your colour scheme. If you can’t find the perfect shade to suit, you could even try your hand at some DIY and paint it yourself to make a piece that’s unique to your home.

If you’re thinking of adding a rug to break up the space, consider whether plain or patterned designs will fit in with your décor better. Alternatively, if your living room design is quite modern and clean, you might want to stick to a neutral style carpet, but if you have more eclectic interiors, a traditional mosaic-style rug will complement it nicely. For a super cosy and warm vibe in your home, you might also want to consider carpet pile and opt for something more shaggy or furry that’ll be warm underfoot.

Define the zones in your open-plan living space to upgrade your interiors and give the whole family an area to enjoy. By taking my five tips on board, you’ll soon be on your way to designing a broken-plan living area that is the envy of all your guests.

We hope that you find this information helpful, at Acre Design Newcastle we are passionate about all things sustainable and innovative. We would love to discuss your project with you in detail.

Take a look at our recent projects for further inspiration! Get in touch to arrange a free, no obligation consultation at your home

Project Location : Birtley, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear

Project Description: Rear and Side Extension

Lead Architect: Robbie Evans

Planning permission approved in Birtley, Gateshead. Before Photo.


Planning permission approved in Birtley, Gateshead. After Photo.


We are delighted that Planning Permission has been granted on this large rear and side extension to this detached property in Birtley.

The original layout of the property has small individual rooms, which don’t suit the modern-day, open plan living that many of us dream of. Our beautifully designed, modern rear extension (architect Robbie Evans lead the design team on this project) will create a large kitchen and dining space with an existing backroom turned into a cosy snug room with log burner. To the side of the property, an existing side passage between the house and the detached garage is to become enclosed to create a large utility space with glazing that enables you to see through the property.

Planning permission approved in Birtley, Gateshead. Second Before Photo.


Planning permission approved in Birtley, Gateshead. Second After Photo.


The extension is designed to create a modern, ergonomic living experience paired with a contemporary exterior finish. Rendered in white with simple details, clean lines and dark grey framed aluminium windows and doors, this extension will create a minimalist and monochromatic feel.

This new extension will improve the way the clients live and socialise; both as a family and with friends… creating a home for life.
Original Floor Plan for Britley Home Conversion

Original Floor Plan

Final Floor Plan for Birtley Home Extension

Final Floor Plan

Needs and Options Review

Birtley Ground Floor Original Plan

Original Floor Plan

Birtley Proposal 1
Birtley Proposal 2
Birtley Proposal 3
Birtley Proposal 4
Birtley Proposal 5
Birtley Proposal 6


Proposed Floor Plans

For this project we initially came up with a number of alternative layouts for this house extension. Please use the slider to see the various options we explored. When developing these design options, we consider: the budget, the relevant planning constraints, the client’s taste, the priorities for the space and how the client wishes to use their new space. It is then in the hands of our clients to decide which option they would like to run with together. We can then get into the finer details and develop the design to ensure it is absolutely perfect for our client.


We always start any project by exploring different design and layout options so that our clients can make an informed decision on their home extension design before beginning the build.

Could my home extension be finished in time for Christmas 2022


We have had a number of clients in Newcastle and the North East unsure about timescales for their build projects as contractors, designers and materials are becoming increasingly in demand. Let’s take a look at the situation in our area.

2021 has certainly been a strange time for wannabe home extenders. A number of factors have come together to form a bit of a perfect storm. In this blog post, I (Alistair Crerar, MD here at Acre Design) wanted to give my thoughts on the situation, having spoken to hundreds of  stakeholders in the industry in 2021 (and over the last 8 years of running Acre Design). Every day I speak to builders, agents, clients & planners about the residential extension sector, this small part of the construction industry that Acre Design works within, and loves with all its heart – if a small architectural practice can have a heart (I think it can). 

 Many people have been able to save money during the past two years where usual spending behaviours (holidays, going out…) have been restricted.  This, coupled with massive changes in working patterns (working from home becoming commonplace) led many to think about extending their home. At Acre Design, we saw an incredible demand peak early in the year. This made sense, a lot of people spent ALL of their time within the four walls of their home (the one exception was that one hour exercise window in lockdown one). Of course we started to look to see what we can do to improve our lives at home, or at the very least, adapt things to make things a little more comfortable and organised.  

With this extra cash in the bank and being locked away 23 hours of the day, a rise in house prices also really started kicking in at the start of the year as people sought greener pastures. Estate agents we spoke with told us that in North Tyneside and areas of Newcastle, houses have gone for £80k over the vendors’ asking prices! This isn’t on mansions either, these are pretty standard houses, which happen to be in truly lovely parts of our beautiful North East of England. House price inflation has certainly ramped up over the last 12 months, meaning that by re-mortgaging, more equity could be released should funding be needed for extending. And if credit isn’t required, it makes extending much more viable, as our future clients wouldn’t be breaking the ceiling price anymore.  

One other unquantifiable with limited data is the feeling that there is a bit of a migration North, possibly due to high prices down South, and the ability to work from home. It looks as though many people are cashing in their chips, selling their properties in London and the South and buying up large, period homes in the North East – Northumberland and North Tyneside in particular.  At Acre Design,  we have had half a dozen clients who have done that this year. Can we blame them? It’s a glorious place to live!

Things have died down a little since the end of the Summer, when the kids went back to school, and people tentatively started heading back to the office. However, in many cases, this return isn’t as permanent or full time as it once was, and with more time spent at home, the little bug bears about lack of space, storage, number of toilets, washing machine rumbles in zoom meeting backgrounds continues to grow and demand remains consistently high.  

We are now in October, and people are getting in touch, hoping to find a builder for a spring start. I am afraid that even in normal times that is just not realistic. We monitor closely each of our clients’ projects and the average design process takes eight weeks. There are big decisions to make, and clients need to make the right decisions as they will be the ones living with them when works are complete. With a hard working team and regular weekly meetings with clients, we can move quickly at each stage of the design process, but we will usually need to wait whilst clients mull over their options.  

For clients who go ahead today with Acre Design, we can forecast that in eight weeks  (December now… yikes!) there will be a detailed set of technical & construction drawings ready to go to a contractor with. These plans really are the minimum the contractor will need to be able to submit the quotes back to Acre Design or directly to the client dependant on the level of services a client has opted to use us for.  

Last week I spoke with Neil at Modern Living Projects  and also James Dickinson from JWD and they both agreed with me about the demand peaks at the moment, and that their order books will be full until September and late August respectively. That doesn’t leave much availability to get a build project complete in time to celebrate Christmas in 2022. 

These time frames are from two large, local contractors, but this is synonymous with what I’ve heard from others in the industry. There will be availability left for next Summer, but I think Spring is now out of the question. If you are thinking of extending and you’d like to try and find a gap in a diary for next year, the best bet is to start the design phase now, and be at peace with an early 2023 start on site, because if you can’t have Christmas in your extension, you certainly will be able to look forward to relaxing and enjoying your brand new extended dream home, whatever gets thrown at us over the coming years! 

As part of our mission to keep our customers updated with industry developments, we will continue to monitor the situation. For more information on extending your home or to find out how we can help design your next residential building development, get in touch with us at Acre Design on 0191 680 8088 or e-mail Our friendly, experienced staff are waiting to take your call.

We hope that you find this information helpful, at Acre Design Newcastle we are passionate about all things sustainable and innovative.
Take a look at our recent projects for further inspiration! Get in touch to arrange a free feasibility discussion with Alistair. 

Information on Planning Permission Impact from Leading Newcastle Architectural Design Firm

17 Aug COVID -19 and the planning process in England – should we expect delays

Most industries have had to make changes to their processes and the way they work due to the Covid-19 pandemic. I write this information from my own home; which seems to have become the new norm for a number of workers in Britain. A number of clients have been unsure of the impact of the pandemic on planning applications and the planning process in England and the North East, so we have put together a brief bit of information which will hopefully offer some reassurance to those wanting to undertake a home extension, renovation or self-build project.

Former Chief Planner, Steve Quartermain, summarised the situation well, stating that we need to be ‘practical’, ‘pragmatic’ and ‘plan for recovery’. This seems to be exactly the line taken by our local councils (Northumberland, Newcastle, Gateshead, North Tyneside and South Tyneside). At Acre Design, we have found that applications are moving forwards at a steady and, on the whole, ‘normal’ pace.

Planners working at our local Councils seem to be keeping up with applications and communications and like many businesses, working from home seems to be suiting their process well. All local councils have been responsive and helpful, which has been reassuring and has enabled us to maintain usual timescales on most of our projects. Some local authorities have taken a little longer to respond than others, however it hasn’t been too problematic for our clients. We have seen a very pragmatic response to the extension of applications due to lapse where this has been necessary.

Understandably, the public can no longer visit a Council office/library or send comments by letter and Acre Design cannot submit hard copy applications at this time. However, this is not our usual process, our preference has always been for a speedier, electronic application.

In addition, temporary legislation has been introduced to assist businesses during the recovery period, for example, by granting temporary permitted development rights for a range of developments that would normally require planning permission. Further guidance on these and other measures introduced to make it easier to operate the planning system at this time  is available on the Government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Planning update webpage here :

I hope this offers some reassurance on the impact of Covid-19 on Planning Applications in the UK. We have been delighted by the level of communication and support given by our local Councils during this unusually challenging time and expect no serious delays in coming applications.

As part of our mission to keep our customers updated with industry developments, we will continue to monitor the situation. For more information on the cost of building materials or to find out how we can help design your next residential building development, get in touch with us at Acre Design on 0191 680 8088 or e-mail Our friendly, experienced staff are waiting to take your call.

We hope that you find this information helpful, at Acre Design Newcastle we are passionate about all things sustainable and innovative.
Take a look at our recent projects for further inspiration! Get in touch to arrange a free feasibility discussion with Alistair. 

2021 Building Materials

The cost of building material in 2021

It is no secret that the cost of building materials has risen sharply over the past year. For companies working in the construction industry, sourcing materials at a competitive price has often been a challenge due to a lack of supply and steeply rising costs. All construction firms large and small have witnessed this impact. For residential and commercial customers requiring building work, there is no denying that the cost of materials has increased prices overall. While it is still possible to provide customers with value for money, unfortunately, higher material costs inevitably mean paying more — at least in the short term.

There are several reasons for this, most notably the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020/21. But other issues, such as the uncertainty and extra paperwork surrounding ‘Brexit’, leading to longer lead times for deliveries from the continent, have also had an impact. Similarly, issues surrounding the supply chain and a lack of lorry drivers have played a part. As has the so-called ‘pingdemic’ of workers self-isolating due to coronavirus. This ‘perfect storm’ of factors has resulted in a shortage of supply of materials and greater demand, which in turn has skyrocketed prices to levels we have not seen for decades.

In the UK, construction is one of the few industries that continued to fully operate throughout the coronavirus crisis. Demand for materials has therefore been consistently high throughout this entire period. And since approximately 60% of building materials are imported from the EU, this has created even greater challenges. Supply chains have been strained and uncertainty surrounding Brexit means suppliers have had their own challenges to deal with.

Timber, roofing tiles, bagged cement, and even steel are among the building materials that have seen significant price rises due to insufficient supply. The cost of timber, in particular, has increased considerably. Imported plywood, for example, is almost 30% more costly than it was at this time last year, according to data from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Industry experts predict that material prices will continue to be inflated in the latter part of 2021 and possibly into next 2022. As production increases, we may see prices eventually levelling out, especially if supply chain issues are resolved.

As part of our mission to keep our customers updated with industry developments, we will continue to monitor the situation. For more information on the cost of building materials or to find out how we can help design your next residential building development, get in touch with us at Acre Design on 0191 680 8088 or e-mail Our friendly, experienced staff are waiting to take your call.

We hope that you find this information helpful, at Acre Design Newcastle we are passionate about all things sustainable and innovative.
Take a look at our recent projects for further inspiration! Get in touch to arrange a free feasibility discussion with Alistair. 

Robie Evans

Senior Architect Joins the Team at Acre Design

Last week, we welcomed Robbie Evans, a Senior Architect based in Newcastle, to our team of creatives at Acre Design. Robbie is going to be an asset to our team and we can’t wait to share some of his projects with you – keep an eye on our Recent Projects page.

I asked Robbie a few questions to give you an insight into his values and background as an Architect…

What inspired you to become an Architect?

This is always a tough question as I’m not completely sure. I think subconsciously it was from my childhood. My neighbour was a builder and was constantly renovating and extending his house and I used to go over and help. As I got a bit older though, I decided that I was more interested in the design aspect, rather than the hands-on labour.

What are essential qualities that an Architect should have?

A good eye for detail, good communication skills, both verbally and visually. But most importantly be able to party. We work hard, but we play harder!

Where did you study and what were your highlights from your student years?

I completed my entire architectural education at Newcastle University. The highlight of this was being involved in a live build project as part of my Masters degree.

What have been the highlights of your career so far?

My biggest highlight would be the live build project in Kielder Forest. I was part of a team of 9 students that designed and then built a new bird hide on the edge of Bakethin Reservoir in Kielder.

What do you love most about your job?

The thing I love most about my job is the process of designing something tangible. Taking the client on a journey from an initial idea in their head and making it a reality for them.

What are your goals for the future?

My goals for the future are all about progression and making myself the best Architect I can be. There is always something new to learn and that is what makes the job so exciting.

Are you concerned about environmental and social sustainability in your work?

Absolutely. As an Architect we have a duty of care and need to think about the wider impact of our work. It is not all about providing beautiful architecture for the client.

Who inspires you?

Personally, I think the people around me (colleagues, friends, family) are the ones that inspire me most. They are the people that will always provide support and advice and push you to produce your best.

What are the most interesting recent developments in architecture?

I think the most important developments in architecture are to do with the improvements in materials and technology that enable us as designers to create beautiful designs that are sustainable. The regulations are becoming more stringent with a big change coming in 2025 to lead the construction industry in the UK to net zero carbon figures.

Tell us a bit about yourself… What are your hobbies and interests outside work?

Outside of work I enjoy cooking, eating and drinking as standard, but I also enjoy DIY. I plan to get into a little bit of property developing alongside Architecture in the next few years. I have also recently started making furniture as a little side hustle in my spare time.

Robbie Evans Designs

"Robbie(You can check out Robbie’s furniture and DIY on his awesome Instagram page here)

If you had just one piece of advice for an aspiring architect, what would it be?

Try it out first, and get some work experience. It is a highly rewarding job and a great career, but it is also a massive commitment. You are setting yourself up for 7 years more of education and learning at university to become qualified and you need to make sure it’s 100% what you want to do.

Thanks, Robbie!

We hope that you find this information helpful, at Acre Design Newcastle we are passionate about all things sustainable and innovative. We would love to discuss your project with you in detail.

Take a look at our recent projects for further inspiration! Get in touch to arrange a free feasibility discussion with Alistair. 

Useful Rainwater System Information

Some helpful rainwater system advice from Yeonman rainguard

We love working with other local businesses to help provide our clients with the best advice possible. Here, Yeoman Rainguard give us their tips on choosing the right rainwater system for your self-build, home extension or house renovation project…

Yeoman Rainguard‘s head office and warehouse is based in Leeds and they have been providing quality rainwater systems for over 30 years. They are happy to discuss any project in detail from initial concept for new developments to full surveys for existing projects or refurbishment.

Yeoman Rainguard

There’s an abundance of choice when it comes to selecting rainwater systems, with a wide variety of aesthetically pleasing products available for any building project. However, it’s important to consider the environmental hazards your project will be exposed to when deciding on the right system.

While aesthetics are important, selecting guttering and downpipes require a deeper consideration of the environment the system is going into. You’ll need to consider:

  • If your project is taking place in a heritage or conservation area – you may need to select a material that respects the original character of a property
  • Level of water flow – in areas that receive heavy rainfall, some materials will be better suited.
  • Snow load – again, when snow and ice are a factor your material selection will be affected.
  • Expected lifecycle – some materials offer a longer lifecycle and more lasting durability but may come at an increased cost.

Yeoman RainguardGuarding Against Weather

Protect your property from the ingress of water by selecting a durable rainwater system that guards against water damage and damp. Combining aesthetic value with durability is important – as even the best-looking system must also be able to handle heavy downpours.

A good system must also be able to retain its aesthetics when the sun comes out not discolouring or cracking when the temperature rises. One that can withstand a heavy snow load if required without becoming misshapen and which is also the right size to take the water flow from your roof.

Heritage and Durability Through Metal

All the above considered, a metal rainwater system is the only way to attain the right combination of hardwearing durability and aesthetic properties that can withstand the factors we’ve covered.

However, there are lots of different choices when it comes to metal guttering. How do you select the right one for your project? We’ve broken it down for you:


Aluminium guttering is supplied with either a smooth or textured finish adding a stylish touch. The range of gutter profiles, pipe shapes and sizes along with a choice of colours and ornate accessories such as ear bands, will help to tailor this product to the character of your dwelling.

A deep flow gutter is available to cope with high volumes of water flow from the roof, avoiding overflow and splashing.

The gutters will also be strong enough to accommodate heavy snow loads – through the addition of extra fixing brackets in areas of concern is recommended.

The addition of a joint clip fixing method on the gutters which doesn’t require mechanical fixings or welding joints will make it both quicker and easier to install. Aluminium offers a long service life of over 30 years and is fully recyclable.

Cast Iron

This classical rainwater system which has been popular since the 1700s is acceptable for use on listed and heritage buildings. A heavier material than aluminium, cast iron guttering offers the same durable properties with a 40-year or more life expectancy, however, a small amount of maintenance such as repainting can further extend this.

A range of traditional gutter profiles, and decorative ear bands along with the addition of stylish rainwater hoppers can certainly ensure that the feel of old and historical buildings is reflected.

Cast iron is fully recyclable and through the natural oxidisation process, it aids in the growth of green and planktonic life.

Yeoman RainguardCopper

These materials are chameleon-like, changing patina over time adding depth and colour to the rainwater system. They are a great choice for structures that are timber clad, oak framed or indeed garden houses whose exteriors also change colour as the wood ages, adding to their beauty.

The attractive patina caused by oxidisation also functions as an exceptional, natural defence against the elements, making them a good choice of material to be used on coastal properties where erosion by the salt in the atmosphere can be a concern.

Copper gutters & downpipes have proven durability having been used successfully for many generations offering an almost unlimited life service.

A natural truly sustainable and 100% recyclable material, copper also acts as an algaecide and fungicide helping to keep moss and lichen growth to a minimum, proving to be a maintenance-free system. It’s also a great choice for those wanting to harvest rainwater.

These rainwater systems are made from lightweight materials and do require a little more care to be taken when delivering and installing, with the use of gloves at all stages a necessity.

Yeoman RainguardAdvice from the experts

Still, confused over which system to select? We’d be happy to talk through your project’s requirements and discuss our recommendations. Get in contact with Yeoman Rainguard on 0113 279 5854,, or download a brochure from

Yeoman RainguardWe hope that you find this information helpful, at Acre Design Newcastle we are passionate about all things sustainable and innovative. We would love to discuss your project with you in detail.

Take a look at our recent projects for further inspiration! Get in touch to arrange a free feasibility discussion with Alistair.