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Ratcliffe's DIY SOS family home on Sheppey in line for architectural award

By John Nurden

Sheppey’s DIY SOS home for the Ratcliffe family has been shortlisted for a national design award.

Canterbury architects Clague took one look at the original three-bedroom bungalow at Brambledown and said it needed to be pulled down and replaced with a completely new building.

It was the first time in the history of Nick Knowles’ BBC programme a home had been rebuilt from scratch.

Watch it come down: DIY SOS presenter Nick Knowles amid the rubble of the original bungalow

The scheme has now been shortlisted in the residential category of the 2018 RICS South East awards. If it wins, it will go forward to the national finals in October.

Tim Wolfe-Murray, a partner at Clague, said: “A simple extension to the original bungalow was never going to provide a truly sustainable solution for the family.

“Working closely with the Ratcliffes and therapists we designed a home to match their specific needs.”

The beginning of the end. The foundations go in for the Sheppey DIY SOS house

He added: “This was one of the most rewarding and fulfilling projects I have been involved in. I’d also like to thank all the other companies who, like ourselves, gave their time and expertise for free to make it happen alongside the DIY SOS team.”

Kyle and Garry Ratcliffe live there with their four adopted children, three of which have complex and life-limiting medical conditions.

Haydn has cerebral palsy, is blind in one eye, needs to be tube-fed and uses a powered wheelchair.

The Ratcliffe family in the back garden of their new home

Isobella has high-level Down syndrome, causing behavioural, learning and communication difficulties.

Curtis is blind and has severe cerebral palsy, scoliosis, hip dysplasia, epilepsy and sleep apnoea.

Phoebe is physically healthy but suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and night terrors.

The end result was the biggest build project undertaken by the programme and was completed in October 2016 in just nine days.

Nick Knowles and the Ratcliffes at the start of the project

The original bungalow was poorly constructed with only three bedrooms, with a porch being used as a bedroom and the only bathroom was accessed from the kitchen.

The new bungalow includes “talking” doors, a remote-controlled toilet and winches to take the young residents from bathroom to bed.

More than 130 businesses volunteered to help.

Kyle Ratcliffe demonstrates some of the lifts and hoists and state of the art electronics in one of the bedrooms.

The RICS Awards showcase the most inspirational initiatives and developments and celebrate their impact on communities.

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