Meet the Self-Build Experts at Homebuilding & Renovating

Self Build Zone, working in partnership with Homebuilding and Renovating, are at Excel this week and are making available various Experts from the Industry to answer any questions or assist visitors with their Projects.

Included are:

  • Approved Inspectors dealing with any questions on Building Control
  • Claims and Loss Adjusters if you are have any specific claims issues
  • Specialist Surveyors and Valuers who deal with Technical Audits and Property Valuations (including Listed Properties)
  • Experts on Fire Risk Assessments and Fire Risk Engineering if you have any questions regarding Loss Prevention or Fire Risks for Residential or Commercial Risks.
Read More

New Housing Agency to Boost Housebuilding

A new national housing agency – Homes England – has been launched by Housing Secretary Sajid Javid as one of the key steps towards delivering the homes the country needs.

housebuilding diagram and model

As the successor to the Homes and Communities Agency, Homes England will drive forward change, as set out in the government’s housing white paper.

By bringing together their existing planning expertise and new land buying powers, the new agency will play a major role in securing land in areas where people want to live, support smaller and more innovative house builders into the market and resource brownfield sites from across the country to deliver homes for families.

Homes England will play a major role in fixing the housing market by helping to deliver an average of 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s.

Read More

Building your own home: The benefits of custom build

The primary benefit of custom build is that you can achieve a home designed specifically for you and your family’s lifestyle. A flexible, quality living space, tailored to suit your requirements, now and in the future.

custom build

What is a custom build home?

Custom build is one of the ways that the Government is using to solve the housing shortage. Custom build homes are self-build homes facilitated in some way by a developer. This still offers the chance to have a unique home that suits your needs, lifestyle and design preferences, but through a more hands-off approach than a traditional self-build.

Working from home

If you enjoy the independence and freedom that comes with working from home, custom build allows you to create an inspired workspace, whether you want a multi-purpose area, separate room or a studio in your garden.

Read More

How to Get Planning Permission First Time

Getting planning consent for the perfect scheme can be a major stumbling block on the road to a successful project. Mike Dade shares the secrets that will give you the best possible chance of winning approval.

Most self-builders and renovators, having secured a plot or building to convert or refurbish, want to get on with the build as quickly as possible. With planning applications taking at least two months from submission to decision, nobody wants to go through the process more than once if they can avoid it.

So, what are the causes of delays and refusals in the planning process – and what steps can you take to avoid them and give yourself the best possible chance of securing consent at the first attempt?

Common sticking points

The most frequent causes of delays and refusals can be grouped into three broad categories: content and presentation of the application; conflicts with policy and planning officers’ opinions; and political issues. Many applications are delayed on submission because the council won’t validate and register them.

Forms, plans, accompanying reports and information and the necessary fee must all be correctly presented. The eight-week period for determining the application won’t start until the council is satisfied that everything is present and correct.

Once underway, any conflicts with local or national planning policy (or the planning officer’s interpretation of those policies) can result in rejection – or at least a request for you to make amendments, which will have obvious ramifications for your schedule.

Finally, where the project is locally contentious, applications can sometimes be rejected at committee, even if you have the support of your council’s planning officer.Working with a specialist design and build company, such as Potton, can take some of the hassle out of the planning process. The company’s expert team came up with a sensitive plan to knock down the Kings’ existing 100m2 bungalow and replace it with a new, eco-friendly dwelling that was twice the size. Planning was quickly granted without a hitch.

Read More

Basements. What can go wrong?

Andy Butchers, Director of Build-Zone Survey Services Ltd, shares his insider knowledge to help troubleshoot this area of a building whether you are considering a New Build or Conversion.

diagram of a house with basements

Basements in a new building can “hide” the ultimate in luxury in both new builds and conversions with the secret swimming pool, sauna, Jacuzzi, games room, Gym, Home Cinema or Music rooms.

For conversions where space is limited and the cost of selling and “up sizing” may be prohibitive then extending upwards and downwards may be the most cost-effective solution.  However, working on an existing structure is considered more difficult than a new build.

As a Warranty provider primarily due to our risk management and visit regime we do not actually see many basement claims but as you can appreciate, when it does go wrong, along with the stress and disruption it can cause, it can be both extremely difficult and expensive to resolve the problem.  I have detailed a number of pointers which should be considered along with your design team to provide you with the most cost-effective solution and when constructed professionally should provide no problems throughout the life of the building.

1)Suitability of a Basement for its location.

One of the first things to consider is if it is appropriate and cost effective to construct a basement. If you look at recent press articles some suggest London Local Authorities are clamping down or even stopping (through the Planning process) new or updated basements as part of conversion work due to the ‘perceived risk’ to surrounding properties.

Read More