A stunning transformation of listed barns near Wellington, Somerset, has seen the design team from Greenslade Taylor Hunt’s Land and Planning  Department win a top prize at the South West Building Excellence Awards 2016.

The Local Authority Building Control (LABC) Building Excellence  Awards celebrate all that’s good in the construction industry. The winners were announced at a ceremony at the Holiday Inn, Plymouth.

The barns at Hornshay Farm, Nynehead, near Wellington, were in a poor state of repair – almost to the point of being lost altogether – but now have a new lease of life.

The project has been completed in such a way as to retain the  original bucolic appearance of the farmstead which sits well in the  existing rural environment. A total of seven homes including a holiday let/annexe have been created. One was sold “off plan” before the project  was completed.

The project has been carried out by Venture Property and Development Company, which has a great deal of experience in barn conversion work  throughout the South West and is used to working closely with local authority building control departments in order to ensure it complies with all the necessary regulations.

Gordon Stead, managing director of Venture Property and Development Company, said: “We were delighted to get the recognition. It was a happy and successful team project.”

Experienced architect Nick Ratcliff RIBA, who is based at Greenslade Taylor Hunt’s Chard office, was the lead designer for the project. He and his team won the best change of use of an existing building or conversion category.

He said: “We were very pleased with the result. This was a collaborative approach between GTH, Venture Property and Development Company Ltd, Sands Consulting Engineers and Taunton Deane Building Control working together to bring these buildings back into use.”

Before work started an extensive ecological survey was undertaken to establish the existence of bats and nesting birds. This revealed five different types of Bat using the barns together with nesting barn Swallows – as a result a Bat Mitigation licence was required.

This placed onerous conditions with regard to programming the work so as not to disturb roosting bats. A qualified ecologist also had to be on site to monitor and deal with any bats or wildlife encountered as the work progressed. To minimise disruption to the bats prior to work starting detailed mitigation measures were put in place. The roof area of an off-site building was adapted for roosts to suit the specific needs of the bats along with various types of bat lighting work.

In order to accommodate nesting barn swallows work was programmed out of the nesting season to make ready alternative accommodation for returning swallows by constructing open fronted fully roofed garages on  another site adjacent to the barns.