4.14 Building Components

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Residential Design Guide - SPG3
Building components:
The selection of components and the way that they are put together is fundamental to the
character and appearance of development, and there must be understanding of form and
design in order to put the components together to build something which is beautiful.
Whilst there is an infinite number of combinations of external components of houses, i.e. the
relationships between walls, roofs, windows and doors, in size and proportion and the
choice of different details, eg cills, lintels, depth of reveals, eaves, verges, chimneys and
materials, there have over the years emerged general principles in detailing which give a
more acceptable and pleasing result than others. These have been found to function well
and weather well, and form part of the character of Worcester City.
When the roof overhangs the walls and windows and doors are recessed from the
face of the brickwork, they create shadows which give the building a solid and secure
Residential Design Guide - SPG3
Good brickwork detail can also help to give a building a more secure and solid appearance
by emphasising the openings in a walls, or the edge of a roof.
This shows a variety of different decorative treatments which can add to the visual interest
However, constraint and consistency must be exercised, otherwise the
building becomes over decorated, fussy and over dominant in the street
scene. There are many features which are available as pre-constructed kits, although
properly crafted features are preferable.
Residential Design Guide - SPG3
Examples of cills constructed
from standard special shape bricks
Single bullnose stretchers on flat
Single bullnose headers on flat
(or on edge)
Single cant on edge or
plinth headers on flat
Plinth stretchers
Cant or plinth on end
Residential Design Guide - SPG3
Types of Arch
Flat Arch
Cambered Arch
Semi-circular Arch
Segmental Arch
Residential Design Guide - SPG3
Very different effects can be created on brickwork by use of different bonds and joints, some
examples below:
Flush Pointing
Stretcher Bond
Recessed Pointing
Flemish Bond
Weathered Pointing
Header Bond
Worcester is predominantly a red brick area reflecting the nature of historically available
local clays, though nowadays a much wider range of bricks are available, both in colour and
texture. Whilst this might be seen as raising an issue, the appropriate material is that
which "fits in" with the character, appearance and setting of the site, which in many
cases will be an historical setting. There should not, however, be blind adherence to an
anachronism but rather a deliberate and considered reasoning for the choice of materials,
including walling, roofing and fittings (ie doors, windows, rainwater goods etc).
The selection of materials can also be used to create character (eg hand made tiles and
bricks, rustic finishes), and to reinforce the grouping of buildings with the same brick or tile.
Quality of materials is essential in setting the standard of development.
It is the policy of the Council that tropical hardwoods used as construction materials
should be obtained from sustainable, conserved and managed sources. In particular,
the use of Brazilian and West African Mahogany, Teak, Tamin, Lauan, Meranti, Utile, Iroko,
Afrormosia and Rosewood should be avoided wherever possible and substituted with
hardwoods known to be derived from managed tropical or temperate sources. Also the use
of construction materials and ancillary products, aerosol propellants etc containing
chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) should be avoided.
Residential Design Guide - SPG3
plain clay tiles
profiled grey steel roof
red brick
profiled white
steel wall
Henwick Road
Use can also be made of non-traditional materials, such as steel, glass and plastic, in
innovative designs even on sites which are located within very traditional areas. Below is a
scheme in steel cladding on a steel frame set in a street of brick, render and slate. The
important element is to maintain massing and scale in residential proportions.
Main Road elevation
Riverside elevation
Residential Design Guide - SPG3
Windows and doors
The above elevations illustrate the visual impact of window openings and different glazing
patterns within those openings. The choice of both these elements is infinite and can be
custom made or purchased from a standard range, thus enabling all situations to be
provided for.
The choice of proportion, i.e. vertical or horizontal emphasis, and detail, eg multi pane, side
opening, sash etc, completely changes the character and style of the building. Care must
be taken in the selection and most important to achieve a comfortable appearance in
consistency of proportion and detail. This is clearly shown in many historic buildings.
Attic storey
Second floor
First floor
Ground floor
Three storeys, five bays
Full dormer
Half dormer
Roof dormer
Scattered fenestration
Residential Design Guide - SPG3
There is also the use of windows to break up the plane of the wall by projecting from it,
although again care must be taken with the proportion of the projection. Such use can be
extremely effective on long terraces, particularly to emphasise the ends or focal centre point,
with either single storey or full -height bay and bow windows.
Southfield Street
Use of “wrong” design can be visually
disruptive: Original on the left and
bowed multi pane on the right.
All roofs should be pitched, for two reasons - (i) maximising efficiency of drainage, and (ii)
minimising need for maintenance. This has been the historic development within our
particular climate and has resulted in a wide range of roof shapes and combinations, leading
to a wealth of variety in our roofscapes. The diagrams over the page show a selection.
There is a wide range of roof coverings available, including clay tiles, concrete tiles, natural
slates, cement slates, sheet materials etc to create the desired finished effect. The differing
materials have different properties and may be best suited to certain situations, not least of
which is maintaining the character of the area the property is located in.
Residential Design Guide - SPG3
Sprocketed eaves
(plain tiles only)
Non right-angle
corner skews
Dropped eaves
L-plan unequal
ridge heights
duopitch with dormer
with lean-to
T- plan with
equal ridge heights
Eyebrow dormer
(plain tiles only)
T- plan with hips
Dutch Barn
(bonnet or truncated hip)
T-plan with unequal
ridge heights
Depending on their method of construction roofs offer the opportunity to provide
accommodation. This can be lit and ventilated by means of rooflights set in the plane of the
roof, which adds little to the street elevation, or via dormer windows which, if properly
designed, can add to the visual interest of the building. This roof element as an extension is
considered in section 5 below, but its use in the initial design must not be neglected.
Dormer windows must be subservient to the roof in both height and width,
and the use of felted flat roofed dormers is not encouraged. Below is a
selection of dormer windows and three settings relating to the roof eaves (o, p, q).
a. Gabled dormer, window above eaves
b. Eyebrow dormer at eaves
c. Gabled dormer window partly
below eaves
d. Dormer wholly in roof space
e. Gabled dormer with plain coping
Hipped dormer
g. Segmental pediment to dormer
Thatched hood to dormer
Sloping lead roof to dormer
(or Raking dormer)
k. Flat lead roof to dormer
h. Triangular pediment to dormer
Dutch gable to dormer
m. Barge boards to dormer gable
n. Sloping rooflight
o, p, q. Distinguish between
dormer windows below, above
and across the eaves line
Residential Design Guide - SPG3
Middle Street
Original dormers
with rhythm and
Middle Street
Later dormers with
different scales - wrong
scale for buildings
Another element of visual excitement is chimneys, which can also be used to alleviate bland
roofscapes. All burnt fuels require exhaust facilities for which chimneys can provide the
means and generally look more attractive than balanced flues.
Chimneys can also be used as a visual stop on the gable end of a building, for instance on a
corner plot. Possible chimney positions are shown below.
1. Projecting from gable
2. Projecting at first floor
from gable
3. Projecting from side wall
4. In gable wall
5. Within the house, passing
through the ridge
6. Within the house, avoiding
the ridge

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