Reports show that the number of new tenants registering for new lets has increased by a staggering 20%. Home owners have been equally fast to react to the changing market with new instructions for properties to let increasing by around 15%. This of course still has demand far out stripping supply which will lead to the continued upwards pressure on rents. This will in turn lead to increased yield and returns on rental properties. A marked increase in mortgage applications show the clear demand for properties and bank finance, the constraining factor being bank lending. Unfortunately as the money supply or M4 as it is known in banking circles is still well below where it needs to be to encourage bank lending this trend in the UK housing market looks set to continue.
Drains can often be a cause of structural problems particularly with older properties. Many of midlands houses and businesses have drains that are as old as the properties they serve. This means many of the drains to period properties can be over one hundred years old. Drains are out of sight and out of the minds of many home owners and as long as the toilet is flushing OK and there are no signs of sinking ground most people assume that they are fine. Experience tells us that this is often not the case two areas of concern are displaced drain joints or connections and tree roots. With settlement over a period of time the drain joints can often become displaced, this is simply when the two sections of the drain move slightly and causes them to leak. The other many issue is tree roots, these can easily penetrate the existing drainage installation and also cause leaks. Once these leaks appear they start to undermine the sub soil and this can lead to more serious problems such as subsidence and cracked brick work. The best course of action is to have your drains CCTV’ed, this is when a special camera is sent down the drain and a DVD is produced that shows the condition of the drainage installation. These can be carried out from as little as £125.00 plus VAT and give the home owner peace of mind and can save you from thousands of pounds of structural repairs.
When you are planning to extend your home you will need to have drawings completed to make sure that your home extension conforms to current UK building regulations. It may also require planning permission so what do you do next? Well the first thing is costs and costs can vary for planning and building regulation drawings. Architects will charge from a few hundred pounds through to a few thousand dependant on their reputation and your project. You could save money by employing a design and build company, they will complete your home extension planning drawings. Then move onto your home extension building regulation full plans submission drawings or construction drawings as they are known. Once the design stage is complete then the build or construction phase is next using a design and build company gives you not only cost savings but also continuity throughout the project.
With a recent announcement that the BBC is set to move operations form their London base to Salford it shows a renewed interest in the North and midlands. With many larger and medium sized companies looking at their various costs their premises are always an option for cost savings. The lease costs and employment cost are far more cost effective in the north and midlands compared with London prices. Interestingly the retail market in Manchester has risen by just short of three percent in the last twelve months. It makes sense for investors as well as business tenants, as the midlands and north offer far better rental yields.
Underpinning is always a word that strikes fear into many home owners hearts, but it is not always as expensive or invasive as many imagine. Underpinning is usually prescribed as a remedial structural repair for properties with some structural damage that require remedial structural repair work. Structural repairs are usually specified by a qualified structural engineer, in a structural engineer’s report which details the exact specification of the structural repairs. These include the types of materials and the robust details these are the exact way that individual components of the remedial structural repairs are carried out. It can be critical that these structural repairs be carried out in a certain manner, if not their effectiveness can be massively reduced. You could then suffer further structural problems and progressive movement in the future. Underpinning is usually carried out when there are structural issues with the existing foundations. There are several usual causes for structural foundation issues; they include some of the following, heave, drains, subsoil subsidence, and poor construction techniques. One the most common is drainage related issues; old drains are out of sight and out of most home owner’s minds. The issue is that old clay pipes can often suffer damage from things like tree roots or the joints can become displaced. This often leads to leaking drains which in turn can erode the subsoil and cause undermining of the foundations, which often manifests itself as above ground structural problems. This is usually when a structural engineer or specialist structural building contractor is called in. Land heave is usual caused by large trees this is when the growth or removal of trees causes the subsoil to dry out and the land can simply shrink or become very sandy. These are obviously less than idea ground conditions for your property to stand on. Poor construction techniques are rarer but usually the most frustrating for home owners. This is simply when a property has either been built or altered badly and these mistakes are either directly responsible or a contributing factor to the structural damage. On a few occasions we have come across properties where their existing foundations are just a few inches deep. Underpinning would often be one of the prescribed structural repairs recommended for this type of structural issue. This is often accompanied by the use of heli tie crack stitching bars to repair the masonry above ground.
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Being faced with structural repairs and alterations can seem daunting for many home owners particularly if they have never carried out this type of work before. This can be made more of a challenge when looking for professional advice where do you go first, a civil engineer, structural engineer, project manager, surveyor or building contractor? The other issue is when a home owner starts to get various quotations they can often vary by several thousand pounds. The best approach is to find a competent and specialist building contractor who will assist not just with the work to your property but also all the necessary permits and reports. When carrying out most structural repairs and alterations you will be required by law to inform your local authorities building control department. The local authority building control department will inspect the work and the supporting documentation to make sure that the building works you propose to carry out is safe. Dependant on the size and scale of the project you will need to apply for either a “full plans submission building regulations application” or for smaller works a “building notice”. If you are installing any bespoke steel beams or RSJ’s or carrying out more technical building work you will require the input of a qualified structural engineer who will prove the design. This essentially means that they will show the building control office structural calculations usually in the form a structural engineers report that show the proposed works are up to standard.
Duffield, Quarndon and Wirksworth are among some of the more desirable locations for homes around the North West Derby area. These areas also have some large and desirable homes which are often located on larger plots. These properties are often ideal for alteration and extension, with careful planning the home extensions or home alteration works can add considerable value to the existing home. There are many period properties in these areas and it is often the case that period properties have disproportionate room sizes. A home extension is an excellent way to improve period properties if the building work is done sympathetically. Kitchen extensions are very popular sometimes just extending the existing kitchen is the best course of action. On other occasions it may be more beneficial to build a new Kitchen extension and alter the room layouts. This can be done by the insertion of RSJ’s or similar beams or bessemer’s.
When you are considering a home extension there are various things that need to be considered. If it is the first time you have undertaken this type of work it is can seem a daunting prospect. The key is to break your home extension into the various parts so that each part can be easily managed. There are two main sections to the project the design stage and the build or construction phase. The first stage is the design stage, again this contains various parts the main ones to consider are the specification, planning, and building regulations. The specification is basically the actual design and choices that will make your home extension fit your property, lifestyle, budget and the final material finishes. Even items like floor finish can affect the overall design of your house extension. For instance floor tiles may require under floor heating and that in turn will affect the structural floor height and insulation choices. So it is always best to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve as early on in the project as possible. The next stage is a planning application and planning drawings. In recent years the planning laws associated with domestic or home extensions have been changed so not all projects require a full planning application. Some will require no planning application but it is always sensible to apply for a certificate of lawfulness. The next stage is the building regulations, all house extensions require either a full plans submission or at the very least a building notice. The majority will require a full plans submission of building regulations drawings. Many home owners are now favouring a full design and build package, this is when a building company carries out the design work as well as the actual build. The advantages of this are that there are often cost savings on the design work and you have continuity throughout the project.
Owners and managers of commercial properties be it retail, industrial or offices are increasingly concerned over rising energy costs. So more and more are looking to make energy savings through better insulation and green building techniques and energy efficient mechanical and electrical installations. The increased use of Air source heat pumps and ground source heat pumps on new builds is becoming a deal maker for some commercial tenants. Businesses are increasingly aware of their need to meet more and more onerous energy efficiency targets. Coupled with their need to show their customers their green credentials many are looking to green or eco refurbishments or green refits. Builders with specialist knowledge of green building techniques and the latest environmentally friendly technologies are cashing in on this demand. The majority of contractors not understanding even the most basic of green building principles. Those who do understand the difference between an air source heat pump and mechanical heat recovery systems are in high demand. The key to success is to find a main contractor who fully understands the pay back and suitability of a combination of the various products available for retro fitting to commercial buildings. A good main contractor who understands the main principles of energy efficiency will be able to take a holistic approach to the project. They will look at your return on investment for each item on the schedule of works and look at how the various items work. They will be able to tell you if that extra 25mm of insulation is really worth it or if an air source heat pump works better with under floor heating or radiators for your type of building.