How to identify a cowboy builder

One of the most important decision you are likely to make when undertaking a building project of any size is that of employing the services of a builder or contractor. These decisions can be narrow down by making the right enquiries and only inviting appropriate  builders or contractors to quote in the first place.

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Before making the all-important decision of awarding the contract to a specific builder, it would not be unreasonable to ask to see work on which they are currently engaged. Seeing at first hand how they treat the client’s property and how they work will give you an idea of what to expect if you do decide to employ them. See the source image

Some tell-tale signs of bad building practice and irresponsible behaviours would be:

  • Untidy site
  • materials poorly stacked and unprotected
  • lack of signs generally
  • loud radios
  • poor site facilities
  • workers not wearing Personal Protective Equipment
  • poor standards of work
  • signs of burning material on-site
  • inadequate security, e.g. no fencing (if appropriate).

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Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

UK Soldier commit suicide over £13k debt used for property investor training

A soldier killed himself after paying £13,000 for training with a property company that promises to help people become “financially free”.

The family of army reservist Danny Butcher, 37, said he never made the money he thought he would.

Dozens of people want refunds from Property Investors, which has been described as operating like a “cult”.

The company, run by former illusionist Samuel Leeds, said: “People should only purchase courses they can afford.”

Mr Butcher, from Doncaster, had spoken about his mental health in the past and his family said he had existing debt before he took on loans and credit card debt to pay Property Investors.

His family said he had been led to believe he would make enough money from property deals and rental income to replace a wage or salary.

Mr Butcher’s widow Charlotte, 32, said: “I think that he felt that he’d let everyone down, that he’d messed everything up and that there was no way out of it.

Danny and Claire on their wedding day
Mr Butcher took his own life just 11 weeks after his wedding

“All he wanted was his own chance at making something of himself for me and his son, he saw this as his opportunity.

“Obviously taking out all of the loans, he put himself on the line, but it was a bit like ‘yeah it’s scary but without risk there’s no reward’.

“He genuinely thought this was his chance because of how easy they made it all sound.”

Property Investors puts on free two-day crash courses, offering people the option to sign up to a training academy where they will learn how to become “financially free” by investing in property.

The company described Mr Leeds as having “found his own success” after attending training courses, with his wealth coming “primarily from his property investment activity”.

Mr Leeds posts videos on YouTube nearly every day promoting his methods. In one he joked that he would punch people in the throat unless they subscribed to his YouTube channel.

In one clip he promises to work one-on-one with his customers, to provide “a custom, tailored, bespoke plan” and “hold your hand, make it happen”.

Mr Butcher attended a free course in March with his brother-in-law Glyn Jones.

Mr Jones said: “It felt like brainwashing, like a religious cult kind of thing but done on a much smaller scale.

“What he’s offering never appears, I don’t see how it can.”

According to his wife, Mr Butcher’s “gut instinct” told him not to sign up for the academy and he held out for two days before changing his mind, swayed by the promise of exclusive mentorship and one-to-one training.

Mr Butcher’s family said he did not get the support he had been promised.

The company said academy members had access to weekly video calls and monthly webinars with specialist property coaches.

After failing to make any money, Danny Butcher took his own life in October.

Source: BBC News

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Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

BT pension scheme MEPC property developer sold to Hermes

Hermes Investment Management has acquired MEPC, the UK property developer owned by the BT Pension Scheme (BTPS).

Hermes, which was formerly owned by BTPS, and GE Real Estate took MEPC private in 2000 as each acquired 50% of the company. Three years later, Hermes bought GE’s stake.

 

In April 2018, Federated Investors acquired a majority interest in Hermes from BTPS.

Hermes said today it is acquiring MEPC in a deal that “enhances Hermes Real Estate’s proposition by adding specialist asset and development management expertise to its existing capabilities”.

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Chris Taylor, CEO of Hermes Real Estate, said: “There are many synergies between the two brands and an already long-lasting and successful relationship, which can now be built upon further.”

James Dipple, CEO of MEPC, said: “This is an exciting transaction for MEPC, allowing us to combine our long track record of success with a leading real estate investment manager.

“Our strategic ambitions for the future are fully aligned with those of Hermes and, therefore, a strong basis for the growth of MEPC.”

A spokesperson for Hermes and MEPC said: “Having Hermes as MEPC’s parent company provides a long-term basis for its future growth with little disruption to day-to-day business. Certain investments processes are already integrated with those of Hermes.

“This acquisition greatly enhances our real estate proposition by adding specialist asset and development management expertise.

“In particular, it supports our core strategy of creating urban regeneration schemes, which not only deliver attractive financial returns but will have a positive impact on the environment and communities in which they are located – a key market differentiator for the business ahead.”

Source: IPE Real Asset

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Need help with residential and commercial property purchase/finance in the UK from start to finish, Please Contact me

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Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

Building Regulation standards: The 14 Parts you need to know

Building regulations in the United Kingdom are statutory instruments or statutory regulations that seek to ensure that the policies set out in the relevant legislation are carried out. Building regulations approval is required for most building work in the UK. Building regulations that apply across England and Wales are set out in the Building Act 1984 while those that apply across Scotland are set out in the Building Act 2003.

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Anyone wishing to undertake building work which is subject to the building regulations is required by law to make sure it complies with the regulations and to use one of the two types of building control services available, which are not free. The two types of services are:

  • The Building Control Service provided by your local authority.
  • The Building Control Service provided by approved inspectors.

It is important to understand the areas that require compliance.

The 14 ‘parts’ of schedule 1 to the building regulations are:

  1. A – Structure
  2. B – Fire safety
  3. C – Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture
  4. D – Toxic substances
  5. E – Resistance to the passage of sound
  6. F – Ventilation
  7. G – Hygiene
  8. H – Drainage and waste disposal
  9. J – Combustion appliances and fuel storage systems
  10. K – Protection from falling,collision and impact
  11. L – Conservation of fuel and power
  12. M – Access to and use of buildings
  13. N – Glazing – safety in relation to impact, opening and cleaning
  14. P – Electrical safety

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Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

Landlords & Property Owners: Do I need a new EPC to meet government legislation?

As from the 1st April 2018 there is a requirement for any properties rented out in the private rented sector to normally have a minimum energy performance rating of E on an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The regulations came into force for new lets and renewals of tenancies with effect from 1st April 2018 and for all existing tenancies on 1st April 2020. It will be unlawful to rent a property which breaches the requirement for a minimum E rating, unless there is an applicable exemption. A civil penalty of up to £4,000 will be imposed for breaches. This guidance summarizes the regulations. There are separate regulations effective from 1st April 2016 under which a tenant can apply for consent to carry out energy efficiency improvements in privately rented properties.

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For most landlords and home owners this will mean that they will no longer be able to rent out a property with a rating of F or G after April 1st 2018. As such landlords with properties in this EPC bracket should begin preparing now for April 1st. However, there are several nuances and exceptions, which this guide covers in detail.

IMPORTANT NOTE

The ending of state aid for the Green Deal means that changes need to be made to the Regulations imposing minimum energy efficiency standards in the PRS. From April 1st 2019 landlords will now have to pay towards the required energy efficiency improvements to bring it up to standard if there is no third party funding available.

Research has also identified that energy performance certificates (EPCs) understate the thermal efficiency of solid walls. Many PRS properties have solid walls. Usually they were built pre-1918 but can be later. The Government have now recalibrated EPCs to give a truer reading. This could mean that some solid wall properties currently rated F under an EPC will no longer require any work and less work may be required in the case of a G rated property. Landlords of F and G rated solid wall properties are therefore advised to consider having a new EPC check performed. In these cases, obtaining a new EPC may mean that you no longer need to comply with the Regulations or less work may be required.

To find out if you need a new EPC contact me or follow the government website link below for a comprehensive guidance;

Source: Gov.UK

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Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk