Structural warranty insurance for basement renovations

Since 2011, there has been a distinct rise in planning applications put forward each year for subterranean extensions. The trend has seen wealthy home owners dig downwards in order to create more space for their premises in which to fit saunas, swimming pools, gyms, cinemas and wine cellars within their properties.

Structural warranty insurance for basement renovations

A whopping 800 applications have been made for basement extensions in the Kensington and Chelsea areas alone, many of which have been passed without hesitation from planning officers.

It is not all plain sailing as far as basement extensions are concerned. The process comes with a degree of risk and in many cases, vast expense. Some cases prove to be more expensive than others. Earlier this year, a £3.5million London townhouse owned by Ex Phones4U boss collapsed after caving in whilst developers were part-way through works to create an extensive basement designed to accommodate a cinema, a wine room and gym.

The basement of the Georgian property in West London was in the process of being renovated when it collapsed causing the property to be reduced to rubble. Luckily no-one was injured during the building collapse.

Homeowners considering renovation projects and any form or self-build schemes need to ensure that they have the correct insurances in place to cover themselves to prepare for such an eventuality.

Whether you are building your ‘Dream Home’ or converting an existing building, Build-Zone’s 10 Year Structural Warranty is the best way to protect you against the effect that a major structural defect could have on what is possibly your largest investment.

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Are Self-Build Homes The Answer To London’s Housing Crisis?

Our city halls, like counterparts in other great cities, are grappling with the scale of globalisation and its demands.  They must deliver housing to satisfy the electorate, outsourcing flagship housing projects to developers to deliver results at scale. Are Self-Build Homes The Answer To London's Housing Crisis?

Developers argue that having taken the risk of readying the site, funded quality accommodation, and met regulations; there is limited scope for the affordable housing or community facilities that people crave.

As a result, London, like many cities, is lumbered with a system for controlling development rather than one that enables building. Demoralised planners operate in a quasi-legal environment, avoiding the opportunity to inspire physical building designs. Our councils are ignoring the exciting potential of both big developments and smaller brownfield locations to deliver viable, multi-purpose building sites.

Our leaders need not exercise this ‘command and control’ over housing. They’ve forgotten that housing was always delivered through the smallest units — a single street, terrace or building.  Communities were built this way over generations without a torrent of planning controls.

Local people will build again if essential conditions are put in place — common networks, agreed design approaches and incentives. These factors result in much wider physical uses for new buildings, a greater sense of place and more sustainable community growth and change.

But European cities haven’t forgotten the lesson of smallness: they’re successfully mixing ‘top down’ and ‘ground up’ approaches to urban renewal.

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Second Quarter NHBC statistics show continued growth for housebuilding sector

On Wednesday 29 July, NHBC announced their Q2 housing registration statistics. These statistics cover 80 per cent plus of the market, making them the leading indicator of activity.

  Second Quarter NHBC statistics show continued growth for housebuilding sector

The main headlines for Q2 were that housebuilding continues to steadily climb; figures were up 12 per cent on Q2 2014 with a total of 41,268 registrations – meaning six consecutive quarters of growth reported by the NHBC. The statistics also showed that, while private registrations continue to dominate the market – a total of 30,462 registrations were recorded in the private, sector, up I I per cent on 2014 – public registrations saw the bigger climb on last year, with I 0,806 registrations, an increase of l3 per cent.

However, the most notable headline was the increase in registered retirement properties. So far in 2015, 2,337 retirement properties have been registered – a figure that beats registrations for the whole of 2014, which totalled at 1,919.

While these figures are positive, McCarthy & Stone’s Group Operations Director Mike Jennings explained why the company believe a lack of retirement properties is something the government needs to address.

He explained:

“As the UK’s leading retirement house builder we are encouraged to see a growing number of retirement property registrations. In the  first six months of 2015 we have registered 1,850 new retirement apartments with the NHBC and we will be investing.€2 billion in land and build over the next four years, which will deliver around 12,000 new retirement properties.”

“However, while we welcome the government work to get the housebuilding sector building again, more has to be done to address the needs of later life buyers. There is a chronic undersupply of specialist retirement housing in the UK. ‘We would like to see a national strategy for retirement housing and stronger government policies to support its provision.” An increasing number of buyers are aged over 55, coinciding with the UK’s growing population.

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Interest rate rises will hit British households hard, say economists

The first rise in Bank Rate could be just months away. How will mortgage rates react, and what should borrowers do?

Interest rate rises will hit British households hard, say economists

Mortgage borrowers have been rattled by fears that their interest rate may rise following indications from the Bank of England that the first increase in the official cost of borrowing is only months away. This is becoming a concern for current property owners and first timers, it is also a concern for self-builders who already have to consider structural warranties on new buildings before their mortgage is issued.

The rate at which lenders can access money to lend is the key to what they charge you. They usually get this money either from savers’ deposits or by borrowing from other banks on the money markets.

For fixed-rate mortgages, which are more popular when the cost of borrowing is about to rise, the key rate that determines what banks pay for their funds is called the “swap” rate. Swap rates react to expectations of future interest rates and inflation.

The other major factor is competition for mortgage business. Lenders have been competing fiercely to attract customers in order to meet their lending targets and this has helped to keep mortgage rates at record lows for much of the year.

It’s slightly different for tracker mortgages, which are less popular at the moment. Here, the key wholesale rate is “Libor”, which is currently a little above Bank Rate.

Barclays has increased the rate on its popular five-year mortgage from 2.39pc to 2.59pc. It also increased the rate on its market-leading 10-year loan from 2.99pc to 3.25pc.

Santander withdrew its popular 2.19pc five-year fix and increased the cost of a range of other deals, including two-year fixes, although only by 0.1 of a percentage point.

But amid these price rises other lenders, such as HSBC and Coventry, cut their rates last week in a bid to attract customers.

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Carillion Igloo Genesis wins contact to build London’s first “floating village”

The Carillion Igloo Genesis consortium has been selected to design and build Britain’s first floating village at London’s Royal Docks.

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 As part of his on-going drive to transform the Royal Docks, the plan for the village was announced by Mayor of London Borris Johnson in February last year.

Carillion Igloo Genesis has now been chosen to transform the 15 acres of water at the Royal Victoria Dock site, sitting directly to the east of the Emirates Airline. The project will create a community with floating homes, restaurants, cafes and bars.

Carillion Igloo Genesis’ submission is 100% floating with the walkways, residential and non-residential units anchored in place using a series of piles located within the dock and connected to the dock by bridges.

Although a new concept for the UK, floating developments are already a popular idea in other places, including schemes at ljburg near Amsterdam and Hafen City in Hamburg.

Included in the winning consortium’s scheme is a custom-build approach for each of the 50 residential homes, enabling prospective occupiers to join in on the design process of their homes. Facilities will include a market square, a multi-purpose events space and cafes, shops and leisure and office space. Other proposals included as part of the bid include plans for additional facilities, such as a floating Lido and an ice rink.

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