Home Improvement: Exploiting opportunities for energy efficiency

To identify opportunities that are likely to arise for energy efficiency upgrades, start by making a list of future home improvements you plan to carry out over a number of years. then try to match these to major energy efficiency projects, such as insulation, solar installation, window and boiler replacement. Below are some planned projects and recommended opportunities for energy efficiency improvements.

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Planned project and energy efficiency opportunity 

  • Internal decoration, Re-plastering walls, Refitting kitchens, Refitting bathrooms and cloakrooms etc.

Internal wall insulation.

  • Rendering external walls.

External wall insulation

  • Re-roofing.

Photovoltaics (PV) Solar panel roof installation, Roof or loft insulation. If external wall cladding is planned, prepare the way by extending the roof at eaves level.

  • Replacement windows.

Specify high-performance windows and combine wall insulation works.

  • Replacing old hot water cylinder.

Specify a twin-coil (or triple-coil) cylinder ready for the later installation of solar water heating.

  • Replacing worn-out boiler.

Specify ‘A’-rated high-efficiency replacement boiler.

  • Replacing floorboards

Floor insulation and underfloor heating (can be paired with renewable technology).

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10 practical ways to find time to plan

Time is the one resource that we can’t buy, but we often waste it or use it ineffectively. we’re all busy people one way or the other and finding time to plan for that dream project or investment can be a challenge. Remember that what you need to do mostly is to think and you can do that almost anywhere. Here are ten ways you can find the time to plan.

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  1. Daydream – Let your imagination go wide and your thoughts take you through the journey to places you want your project or investment to be.
  2. Family time – Parents, partners and even children have the knack of knowing us better than we think. Discussing your plans and seeking their opinion might be invaluable in making and perfecting your decision.
  3. Keep a diary – Planning takes time and keeping a diary is very important to keep track on your plans and thoughts for reference when making decision.
  4. Ask for help – In today’s digital world, information and knowledge is on our fingertips. All you need to do is ask for help and research it from places and persons with the right competency, experience and skills.
  5. Walk the dog – Fresh air is good for creative thinking and waking up in the morning to walk the dog or jog will test your commitment and willingness.
  6. Indulge your partner – Book that dream activity holiday and then while you’re sat at the bar reflecting, planning and thinking, your partner can be enjoying their time and warming to the idea
  7. Take a break – If possible take a break from work to have time to plan the project or investment.
  8. Relax bath – Instead of the hurried shower, soak in the bath and let your mind wander.
  9. Lose the phone – Try travelling or having a break with your switch off, and use the freedom from distraction to explore your project or investment ideas
  10. Paint the house – Minor domestic home improvement like painting or decoration will give you more time confined to one room , free of cerebral distraction to think and plan.

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TSB announce 82 branch closure location

TSB has announced the 82 branches it plans to close in 2020, with much of the country affected.

Earlier this week, the bank announced there would be closures as part of a plan by new chief executive Debbie Crosbie to make £100m of cost cuts by 2022.

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The bank said that 370 positions would be hit by the closures.

It said it would offer help to customers and staff affected by the move.

The bank is repositioning itself following its IT crisis last year, which affected 1.9 million customers.

Robin Bulloch, customer banking director at TSB, said: “We will fully support customers through this transition.

“We realise this is difficult news for our branch partners and will do everything to support those affected to offer voluntary redundancies and redeploy as many people as we can to other roles.”

At the end of 2020, TSB will have a network of 454 branches.

Source: BBC News

 

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Home Improvement: Do I need a planning permission?

Do you want to create more space in your home, make it more energy efficient or perhaps you are looking to self-build? Whether your project is large or small, certain rules will apply in the form of permitted development rights and planning permission. Permitted development rights allow you to make minor changes to your property without having to apply for planning permission.

To find out whether your home improvement or large scale commercial project needs planning permission or building regulations approval, the UK government Planning Portal is the best place to start from. The planning portal website has a common projects and interactive guides to find out about permitted development limits or explore in-depth guidance to understand about what you need to consider at each stage of your project. To make sure everything is alright, contact your local authority, especially if you’re living in a conservative area, an Area of Outstanding Natural beauty, a World Heritage site, a National Park, or Norfolk or Suffolk Broads, where stricter planning restrictions will apply.

 

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UK housing stock grows by 9%

The number of new homes being created annually has nearly doubled during the past six years but the total continues to fall short of government targets.

The UK’s housing stock increased by 241,130 homes in 2018/2019, 9% more than during the previous 12-month period, according to figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

The majority of additions came from new build properties, with these accounting for nearly 214,000 of the total, the highest level since the 1980s.

Other homes were created from building conversions and change of use, as well as larger properties being sub-divided.

But despite the fact the number of properties added to the UK’s housing stock has increased by 93% since hitting a recent low of 124,720 in 2012/2013, the figure remained below the Government’s target of creating 300,000 new homes a year.

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation, said: “We need politicians to continue to work with us and develop policies that enable further increases to be delivered.”

Interested in buying a new property? You are in luck as 240,000 new homes have been created in a year.

Source: Zoopla Property News

 

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Manchester City centre population to double by 2025

In the four years since 2015, the city centre has added around 35,000 people, with the current total sitting at around 60,000.

Officials expect similar to happen again.

City-centre living is no longer monopolised by students and young professionals, with increasing numbers of 35-49-year-olds choosing to live in the apartment market, embracing city living.

The broadening of the population living in Manchester will inevitably lead to more demand on services such as schools, medical practices and policing.

How will fast growing cities such as Manchester City cope?

With most city centre booming and becoming increasingly residential, the potential conflict between the wants and desires of residents in town, and operators in the night-time economy, like bars and venues, is brought to the fore. The challenge will be for city councils and planners to continuously create sustainable and dynamic socio-economic environment for all to thrive.

Source: Manchester Evening News

 

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Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

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