Stunning barn conversion, North Yorkshire

‘We worked with ADM early on in the build process to make sure we allowed enough space for all the ducting, when it came to fitting, they were always there to help with any technical issues and were quick to supply any extra parts required. We wanted a Yorkshire based company to work with and ADM had the experience to work on this complicated project. A pleasant surprise has been, just how quiet the system is, you wouldn’t know it was there, working around the clock. The carbon filters have stopped all smells from coming into the house, on slurry clean out day, we don’t have to worry about having to shut the windows.’  Charles Saggers, property owner.

This stunning barn conversion on the fringe of the North York Moors National Park, over 50% of which was a new-build addition that combined old with new, was an ambitious 900m² self-build venture (650m² of which was habitable space). It was undertaken by the owner, Charles Saggers and proved to be an intricate, challenging but highly successful ventilation design and installation for the team at ADM who have built their reputation on projects of this kind. The home was designed by Charles’ ex-business colleague and architect Chris Spiers who’s London practice Thomas and Spiers referred him to ADM.

The project successfully converted and linked several existing agricultural outbuildings by means of frameless glass passageways and a weathered new steel clad extension to create this beautiful contemporary family home.

The buildings are airtight and highly insulated which created the need for a MVHR system to help comply with building regulations, but there was another very important consideration. One of the benefits of a MVHR system is that damp stale air and unpleasant smells are drawn out of the building, but it is just as important to ensure that air drawn into the building is free from pollutants, unhealthy air-borne bacteria, exhaust fumes from traffic, or noxious smells. In this case, the barn was approximately 20 metres from a milking shed so the latter were constantly present.

At the heart of the ventilation design were two highly efficient passive house approved Zehnder ComfoAir Q600 MVHR units fitted with integral pre-heaters, one situated in a hall cupboard on the ground floor of the existing structure and the other in the music room of the steel clad new build. The system is controlled by two ComfoSense C67 remote controllers and is also linked up to a ComfoConnect LAN C connector which will allow Charles to control his MVHR system via the web portal either from his laptop or smartphone.

Each unit is connected to an award-winning Titon Trimbox NO₂ Carbon Filter Box to combat the smells which would be inevitably drawn in from nearby agricultural premises ( The manufacturer advises that pre-filters are checked bimonthly to maintain excellent indoor air quality, and anticipates that the Active Carbon Filters will last a minimum of 5 years, though environmental conditions can lessen their life. A special NO₂ testing kit would be used to determine the levels of NO₂ in the property and to determine whether the carbon filters need replacing. The filters within the MVHR unit itself would need to be changed every 12-18 months.

Due to height and space restrictions predominantly in the existing parts of the building, ADM designers opted for a hybrid ducting system. Standard rigid 150mm and 125mm diameter ducting was utilised in the new structure and 90mm semi-rigid ducting complete with a 10 port manifold system designed to bring in fresh air was installed in the older section a large proportion of which was installed in the floor screed

The main room of the converted barn (the taller building in the photograph) had a very high ceiling. ADM advised making a feature of the 200mm galvanised steel ducting that traversed the apex of the building by painting it brown to resemble a beam. Extract grilles were mounted at ground floor level and supply air was brought in through ducting positioned in the floor screed, feeding 600mm linear slot grilles. 250mm ducting feeds the large grille in the vaulted area.

Although Charles installed most of the system himself ADM made sure that expert advice and skilled help was available from day one. For this project, ADM included the more complex fitting and connections to the units and manifold. This involved work on site over a few consecutive days.

ADM’s flexible, low-cost “Buddy Service” provides peace of mind to a self-builder, project manager or builder who is not experienced in the design and installation of MVHR systems. For further information see