BuildStore CEO Raymond Connor says, “We need to review what custom build really means.”

Over the past 12 months, custom build has been a buzzword within our industry. However, not much has happened over the last year. This was down to the fact that there were very few companies within the wider property sector that knew much about the market’s potential.

custom build

However, the recent Housing White Paper, which has effectively given government endorsement to custom build, has had an enormous effect and brought this route to homeownership to the forefront of people’s minds in the industry.

Since the Paper was published we, BuildStore, have had renewed interest from lenders who are attracted to custom build due to the assistance that professional developers can offer to purchasers.

We are in the process of speaking to a variety of lenders about what custom build entails, and the advantages of entering the market. However, the question always asked by lenders is: “What is the difference between self-build and custom build?”

Each month we seem to have a more firmed up view that custom build is all about developer involvement, with developers providing the opportunities.

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2017 tender and building costs are poised to grow at a faster rate than in 2016

The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland released their PwC Construction Survey Report 2017 this week, showing that their Tender Price Index increased 6 per cent over the course of 2016.

tender and building costs

“If price inflation continues to grow at the current level, it is anticipated that pricing levels will return to the levels last seen in 2006 and 2007 in the next few years,” commented the authors.

The clear majority of respondents (90 per cent) expected an uptake in residential construction activity in 2017.

The good news for self-builders is that despite the increase in tender costs, the cost of building has only increased marginally over the same period.

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Fires, Flues & Chimneys: What Can Go Wrong?

Learn the questions you need to ask to ensure a successful installation, with surveyor Andy Butchers’ insider advice.

fire

Whether your taste is for a cosy inglenook with an open fire or an eye-catching modern stove, the right solid fuel heater can add style and panache not just to the room it’s in, but to the entire house. For many self builders and renovators, however, it’s not simply about aesthetics. Combined with other technologies, these can be genuine heat sources that form an important part of the overall energy performance strategy for your home.

The basics

As with most elements of a major project, it’s crucial you do your research before finalising the spec. What sort of fire do you want, and will it be used as a primary or secondary heat source? Do you want a formal fireplace and chimney or just a flue, and does the type of structure you’re proposing cater for the installation requirements? Check back with your local authority, too, as some restrict the use of open fires and the fuel types you can burn.

An important step is to hire a suitably-qualified installer – look for HETAS or OFTEC registration for solid fuel appliances, and Gas Safe for gas. They’ll advise on specifications and, on completion of the installation, will provide a certificate to show that it complies with Building Regulations.

A certification plate is often fixed to the flue to verify testing has been undertaken. A warranty provider won’t usually cover these appliances unless there’s a suitable certificate in place.

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Push-Fit Plumbing: What Can Go Wrong?

Andy Butchers shares his insider tips to help troubleshoot this part of your project.

Plumbing

Push- or quick-fit plastic plumbing has been around for some time, and has gradually taken a sizeable share of the water supply materials market – both in the self build and renovation sector, and for commercial developments. Despite some initial teething problems, the technology has come on immensely, and many die-hard traditional plumbers have now moved across to this system.

The benefits

A key advantage of push-fit is that it allows for much quicker installation than traditional connections. That’s because it’s easier to cut, more flexible when it comes to threading through the building structure and – of course – the joints are much faster to make.

Typically, the push-fit connectors feature an ‘O’-ring seal and metal-toothed grab ring to secure the pipe and form a watertight seal. The system is interchangeable between plastic and copper. This flexibility means it can be used in refurbishments, as well as for temporary connections.

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Roofing: What Can Go Wrong?

Andy Butchers shares his insider knowledge to help you troubleshoot this key element of your building project.

roofing

It may be stating the obvious, but every house needs a robust roof to close up the structure and protect it from the elements. Given it will be acting as a first line of defence, it’s perhaps not surprising that roofing issues are by far the biggest area of insurance and warranty claims. And what’s the most common problem? You guessed it: water ingress.

What’s frustrating for self builders and renovators who encounter this kind of scenario is that, with a little more thought from their designers and contractors, most of these problems can be completely eliminated. Here’s what to watch out for on your project.

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