Archive for December, 2009

Derwood Developments Announces Expansion

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Derwood Developments announces expansion to its workforce during recession

The Construction Company increases its workforce due to a soar in demand for loft conversions and extensions.

Bridgend, Mid Glamorgan 20th July 2009

Derwood Developments recently announced the expansion of its workforce in the Small Works Division due to an increase in demand for works such as loft conversions and extensions.

Prior to the recession the company had mainly focused on developing and selling land and building new houses. However as the housing market declined the company took the decision to diversify to meet the ever changing market demands. The Company’s Director Roy Derrick stated that:

“In order to continue trading and remain strong in the current climate we decided to focus more on our Small Works Division. During the current recession it was becoming evident that people were choosing to improve and enhance their existing properties rather than to move. I quickly realised that the vast experience that we have as a company could easily be adapted to meet the current demands.”

Since changing its business strategy the company has seen a huge increase in requests for loft conversions, extensions and landscaping and has therefore taken on additional skilled tradesmen to cope with the demand.

Derwood Developments is a well established company that prides itself on having a highly skilled workforce which strives to carry out work to the highest specification along with giving the best customer service possible. The company is also a member of the Master Federation of Builders and Construction Line and is also registered to the NHBC.


How to increase your living space without moving home

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

With the housing market being in such decline during the current recession more and more people are choosing the cheaper option of increasing their living space by adding rooms to their current homes. This not only achieves adding more space but also potentially increases the value of your existing home in preparation for when the housing market improves.

One of the cheaper ways of adding space to your home is by creating a garden room. This can be achieved by simply installing a terraced area with an overhead canopy or awning or by having a more permanent veranda fitted using either wood or glass. A veranda can help to blur the boundary between the home and the garden providing an outside room perfect for relaxing and entertaining. This area could be maximised by having built in seats with hidden storage space.

Underground storage could prove a perfect place to store items such as a lawnmower removing the need for a shed. If cost is an issue a simple pergola can add extra seating whilst also providing shade and privacy from neighbours.

If a more permanent room is required then an extension or conservatory would provide an excellent extra room whilst linking the home to the garden. Glass walled extensions are becoming more popular and help you to enjoy the outdoor space all year round especially when the doors are left open. These extensions can be better than conservatories as it easier to regulate the temperature in them. They are warmer in the winter than conservatories especially if under floor heating is installed and can be cooler in the summer if a tiled or flat roof is used instead of glass. Having the appropriate window dressing such as venetian blinds can also help. It is also important to use lead flashing if the extension joins the main walls of the house in order to prevent leaks.

It is important to comply with the building regulations enforced by the council’s Building Control Department when planning such projects. It is also necessary to check with the planning department whether planning is required.

Another popular way of increasing living space at the moment is by extending the basement. This option can be more expensive but can maximise space .It is possible to build an entire new floor under your existing home creating up to as many as three extra rooms. These rooms could be insulated to provide a music room or utility room. The big advantage to this option is that you won’t have to witness the mess being made as all the work will be happening on a different level of your house while you continue to live as normal upstairs.

The important thing to remember if choosing this method of extending is to ensure that you hire a reputable basement company with lots of experience. It is also necessary to ensure that you have a party wall agreement with your neighbours prior to commencing works.

Loft conversions are another excellent means of creating extra space. This option is cheaper and quicker than building an extension or digging out the basement. Again it is necessary to check that a party wall agreement is in place especially if the work affects a wall shared with a neighbour. Most applications don’t now need planning but it is still advisable to check beforehand.

Most houses have lofts that can be converted and those built prior to 1960 especially Victorian properties are easier to convert as the roofs were constructed with a steep pitch with plenty of room between the rafters.

Loft conversions can be used for many uses. If it is being used as a hobby room or for storage a loft ladder is sufficient. However if the room is to be used for uses such as a bathroom or a bedroom then a permanent staircase is required. It is always advisable to try to match up the windows and brickwork with the existing as this will be more appealing if you decide to sell the property at a later date.

If you don’t want to extend your existing property then a summerhouse or chalet could be erected in the garden. These can be ideal for storage, a sitting room, playroom or an office to work from home.

A garden office constructed separate from the main property is a practical and cost effective way of working from home. This is particularly appropriate during the current credit crunch when there is g demand for ways to lower overheads by reducing office space and the need to commute to work.

This working space also has the advantage of separating family and working life.

Generally there is no planning permission required for this type of building provided that it is less than 4m tall, over 5m from the home and uses less than half the garden space. Again as with the other options it is always advisable to check with planning before carrying out any work.

All in all extending or adding any rooms to your home will provide extra space without the upheaval and expense of moving. It can also more importantly add value to your home which will prove beneficial should you decide to move home when the housing market improves.

The important thing to remember to make the experience a happy and stress free one is to always check planning requirements, ensure that you comply with building regulations and more importantly to hire a well established, experienced builder who should preferably be an associate of the Master Federation Of  Builders and be able to offer testimonials of their work. This should all help to ensure that the experience is an enjoyable and successful one.


Inject new life into your home by adding a splash of colour

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Are you bored of looking at the same decor in your rooms but can’t afford a major overhaul during the current credit crunch? Below are some simple tips on how to add new energy into your home and provide some much needed change of scenery without having to spend too much money.

Contrast with some colour

Adding colour can provide an instant tonic for a tired room. It is however important to select the correct colour to provide the appropriate ambience required for that particular room. For example primary colours are better suited to a children’s playroom rather than a living room and bright colours like pink or yellow would not be restful in a bedroom. It is better to use calmer shades for bedrooms and living areas like pale pink or blue to help create a relaxing calm in that room.

Bold colours are better used in a dining room or kitchen particularly if your kitchen looks out onto your garden. Colours that work particularly well in the kitchen are bright lime green or orange. Bright splashes of colour can be added effectively through linen and kitchenware.

Create a feature wall

A great way to make a statement in a room is by creating a feature wall. This can be achieved by painting or wallpapering a wall in a bold paint or pattern to create a dramatic effect. Horizontal stripes can give a striking new look to a room whereas painting the wall behind your bed in a vibrant colour like red could suddenly make your bed the focal point of the room.

Add a touch of Autumn

It is important when choosing colours for a room that you select colours that will be appropriate for both warm summer evenings and dark winters nights. One easy way to achieve this would be to keep your colour scheme within the rooms neutral and accessorise to accommodate the different seasons. This can be achieved by using soft coloured contrasting cushions and vases for the summer. Whereas in the autumn the cushions could be changed to darker cosier colours such as russet. This look could be further enhanced by using rugs and throws in warm colours. A scented candle could also be lit to provide a warm glow which can be very welcoming to guests particularly when placed in a hallway.

You could also update any bright white furniture with a coat of paint in a soft shade of cream for a cosy autumn revamp. You could even enlist nature’s help by using colourful foliage from your garden such as berries and place them in a glass jar or vase to create extra colour saving on the expense of having to go to the florist.

Keep up with the latest fashion

Accessories can be useful and cost effective in helping to keep your rooms up to date with current trends. For example to comply with this season’s coastal theme a few bottle vases or rush oval baskets could be used. Or if you want to keep up with the current  season’s colours dark grey and black work well together to make a grand statement whereas silver and white team up well with this season’s light grey all of which  help to create sophistication. These combinations can be achieved by using any number of accessories including introducing these colours as part of your of table setting.

Even a stairway could be transformed merely by having the stair runners wallpapered in a wallpaper of your choice. You could also add fun and a colourful element to your bathroom simply by choosing towels and accessories in exciting new shades.

There are endless ways available to cheaply transform any room on a budget simply by painting a wall a different colour or by merely accessorising wisely. One point to always remember is that it is better to limit colours to soft furnishings or walls and not both. It is also wise to choose colours wisely and to choose a last able colour and not merely a fleeting seasonal fad. This will ensure that you get value for any money spent.


Tips on how to choose a reliable builder to improve your property

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

During the current recession more and more people are understandably choosing to extend or improve their property rather than moving. This can be a prudent move as these works not only increase your living space in an efficient way but more importantly they also add value to your home. This is particularly beneficial in a climate which has seen house prices decreasing in value.

The important thing to take into account when thinking of having these works carried out is to ensure that you hire a reliable and established builder particularly during the current recession.

When investing large sums of money towards your home improvements it is vital to ensure that you select a financially secure builder with a good reputation to carry out the work for you. There would be nothing worse than to pass on a substantial payment to a struggling company who would merely pass your money on to pay off any creditors. There are unfortunately many such companies facing this problem at the moment.

The best way to check on builders credentials to carry out some research on the company.

The internet in an excellent means to do this. A good builder would also be able to offer testimonials and recommendations from previous customers as well as being able to show photographic examples of their work.

It is also very important to check on the builders qualifications. A good builder would be an affiliate of associations such as the Master Federation of builders, NHBC and Construction Line. Be careful to ensure also that the builder concerned is fully up to date in his knowledge of current planning requirements as planning issues can be quite diverse where home improvements are concerned.

It is also crucial to ensure that the quotation that you accept is a realistic one for the works being carried out. Some builders can initially under price on the original quotation in order to secure the work over another builder. However when works begin they will then advise customers of additional charges for the extra work or materials required to complete the job. It is therefore not always recommended to automatically accept the cheapest quotation. It is sometimes better to pay a little extra in order to ensure a more accurate costing for the work together with better quality work and after care service.

Therefore when considering making home improvements it is important to employ a reliable and established builder with a good reputation to ensure that the work carried out will be the most cost effective and of the highest quality available.


Building Your Own Home

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Advice on how to make it a pleasurable experience

Every time that I drive up the driveway of my home I still cannot believe that I actually live in such a beautiful house. The only reason that I am fortunate enough to live in this house is because I built it myself. Were all of the sacrifices that I made to achieve my dream home worth it?  Yes definitely.

The most difficult process of building your own home is being able to visualise the end product. It is difficult to imagine how an ordinary field can suddenly transform into a lovely house with beautiful, spacious gardens. Fortunately I have good vision and I could easily imagine the finished product. Convincing my family was another matter. All that they could still see was a muddy field stuck in the middle of nowhere.

Fortunately my wife trusted me enough to commit to selling our previous home in order to purchase the field to build our dream home. We were very lucky to sell our house in six days and within weeks we had packed up all our belongings and were on our way to a new adventure. We obviously had some reservations as we took one last look back at our house but our worries were soon replaced by excitement at the prospect of building our new home. It was even more poignant as my wife was seven months pregnant at the time.

We spent the next seven months living with parents whilst I dug out the necessary access route into the field in preparation for the next part of our adventure—living in a caravan!

Our daughter Danielle was six months old when we moved into the caravan.

It was strange to begin with as it was very isolated and dark. However it was wonderful to be back on our own together as a family unit. Our families had been incredibly supportive and kind but there is nothing like your own space- however small that space may be. It was wonderful for my wife Julie to be living on site as it meant that even though we were spending very long periods apart due to the lengthy hours that I was spending building the house at least she could look through the window and be able to watch me and the progress being made.

The situation became even more challenging when we found out that Julie was pregnant again and that there would only be a sixteen month age gap between the two children. However we managed and soon there were two babies crawling around the caravan. Our bedroom was the biggest challenge. You could never imagine that so many people could fit into so small an area. My wife and I slept in the bed, I made a custom built cot for Danielle and Jessica slept in a Moses basket on a stand.

Some of the weather conditions during the time that we were living in the caravan were atrocious.  There were times when the caravan literally swayed from side to side during terrible storms.  We then had to manoeuvre our way through thick squelchy mud to our temporary laundry room situated in a shed.

I have to say that it sounds like a nightmare but it was actually quite fun because we had mentally prepared ourselves for the challenge. We also kept focusing on the full picture. This was becoming easier as the house build progressed and our dream home was beginning to seem a reality.

The first exciting stage of the build was pouring the concrete for the foundations. This involved all hands on deck and was at times chaotic. Again I had to convince the family that the finished foundations would actually convert into a big house as at this stage it looked small.

Then the partitions were put in place and the necessary beams. Suddenly the house was taking shape and when the bricks were being laid it became easier to imagine the finished product. Eventually the roof went on, the walls were plastered and painted and all the services were installed. It was now time to pick the decor and appliances. This was the nice part but it’s surprising how lengthy this process can be – especially agreeing on what to buy. It was particularly important at this stage to try to stick to the agreed budget as this is the stage when many people who build their own homes become unstuck by overspending.

It is surprising the little things you suddenly have to decide upon.  For example whether to have gold or silver handles on the doors or whether to have a combination of both? Then should the doors be brown or white and should there be glass in the doors to maximise light? We eventually came to a compromise and the last part of the process was complete. The best part of all was watching our kitchen transforming from a bare, empty space into a large luxurious one as one by one the units were installed. This had been the main focus in the planning of our house as we had always wanted a large, open kitchen.

In our experience we had always found that no matter how many living areas you have in a house it is always the kitchen that everyone congregates into. Therefore with this in mind we built a large kitchen which also comprised of an adjoining family and sun room. This has worked perfectly and we have had many enjoyable social gatherings within this area. Eventually after living in the caravan for two years our project was complete and it was time to move into our new home. Our eldest daughter who had only ever known living in a caravan cried as she watched the caravan being towed off site.

It took a while to adjust to suddenly living in such a big house.  Every sound seemed to echo and it took a while to remember our way around. We have now been living in our home for five years and the novelty still hasn’t worn off. I still look in wonder at our lovely house and our beautiful landscaped gardens whose beauty changes with every season.  Had I not built my own house I would never have been able to afford to buy the house that I live in. It was certainly worth the sacrifices that I made to achieve it. The important thing is to always stay focused on the project and to make it as fun as possible.

The end result certainly makes all the hard work worth it.

Since then I have built homes for numerous clients and have helped them to achieve their dream homes. I have been able to successfully do this having had firsthand experience of building my own home. All in all there is definitely nothing more rewarding than building your dream home. I was fortunate that as I was self employed and was therefore able to dedicate the time needed to realise my dream.  However the dream is still achievable to anyone provided they find a good plot of land and a good project manager to get the house built on their behalf.

Good luck to anyone who decides, like me, to build their own home.

The excitement of building your own home quickly made me realise the amount of fun and fulfilment such a project creates, not only for yourself but also your family and friends. Another such fulfilling opportunity that I have developed is working from home.