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

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

Home is where your heart is

A proverb said so long ago is immensely significant today as well. The origin to the proverb “Home is where the heart is” is given by Roman naval commander and naturalist, Pliny the Elder. He was formerly known as Gaius Plinius Secundus.

 

Undoubtedly the concept lies in returning to the place where you belonged, have spent the most cherished time of your life and willing to invest good part of your resources to develop and maintain.

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Ralph Waldo Emerson once quoted, “A house is made with walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams.” And to build a house with love and dreams it will take skill and money.

To make your house a home you should consider home improvement that is design and decorated to your taste, personality and comfort.

Elements to consider and made available at least to a standard approved level are;

  • Flooring and tiling 
  • Furniture and fittings
  • Heating and plumbing
  • Electronic and electric gadgets
  • Security

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Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

Home Improvement: Make the most of mirrors like a magician

Magicians aren’t alone in using mirrors to their advantage.  Adding mirrors to your home is one of the easiest ways to create the illusion of space.

The 3 major ways you can use mirror for home improvement

  1. Space – make a small room or a hallway feel larger by placing a mirror on the longest wall. This will help balance the space as the reflection of the light will make the room feel wider. See the source image
  2. Focal reflector – when choosing  where to hang your mirror, think about what will be reflected in it. Use it to reflect an interesting piece of art or featured wall covered in luxe wallpaper. See the source image
  3. Piece of art – mirrors can be a piece of art in their own right. With many different designs to suit all styles, a mirror can make a statement and provide a focal point to any room. See the source image

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Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

Get garden savvy

Fancy a top class garden? Whether you’re employing a landscaper or doing it yourself it’s pertinent you know what you want from your garden.

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Below is a checklist for discussing your garden requirements with a landscape gardener or from your local garden store;

  • Who is going to use this garden (adults, children, animals)?
  • At what times of the year and day will it be used most?
  • Which activities will take place here(eating,playing,sunbathing,swimming)?
  • What do you like most in a garden?
  • What do you dislike most in a garden?
  • Are privacy and security an issue?See the source image
  • What is on your own wish list and that of your family?
  • How to incorporate and integrate your wish and that of your family?
  • Which styles of garden do you like? (internet, garden magazines and books are useful to give an idea.)
  • What is the timescale? This can be years.
  • What is the budget? (Be honest – there’s no point in stating a figure that is in fact unachievable.)
  • How will it be maintained? By yourself or staff?
  • How much time will be available for its maintenance?

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Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

Building Project: The 4 major Health and Safety signs you must know

When undertaking a building project you must comply with Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996. Safety signs and signals are required where, despite putting in place all other relevant measures, a significant risk to the health and safety of employees and others remains.

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Safety signs are in place to alert employees, customers and visitors to the risks and, where appropriate, show safe practice. Safety signs are used in a range of environments, for example traffic signs in the workplace to regulate road traffic, safety signs to identify hazards or safety signs to indicate where fire exits and fire extinguishers are.

The 4 major Health and safety signs are;

  1. Safety Condition signs (Green and White) – giving you information that is only about safety action, location of safety equipment, safety facility or escape route. Safe condition signs generally use a white safety symbol on a green background.
  2. Warning signs (Yellow and white) – alerting you to hazards or danger indicate when there are potential  safety risks or dangerous situations that require attention to anyone who is on the premises in order to protect themselves. They are highly visible and colour coded to make them easier to understand, warning signs are yellow.
  3. Mandatory signs (Blue and White) – meaning you must do something and is depicted by a blue circle with a white pictogram. They inform employees and visitors that a certain course of action must be taken; such as wearing PPE, sounding horn and washing hands. Below are our most popular ISO compliant mandatory symbols. Wear eye protection.
  4. Prohibition signs (Red and white) – meaning you must not do something such as a behaviour / action likely to cause a risk to health or safety. Prohibition signs are required to be red circle with a red diagonal line through it (running from top left to bottom right)

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Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

 

 

SMART Building project planning

Whether you are undertaking a property self build, refurbishment or renovation, it would be reasonable to expect that most on your priority will be the financial implications: how the project will be financed, how much finance is available and what the expected value of the project will be.

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In order to assist in the smooth running of the project and in particular the financial elements, your plans need to be SMART.

Specific

  • The more specific your details, the more likely it is that you will obtain the true cost for financial planning and therefore present your case for accurate borrowing requirements.

Measurable

  • Having specific details of how the cost of a particular item (labour or material) has been obtained will enable you to measure this (in monetary terms) against alternative suppliers.

Achievable

  • By carrying out this costing process (even with approximate figure), you will soon start to understand the true costs and whether they are achievable with your initial thoughts on budget costs.

Realistic

  • Above all your earning and cash flow needs to meet your planned financial spend to ensure that you can comfortably afford to complete the project.

Time-frame 

  • All elements of the project should have some sort of timescale, even if specific dates are not known.
  • You may find that due to the details involved in your specification obtaining, comparing and negotiating for the best products and deals to save and raise money before and during the project becomes easier.

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Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk