Gemming up on builder speak before ringing for quotes or commissioning work can really help you specify a job more accurately. Knowing what you are talking about will help you avoid being scammed or charged for work that needn’t be done at all
Bath or shower - which is better. It’s a dilemma many people face when splashing the cash in the bathroom
Building Regulations are just some of the statutory standards and guidelines that shape home extensions before an architect even puts pencil to paper
Lofts are the neglected spaces of a family home. Yet, if you find yourself running out of space, a conversion could be the answer.
The dream: curious angles and cosy nooks. An inglenook fireplace, a thatch roof. Wainscoting – whatever that is. Ancient beams whose deep glow suggests generations of beeswax polishing
From converting a loft to remodelling your space, ideas and inspiration for an extra bedroom.
What should you do if you move into a house with a problem garden?
It is always a good idea to check with the estate agent, landlord or previous owner to see what you are responsible for before buying or moving in
Outdoor living spaces offer the perfect place to soak up the sun, dine alfresco and hang out with friends
More homeowners look to extend as the cost of moving increases and planning rules relax. It pays to weigh up the pros and cons of each option
Boxes of books everywhere? Home libraries and cosy reading nooks can create order and a place to escape with your favourite novel
Forget featureless, flat expanses of white. Be brave with colour, pattern and texture to create a statement wall with real impact
If your home is starting to look tired and getting you down, don’t worry. There are lots of simple ways you can spruce things up without tearing down walls or breaking the bank.
You might be onboard for building a green eco extension, but is your builder?
Triple glazing is becoming increasingly popular in the UK. But will it reduce your energy bills and make your home warmer and quieter. Or is it a waste of your hard-earned cash?
Top ten things to consider before taking the plunge
Refreshing a tired bathroom doesn’t require ripping everything out and starting again. Updated fixtures, newly-painted ceilings and smart storage solutions can help the space feel cleaner, brighter and more stylish while not breaking the bank.
What’s the difference between an architect, architectural technologist, an architectural designer or technician?
If you are confused by all the different terms for people who can be involved in the design of your home - you are not alone! Check out this helpful guide written by Lewis Visuals
Clare, a speech & language therapist and mother-of-three, remodelled her downstairs space to create an open-plan kitchen-diner
Business owner JJ’s large loft conversion includes a spacious home office, guest bedroom with en-suite, a small study/bedroom plus storage space under the eaves.
Conservative estimates would suggest there is somewhere in excess of 60 million trussed rafters in service in the UK. To date, there has been no known failure of a trussed rafter in its “ex factory” condition, a remarkable safety record. However, experience has shown that trussed rafters are not always well understood by the people who specify them or who erect them. Such misunderstanding can, in some circumstances, lead to poor installation or worse unsuitable alteration.
Experience has shown that trussed rafters are not always well understood by the people who specify them or who erect them. Such misunderstanding can, in some circumstances, lead to poor installation or worse unsuitable alteration.
A case study detailing what was involved in gaining Planning Permission when building a large extension
What is planning permission, when is it needed and how do you apply?
A case study detailing what was involved in complying with Building regulations when building a large extension
What are Building Regulations and when is approval needed?
What does an architect do, how do I got about finding one and why do I need one?
What is a listed building and what responibilities does owning one bring?
What is a Conservation Area and what are the implications of developing a property in such an area?
Part 1 - Arches
Arches and lintels are found wherever it is necessary to support a wall etc over an opening which is usually not more than about two metres wide. They provide support in completely different ways and an understanding of this is fundamental to selecting, specifying and assessing them. Arches depend for their support on the masonry surrounding them. This provides the resistance to the forces generated by the shape of the arch and the loading on it. This Paper focuses on the arches themselves and does not include problems arising in arches from external causes such as subsidence or movement of the building itself.
Part 2 - Lintels
Lintels are commonly used to span openings in the walls of buildings. This paper examines the different types of materials used for lintels, their historical use and advantages / disadvantages, and the defects associated with lintels and their use.
The UK has 18 species of bats that range from common to rare. As they can be found roosting within a building they are a material consideration when submitting a planning application and therefore planning officers will need to be satisfied the development will have no net impact on bats.
Main Considerations Covered by BS8102: 1. Has the waterproofing system been designed by a specialist; 2. Has a site investigation taken place by a geo technical specialist; 3. Is it possible to design out the faults in the workmanship and materials; 4. Repair ability should be taken into account and the feasibility of remedial measures assessed
The revision of the 1992 ADE version was long overdue, and it introduced pre-completion testing to ensure that residential properties and uses complied with the requirements. The revision has given ‘teeth’ to the ADE regulations and after some initial teething troubles with the scheme, builders have responded very positively to the challenge. ‘Compliance’ rates for the properties tested are now more than 95% for the basic ‘minimum standard’ required by ADE. Higher standards of performance are now rewarded by the points system associated with EcoHomes and the Code for Sustainable Homes. The performance standards of Robust Details are also generally significantly above the minimum standard, particularly for walls. Is the ‘minimum standard’ required by ADE too low when the current market expectation is for better sound insulation performance?
Environmental catastrophe or manageable nuisance? This paper reveals the dangers of allowing invasive weeds such as Japanese knotweed to remain untreated. This can lead to damage to hard structures, public health issues and further liabilities can also be incurred if the plants are allowed to spread to adjacent properties. Current legislation, identification, effective methods of eradication and pitfalls are described, allowing the delegate to understand all pertinent issues when they encounter invasive weeds on the sites they consult on in the future.
TeleBeam Loft Conversion system, a relatively new and unique way of converting existing roof trusses for loft conversions.
Modern builders seem to talk mainly about Portland cement mortars and Gypsum plaster, only a few know that the use of lime mortar dates back to the Neolithic Period some 8500 years ago. Furthermore, mortar of that period survives today. One of the best examples is the water tanks built to maintain the supply of water for Herod’s Palace at Ramallah. These tanks, built of stone and rendered internally with lime mortar, still hold water today. The reason being, that the plasterers understood ‘working a partially cured lime’. Other well known examples of the use of lime include the use of volcanic ash to act as pozzolana to produce hydraulic lime.
Everything you have ever wanted to know about bricks for building
There are Buildings still standing around the world, from Roman times and before that, confirming that brick is a durable material. Until recent years, most buildings were built from a limited range of local bricks, employing traditional well tried methods and details. Today, modern manufacturing methods and a nationwide road and rail system make bricks from all manufacturers available everywhere. To achieve long-term durability of brickwork in modern buildings, account must be taken of the physical properties of the bricks and mortars, as well as the degree of exposure to which parts of the building will be subjected. Knowledge and experience of local bricks and building methods is now supplemented by the wider collective experience which has been built up over the years within the brick industry, and forms the basis of the guidance offered in this paper. Saturation by water is the commonest potential enemy of brickwork, but recognition of this by appropriate design, specification and workmanship will ensure that modern brickwork will remain relatively maintenance free.
What not to do if you are building a house
This paper describes the background to professional archaeological practice in England today. In it I will try to give you an idea of when and where you might get involved with archaeologists, and what types of work they might have to do for you (or perhaps more pertinently for your client!).
Bickford-Smith and Sydenham in their book "Party Walls Law and Practice", 2nd Ed, trace the origins of party wall legislation to the Great Fire of London in 1666. A statute was passed the following year to regulate the construction of party walls between adjoining houses in the City of London to prevent a further conflagration. Subsequent legislation, culminating in the London Buildings Act 1894, conferred rights in respect of the alteration or demolition of party walls. This legislation was re-enacted in the London Buildings Act 1930 and then the London Buildings Act (Amendment) Act 1939, but the provisions only applied to the inner London boroughs. It was not until 1 July 1997, with the bringing into force of the Party Wall etc Act 1996 that the legislation was extended to the whole country. The Party Wall etc Act 1996 basically re-enacted the law as contained in the 1930 and 1939 Acts. Little attempt was made to clarify the law and deal with anomalies in the previous legislation. Decisions on the interpretation of the old law are thus relevant to the present Act. Suggestions for reform have been made, for example, by the Pyramus and Thisbe Club on behalf of surveyors and by Bickford Smith and Sydenham. Despite the setting up of a working party by Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, there has so far been no reform.
What are the Construction Design & Management Regulations 2007?
Incorrect positioning of the reinforcement in concrete costs £550 million a year in the UK, and is a world wide problem. The strength, durability and fire resistance of the structure are adversely affected, resulting in premature failure. This paper shows the problem, the causes, and the solution.
Points to consider when building using reinforced concrete Incorrect positioning of the reinforcement in concrete costs £550 million a year in the UK, and is a world wide problem. The strength, durability and fire resistance of the structure are adversely affected, resulting in premature failure.
For several decades the incorporation of Basements into residential schemes has been neglected. Today with increased land prices and shortages of large building plots the domestic Basement is now back in fashion. This paper demonstrates how modern basement waterproofing techniques can be employed to create dry usable basement spaces for both new build and refurbishment situations.
An Asbestos Surveyor will survey a property for signs of asbestos containing materials. These samples will then be sent to an accredited laboratory for analysis. The following paper gives an overview of how the laboratory then goes about the process of identifying asbestos containing materials or confirming that the suspect material in fact does not contain asbestos
In 2006 a serious fire resulted in the deaths of 6 people all of whom were not in the room of origin. This case highlighted the importance of good fire safety management in premises and brought into question the “Stay put” policy.
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Things to consider before renting a property.
What are the different types of surveys, and how should I choose between them?
Things to consider when buying a house.
Things to consider when selling your home.
Find professionals to help manage commercial property
Get contacts to help with problems in your home.