If you are thinking of having a commercial architecture design for your project, our team uses 3D rendering software to create Immersive Design visuals which almost make you feel as if you are in or around the space itself. This way you can visualise the proposal at the outset and ask for amendments, and these are easier for planning officers to view than 2D plans.

You can take advantage of technology by using our 3D rendering services to create virtual reality walk-throughs of your commercial development. This can save you money on expensive Light Surveys in the event of contention. Also, it will save money on materials and finishes because you will negate the experimenting process of trial and error by doing them virtually.

Incidentally, we can make unlimited revisions with our accurate 3D modelling software, until you are happy with the look of your conceptual renders which will bring your ideas to life and walk through the design to demonstrate the flow of movement in the new design. Having a good design will quickly add value to your business, making your investment cash flow positive in the shortest time.

A good example of our 3D rendering interior design visuals was a change of use application from retail use class A1 to a martial arts training gym which is use class Leisure D2 and an acupuncture clinic which is use class Sui Generis. It was quite a large space of 2,400 square feet so we also added a café area, reception and an office.

Our team created a layout design according to the hierarchy of importance for each function, which was reflected in the respective sizes. Also, the different interior finishes reflect the desired atmosphere for each space. For example, the training area has simple finishes and mirrors, the acupuncture clinic used frosted glass for seclusion, and the café used natural materials and subdued lighting to promote rest and relaxation.

We successfully gained planning approval for our client’s change of use application from Sutton Planning Department. This was largely due to our 3D Immersive Designs for him, but also to a detailed Transport Assessment Report as part of his pre-planning application stage which justified the choice of location for the facility. Located in Sutton, it has good transport links which allowing easy access and reducing the need for many parking spaces on site.

Changes of use such as converting an office to residential use. 

Because of the growing demand for residential properties for rental, many commercial premises are being converted to flats (so much so that for businesses seeking to move, office premises have become a little sparse). Therefore, some of our enquiries request help submitting a change of use planning application form for a change of use from B1 to C3. If the unit is for retail, we apply for A1 to C3 (or to Mixed Use: A1 and C3, if it is to retain the shop unit and convert to residential on the floors above). In some cases, the planning officers request an Economic Statement to explain how the application will impact the local economy, and this helps them to decide the case.

The process is easier if it can be done under Permitted Development, although we are equally proficient in preparing full planning applications. Do see some of our case studies to give you an idea of what can be achieved. (See also the table below for most of the use classes & definitions).

We create architectural drawings for a great layout design in your new flat(s), and we offer to submit the application on your behalf. Our designers then liaise with the planning officers during the process, with no extra charge from us. [We can also support you later at the pre-construction stage with Building Regulations Drawings, and at the build stage with Tender Packs and Contract Administration for your refit or conversion to residential use.]

 

Property Developers

Whether you are a ‘newbie’ or a seasoned developer, we can work together. For new developers, we can support their wish list with our informative and helpful services. For experienced developers, we can provide efficient services to free up much of their time to think of your next project and give you a better work/life balance. We also like to network with developers regarding new plots, which are very much sought-after in the capital. Therefore developers can always consider themselves invited to our offices for coffee, and a presentation of flagship projects.

Our designers can come up with bold, contemporary and tasteful schemes for you, or traditional styles which are sympathetic to the surroundings. Our planning consultants will recommend the best route to optimise your chances of approval. That could be the pre-planning application. route (this used to be called outline planning). Your proposal would most likely require a Design & Access Statement too, which we can commission externally. New builds will need to demonstrate via 3D animated renders the aesthetics and blending of the design. This can be done with our Immersive Design Package. Later we can provide your Building Regulations Drawings to satisfy Building Control, and for the construction phase, we recommend Tender Packs and Contract Administration to put you in the driving seat with the builders.

See our case studies for new schemes.

 

Refit or new business

We have recently provided branding and fit-out services for several restaurants. Do see some of our case studies. Again, we can support you with all stages, from your planning application for the new shop front or restaurant façade to our interior design service and the refit. Moreover, our graphics team can provide branding and corporate identity products to beautifully suit the new space we have created.

 

At Commercial Architecture we look at 7 aspects for each commercial application:

  1. social demographics adjacent to the proposed site
  2. the likely effect on economic factors the change of use will have
  3. how the change of use will benefit for the inhabitants of the immediate area.
  4. whether traffic will be affected
  5. how it will affect the surrounding area
  6. whether parking spaces will be adequate or impacted

We have a proven track record in successful change-of-use applications.
Get in touch so we can show you some examples.

 

Class: Definition:
A1 Shops, retail warehouses, hairdressers, undertakers, travel & ticket agencies, post offices, pet shops, sandwich bars, showrooms, domestic hire shops, dry cleaners, funeral directors, internet cafes
A2 Financial & professional services e.g. banks & building societies, professional services e.g. estate & employment agencies
A3 Restaurants, cafés for consumption of food on the premises, snack bars
A4 Drinking establishments e.g pubs, wine bars (not night clubs) including drinking establishments selling hot food
A5 Hot food takeaways – For the sale of hot food for consumption off the premises
B1 Business Offices (other than A2), research & development units, light industry appropriate for residential areas
B1 Vacant property If the premises had been vacant 30.05.13, its last use has to have been office use.
B2 General industrial – industrial processes other than B1 (excluding incineration, chemical treatment, landfill, hazardous waste)
B3 to B7 Special industrial
B8 Storage or distribution including open air storage
C1 Hotels, hostels, boarding houses, guest houses
C2 Residential institutions, care homes, hospitals, nursing homes, boarding schools, residential colleges, training centres
C2A Secure Residential Institutions e.g. prisons, young offenders institutions, detention centres, secure training centres, custody centres, short term holding centres, secure hospitals, secure local authority accommodation, military barracks
C3 (a-c) Residential dwellings:
(a) a single person, family, a couple (married or unmarried), a relative of a family with the family, domestic employees like au pair, nanny, nurse, governess, servant, chauffeur, gardener, secretary / PA; a patient & carer; a foster parent & foster child.(b): up to 6 people living as a single household and receiving care e.g. hostels for people with learning disabilities or mental health issues.(c) up to 6 people living together as a single household. This does not fall under C4 HMO. It could be a small religious community or a homeowner who has a lodger.
C4 Houses in multiple occupation, i.e. shared houses occupied by 3 and 6 unrelated individuals, who share a kitchen and bathroom.
D1 Non-residential institutions, e.g. Clinics, health centres, crèches, day nurseries, day centres, schools, art galleries, museums, libraries, halls, places of worship, church halls, law courts. Non-residential education and training centres.
D2 Assembly and leisure, e.g. Cinemas, music and concert halls, bingo and dance halls (not night clubs), swimming pools, ice rinks, gyms or outdoor recreational sports arenas / tracks (except motor sports, or firearms)
Sui generis Buildings that do not fall within any use class, e.g. betting offices/shops, payday loan shops, theatres, larger HMOs, hostels with not providing care, scrap yards, petrol filling stations or car. Retail warehouse clubs, nightclubs, launderettes, minicabs, amusement centres, casinos, buildings used for agricultural purposes
Mixed use E.g. Retail & residential, or retail & office
B1 Vacant property If the premises was vacant before 30.05.13, its last use has to have been office use.

 

Further information

Material changes of use

These include any change of use whose proposed use is residential or part-residential, e.g. converting commercial properties into homes such as an office above a shop which is to be developed as a flat. This is a conversion of a commercial property to residential, or part-residential.

 

Other examples for material change of use:

  • house to a flat conversion
  • flats to house conversion
  • convert shop to residential

If you would like further information on material change of use case law, see link.

Contact us at CA for a free consultation and quotation

If you wish to apply for a change of use of a premises, you may need planning permission from your Local Planning Authority. However, permission will not be needed if your existing and intended use fall within the same class or range of classes, see class list below. Also, certain changes of use are permitted without applying for permission, as also shown in brief in the second table below.

Class: Definition:
A1 Shops
A2 Financial and professional services
A3 Restaurants and cafés
A4 Drinking Establishments
A5 Hot Food Takeaways
B1 Business
B2 General industrial
B3 to B7 Special industrial
B8 Storage or distribution
C1 Hotels and hostels
C2 Residential institutions
C3 Residential dwellings
D1 Non-residential institutions
D2 Assembly and leisure
Sui generis The sui generis legal definition is buildings that do not fall within any particular use class

Please note the above list is not exhaustive and is intended as a guide.

You can call or email us to discuss your intended use. 

 

Sui generis: One sui generis example could be a theatre. In fact, there are several, as follows:

  • amusement arcade
  • casino
  • dry cleaning
  • hostel without significant care provision
  • HMO with occupation payable
  • launderette
  • nightclub
  • filling stations
  • car showroom
  • warehouse retail club e.g. cash & carry
  • scrap yard
  • private pre-booked taxi firm
  • theatres

 

Changes of Use

Examples under Permitted Development

From: To:
A1 A1 plus up to two flats above
A2 A2 plus up to two flats above
A2 (professional and financial services) when premises have a display window at ground level A1 (shop)
A3 (restaurants and cafes) A1 or A2
A4 (drinking establishments) A1, A2 or A3
A5 (hot food takeaways) A1, A2 or A3
B1 (business) (not more than 500 square metres of floor space) B8 (storage and distribution)
B2 (general industrial) B1 (business)
B2 (general industrial) (not more than 500 square metres of floor space) B8 (storage and distribution)
B8 (storage and distribution) (not more than 500 square metres of floor space) B1 (business)
C3 C4 HMOs
C4 C3
Sui generis – casino D2 – Leisure
Agricultural buildings under 500 square metres A1, A2, A3, B1, B8, C1 and D2 (subject to prior approval of certain aspects)
B1, C1, C2, C2A and D2 State-funded school (subject to prior approval of certain aspects)
B1(a) office use C3 residential use (subject to prior approval of certain aspects)
A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, B1, D1 and D2 A1, A2, A3 and B1 uses for a single period of up two years
B1 and B2 B8 Thresholds increased from 235 square metres to 500 square metres
B2 and B8 B1 Thresholds increased from 235 square metres to 500 square metres for permitted development
A1 and A2 small shop or provider of professional/financial services C3 residential use (subject to prior approval of certain aspects)
A1 shop Bank or a building society
Buildings used for agricultural purposes C3 residential use (subject to prior approval of certain aspects)
Offices (B1), hotels (C1), residential (C2 and C2A), non-residential institutions (D1), and leisure and assembly (D2) Nurseries providing childcare (subject to prior approval of certain aspects)
Buildings used for agricultural purposes State funded school or nursery providing childcare (subject to prior approval of certain aspects)

 

Please note the above list is intended as a guide. You can find more exhaustive information on the Planning Portal, or you can contact us to check if your proposed change of use falls under Permitted Development.

 

In addition to the above complex list of changes, do take note that Local Planning Authorities can remove Permitted Development rights under Article 4 if they wish to conserve aspects of the area surrounding your proposal. In those cases, you would be advised to make a full planning application for a change of use.

 

The reason we now have Permitted Development was to facilitate developing unused buildings, sustaining and regenerating brownfields and partly addressing the shortage of housing stock. PD in changes of use was intended to ease the process for business owners to meet local customer demand, e.g. changing use from A1 to A3, retail to restaurant.

For more information on how planning rules have been relaxed, see the link. 

 

Betting and loan shops are excluded from the retail class to give LPAs more control in allowing these to start up in their districts of governance.

 

See link: DCLG for more information about effective local government and planning.

 

What is a material change of use? These include any change of use whose proposed use is residential or part-residential, e.g. converting commercial properties into homes such as an office above a shop which is to be developed as a flat. This is a conversion of a commercial property to residential, or part-residential.

 

Other examples:

  • house to a flat conversion
  • flats to house conversion
  • convert shop to residential
    (less likely on the High Street, but more feasible from a corner shop)

 

You may wish to consult the material change-of-use case law if you are interested in residential changes of use.

 

 

At Commercial Architecture we look at 7 aspects:

  1. social demographics adjacent to the proposed site
  2. the likely effect on economic factors the change of use will have
  3. how the change of use will benefit for the inhabitants of the immediate area.
  4. whether traffic will be affected
  5. how it will affect the surrounding area
  6. whether parking spaces will be adequate or impacted

 

We have a proven track record in successful change-of-use applications. Get in touch so we can show you some examples.

Commercial Architecture were responsible for the interior fit out of the Park Inn Hotel in London.

As the hotel was close to Heathrow Airport, we wanted to ensure that the interiors created a sense of comfort and for the traveller to feel at ease, after a long journey.

Commercial Architecture were asked by the Phoenix Hotel Group (who had acquired and invested in the former Travelodge Hotel) to design the interiors of the hotel’s bedrooms.

Located in the vibrant London area attracting many affluent businesses types and travellers from the Far East, the client’s brief was to explore and exhibit Chinese culture and lifestyle into the bedroom spaces.

With this brief in mind, we created minimalist designs highlighting Chinese culture which would create an oasis for the guests.

Simplistic exhibition of Chinese patterns and colours with furniture finishes influenced by classic Eastern designs.

Korea’s leading brand in nail cosmetics, Lumi Garnet, appointed us to completely refresh their identity for their chain of salons in Korea. They have over 200 nail salons over the world and were interested in re-branding them by implementing a new theme in their stores and salons, for a bright and fresh identity.

1. The first option was derived from the aim to highlight the brand’s vibrant colours and the fluidity of the nail polish. The brief was to create design options which could be easily implemented in all their branches; and were easy to install, economically viable, sustainable and easily  maintained.

2. The second option was designed with a wavy flowing ceiling to imitate the dripping of nail varnish, again highlighting the fluid product.

The stripy ceiling was designed to consider three functional requirements: to reduce glare from the overhead lighting; to be discreet enough to disguise the structural columns; and (due to the floor being made of resin, a sound reflecting material) creating a balance with the ceiling shape.

The interior is comprised of 3 separate areas – public, semi-public and private – with varying seating arrangements so that customers can choose the environment best suited to their mood. The colourful LED lights were representative of the vibrant nail polish colours and also functioned as a system to direct and navigate the customer through the main spaces.

After having worked with Lumi Garnet, the clients were happy for us to expand our boundaries to work with their main brand OPI. The below image is an option showing a gallery space for the nail polish brand, and in addition, Commercial Architecture were also appointed to redesign the manicure bottles that would accompany the new envisioned interior concepts.

3D Visualisation of OPI’s nail polish gallery space.