Case Studies

Mears & HUSK

The concept of HUSK is to redefine and redesign, re-use and revitalise. We want to take something of apparently little value and create something special, something else. Architecture with a social need.

Existing garages

  • Maintenance headache
  • Generate little revenue
  • Areas of anti social behaviour
  • Situated in established residential areas
  • Generally not used for cars
  • Usually storage
  • Surrounded by good service access

What’s the problem?

Majority of the sites are currently undevelopable using current available methods:

  • Close overlooking distances
  • Sub ground issues
  • Footprint size
  • Build cost
  • We have assessed all garage infill sites for one RP yielding only 15% for development using standard methods
  • Often the only other option is to knock the garages down creating a patch of no man’s land

What is HUSK?

  • A new way of thinking
  • The key to unlocking garage infill sites
  • Main contractor providing turn key package of design enabling works and off site construction of housing
  • A range of fully Homes England compliant house types meeting new NDSS requirements
  • Contemporary bungalows constructed off site


Majority of the sites are currently undevelopable using current available methods.

We use the existing garage structure:

  • Overcomes overlooking distances
  • Relaxation on right to light policy
  • Relaxing on overshadowing properties
  • Classed as a refurbishment
  • Avoids party wall complications
  • Existing slab designed for vehicular loads provides perfect base when tanked

Unit types and compliances

Our units have been designed by our HUSK design team to be:

  • Thermally efficient
  • Light and airy
  • Airtight - airtightness rating of 1.75
  • Tried and tested details
  • Designed to easily withstand the delivery process
  • Fully co-ordinated using BIM

Unit type Garage Area (m2) Beds / Ppl Lifetime homes NDSS space standards Doc. M Cat. 3
Antares 3 40 - 45 1B / 2P Yes    
Cygnus 4 48 - 55 2B / 3P Yes    
Capella 5 61 - 70 2B / 3P Yes Yes  
Dorado 4 48 - 55 1B / 2P Yes Yes Yes
Gemini 5 73 2B / 3P Yes   Yes


  • Over 55’s community
  • Suggested by planners
  • Greatly reduced overlooking distances
  • Secure shared court

Planning and support

  • One standard report for all sites (modular report)
  • Delegated powers - quick turnaround
  • Sustainable housing in an established residential area
  • Meets NPPF guidance
  • Innovative
  • Brownfield sites


  • Enabling works package fully preparing site and services for receiving the unit
  • Site specific measurements
  • Unit constructed off-site and delivered in 2 sections ready to install test and commission prior to occupation
  • Existing brickwork tied back to main unit structure
  • 10/12 Year Warranty (LABC / Premier)
  • All of our manufacturers are LABC / Premier type approved
  • Appearance of new build house / bungalow. Little evidence that it was a garage


What do the new residents say?

It’s hard to believe this was a former garage site - it doesn’t feel like a bungalow because of the high ceilings.

“My friend told me about these new bungalows but at first, I thought they were private homes - I couldn’t believe they were affordable housing. I know I have only lived here for a month but I feel it has already changed my life.”