Archive for March, 2013

Into the Breach – Why the Best-laid Plans Still Need Permission!

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

It seems that the proof isn’t so much in the pudding as in the planning when it comes to a spot of home improvement!

Homeowners in the UK have shelled out more than £6bn on unauthorised home improvements in the last five years, with one in 10 bending the rules to get the house of their dreams.

Insurance firm LV= has discovered that home improvements in a tenth of homes in the UK contravene building regulations, from simple drainage projects to complete house renovations.

Builders and surveyors claim that building regs are commonly being flouted, with a staggering 26% of those surveyed saying they had seen extensions where a breach had occurred. One in five builders and surveyors have come across loft conversions where building regs had not been followed, and 14% had seen walls taken down and chimneys and fireplaces removed without the regulations being adhered to. Eight percent were aware of rule-breaking conservatories and more than three percent had seen unauthorised rooms created out of cellars and basements.

In the same five-year period, 176,000 homeowners have been ordered to rectify building work which flouted the rules, whilst one in five had had a retrospective planning application turned down.

Home improvement has been seen as a solution to the economic downturn, with many homeowners unable to move or trapped in negative equity. But planning regulations are often viewed as confusing, and this is not helped when planning laws change. In September 2012, the government announced that homeowners would soon be able to extend detached homes by 8m and non-detached houses by 6m without the need for planning permission.

This was intended as good news. But a fifth of those who have carried out major work since the announcement believe that the changes are already in effect, and anyone who has carried out work without permission might have to get it reversed if they can’t get permission retrospectively.

Conversion and extension projects might also lead to other problems. Carrying out work at your property might well affect your insurance policy, yet 47% of homeowners did not tell their insurers about the changes.

LV= home insurance MD John O’Roarke said: “Many homeowners are choosing to improve or extend their homes as they are unable to move or choose not to, but have little understanding of the ‘red tape’ involved with building work.

“Breaching building regulations or planning rules can lead to hefty fines or an order to reverse any offending work. Those intending to make substantial changes to a property should consult their local authority for advice on the rules and inform their insurer of their plans to ensure they have adequate cover in place should the worst happen.”

Despite the confusion, extending your home or converting a space does not have to be complicated. Decide what you want to do and chat to a reputable local builder, as well as your local planning officer, about your plans.


How To Find a Qualified Electrician

Monday, March 11th, 2013

How to find a qualified electrician to carry out work in full compliance with regulations

You should always find a qualified electrician otherwise choosing the wrong electrician to carry out any type of electrical work could cost you your life, so beware.

Electrical Installation and Repair Services South Wales

What is the best way to find a qualified electrician?

Given that incompetent electrical work contributes for up to 12,500 electrical fires a year it is crucial to ensure that you select the best electrician to carry out any electrical work in your home. Here are points to consider when hiring an electrician.

Find a Qualifed Electrician – Ask For Proof Of Qualifications

Qualified electricians should be able to provide a certificate as proof that they have passed their city and guild examinations.  Ask to see proof of their qualifications.

Find a Qualified Electrician – Are They Registered With Any Trade Associations?

Check to see whether the electrician is registered with any of the following trade associations such as the NICEIC (National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting).

Members of the NICEIHow to find a qualified electrician In South WalesC are assessed before they join and are also assessed annually thereafter to ensure that they work competently and that they meet all of the technical and safety standards. NICEIC also provide an insurance backed warranty for up to £25,000. Therefore any work that does not meet building or electricial regulations will be rectified within the cover.

National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers (NAPIT)

NAPIT also assess their electricians on an annual basis and have a work quality guarantee scheme.

Electrical Contractors Association (ECA). Members of this association are qualified, have been practicing for at least a year and have a minimum of £2 million Public Liability Insurance. ECA electricians also work to a code of fair training and practices; their work is backed by a guarantee and is regularly assessed.

Qualified Electricians Covering Cardiff and BridgendChoosing an electrician who is registered with any of the above organisations will not only provide piece of mind that they have been assessed to show that they are competent but also that, in the event that a job does not comply with building regulations, you will be able to have the work rectified under their warrantee schemes. Therefore take care to ask to see proof that the electrician is actually registered with one of the above associations.

Find a Qualified Electrcian – Less is not always best

When arranging to have any electrical work carried out at your property, it is better to arrange to have several quotes in order that you can compare not only the prices but also what each electrician has to say about the project in the same way you would when obtaining quotes for say a loft conversion or a new house extension 

Price is not the only factor to take into consideration.

Peace Of Mind With Derwood Homes Electrical ServicesIt is worth remembering that often low price can mean low quality. It is better to make your choice not merely on cost alone but also based on the expertise and professionalism of the electrician. 

Find a Qualified Electrcian

The last thing that you want to do is to choose the electrician that is the cheapest only to risk having to pay for extras, having faulty work rectified or worse still having a fire due to inferior work.

Therefore, it is wise to take all of the above points into consideration if are looking to find a qualified electrician so you can sleep at night !

Contact Derwood Electrcial Services  HERE

Warm Regards


How To Install A Staircase With A Wow Factor

Saturday, March 9th, 2013

Top Tips On How To Install A Staircase And Give Your Home a New Lease of Life

Many of us are guilty of ignoring our staircases, seeing them merely as a means of going from one floor to another.

How to install a staircaseHowever, given that most staircases are located in hallways or foyers, they will actually be the first thing that your visitor will see and will be responsible for creating the first impression of your home. Therefore is very important to install a staircase that will create an immediate wow factor and modernise your home

How To Install A Staircase Or Modernise An Existing One

Whether you are planning on installing a new staircase or merely modernising an existing staircase, it is worth taking some time to carefully plan the overall effect that you want to create, as this will determine the style of staircase and the materials that you need to use.

If you’re keen to learn how to install a staircase there are many different ways that you can do so and many type of staircases to choose from.

Contemporary staircases including the following;

How to install a staircase – Replacing the handrails

Often simply changing the handrails can dramatically change the look of your staircase. For example replacing a wood handrail with a more modern wrought iron one.

How to install a staircase – Replacing old treads and risers

Often taking up worn out carpet can make a big difference to making your stairs appear fresher and more modern. You could then either sand down and revarnish the existing treads and risers or replace them altogether.

How to install a staircase – Modernise with paint or wallpaper

To avoid having to renew your staircase you could paint your existing handrail and stairs in a more appealing colour. For example using black and white paint can be a good choice as they are timeless colours. The white will help to freshen and brighten up the area while the black will help to add sophistication.

South wales staircase makers Derwood HomesIf you fancy a more “funky” staircase why not use stencils or wallpapers to create a more dramatic effect. For example you could wallpaper the risers with funky wallpaper to contrast the wood threads. This can help to create your very own bespoke staircase that will certainly stand out from the crowd.

How to install a staircase – Create a floating staircase

Floating staircases are stairs that have no unsightly framework or support visible. They can be created using many different materials including wood and aluminium. They work particularly well for people who want to create a very modern or minimalist effect. Some floating stairs have handrails while others don’t. However, it is advisable to opt for handrails especially if you have children.  You can also create a more “floating” effect by installing built in lighting.

Choosing the right materials will play a major part within your staircase design as different materials will create different effects. Below are some tips to help you choose the best one for you;

Wood Staircases – Wood is often regarded as being more dated and old fashioned; however with there now being so many different types of wood and different coloured stains, wood can also now offer a great way to create a modern stairs look.

Staircase Designs and ideas Derwood HomesIron Staircases – Iron has traditionally been used for making stairs for many, many years and is still a popular choice and can still create a contemporary feel.

Glass Staircases – Glass can be a great choice as it can help to showcase your stairs and won’t block off any view or space.

It can also help to make a small area look larger and more spacious.

Frosted glass Staircases – Frosted glass staircases can work well in homes that have lots of natural light and can look very sophisticated.

So who would have thought that there was so much to consider when thinking of changing or installing a staircase?

How to install a staircase or upgrade your existing one

Incredibly, the stairs are the last thing that any of us think of changing when in fact it should be one of the first given that it is actually one of the main focal points of the home. Take care to remember this the next time you decide to install a staircase.

If you would like to learn more and seek further advice or a FREE QUOTE please feel free to contact us

Derwood Homes

Designed and Built With YOU in Mind


How To Landscape A Garden To Add Value To Your Property

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

3 Tips On How To Landscape A Garden

Everyone would love to know how to landscape a garden to save money rather than employing a professional landscape gardener to do the work.  There is some thing special and inspiring about a well designed and landscaped garden.

Some people find a garden a tranquil place to ‘chill – out’ or a great place for the family to play and socialise or as a hobby.

How to landscape a garden to add value to your property

How To Landscape A Garden – Plan your garden design carefully

When you start to consider a garden makeover, it is better to sketch any proposed ideas that you may have, including shapes, colours and furniture, onto a sketch pad, ensuring to allow for the current outlay of your house and garden.

This will provide you with a better idea of whether your proposed ideas will work.

How To Landscape A Garden – Deciding on the right shapes to use

Many shapes work well within garden designs including circles, squares and rectangles.

Before deciding on the shape or shapes that you are going to use, you will need to take into consideration the size and location of your garden.

Using a variety of shapes can create a more interesting effect  overall but it if you are planning to use multiple shapes you will need to make sure that the shapes fit in neatly with each other especially if you are planning on using a combination of square or rectangle shape with a circle

Garden Builders Derwood Homes South Wales

Squares can be a particularly good shape to use as they can flow better. Alternating the squares with one lawn square followed by a flowered square can work really well.

Planting squares with pale colours can be particularly beneficial in making a small garden look larger.

You can even use square slate structures to raise the turf for a different effect.

Or the more ambitious among you could either create a Mediterranean feel by positioning an urn within a square box hedging or could change a square shape into a diamond by simply tilting the square around.

How To Landscape A Garden – Choose your plants wisely

Try to create as much variety of shrubs and plants as possible and allow for the various seasons. You will need to carefully plan your garden landscaping so that you have plants and flowers that will provide colour throughout the year.

For example you will not want to plant flowers that will only flower in the summer as during the winter your garden will look dull and lifeless.

You will also need to take care to choose the right trees and shrubs that only grow to a certain size in order that you do not have to spend time pruning them.  Reducing the size of your lawn and replacing it with low maintenance plants and flowers can also save you time.

How to landscape a garden to increase your property valueTry to plant in layers allowing the low growing plants to conceal the stems of the taller plants behind and select your colour carefully, ensuring that the colour reflects the location.

For example you would not want to use a bright, tropical colour within a more traditional setting. An old English garden type theme would be more appropriate.

It is worth taking into account that prices for garden landscaping items like plants, flowers and gardening equipment will be higher during the spring/summer seasons, therefore it is better to wait until the end of the growing season to purchase these items.

You can also save money by asking friends and families for cuttings of any of their plants or flowers that you could then plant in your own garden.

How To Landscape A Garden – Stand out from the rest

Having a well landscaped garden will without doubt help to make your home stand out from the rest and will add value too. However, it is wise to carry out thorough research, or to contact an expert, to ask advice on how to landscape a garden to create the best appeal.

Fancy someone else doing the hard work ? Contact Derwood Homes and discover How to Landscape a Garden

Designed and Built With YOU in Mind


Having a Garage Conversion Can Create Extra Space And Value To Your Home

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

South Wales Leading Garage Conversion Company Offers FREE Quotes

With cars generally getting bigger and houses getting smaller, chances are that your garage is currently being used to store half tins of paint, gardening equipment, old toys and endless storage items. Garage Conversion Specialists Derwood Homes

Many of us are missing one of the cheapest and effective ways of creating extra living space …namely having a garage conversion.

Whether you want to create a playroom, work office, gym, utility room or any other extra living space, converting your garage into an extra room can be the most cost effective and practical approach to take. However, before rushing out to arrange to have your garage converted, here are a few points to consider;

Do you need planning permission for a garage conversion?

You do not generally need planning permission to convert your garage especially if the work is internal and is not enlarging the building. However, some permitted developments rights have been removed from some properties with regard to garage conversions; therefore it is better to check with the local planning authority before proceeding.

Despite planning approval not normally being required, if you are converting a garage into a habitable space you will usually require approval under the building regulations.

How do I find out about current building regulations for having a garage conversion?

As the owner of your property, you will be legally responsible for ensuring that you comply with any planning and building regulations relating to your garage conversion. Therefore it is advisable to contact your local planning authority and building control prior to commencing  any building works.

Alternatively you could contact a local builder or architects who will usually be able to advise you and who will also liaise Cardiff Garage Conversion Specialistwith those departments on your behalf, saving you the time and effort of having to do so.

Make sure that your garage conversion matches the rest of your property

It is important, wherever possible, to ensure that the materials that you use, including windows, doors and floorings, match the rest of your house, especially the adjoining room, so that the garage does not appear an “eyesore” to the rest of the building.

It is worth remembering, that if you plan to convert your garage into an extra storage room, you can even keep the existing garage doors to save cost, and still create a lovely internal extra room.

All in all, having a garage conversion can prove an inexpensive and effective way of creating an extra room, providing more light into your home by adding glazed doors and windows and also will add value to your property… so it is a win, win solution.

Feel Free to contact us for a FREE quote HERE

Fancy a Garage Conversion ? We can design and carry out all of the work to suit your needs and budget !

Call us TODAY  0845 519 4707



South Wales Leading Orangery Specialists

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Fancy Adding an Orangery To Your Home?

As one of South Wales Leading Orangery Specialists the demand for Orangeries is growing. Whether it’s because the sun is shining or because our reputation is growing, enquiries for Orangeries has rocketed.

Vale Orangeries Builders and Specialists

We’re not complaining by any means but the question we are generally being asked is what the benefits Orangeries are over having a traditional house extension or conservatory built.

Building An Orangery… Designed and Built With You In Mind

So far enquires for us to design and build orangeries appear to be more popular that ever, so if you are considering having a new Modern Orangery added to your home take a look at the our website to read the free advice we offer.

There you will see the benefits an Orangery can have and how to go about getting one built… Building an Orangery is easier than you think.

The Benefits of Building An Orangery

In a nutshell Orangeries can add extra living space to any home that in turn can be used all year round.

They tend to be more expensive to build due to the glass roof or glass roof canopy and is installed and some of the modern more unique feature they tend to incorporate to give that extra special look and feel.

Orangery, House Extension or Conservatory?

In my view…. forget installing a conservatory.. Adding a new house extension or building an Orangery to create that much needed extra living space for you and your family will add far more value, light and a WOW factor.

For Further Free Advice on How to add an Orangery to your home take a look at our website HERE

For Your Free Quote… CONTACT  US  TODAY  or call 0845 519 4707

Warm Regards