The Energy Saving Trust has released the findings of its research into not only how much you can save financially but also save the planet by lightening the load in your van.
It has been estimated that if half of the LGV drivers in the UK removed 75KG from their vans (3 or 4 bags of san/cement) it would save around £50 million a year and 100,000 less tonnes of carbon dioxide.
A difference in fuel consumption of up to 30% has been found between an empty and fully loaded van in some cases, so it pays to think about what’s loaded on your van.
The met office has issued a weather warning for high winds across the UK today with inland gusts reaching a predicted 65mph in places.
Strong winds can cause damage to your property in a number of ways, blowing tiles off the roof, falling trees damaging roofs and in extreme cases an up-rooted tree can cause damage with it roots effecting your foundations and drains.
Once the wind has died down have a good look around your property for signs of damage especially the roof area, also check inside your loft space for any tell tell signs of movement or daylight. If you suspect there is any damage to the roof get a quote for repairing it from a reputable builder who will carry out a full risk assessment before climbing onto your roof as roofs can be dangerous places especially on windy days!
The growth and Infrastructure bill was amended by the House of Lords last month which may lead to councils being given the right to opt out changes to planning rules.
The idea, which was announced last year, is to relax planning rules which would allow an increase in the size of a single story extension to 8 metres on a detached house and 6 metres for other houses without planning consent.
Some MPs are saying the planned changes are a “recipe for disaster” and will cause disputes between neighbours.
If the bill is passed when ministers vote later, it could give the building trade a huge boost and could create much needed jobs but at what price?
Do you have an upstairs room that is starved of natural light?
Have you considered the installation of a sun tunnel?
The sun tunnel increases the amount of natural light even on a cloudy day, the reflective surface of the tunnel make it as light inside your property as it is outside, meaning you may not need to turn on the light so often therefore reducing your energy bills.
One of the many advantages of fitting a sun tunnel rather than a roof light is that the flexibility of the tunnel between the roof and the ceiling allow you to have the tunnel fitted where you want it rather than being governed by where the timber structure of the roof is.
The most common areas to have a sun tunnel fitted are bathrooms, stairs and landings because they are traditionally areas which have a lack of natural light
Many home and business owners are looking to get their building projects underway for the spring and summer of 2013. Larger building projects like home extensions and structural alterations will require building regulations approval and planning permission. This will mean that the majority of these projects will require drawings. So if you want to get your building project underway ready for the spring and summer the best time to start is now. If you need to get drawings done this will take at least a few weeks before you can submit them for planning or building regulations approval. So it is best to allow a 4months to get your project designed agreed with the relative authorities. This gives you a good opportunity to find a building contractor to carry out the work. Good builders are usually booked for at least a month in advance and the building tender and quotation process usually takes a minim of four weeks. So most builders will need at least eight weeks from when you first enquire to getting their team on site. Chose a building contractor who has experience in the type of project you are undertaking with most builders they will specialise in two or three fields of expertise. These are usually interlinked so for instance if your builder has experience in period properties they will have a good understanding of damp issues, structural issues and matching period details. If your contractor specialises in contemporary structures they will be used to working with glass, steel structures and modern building techniques like specialist renders and finishes like cedar cladding. Ask to see projects that they have been they have undertaken previously and speak to some of the professionals they work with. Most building contractors will have an alliance with other property professionals like surveyors and architects. Again building contractors will be able to recommend professionals that work in their area of expertise so a building contractor who specialises in conservation will be able to recommend a specialist conservations surveyor.
When carrying out building refurbishments it is important to plan out the end result that you would like to achieve. This is sometimes done by professionals like architects or surveyors but often it is left to the property owner and building contractor to finalise the specifications. This needs to be managed carefully because you do not want the works to not comply with the UK building regulations and other statutory requirements that can potentially cause expensive re-working if not done correctly. So your building contractor will need to have a good understanding of the building regulations and other statutory requirements. These are not always well known or understood by some building contractors, you will be able to get a feel for your builders knowledge by asking them some simple questions about the UK building regulations for instance what sections covers the structural elements? It is section “A”. There are other regulations for instance if you are going to use a computer screen in a commercial environment you will need to select the correct light fitting to meet the required regulations. This is not always known to some building contractors and could potentially have you paying for the same item of work twice. Again as with most things it can be a case of buy cheap buy twice.
Most property owners need various building refurbishments and repairs doing from time to time. These range from simple roof repairs through to electrical and building works. Many homeowners and in fact some building contractors are either unsure or unaware that even some repairs will trigger the need to inform the local authority building control department. This is usually done through a building regulations building notice. These vary in costs dependant on the value of the works being carried out, the building inspector will usually be required to conduct a site visit at various stages throughout the building works to check each element of the works as items are covered in. They will want to see drainage, insulation footings details and structural elements that fall under part “A” of the UK building regulations. Good building contractors will take care of managing the building notice as part of their service but ultimately the responsibility lies with the property owner. So make sure you check with your local building control department if your works will require a building regulations building notice application. Some works may not require a building regulations application when you start the works but a change to the works if an unforeseen issue arises can trigger the requirement for an application. Very often this is an issue under part “L”, of the UK building regulations. This is because if more than 25% of any external surface for examples roofs, floors or walls are being repaired it will require a building notice and site inspections.
The government like many builders and property developers is keen to get Britain building again and has identified a number of large development sites that have stalled simply because of a lack of suitable speculative property development funding. The government is looking to provide some of this much needed funding although the details have not been fully released. The funding shortage will be either in the form of primary funding the usually standard type of development funding currently available on the majority of site at around 55-65% of the loan to value. The second and less secure type is mezzanine funding this is a secondary and more complex type of development funding. It sits on top of the primary development funding and tops up the short fall usually taking care of the percentage difference between the maximum loan to value and a shortfall on the primary development. It is sometimes used to take care of the cash gap between paying the main contractors JCT stage valuations and the sales of the properties. Mezzanine funding often makes the difference between a development taking place and simply not being built out. However this type of development funding is considered risky for the investor as well as being an expensive solution for the site developer. The typical charges are between 25-40% of the investment required and this is usually the first monies to be realised after the primary development funding has been repaid from the sales of the properties. The developer who borrows the mezzanine funding usually also picks up all the soft costs like legal contracts and the mezzanine funder may ask for a directorship or other control of a SPV or special purpose vehicle or limited company used to run the development. It can also be beneficial to the developer because often mezzanine funder will have extensive property development experience and be able to give advice on contractors and with build specifications and off plan sales.
Many properties both old and new have solid concrete floor slabs, these have both advantages and disadvantages over suspended timber floors. The main disadvantage with older concrete floors is that they can be prone to cracking and can sink or rise up if the substrate the soil or other matter below them has been either disturbed by things like tree roots or defecting water pipes and drains or have simply been constructed badly or damaged from some form of structural damage. The other disadvantage is that older floor slabs often lack both a DPM or damp proof membrane or any insulation and can act as a cold sink drawing heat from the property. It is also more of an issue if you need to retro fit pipe work or cables if you move or add items like sockets and radiators. Often these issues are raised by surveyors when a property is sold or remortgaged and they usually recommend that a structural engineer be commissioned to write a report on the possible causes and recommendations for the removal and remedial repairs to the floor slabs. It is usually recommended that the defective floor slab be replaced and a new DPM and insulation be installed. This will automatically trigger the need for a building notice and the works to be inspected at various stages by the local authority building inspector. Your building contractor should be able to take care of this for you but you should check to make sure they have the paperwork in place and the inspections booked at the appropriate time.