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Archive for February, 2020

Increasing The Value Of Your Property In 2020

February 26th, 2020 Comments off

For the first time in two years, house prices have risen in every region of the UK, which spells good news for companies, individuals and investors around the country.

This might be a cause for celebration for many, but with the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, no one can predict how long this buoyant housing market will last.

As such, it’s important that property owners focus on enhancing the value of their buildings and creating spaces that will sell.

To help, here are some of our tips on the latest desirable features for your property and the techniques you can use to make it appeal to potential buyers.

Create More Space

Potential buyers are looking for a spacious property, so try to make yours as open as possible. The layout of your property is particularly important, as this will help you to create the space your target buyers desire. Renovation specialists houseUP have extensive experience extending basements, redesigning properties and raising the value of homes throughout Chiswick and the Greater London area. Visit houseup.co.uk to find out more about the services they offer and how they could raise the value of your property.

Ensure Your Property Is Energy Efficient

Thanks to the climate crisis and growing concern about the impact humans are having on the planet, creating an energy efficient property is now a great way to raise its value. Install double glazing and cover any gaps between door and window frames to reduce drafts. If you want a higher energy rating and more interest in your home, then consider installing sustainable energy sources such as solar panels or wind turbines.

Kerb Appeal Is Important

The first impression that every visitor has can make a surprising difference to the value of your home, particularly in 2020, when many new homeowners are keen to have an Instagram-worthy property they can show off. Enhance the façade of your property to make it desirable and increase the value of the entire house.

Incorporate Cutting-Edge Smart Home Technology

In today’s digital society, almost every aspect of your home can be linked to an innovative device, allowing you to keep your home heated, secure and lit at the touch of a button. Show your potential buyers that your home has all the functions they want by installing the latest smart home technologies. These solutions can add value to your home by creating a smart, connected house that discerning buyers will appreciate.

Build An Outdoor Paradise In Your Garden

It’s not just the inside of your home that has an impact on its value; you also need to create an appealing garden, if your property has one. Plant perennial flowers that will return year after year to ensure that you have a constant supply of blooms to encourage potential buyers.

Increasing the value of your property will allow you to achieve incredible return on investment and sell your home faster. This article should help you to create a property that potential buyers will be drawn to and see the value in.

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Top 10 Most Profitable Landmarks to Live Next To

February 25th, 2020 Comments off

Did you know that living near some of the country’s most loved landmarks can increase the value of local homes?

This research was uncovered by thinkmoney who analysed the house prices of homes with the postal district of the most reviewed tourism sights in the UK’s major cities. They then compared the results to the average house price in each to reveal if Britain’s landmarks can really add value to your home. https://www.thinkmoney.co.uk/news-advice/is-your-home-worth-more-if-you-live-near-a-landmark-0-8734-0.htm

Key Stats:

  • Living near some of the UK’s best-rated tourist spots can boost your property’s value by up to 60%.
  • The most profitable landmark to live nearby is Wolverhampton’s ‘National Trust Wightwick Manor’. Living in the same postal code can increase your house price by 60% (£310,701) when compared to the average cost of a Wolverhampton property.  
  • Comparatively, living near ‘Cardiff Castle’ has the most detrimental effect on the value of local home’s. Living within the same postal code can decrease a property’s value by 22% (£56,62) when compared to the average cost of a Cardiff property.  

Here are thinkmoney’s calculations in full.  

Top 10 Most Profitable Landmarks to Live Next To
Position City Landmark % Increase of Local House Value Price Increase (Compared to the average cost of a house in the city)
1 Wolverhampton National Trust Wightwick Manor +60% £310,701
2 Glasgow Hunterian Art Gallery +44% £152,525
3 Bristol Clifton Suspension Bridge +42% £245,952
4 Sheffield Botanical Gardens +36% £119,192
5 Gateshead Angel of the North +30% £41,623
6 Bradford Bronte Parsonage Museum +24% £42,505
7 Coventry Warwick Arts Centre +22% £62,084
8 Belfast Titanic Quarter +16% £29,735
9 Birmingham Cadbury’s World +10% £22,456
10 Edinburgh Edinburgh Zoo +10% £17,441

Expert Comments:

Zoe Patrick, Director of Sales & Letting at Patrick Oliver, said: “Living near a local landmark can help sell your home, but it does depend on the landmark! As some will love being next to an icon, others will find the crowds and attention associated with tourism spots too much. Therefore, whilst landmarks can add an intrinsic value, there are so many other factors that will always be considered as well”

Benjamin Heginbotham, Director of Architectural Design firm The Practical Planning Company, also stated that “there are many factors that can help sell a property, but a house located near a popular landmark provides bragging rights like nothing else, primarily because of the view it offers. Of course, if you’re not lucky enough to own a property in a landmark location, and your view is more car park than a castle, there are still plenty of ways to add value to your home and make it easier to sell.”

Interested in the full findings? Thinkmoney have also analysed whether living near football stadiums can decrease house value: https://www.thinkmoney.co.uk/news-advice/is-your-home-worth-more-if-you-live-near-a-landmark-0-8734-0.htm  

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College’s timber talent given safety briefing on roof construction

February 24th, 2020 Comments off

The next generation of timber industry professionals were provided with a vital briefing on safety and quality issues in trussed rafter roof construction at the first Talking Timber event held at Neath Port Talbot College (NPTC) Group this month.

With the UK construction industry facing serious skills shortages, the current generations of students are the focus of a lot of attention and effort to ensure that they stay within the industry and can provide a well-informed, highly safety-conscious workforce.

Nick Boulton, chief executive of the Trussed Rafter Association (TRA), talked to the NPTC Group’s carpentry and joinery students about career options within the timber engineering sector.

The students were taught about the 10 fundamental steps of site safety that must be followed when handling, storing and installing trussed rafters, and were shown the types of trussed rafters and their different applications.

Organised by the Western Timber Trade Association (WTTA), the event brought together experts from across the timber industry to inspire the up-and-coming timber talent.

Nick Boulton, said:

“It was important for the TRA to partner with WTTA and the other organisations involved in the event hosted by NPTC Group, and to talk directly to the students who will play such a pivotal role in our industry within just a few years. Safety is at the forefront of everything that the TRA does. The event allowed us to communicate our essential messages about site safety, industry good practice and the importance of quality installation to the next generation of site carpenters and joiners in the South Wales region.”

The TRA has a wealth of careers and health and safety information available. Many of its technical documents are free to download.

www.tra.org.uk

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5 versatile products that materialise architectural visions

February 21st, 2020 Comments off

Iconic buildings are brought to life by an amazing alchemical mixture of inspiration, intelligence, persuasion, practicality and precise project management.

But they would never move from drawing board sketches to brick and mortar edifices without the products that provide structural integrity and distinct stylistic flair.

With that in mind, here are five versatile products that materialise architectural visions.

  1. Concrete

Although concrete is man-made, when applied with the requisite skill and imagination, it can bring organic lines to life in a unique and unusual manner.

An excellent example of this is the precast concrete cliff face of the iconic V&A Museum in Dundee. Architect Kengo Kuma’s inspiration for the fabulous façade was the dramatic cliff faces found on Scotland’s north-east coast and, thanks to this creative spark, this futuristic building blends beautifully into its River Tay location.

  • Glass

From the symbolic stained glass of medieval churches to modern double-glazing, glass is a material which has served decorative and practical purposes since time immemorial.

And architectural glass is perhaps used to its most breath taking effect in the skyscrapers which punctuate our city skylines – think of The Shard’s sharp, sparkling stiletto thrusting heavenward and there’s no doubt that this sand-based substance can create fantastic flights of fancy.

  • Stone

Stone is used less on modern buildings than it was in the past – a solid stone dwelling is more expensive than a brick and timber kit edifice and sadly, some traditional stonemasonry skills are in danger of being lost to the history books.

However, there are some stunning instances of this terrifically tactile material being applied with artistry to reasonably modern buildings – the Scottish Parliament’s Canongate Wall is a particularly fine example.

  • Wood

Wood has been a construction material of choice since Noah built the ark – and it’s currently having a bit of a moment in contemporary architecture.

Engineered timber forms like CLT (Cross-Laminated Timber) are so versatile that they can be used to create everything from floors and walls to stairs and soundproof chambers. Architect Alex de Rijke of dRMM won the 2017 Stirling Prize for his CLT rebuild of Hastings Pier, while architects Waugh Thistleton created a nine-storey block built from engineered timber in Murray Grove, north London.

  • Wire

Wire is a wonderful material that’s used in a wealth of applications – from heat transfer and object suspension to puppetry and sculpture.

And it stands the test of time, because wire and braid experts Ormiston Wire have been diversifying their offering since the firm was founded in 1793 – projects of note include the umbrellas adorning Heathrow’s Terminal 5, the eclipse of electrified moths above Old Spitalfield’s Market and Thomas Heatherwick’s Bleigiessen sculpture at The Wellcome Trust in London’s Euston Road.

And voila – a quintet of marvellous materials that have made some of the most memorable architectural projects possible.

We can’t wait to see how these products are harnessed in future as out towns and cities transmogrify to meet the demands of future citizens.

So ends our list, but please share your own thoughts on brilliant building materials in the comments section!

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3 ways to promote your construction firm online

February 20th, 2020 Comments off

The rise of digital has dissolved location-based barriers for construction firms, providing ample opportunities for reaching a much wider clientele.

But with any man and his dog able to set up a website or listing for their construction firm, just how do you ensure that yours is top of the list when people are searching for and shortlisting reputable contractors?

The answers lie in these three effective ways to promote your construction firm online.

  1. Blogging

Long gone are the days where blogging was a hobby for budding writers looking to connect with people with similar interests. Nowadays it’s the lifeblood of a business’ digital strategy that can help your website secure a high Google ranking.

As a construction firm, reputation is everything, so use blogs to show off your knowledge and expertise to customers and build a positive perception of your brand.

Your blogs put the customer first by focusing primarily on providing answers to the problems they’re facing. Do this on a regular basis and your blog will become required reading for people in your niche.

No one will know your industry and construction firm better than you, but if crafting copy isn’t your strong suit, consider hiring a content writer from a copywriting platform such as Copify, who can write and/or edit your blogs to a professional standard. 

  • Video

We’ve all heard the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words”. It’s true – visual content allows you to show rather than tell people how great your construction firm is. This makes it a highly effective tool for building trust with consumers.

For example, you can use photos to show the stages of a successful construction project you’ve undertaken and prove that your work is of the highest quality. Alternatively, you can use video to inject more life into your customer testimonials by recording satisfied clients singing your praises and post it on your website and social media.

If a video camera is tool you’re not used to working with, get in touch with a visual communications agency such as SNS Group and let their expert team create a fantastic video for you, whilst you keep busy on the building site.

  • Social Media

Social media gives you direct access to your audience, which means you can avoid waiting aimlessly for them to land on your website.

Here you can charm them with your blogs and visual content and include links to your site. So find out which social media platforms your target customers are using, set up profiles on a couple, post useful company information and engaging content on a regular basis and you’ll be onto a winner. 

Think of your construction firm as a living breathing person on social media and don’t be afraid to inject a bit of personality and interact with customers by replying to their comments and messages. In doing so, they’ll come to view you as a friend and be more likely to pay for your services and remain loyal to your brand.

Follow our advice and you’ll soon have a dedicated and engaged online following to support your construction firm.

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Encouraging Diversity and Equality in Trade Roles

February 19th, 2020 Comments off

In just 35 years, society has changed in so many ways. Sky News noted that, back in 1984, 42 per cent of people felt that men ought to be the breadwinners and women ought to be the homemakers. But 35 years later, only eight per cent of people still agreed with this idea.

Gender is only a small part of diversity and equality issues, of course. In recent years, workplaces have moved to ensure these elements are honoured in among their employees. In this article, we’re highlighting the success stories from trade jobs!

Taking on quarries at 22

In 2019, the BBC reported on the success of Emily Burridge. Burridge had entered into the world of construction via an apprenticeship scheme. But this isn’t just an example of a woman getting her foot in the door to a stereotypically male-orientated industry. Burridge hasn’t just gotten into the sector — she’s excelled, making her a brilliant example of why the industry must recognise the importance of equality and diversity.

Burridge, a technical production manager, had managed 25 quarries by just 22 years old. Not only is she representing the women in a male-dominated sector, she’s also championing the case for age equality and diversity too. Though she is only in her early twenties, Burridge replaced a man who was of retirement age. Even though her staff are mostly older men, Burridge has had no problem in integrating with and leading her staff.

The UK’s Apprentice of the Year

There were more success stories in 2019 too. Later on in the year, Todd Scanlon won the prestigious “UK’s Best Apprentice” award from On The Tools. Thirty-year-old Scanlon has Down’s Syndrome, but this has proven to be no obstacle for him on his journey to forge a career. Scanlon has always wanted to work in scaffolding, and after talking to a local company and showing his determination, Scanlon has not only become a permanent worker on their team but has been voted the UK’s best apprentice 2019.

Scanlon is a valued member of the team. His boss commented that he is hard-working, enthusiastic, polite, and the customers love him. Taking Scanlon on as a member of the team wasn’t any cause for concern for Coles Scaffolding, and the apprentice has more than proven his skill and willingness to learn over and over again. What more could an employer ask for from his workforce?

“I think it’s mainly because it is thought people with a disability shouldn’t be in our industry,” Martyn Coles, Scanlon’s employer, said of the win. “He’s just shown that you can do it with the right guidance. He’s just a likeable guy.”

Creating a better industry

As we head into 2020, we’re sure to see more and more examples of diversity within trade roles. And this, says Richard Walker from rubbish removal experts Skip Hire, is exactly what these industries need:

“For too many years the industry has suffered with a negative perception and reputation creating a stigma that has acted as a barrier to entry to a more diverse talent pool of workers. As innovation and technology play its part in modernising ways of working in the sector, together with schemes such as apprenticeships, we’re not only seeing a more diverse workplace, but a more talented, skilled, and varied workforce.”

We’ve seen so much success across trade jobs in 2019. No doubt we’ll see even more throughout 2020!

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Minor Home Improvements That Make A Major Difference

February 17th, 2020 Comments off

We all want to make our homes as comfortable and attractive as possible – it makes them more pleasant to live in and more profitable when it’s time to pack up and move onwards and upwards.

But if you don’t have the wherewithal or skills to undertake a major refurbishment project like a full-blown two room extension or ornate orangery, can smaller-scale projects really deliver a decent ROI?

Switching up your cushion covers and replacing curtains won’t cut it – we’re talking tasks that don’t cost a fortune but make a permanent, positive difference to your living environment.

If you want to add new dimensions to your domestic sanctuary, here are a few fantastic minor home improvements that make a major difference.

Colour changes

Changing the colour of your kitchen, hallway or living room can have a subtle yet significant effect on its overall ambience.

For instance, classic blue is Pantone’s colour of the year for 2020 and allegedly signifies a sense of anticipatory wonder about what lies ahead in life – that transformation in your home energy might be a bit of a tall order from a tin of paint, candle or chair, but if you’re stagnating in an ecru ensemble, this dynamic dusky shade is probably preferable.

Flooring fixes

Love the tactile, organic look or hardwood floors but can’t be bothered with the upkeep and expense?

Enter laminate flooring – it’s reasonably-priced, easy to fit yourself and comes in a variety of increasingly sophisticated styles that marvelously mirror the look of real wood. Plus, it’s much easier to clean than a carpet, which is a godsend when you’ve got messy kids and mucky pets.

Fascia and soffit switches

You might not give your roof a second thought during daily life (unless it’s falling apart!), but when it’s in tip-top condition, it can really refresh your home exterior.

The cost of fascia and soffit replacement can range from £1000-£3000 depending on the size and location of your property, but it’s a small price to pay for a roofline that really pops and presents the rest of your exterior in its best light.

Decked out

We can’t control the weather, but we can make sure that our gardens are organised to help us take advantage of blazing summer days or bracing autumn evenings.

And decking is one of the best ways of keeping our dear green places ship-shape – it creates comfortable and cosy areas for everything from barbecuing and sunbathing to stargazing and socialising. There are many suppliers to choose from, but Wickes is a good place to start comparing different designs.

 Doors of perception

Replacing your internal doors is an outstanding way of transforming your interior – it can let you maximise internal life and create spaces that are contained and cloistered, open and accessible or something in between.

We all want to make our homes as comfortable and attractive as possible – it makes them more pleasant to live in and more profitable when it’s time to pack up and move onwards and upwards.

But if you don’t have the wherewithal or skills to undertake a major refurbishment project like a full-blown two room extension or ornate orangery, can smaller-scale projects really deliver a decent ROI?

Switching up your cushion covers and replacing curtains won’t cut it – we’re talking tasks that don’t cost a fortune but make a permanent, positive difference to your living environment.

If you want to add new dimensions to your domestic sanctuary, here are a few fantastic minor home improvements that make a major difference.

Colour changes

Changing the colour of your kitchen, hallway or living room can have a subtle yet significant effect on its overall ambience.

For instance, classic blue is Pantone’s colour of the year for 2020 and allegedly signifies a sense of anticipatory wonder about what lies ahead in life – that transformation in your home energy might be a bit of a tall order from a tin of paint, candle or chair, but if you’re stagnating in an ecru ensemble, this dynamic dusky shade is probably preferable.

Flooring fixes

Love the tactile, organic look or hardwood floors but can’t be bothered with the upkeep and expense?

Enter laminate flooring – it’s reasonably-priced, easy to fit yourself and comes in a variety of increasingly sophisticated styles that marvelously mirror the look of real wood. Plus, it’s much easier to clean than a carpet, which is a godsend when you’ve got messy kids and mucky pets.

Fascia and soffit switches

You might not give your roof a second thought during daily life (unless it’s falling apart!), but when it’s in tip-top condition, it can really refresh your home exterior.

The cost of fascia and soffit replacement can range from £1000-£3000 depending on the size and location of your property, but it’s a small price to pay for a roofline that really pops and presents the rest of your exterior in its best light.

Decked out

We can’t control the weather, but we can make sure that our gardens are organised to help us take advantage of blazing summer days or bracing autumn evenings.

And decking is one of the best ways of keeping our dear green places ship-shape – it creates comfortable and cosy areas for everything from barbecuing and sunbathing to stargazing and socialising. There are many suppliers to choose from, but Wickes is a good place to start comparing different designs.

 Doors of perception

Replacing your internal doors is an outstanding way of transforming your interior – it can let you maximise internal life and create spaces that are contained and cloistered, open and accessible or something in between.

If you can’t decide on the right designs, door supplier Oakwood Doors has an excellent range or stylish and practical products – you can thank us later.

We all want to make our homes as comfortable and attractive as possible – it makes them more pleasant to live in and more profitable when it’s time to pack up and move onwards and upwards.

But if you don’t have the wherewithal or skills to undertake a major refurbishment project like a full-blown two room extension or ornate orangery, can smaller-scale projects really deliver a decent ROI?

Switching up your cushion covers and replacing curtains won’t cut it – we’re talking tasks that don’t cost a fortune but make a permanent, positive difference to your living environment.

If you want to add new dimensions to your domestic sanctuary, here are a few fantastic minor home improvements that make a major difference.

Colour changes

Changing the colour of your kitchen, hallway or living room can have a subtle yet significant effect on its overall ambience.

For instance, classic blue is Pantone’s colour of the year for 2020 and allegedly signifies a sense of anticipatory wonder about what lies ahead in life – that transformation in your home energy might be a bit of a tall order from a tin of paint, candle or chair, but if you’re stagnating in an ecru ensemble, this dynamic dusky shade is probably preferable.

Flooring fixes

Love the tactile, organic look or hardwood floors but can’t be bothered with the upkeep and expense?

Enter laminate flooring – it’s reasonably-priced, easy to fit yourself and comes in a variety of increasingly sophisticated styles that marvelously mirror the look of real wood. Plus, it’s much easier to clean than a carpet, which is a godsend when you’ve got messy kids and mucky pets.

Fascia and soffit switches

You might not give your roof a second thought during daily life (unless it’s falling apart!), but when it’s in tip-top condition, it can really refresh your home exterior.

The cost of fascia and soffit replacement can range from £1000-£3000 depending on the size and location of your property, but it’s a small price to pay for a roofline that really pops and presents the rest of your exterior in its best light.

Decked out

We can’t control the weather, but we can make sure that our gardens are organised to help us take advantage of blazing summer days or bracing autumn evenings.

And decking is one of the best ways of keeping our dear green places ship-shape – it creates comfortable and cosy areas for everything from barbecuing and sunbathing to stargazing and socialising. There are many suppliers to choose from, but Wickes is a good place to start comparing different designs.

 Doors of perception

Replacing your internal doors is an outstanding way of transforming your interior – it can let you maximise internal life and create spaces that are contained and cloistered, open and accessible or something in between.

If you can’t decide on the right designs, door supplier Oakwood Doors has an excellent range or stylish and practical products – you can thank us later.

If you can’t decide on the right designs, door supplier Oakwood Doors has an excellent range or stylish and practical products – you can thank us later.

We all want to make our homes as comfortable and attractive as possible – it makes them more pleasant to live in and more profitable when it’s time to pack up and move onwards and upwards.

But if you don’t have the wherewithal or skills to undertake a major refurbishment project like a full-blown two room extension or ornate orangery, can smaller-scale projects really deliver a decent ROI?

Switching up your cushion covers and replacing curtains won’t cut it – we’re talking tasks that don’t cost a fortune but make a permanent, positive difference to your living environment.

If you want to add new dimensions to your domestic sanctuary, here are a few fantastic minor home improvements that make a major difference.

Colour changes

Changing the colour of your kitchen, hallway or living room can have a subtle yet significant effect on its overall ambience.

For instance, classic blue is Pantone’s colour of the year for 2020 and allegedly signifies a sense of anticipatory wonder about what lies ahead in life – that transformation in your home energy might be a bit of a tall order from a tin of paint, candle or chair, but if you’re stagnating in an ecru ensemble, this dynamic dusky shade is probably preferable.

Flooring fixes

Love the tactile, organic look or hardwood floors but can’t be bothered with the upkeep and expense?

Enter laminate flooring – it’s reasonably-priced, easy to fit yourself and comes in a variety of increasingly sophisticated styles that marvelously mirror the look of real wood. Plus, it’s much easier to clean than a carpet, which is a godsend when you’ve got messy kids and mucky pets.

Fascia and soffit switches

You might not give your roof a second thought during daily life (unless it’s falling apart!), but when it’s in tip-top condition, it can really refresh your home exterior.

The cost of fascia and soffit replacement can range from £1000-£3000 depending on the size and location of your property, but it’s a small price to pay for a roofline that really pops and presents the rest of your exterior in its best light.

Decked out

We can’t control the weather, but we can make sure that our gardens are organised to help us take advantage of blazing summer days or bracing autumn evenings.

And decking is one of the best ways of keeping our dear green places ship-shape – it creates comfortable and cosy areas for everything from barbecuing and sunbathing to stargazing and socialising. There are many suppliers to choose from, but Wickes is a good place to start comparing different designs.

 Doors of perception

Replacing your internal doors is an outstanding way of transforming your interior – it can let you maximise internal life and create spaces that are contained and cloistered, open and accessible or something in between.

If you can’t decide on the right designs, door supplier Oakwood Doors has an excellent range or stylish and practical products – you can thank us later.

If you can’t decide on the right designs, door supplier Oakwood Doors has an excellent range or stylish and practical products – you can thank us later.

We all want to make our homes as comfortable and attractive as possible – it makes them more pleasant to live in and more profitable when it’s time to pack up and move onwards and upwards.

But if you don’t have the wherewithal or skills to undertake a major refurbishment project like a full-blown two room extension or ornate orangery, can smaller-scale projects really deliver a decent ROI?

Switching up your cushion covers and replacing curtains won’t cut it – we’re talking tasks that don’t cost a fortune but make a permanent, positive difference to your living environment.

If you want to add new dimensions to your domestic sanctuary, here are a few fantastic minor home improvements that make a major difference.

Colour changes

Changing the colour of your kitchen, hallway or living room can have a subtle yet significant effect on its overall ambience.

For instance, classic blue is Pantone’s colour of the year for 2020 and allegedly signifies a sense of anticipatory wonder about what lies ahead in life – that transformation in your home energy might be a bit of a tall order from a tin of paint, candle or chair, but if you’re stagnating in an ecru ensemble, this dynamic dusky shade is probably preferable.

Flooring fixes

Love the tactile, organic look or hardwood floors but can’t be bothered with the upkeep and expense?

Enter laminate flooring – it’s reasonably-priced, easy to fit yourself and comes in a variety of increasingly sophisticated styles that marvelously mirror the look of real wood. Plus, it’s much easier to clean than a carpet, which is a godsend when you’ve got messy kids and mucky pets.

Fascia and soffit switches

You might not give your roof a second thought during daily life (unless it’s falling apart!), but when it’s in tip-top condition, it can really refresh your home exterior.

The cost of fascia and soffit replacement can range from £1000-£3000 depending on the size and location of your property, but it’s a small price to pay for a roofline that really pops and presents the rest of your exterior in its best light.

Decked out

We can’t control the weather, but we can make sure that our gardens are organised to help us take advantage of blazing summer days or bracing autumn evenings.

And decking is one of the best ways of keeping our dear green places ship-shape – it creates comfortable and cosy areas for everything from barbecuing and sunbathing to stargazing and socialising. There are many suppliers to choose from, but Wickes is a good place to start comparing different designs.

 Doors of perception

Replacing your internal doors is an outstanding way of transforming your interior – it can let you maximise internal life and create spaces that are contained and cloistered, open and accessible or something in between.

If you can’t decide on the right designs, door supplier Oakwood Doors has an excellent range or stylish and practical products – you can thank us later.

If you can’t decide on the right designs, door supplier Oakwood Doors has an excellent range or stylish and practical products – you can thank us later.

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WoodFest comes to Cardiff

February 17th, 2020 Comments off

WoodFest Cardiff is coming to Wales to celebrate how the country is using wood in design and construction.

Taking place between February and May and featuring a variety of events, WoodFest Cardiff will focus on low carbon housing, connecting communities, local timber and healthy building products. It is organised by the UK timber industry’s campaign, Wood for Good, in collaboration with The Timber Research and Development Association (TRADA), Woodknowledge Wales, Western Timber Trade Association (WTTA) and many more.

As the climate emergency continues to dominate the news agenda, WoodFest Cardiff will demonstrate how building with wood can help. A series of events, seminars, exhibitions and site visits will take place throughout the coming months. WoodFest Cardiff is a learning and knowledge-sharing opportunity for architects, engineers, placemakers, planners, developers, contractors, industry and political professionals.

One of the highlights of WoodFest Cardiff is TRADA’s annual university challenge. Hosted at Cardiff University between 17 and 19 February, 60 students from 30 UK universities will showcase their talent by creating a design concept for a sustainable housing community using timber. The brief is given by Wales & West Housing, with judges from a broad cross-section of disciplines such as engineering, architecture and landscape architecture, including 2019’s Stirling Prize winner, architectural practice, Mikhail Riches.

During the university challenge, Cardiff University will be hosting an evening event dedicated to building performance. The keynote speakers are energy consultants Nick Grant, from Elemental Solutions, and Sally Godber, of WARM, who will share how to achieve Passivhaus standards and their experience of using timber.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) will host a series of events. Workshops exploring the concept of Active Building will be held in Swansea on 20 February and in Cardiff on 27 February. Sustainable design in historic buildings is the theme for a seminar in Machynlleth on 30 March and an interactive seminar on Inclusive Environments will conclude RIBA’s events in Cardiff on 22 April.

Further events, held by Woodknowledge Wales, include the following:

  • Rob Thomas, director and architect at r+m studio in Cardiff, will talk about the exemplar zero carbon build solution developed as part of the Home-Grown Homes Project (HGHP), at the Welsh School of Architecture in February.
  • A TRADA event exploring timber construction and manufacturing as part of the HGHP research on better manufacturing homes will take place on 19 March.
  • Cardiff Metropolitan University is hosting an invite-only pilot day on measuring building performance on 7 May with Diana Waldron, lead on building performance within HGHP.
  • Jane Anderson from the Alliance of Sustainable Building Products (ASBP) will deliver an invite-only workshop on embodied carbon alongside Pentan Architects on 20 May.

Christiane Lellig, Wood for Good campaign director, said:

“WoodFest is proving to be a successful way to bring together the key people involved with design and construction to discuss the benefits of timber or to share their discoveries.

“The built environment is under scrutiny in terms of the environmental impact that buildings have on the planet. WoodFest is an opportunity to learn more about decarbonisation and net zero carbon emissions and how wood can be part of the solution to this global issue.”

Keep up to date with the latest events for WoodFest at www.woodforgood.com

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Crow to take O.C.O Technology to new heights in sustainability

February 12th, 2020 Comments off

Environmental industry expert Martin Crow has joined carbon capture technology specialists O.C.O Technology as a consultant to spearhead the launch of a new sustainability programme.

It marks the latest stage in Crow’s award-winning career which spans over 40 years, including more than two decades with Hanson UK, most recently as senior sustainability manager.

Steve Greig, managing director of O.C.O Technology, sees his involvement as a “real coup” for the business, which uses its Accelerated Carbonation Technology (ACT) process to treat a wide range of thermal wastes, producing the world’s first truly carbon negative aggregate M-LS (short for Manufactured LimeStone).

It is suitable for a wide range of applications across the construction industry, including blocks, precast and ready-mix concrete.

“We know that as we continue to grow on the international stage and broaden our areas of expertise, customers want to know that our world-leading technology is underpinned with a clear commitment to environmental and sustainability policies,” said Greig.

“Martin is very well-known and highly-respected within the minerals environmental sector and we can think of no-one better in terms of industry expertise and knowledge to help us deliver those goals.”

Crow, who was recently presented with an MPA Special Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Mineral Products Association, will be focusing on areas including attainment of the BRE’s BES 6001 certification on responsible sourcing of construction products; and working towards achieving an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), which focuses on the life-cycle environmental impact of products.

Crow commented: “I am delighted to be working alongside the O.C.O Technology team. The innovative processes they have developed combine the circular economy with carbon utilisation and are already delivering impressive benefits, not only to the construction industry, but also in terms of treatment options for the waste sector.

“I look forward to developing the necessary strategies and protocols around a strong sustainability platform that will help shape the business into a global force in years to come.”

M-LS gains its carbon negative credentials because more carbon dioxide (CO2) is permanently captured than is generated during its manufacturing process. For every tonne of M-LS aggregate used, 1.4 tonnes of natural aggregate is saved.

In 2019, it is estimated that M-LS BlockMix, specially formulated for use in concrete masonry blocks, was used in well over 25 million blocks – the equivalent to building more than 10,000 three-bedroom homes.

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The construction industry will lose a fifth of its workforce to retirement.

February 11th, 2020 Comments off

With the construction industry facing its biggest skills shortage since 2007, it’s more vital than ever that the industry recruits new talent to its ranks. In fact, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) believes that more than 200,000 skilled workers are needed by the mid-2020s.

It doesn’t help that the industry is also suffering from an ageing workforce. Data from the 2011 census showed that one in five employees in the construction industry were aged over 55. This means that by 2020 the industry will lose a fifth of its workforce to retirement — without enough newcomers to replace them.

The clear solution is to attract young workers to close the skills gap and ensure that there’s enough manpower for the construction industry to hit its targets.

However, it’s not that simple.

Break down preconceptions

The industry is still seen as undesirable to young people, with only 10% showing an interest in a career in construction. This study by L&Q Group found that 50% of the young people surveyed were interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), yet the construction industry was described as “challenging and unexciting”.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Below, health and safety experts 3B explores what steps can be taken by construction companies, and the industry as a whole, to remove the stigma young people have with construction and how to attract a new, vibrant workforce.

1. Pique their interest

Although manual labour is still a huge aspect of construction, there’s a lot more on offer than hard hats and muddy boots.

Whether it’s drones, 3D printing or augmented reality, the construction industry has embraced innovations in tech and can offer exciting roles that simply aren’t available in other sectors. As a generation that lives and breathes technology, there are plenty of exciting opportunities for young people to get involved in.

The industry has already begun to better educate young people on some of the exciting roles in construction. However, it needs to start shouting louder about the revolutionary technology and range of career opportunities available to attract the future talent it needs.

2. Perks are key

Perks were once seen as a retention tool for employers as a way to keep their employees sweet.

Today, though, things are different., A survey by Perkbox found that Generation Z (your future workforce) value workplace perks more than any other generation. 36% claim that it can make a big difference when choosing where to work.

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