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'Sea Gem' is a breathtaking, modern and stylistic beach house located on the sand dunes of Camber Sands, Sussex. Set in landscaped gardens with direct access onto the beach itself, this high-specification new build home is a contemporary exemplar. The project was commissioned to create an exclusive holiday rental and provides a full range of amenities including four bedrooms with en-suite facilities, sun decks, double garage, games room and roof terraces with sea views. The garden consists of mixed level decking, a barbeque pit and large area for seating and entertaining.
The build took place following the demolition of an existing bungalow and double garage. Whilst situated in a beautiful and relatively remote spot along the south coast, the very location of the site gave rise to a number of challenges. The sand base necessitated deep excavation and piling to nine metres to create robust foundations that would be unaffected by its movement; the dig itself needed to be three times wider than for a soil base to account for this movement and bespoke shuttering employed to prevent the sand from refilling the holes.
Access was another key concern. The site was located at the end of an occupied single track lane where access and space were extremely limited to the extent that storage, site accommodation and parking were simply not possible; it was only upon completion of the new double garage that a site office could be created.
The logistics of manoeuvring site traffic, machinery and deliveries essentially required a high degree of forward planning and consultation with the residents to ensure minimal disruption and restrictions on access. This was progressed through regular face to face, letter and e-mail communication to advise of schedules and co-ordinate the deliveries of large components such as cranes at a time suitable to all. The site itself unavoidably blocked in two properties but proactive co-ordination and daily liaison with the affected owners prevented this from becoming a problem.
A five week delay to the glass delivery was overcome by the construction of a temporary weatherproof screen which enabled the internal works to carry on unaffected. Inclement weather created unavoidable delays during the winter months with heavy snow and ice preventing the demolition phase and strong sea gales halting the use of cranes. Despite these restrictions, the re-phasing of works coupled with extended working hours over weekends and bank holidays, enabled the delivery team to bring progress back in line with the original programme.
The modern design specification included a number of sustainable installations such as Kemperol and zinc roofing, air source heat pumps, underfloor heating and a log burner. The impressive completion was featured in Homes & Gardens magazine and is marketed at www.seagemcamber.co.uk.
Camber Sands, East Sussex
Colin Toms & Partners