Construction, Renovations

How to Prepare For Building Work

Building work can be a challenging experience that needs to be carefully evaluated before the process begins. A properly formulated planning process comprised of well-defined steps and procedures is necessary in this case to alleviate stress and save money as well as time. They will also help in evading problems with builders, contractors or plumbers. “Everything needs to be covered, from the initial planning stages and appropriate permissions right through to assuring UK plumbing and heating safety standards are met and maintained in your property,” advised Bedford & Milton Keynes’ Gasteam Plumbing and Heating. “With these simple steps, you will be definitely on your way to gaining confidence in your upcoming building project and getting everything off to a great start.”

1. Consider whether permissions or approvals are necessary

There are two types of approvals you to consider, building regulation approval and planning permission. A building regulation approval is applicable for minor renovations such as windows and doors. There is no need to apply for this approval if you have a contractor belonging to a competent person scheme. If the contractor is not registered, you might have to submit full plans with an application.

Planning permission is only applicable if you want to build something new that significantly changes your property, for example an extension or an additional building. These projects can affect the value of your own home as well as other peoples’ and the surrounding environment, which is why planning applications are taken seriously and failing to meet your agreed plans can result in severe penalties.

2. Finding builders and contractors

Whoever you hire, they must be good at their job. The best way is to seek recommendations and references. It is also vital you do a proper check on things such as a contractor’s membership to an approved scheme. Ask for proof of qualifications just to be sure. It is a prudent thing to ensure you have a variety of contractors and builders to enable you compare and choose the best.

3. Get a quote

Get a written quote from at least three contractors and compare them before deciding. The quote must have a fixed total price, validity period, and breakdown of the work to be done. Once you agree to the quote, it becomes a binding agreement between you and the contractor. You can make references to it in case of a dispute.

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Extensions, Money Saving Tips, Renovations

How to Save Money When Doing Work On Your Property

Whether it’s the installation of a swimming pool to add value to an investment, or simply extending a couple of rooms to make space or a growing family, every homeowner will face a point when they wish to work on their property. Soon after, one realises that the process can be arduous and expensive, due to the usually large scope and long list of details that need sorting; what’s the best way to keep your renovation within budget?

Get talking

Start off by consulting friends or acquaintances with prior experience. If you don’t know any, try a local discussion forum on the Internet. What was the sort of work they did, and who did they hire? Ask also for any tips or tricks they might have. Their work doesn’t necessarily have to be the same sort you wish to do; you can gain useful insights such as the trustworthiness of the tradespeople, whether or not a type of material might be in shortage, and how best to ask for a quote. Continue Reading

Home Improvement, Renovations, Roofing

Different Types of Roof Design and Construction

At one time or the other, you might be required to repair or replace your roof. So, it is important to ensure that you know what is involved in the process and how much it will cost you. To help you in the process, this article offers a quick guide to the basics of roof design and construction, starting with the key differences between the main types of roofing.

There are two basic types: pitched and flat roofs.

Flat roofs 

A flat roof is a roof that is defined as having a pitch that is less than 15 degrees horizontally. A good flat roof should not allow water to collect, but instead drain away safely. This means that most of these roofs have a fall on them, making rain water flow naturally to collection points. You can also have a cosmetic covering of tiled roofs of 10-15 degrees if the underlying roof itself is too flat. Flat roofs are not always as attractive looking and problems with these methods to deal with rainfall are common, but when done properly they can look stunning on certain types of home design. Continue Reading

Home Improvement, Roofing

How To Deal With A Leaking Roof

Unsightly water marks on ceilings are a sure sign of a leaking roof that needs immediate attention. Delays in fixing a leaking roof can turn a small problem into a big one. Over time, a leaking roof will cause water damage to several structures in the house, resulting in high repair costs.

Detecting and locating a leak

The surest indicator of a leaking roof is water marks on the ceilings and walls. The leak is not always directly above the water mark, so it takes a little effort to locate the source.

  • For homes with accessible attics, checking the roof for mould, black marks or water stains is a simple way of finding a leak.
  • For homes with inaccessible attics or vaulted ceilings, the leak is found by climbing onto the roof and inspecting it. The most likely sources of leaks are the structures that project from the house and through the roof. We should check the chimneys, dormers and plumbing vents for cracks and loose seals.
  • While on the roof, we should also check for broken, missing or cracked shingles and check if the damage extends to the underlying structures.
  • If the leak is not found by visual inspection, it can be found by soaking areas close to the water mark with water to see if the water will reach the ceiling. This is a two-person job. One person goes on the roof with a hose and soaks the area above the water mark with water while the other checks for dripping water inside the house. If no leak is found, soak the spot to the left of the water mark and check for leakage, if no leak is found, then soak the spot to the right of the water mark. If the leak remains undetected, try the area uphill of the watermark and repeat the process until the leak is found.
  • Some leaks are very small and very well hidden. They happen in houses where the ceiling has a plastic vapor barrier between the attic insulation and the wall. Such leaks can be found by looking for flow stains on the plastic barrier. If no flow stains are found on the plastic, the source of the leak is probably a protruding nail on the underside of the roof. In cold weather, moisture freezes onto the nail and when the temperature rises, the water melts and finds its way to the ceiling. Removing the leak caused by nails is easy. Simply clip the nail with a suitable pair of pliers.

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