How busy are we here at Clive Elsdon Building Design?

We have been so busy that we have neglected our website followers and even our social media!

You may have noticed that we have not been adding much in the way of news recently from Clive Elsdon Building Design and even our social media posts on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ have been fewer and further between than usual.

This is not because we have disappeared off the face of the earth, far from it, we have actually been busier than ever before in our short but exciting two year history! With more private clients contacting us directly and more Architects sub-contracting work our way it feels like we have been working night, day and weekends just to keep up with the demand, leaving little time for using Social Media to promote our many services!

What has Clive Elsdon Building Design been working on over the last two months?

As usual we have had a number of domestic extensions on going at various states of completion, from sketch schemes through stages such as Planning & Building Regulations etc.  We have also worked on a number of School Projects for a Newcastle Based Architect who is a regular repeat Client.  In fact, a Phase 2 extension to one of these schools is the drawing open in AutoCAD now!  We have also just completed a weeks worth of work for another Architect, bringing some sketch scheme drawings for a large development in a major North East town to a stage that they can be used for a Planning Application.

What has improved at Clive Elsdon Building Design?

As many of you will know, we like to keep our software up to date, and always aim to run the latest version of AutoCAD.  When the upgrade came through for AutoCAD LT 2014 release, we found that it would not run on our existing computer!  This was something that took a little while to resolve, but in June we eventually (it’s a long story) took delivery of a new more powerful computer capable of running the new version with ease! This was rapidly installed and we now benefit from the improvements in the AutoCAD software as well as a massive improvement in the speed (32GB RAM instead of 4) and storage capacity (Now 1TB) of our computer.  The increased speed and usability of the computer has had a significant positive impact on productivity, just at a time we needed it the most!

Planning for the Future and BiM!

The upgrade of the computer and to AutoCAD LT 2014 may not be the last improvement we see this year either. A little while ago we announced that we were looking into Revit LT, the Autodesk Building Information Management software. That upgrade is still part of our plan for 2013 / 14.

A little Humour to End On…

As an Architectural Design Practice rather than an “Architects Practice” we often find ourselves explaining what the difference is, or trying to anyway.  That said, we often cover much of the same ground as that covered by Architect, and indeed work for a number of them on a regular basis.  That meant that when we saw this video we could relate to much of what was said in it.  Please enjoy this video, “I Am an Architect” which was loaded onto YouTube by  YKK AP America Inc.  (YKKAPvideo).

The Lego House by Clive Elsdon Building Design

As a child I loved my LEGO!

There was hardly anywhere my LEGO didn’t go with me, including many caravan holidays! One of those holidays ended in disaster just outside Gretna Green as my dad towed the caravan back from Scotland! A massive gust of wind overturned our beloved Sprite Alpine, suspending our three speed Ford Consul from its draw-bar, with my Grandma and a young me on the back seat! The rear wheels of the car weren’t even touching the ground! The vision of the caravan on its side through the curved back window of the car is imprinted on my memory, as is the sight of a big crane driver and other people running out between the traffic to rescue my LEGO bricks off the tarmac! They had been inside a 1950’s bread bin in the caravan, and had somehow spilled out onto the road.

New Home Promise

In 1996 my mother used to relate a tail to anyone who visited her in her new home. She used to tell them that when I was about eight, living in a bungalow in Middlesbrough (having just relocated there from Durham) I was building a LEGO house and that I  turned to her and said that one day I’d build her a real house to retire to. At that time I had no inkling what career path I would take, in fact Train Driver or Cowboy was probably more on my mind than anything to do with Architecture!

In 1996 though, my mother knew that to some extent at least I had kept that childhood promise! I hadn’t actually built the house of course! We had a builder to do that, but I had designed it, applied for the planning permission and achieved building regulation approval. I had produced the drawings that the builder had had in his site cabin, the ones with the dimensions, notes and specifications which meant he knew what we wanted him to build. My mother had seen a sketch on a piece of paper become a detailed drawing and then take shape on site! She had seen a piece of empty land in Weardale, County Durham be transformed into her new home.

Childhood Revisited

Today, in the loft of that home is a 1950’s Bread Bin. It looks played with, it even has a little surface rust on it, but inside it is still full to the brim of the most wonderful educational toy in the whole world, LEGO! The toy that lead me to a career in architecture! Rummaging through the loft the other day, I came across the tin, brought it down and decided to build something with it. I also decided to make an animation, and yes, that animation which you can watch here features bricks rescued from the middle of a road after that caravan accident.

Perhaps another small irony is that the caravan was bought off the insurers by a builder and became a site cabin!

The Lego House Video

I hope you enjoy the video as much as I did making it, and as much as I enjoyed the childhood memories building something from LEGO brought back!

Autodesk Launch the “Light” version of their 3D BIM (Building Information Modelling) system – Revit LT

Autodesk Revit LT 2013

Autodesk Revit LT 2013 on trial at Clive Elsdon Building Design

We always like to keep up to date, where possible, with the latest CAD packages. Since inception we have had a subscription which ensures we are always operating the latest version of AutoCAD LT, currently 2013, though our subscription will also ensure we have 2014 as soon as it is available.

The cost of implementing a full blown 3D Building Information Modelling package such as AutoCAD Revit is prohibitive to a relatively small business like ourselves, indeed we recently made that very comment to AutoCAD & Revit’s developers, Autodesk themselves.  We are pleased to say that they obviously listened to our comment and others like us, as they have now launched Revit LT, a more reasonably priced version of their BIM package which will still contain many of the key features of Revit.

What is more, because of the fact that we are running the latest version of AutoCAD LT and have a current subscription, the cost of upgrading to this new package is greatly reduced, with little difference to the cost of the annual subscription as well!


In order to further assess Revit LT’s usefulness to us, and what improved level of service it can give to our clients, we have booked onto a seminar in Newcastle to find out more.

New Novice Class Cups for Durham Dry Stone Walling Competition provided by Clive Elsdon Building Design


Durham Dry Stone Walling Competition Novice Prize Cups

Durham Dry Stone Walling Competition – Novice Class Prize Cups

As part of the recently announced sponsorship deal for the Novice Class of the Durham Dry Stone Walling Competition, Clive Elsdon Building Design have provided First, Second & Third Place Cups for the winning competitors to keep. The cups were sourced from local company, Decor Trophys of Bishop Auckland.

The Competition which takes place at Beamish Museum on Saturday 22nd September 2012 is organised in association with Durham County Council Regeneration & Economic Development – Landscape & Ecology Department and the Durham Hedgerow Partnership. Visitors to Beamish Museum will be able to watch the competition on the day.

Clive himself, who came second in the Novice Class of last year’s competition and who recently achieved his Lantra Level 2 in Dry Stone Walling, has entered the Amateur Class this year.

The competition takes place during the museums Hands on Heritage Skills event. Clive and other dry stone wallers hope to be introducing members of the public to the art of dry stone walling on Sunday 23rd September, the day after the competition!