Aluminium Windows: A Buyer’s Guide

Aluminium Windows: A Buyer's Guide


Aluminium windows have recently become the material of choice when it comes to finishing modern homes and, more increasingly, renovating period-style properties.

Glazing plays a huge part in defining new builds’ elevations and refreshing an existing homes’ kerb appeal. It’s therefore worth prioritising your time when it comes to designing the way you want them to look.

Sleek and versatile, aluminium windows come in all shapes, sizes and colours (yes, companies offer more than just Anthracite). However, it pays to be savvy in your shopping and look out for the best value for money. This means watching out for build quality in terms of finish and security, not just the cheapest price.

Are Aluminium Windows the Best Option?

One of the main attractions to aluminium windows is their slim sightlines that won’t break up or look out of place against a large expanse of glazing but there are many more practical advantages to choosing aluminium frames over other materials:

  • Lightweight and versatile but durable
  • Resilient to warping, corrosion and flexing
  • Thermally efficient
  • Although more costly than uPVC upfront, aluminium frames last longer and overall they are more affordable than timber
  • 100% recyclable
  • Almost completely maintenance free

Sightlines

‘Flush’ is the key word when choosing aluminium as the way the opening and fixed glass elements sit against each other side by side will make an impact of the slick look of the finished product.

Uniform sightlines result in stylish, seamless exterior façades and many architects and homeowners want a system in which all units are identical.

Finish

Many manufacturers offer frames prefinished in any RAL colour, which means greater flexibility when considering the kerb appeal. That said, black and anthracite reign supreme for more traditional and period homes as they can replicate slimmer traditional styles in Belgian doors and Crittall-style heritage windows.

Getting Quotes: How to Choose

The rule of thumb is to get quotes from at least three suppliers as there will no doubt be a huge range in amounts. Make sure you compare like-for-like (locks, handles, any required pressings etc) as additional extras might sway your decision. 

Remember, buying windows is more than just a pricing game: lead-in times can hugely impact your project. It’s important to be aware that a cheap buy with long manufacture and delivery times can delay a schedule and impact other aspects of a build.

Lead-in times are generally dictated by the manufacturers themselves and the industry standard is around four to eight weeks. However, if you’re in a pinch, Origin offer an optional 24 hour delivery promise, ‘Your Lead Time Not Ours’.

Don’t forget, as most systems require specialist fitting, you will need to coordinate with a local approved installation firm if the window company doesn’t offer a fitting service.

Quality Checking

Consider the Quality of the Finish

There can be a huge variety in the quality of the aluminium windows themselves. Good quality companies use prime billets in the manufacture of the windows, rather than cheaper scrap metal. To be sure, ask questions as to the grade of the aluminium used when shopping around. 

Premium aluminium should have a smooth and consistent finish so watch out for pitting from when the profile has been heated during powder coating. The die should be polished – reducing corrosion and avoiding contamination on the surface – after each extrusion run to create a high quality finish.

What to Look for in Build Quality

There are huge variations in the quality of how the window has been put together by suppliers. For example, when it comes to composite systems – which combine two materials, usually timber on the inside and aluminium externally – ensure that the external and internal frame elements are distinct (rather than, for instance, comprising a wooden frame clad on to an aluminium skin).

When comparing products, ask from where the key elements originated and where they were actually manufactured.

Security Requirements

Most windows and doors manufacturers aim to talk up their products’ security but now, thanks to changes to Part Q of the Building Regulations in 2015 and the Secured By Design standards, there are measurable ways of ensuring your choice ticks the boxes.

New builds require accessible windows (basement, ground floor and other easily accessible windows) as part of Part Q to be made to a design that has been shown through testing to meet the security requirements of British Standards Publication PAS 24:2012. 

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Window Styles: How to Make the Right Choice

Window Styles: How to Make the Right Choice


Without a doubt one of the biggest purchases in a self-build, extension or renovation, deciding on window styles can make or break your house design.

Our facades are often more window than wall these days, so it is highly important to take into account the thermal performance and energy efficiency, not just how much natural light it will bring to the table.

Be it a complete self build or renovation, or an extension and remodel, the style of window you choose makes a huge impact on the overall appearance of the building and can influence how you interact with different rooms.

Choosing the Right Window Style for Your Home

The positioning of windows will be informed and influences by room layouts and the shape of the house itself but the shape and type of the windows themselves should be taken into serious consideration when deciding on the exterior and interior finishes.

For instance, a contemporary, single-storey house is improved by similarly narrow, vertical windows (as below) but old cottages look odd with large glazed openings forced into thick stone walls.

The golden ratio – as developed in classical architecture – is still used today as a general rule of thumb. The ratio proportions are 1:1:618 meaning a vertical sash window at 800mm wide should be 1,300mm tall.

Window Styles for Traditional Homes

If you’re building in period style or renovating an older home, choosing appropriate materials and styles is a must — in most cases this will mean timber casements. Modern window companies can replicate older styles where possible but unfortunately you cannot effectively replicate wood grain with PVCu, although there are a few manufacturers might try.

Small casement windows are associated with cottages and there are some stunning offerings out there, but a trickier style to replicate with double glazing is a Georgian and early Victorian era multi-pan sliding sash as achieving glazing bars which are as elegant with modern methods is tough.

Window Styles for Contemporary Homes

As glazing became progressively cheaper and easier to work with over the centuries, the size of our windows grew. By the time of the advent of modernism in the early 20th century, simplicity became the watchword: minimising not just the amount of framing but also the frame width itself.

You could consider the more modern the house or build-style, the bigger and cleaner the glazing should be. Timber will soften a rendered exterior of a modern home, while aluminium windows are perfect for minimalist styles.

What are the Different Types of Window?

Open-out Casements

A traditional British option (historically and in the 20th century), open-out casements are available in a variety of formats. Large casements tend to be the cheapest, but you can choose split casements for cottage-style designs, and small glazed units (‘Georgian style’). Costs tend to be lower as they are usually made in modular, standard sizes.

Types of Casement-style Windows

1. Side Hung: The most recognisable casement. It is hinged at the side for easy opening
2. Top Light: A fixed pane divided from a narrow glazed top-hinged casement
3. Sliding Folding: The sash is hinged so that it folds, increasing the area of openable window to an almost clear expanse
4. Top Hung/ Awning: A casement window that is hinged at the top. Perfect for wet climates as it blocks out rain
5. Bottom Hung/ Hopper: A casement window that is hinged at the bottom. most commonly used in basement
6. Centre Hinge/ Pivot: A window that is hinged in the centre to allow for a wider opening, it requires less of a swinging clearance

Tilt and Turn

Continental-style tilt and turn windows open inwards, and look best on modern designs. The ‘tilt’ option provides ventilation with security. They are typically made to order, increasing the cost.

Sash

Sash windows are essential when renovating or replicating Georgian and Victorian housing, still widely used on traditional-style new builds. Sizes are typically not standard but windows need to be in proport­ion to the house, so are often bespoke.

Sponsored by Ventrolla

When it comes to renovating older homes with original features, such as sash windows, it is worth contacting a specialist to see if the windows can be repaired or whether replacement is required. If the windows do need replacing then it is a great opportunity to solve some of the negative effects of older windows, such as draughts and rattles.

If you are looking for a sash window replacement, you will need to choose an option that not only maintains the look and charm of the original window, but that also offers increased energy efficiency and noise control as well as being fully draught proof.

Contact Ventrolla for expert advice on sash window repair or renovation.

What is the Best Material to Choose?

Plastic Windows

PVCu windows long reigned supreme as the dominant material for replacement windows and for good reason. A quick and easy option, plastic windows are low-maintenance and cheap.

Pros:

  • Cheapest overall although costs var with quality
  • Low-maintenance

Cons:

  • Can look cheap
  • Can reduce the value of period homes
  • Not easy to repair
  • Doors can be weak

Costs 

  • £5,000-£15,000 for a one-off house

Timber Windows

Timber’s main selling point is the feel and authenticity it offers to period-style homes: there is no real replacement for the warmth of traditional timber windows.

Softwood Pros:

  • Nothing can beat the tactility and detailing of a timber framed window
  • Softwood is popular among those on a limited budget as they are the cheapest option if glazed and decorated on site
  • Can be stained, but are usually painted
  • Suites both contemporary and traditional style homes

Softwood Cons:

  • On-site glazing carries a risk of double-glazing failure (i.e. misted units)
  • Factory glazing lowers the risk but costs more
  • Softwood requires repainting every few years

Best Softwoods to Choose

Douglas fir is a very stable, durable softwood while European Redwood (also known as Scots Pine) is less prone to dimensional change and movement.

Hardwood Pros:

  • Have a tighter grain than softwoods, making them more stable and durable
  • Can be treated to be further stabilised
  • Most popular on traditional-style homes
  • Usually stained

Hardwood Cons: It’s expensive — anything up to four times the cost of softwood

Costs

  • Softwood: £6,000-£15,000, less if ‘DIYed’ on site
  • Hardwood: Between £8,000 and £20,000

Composite Windows

If you’re struggling with the choice of materials, there is a compromise — the so-called composite systems that mix different framing materials inside and out.

Pros:

  • Best of both worlds as they usually consist of timber windows with a weather-proof capping, such as aluminium strips or plastic
  • Can withstand harsh climates (widely used in such as Canada and Sweden)
  • Great for triple-glazing
  • Complement modern designs
  • Low maintenance but offer the warmth of timber

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Unlikely to be made to standard UK sizes if ordered from the Continent 

Costs

  • Between £10,000 and £25,000 — expect to pay 25% more for triple glazing

Metal/Fibreglass/Alloy Windows

(MORE: Aluminium Windows: How to Choose)

Pros:

  • Popular among contemporary-style homes but increasingly popular in period properties (particularly for Belgian doors)
  • GRP (fibreglass) can create a strong load-bearing frame
  • GRB can be supplied in any colour
  • Low maintenance
  • Produce finer frames

Cons:

  • Not as thermally efficient as wood
  • Can be expensive

Costs

  • Between £8,000 and £20,000

Choosing the Right Glazing for the Style of Window

On-site double glazing is the cheapest option for DIY self-builders, usually done with softwood frames which are then painted on site. Slow and time consuming, most suppliers are moving away from on-site glazing for new installations.

New methods in factory double glazing mean that many windows can be clipped into templates from inside, thus stream­lining the installation. However, it is more expensive than on-site glazing.

Low E

Low-emissivity or ‘low-E’ glass (as it is more commonly known) is a type of glazing designed specifically to prevent heat escaping through windows. Low-E double glazing meets Building Regulations in the UK (such as Part L1B in England) for replacement windows and new windows for extensions.

Benefits include:

  • Can reduce heat loss by at least as four or five times compared with single glazing
  • Solar control glass can be specified to educe excessive solar gain in the summer for areas of the home susceptible to overheating

Triple glazing

Once only popular in low-energy homes, triple glazing is rapidly becoming a standard solution for today’s window suppliers. 

Benefits include:

  • Excellent comfort levels as it evens our temperature profiles of rooms
  • Great for noise reduction for homes near busy roads etc.
  • Helps minimise overheating
  • Some suppliers offer special coatings that will allow solar gain when required (i.e. in winter)

However, the issue is really around where to put it, with most experts agreeing that it’s near-essential on north-facing elevations with lots of glazing and to be generally avoided on south-facing elevations.

How to Compare the Costs of Windows

It’s useful to rank window costs on a square metre basis. Suppliers tend to dislike this because you don’t buy windows by the square metre: they are priced individually and generally the larger the actual window, the less it costs per square metre, so reducing a window range down to a square metre price is never going to produce an accurate pricing method. But from a comparison point of view, it’s a very useful tool.

Take the total amount quoted to supply windows and divide by the area of the window openings to derive the square metre rates.

Ordering Windows

This very much depends on whether you’re opting for off-the-shelf windows or bespoke products, and can also differ from company to company.

A general lead time would be around 12 weeks, however, it goes without saying that bespoke windows will inevitably carry longer lead times. It is best to not order too early on in the project in case amendments to the building design or aperture sizes occur.

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Stunning Single Storey Oak Frame Home in Surrey

Stunning Single Storey Oak Frame Home in Surrey


When Sheila and Geoff McGaughey planned to build a new house in the pretty Surrey village where they had lived for many years, a bungalow was definitely not part of their wishlist. “We wanted a two-storey home in the style of a barn, but our plot stands in a conservation area and we were restricted to building a single storey,” explains Sheila.

“At first we hated the idea of a bungalow, with its implications of disability and old age, but now we wouldn’t change a thing.” The couple moved to the village of Windlesham 53 years ago, raised a family and lived in three different properties. Then, when their three children had all left home, Sheila and Geoff purchased a plot in the same road with the idea of building a new house for the next stage in their lives.

A tumbledown cottage stood on the garden plot, overlooking open fields, which made gaining planning permission for a replacement dwelling easier to secure.

Project Notes

  • Homeowners: Sheila and Geoff McGaughey
  • Location: Surrey
  • Size: 149m²
  • Build Time: Nine months
  • Plot Cost: £500,000
  • Build Cost: £491,000
  • Current Value: £1.2m

Designing a Single-storey Home

“We thought it would be exciting to design something from scratch, and although we’d never previously organised a building project we had some experience after buying a property off-plan in Spain,” explains Sheila. “We came into contact with Border Oak at an exhibition and loved the style of oak-framed houses they design and build, so that was our starting point.”

The couple, who are both retired, visited the oak framing company in Herefordshire to discuss their ideas for a traditional home with a contemporary edge, based on the footprint of the old cottage, which stood on their plot.

“Herefordshire has many traditional oak houses, which are beautiful, but we knew we’d have to build something slightly different for our corner of Surrey, and Border Oak came up with a perfect plan,” says Sheila.

“The hard part was knowing that once the frame had been built we couldn’t change our minds, so we needed to think hard about exactly where everything would go from the start.”

(MORE: Is Oak Frame Right for You?)

Restricted to building just one storey, a layout was devised where a central living room serves to connect the distinct living and bedroom wings, with vaulted ceilings making the space seem far larger than 150m². “Two of our children live in America so we are often away travelling and also need space for guests,” says Sheila. “The house had to work for us as a couple as well as for larger family gatherings, and we wanted a home that would be low maintenance and economical to run.”

The H-shaped cottage is clad externally in painted weatherboarding, with some feature oak framing and a traditional entrance porch — a design which was met with the approval of the planners and conservation officer. Border Oak worked with both hand-drawn concept sketches and CAD technology, producing a comprehensive array of planning, construction and Building Regulations’ drawings for the new property.

“We absolutely loved working with Border Oak — it was like being part of a family,” says Sheila.

The Build

“Living just a couple of houses away from the plot meant that we could keep a close eye on things, and we chose our own builder who’s a family friend,” continues Sheila.

The frame was built from FSC and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) certified green oak and was delivered and erected by Border Oak. The company also installed the SIPs (structural insulated panels) which encase the frame, and offer excellent thermal and airtightness performance. Once the house was weathertight the oak frame was cleaned using oxalic acid and has been left untreated.

“I must admit that while the foundations and frame were being built I worried the house wouldn’t be large enough, but as it took shape I could see that it would work,” says Sheila.

Natural slate was chosen for the roof covering and softwood windows have been painted grey, as has the external timber weatherboarding. “We worked with Border Oak to choose all colours at the design stage, so that materials would complement each other,” says Sheila. “I can honestly say that there were no real issues during the build at all and everything went to plan.”

The Finishing Touches

Underfloor heating has been laid beneath a limewashed oak floor and is connected to an air source heat pump, with a woodburning stove installed in the vaulted sitting room.

“I’m a bit of a shopper really, and after owning my own gift and lifestyle shop I already had a number of contacts and knew more or less what I wanted,” says Sheila. “I love interiors, so it was great to have a free hand to create the look.”

The couple have also lavished a great deal of attention on the garden, which was designed and landscaped to include an oak-framed garage and a gazebo.

“For us, the setting was all part of building a new house, as this is our outlook. Having all the rooms on the ground floor means we feel far more connected to the outdoors, which was another benefit of the design. Now that we’ve experienced life on one level we’ve completely changed our minds about bungalows, and feel it would be great if another word with more positive, modern connotations could be adopted, generally, to describe single-storey homes!”

Building for Later in Life

It perhaps goes without saying, but bungalows and dormer bungalows are popular house types for lifetime homes. Alternatively, incorporating a ground floor bedroom and bathroom in a two-storey house would allow for single-storey living in the future.

‘Part M – access to and use of dwellings’ of the Building Regulations requires all new homes to consider the needs of disabled occupants to ensure available and usable access for disabled people to the entrance storey, all habitable rooms in that storey and the WC. Simple considerations, such as installing lever taps and door handles, specifying non-slip flooring and ensuring staircases are well lit, work well for all ages — particularly if young grandchildren will be visiting.

Sheila and Geoff knew when they designed their new home that, despite being extremely active, they should consider the future. Geoff had his own engineering business and retired 10 years ago, while Sheila sold her gift and lifestyle shop seven years later, to oversee a building project, which they were able to fund privately.

(MORE: Accessible Homes Gallery)

Designed on a single level, with no steps, the property is extremely accessible. Built on a relatively flat plot, the design incorporates wide doorways and an open-plan layout that would be ideal for wheelchair use if required. A separate study beside the dining room doubles as a third bedroom, and both bathrooms have walk-in showers.

“You don’t always want to think about the future, but it’s important to plan ahead, and there’s no point living in a big house if you can’t get upstairs,” says Sheila. “It’s enjoyable when you’re older to start again and we haven’t discounted building again, either, as we enjoyed this project so much.

“At first, we didn’t want a bungalow, but now we love the layout and to us it feels more like a cottage. The only drawback we’ve found to living on a single storey is that sometimes in the summer you don’t feel comfortable leaving bedroom windows open at night, but really we wouldn’t change a thing,” Sheila concludes.





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Kitchen Extension: Creating the Ultimate Kitchen Diner

Kitchen Extension: Creating the Ultimate Kitchen Diner


A kitchen extension is the obvious way to create a bigger kitchen-cum-diner. But knocking through from an existing dining room to the kitchen, for example, can also open up the space to form a more liveable and functional room.

The option you chose will all depend on the type of property you have, the size of the space you want to (or can) create and budget. 

If you have a Victorian terrace, for example, then a kitchen extension can be done by remodelling the existing internal footprint – knocking down or opening up a wall between an existing kitchen and dining room to create a sizeable open-plan space.

If you’ve got the space outside then there’s more scope to extend and create a larger kitchen extension that links directly to the garden. 

So whether you have space to knock through or the budget to undertake a kitchen extension, we take a look at what to consider when creating a kitchen diner.

Adding a Kitchen Extension

If you’re going down the route of adding a kitchen extension you can either add a large extension that will include a new kitchen and dining space or extend the existing kitchen to add space to eat and entertain.

How you extend will largely depend on your budget and the space that’s available. If you have a terraced or semi-detached home with a kitchen to the rear, adding a small rear extension for an open-plan kitchen diner leading out to the garden could be the solution.

If you have restricted garden space, then a small side-return kitchen extension could provide you with that extra room needed for a dining table within an existing kitchen.

Where budget and outside space allows conside a large rear kitchen extension spanning the width of the house, incorporating an open-plan kitchen, dining and living space.

Top Tip: Let in the Light

Big or small, kitchen extensions give you the opportunity to create a light-filled space, so don’t forget to think about windows and doors to help lighten and brighten the room and connect the inside out. 

How Much Will it Cost to Extend my Kitchen?

In general, a single storey extension for a kitchen diner is likely to be £1,000-£2,000/m², giving a typical cost of £25,000-£50,000 for a footprint of around 25m². The total cost of the project, however, will depend largely on the specification of the kitchen itself, with kitchens varying dramatically in price depending on the choice of supplier, the materials used and the appliances specified.

How Long Will a Kitchen Extension Take?

Project time depends largely on whether you will be extending the property, the type of interior fit-out, and specifications you choose. A single storey kitchen extension, for example, will on average take 12 weeks, however if you are specifying underfloor heating this will add to the time. Knocking through a wall to open up the kitchen to the dining area and undergoing a minor renovation will take less time.

Who’ll Do the Work?

Chances are that your kitchen extension will demand some form of structural work and you will need to enlist the services of a designer as well as builders. Once you have chosen a designer, they will draw up plans for the project (to be submitted to the local planning department if your project is going to require approval), and to provide the builders with during the tender process.

When selecting builders to carry out the work:

  • Make sure they come recommended and ask to see previous projects and speak to previous clients for peace of mind.
  • Try to avoid paying day rates.
  • Agree on a fixed price where possible.

You may, however, wish to go down the route of employing a design and build extension company who will be able to handle everything from the design through to the building works and fit-out.

Services: Electrics and Plumbing

You do need to make sure that your current electrics and plumbing services are adequate enough to cope with extra load.

  • Electrics: Your electrician will need to check the existing system to see whether rewiring is necessary. They will then return to carry out second fix electrics – such as connections to plug sockets – before the worktops are fitted.
  • You will need to call in a plumber to check the existing pipework is in good condition. You will need to ensure you have both a hot and cold water supply, as well as a waste pump from the sink to the outside. Appliances, such as your washing machine and dishwasher, will also need to be connected to the water supply.

Kitchen Extension Design Considerations

There is a lot to consider when creating a kitchen diner. What style of kitchen will you go for — do you have it compliment or contrast with the tone of the rest of the house, and how will you adapt it to suit your lifestyle?

Think About the Layout

When planning the layout of your kitchen extension, you will need to keep in mind the basics of what each kitchen requires (fridge freezer, cooker, sink) and then add features around these items. As kitchen diners are a multifunctional space, zoning the cooking and eating areas will be important.

This can be done using furniture and storage. A kitchen island between the work station units and the dining table, for instance, is a perfect break between the separate spaces, and is also a place where you can store pots and pans, and even install a hob and second sink. A breakfast bar can also serve as a way of zoning the kitchen from the dining area.

Remember, however, to leave enough space to move around; giving at least one metre between worktops. Units will need considering too, and your choice will depend on how you will be using the space and the style you are going for.

For instance:

  • Do you want appliances on show or built-in?
  • Will you be storing dried goods in cupboards or will they be sited in a separate pantry, or indeed the freezer?
  • Do you have a lot of crockery that needs a home?
  • Do you own a lot of deep pans which will need equally deep drawers or shelves?
  • Will you require multipurpose worktops that house built-in knife racks or pull-out electrical sockets?

All of these questions will need answering from the outset so you can ensure your kitchen design meets your requirements.

How to Maximise Natural Light

One of the benefits of having an open-plan kitchen diner is that you are not sacrificing natural light by having smaller separate rooms. If your kitchen diner is to the rear of the property, consider bifold doors that open to the garden. The full-height glazing will allow in plenty of sunlight as well as offering views of the outside.

If you are choosing to add a side-return extension or are after more privacy, then opting for clerestory windows is a good design solution. A bank of rooflights is another popular option.

How Will I Heat my Kitchen Extension?

Radiators are a cheap way to heat the kitchen diner, however plinth heaters are a good choice if you are limited on wall space as they fit neatly between the bottom of the base units and the floor. Heated towel rails – complete with pegs for tea towels – are also popular.

At the higher end of the scale is underfloor heating (UFH) which, while more expensive and more hassle to install, is perfect for providing even and comfortable heat on kitchen floor types (such as stone or tiles) which are prone to feeling cold. UFH will, however, require the removal of floorboards and existing tiles — adding to both time and costs.

What Lighting Is Best for a Kitchen Diner?

Include a lighting scheme which is practical but which also brings the wow-factor in the evenings.

  • Under cupboard lights, sometimes controlled by dimmable switches, are a favourite for offering a soft glow to worktops.
  • Spotlights on the ceiling can offer a brighter, white light suitable for areas such as work stations where you’ll want good visibility.
  • Pendant lights can be hung over the dining table, but look great in a row over a kitchen island, too.

Do I Need Planning Permission for a Kitchen Extension?

If you are going to be adding a kitchen extension to create your new multi functional space, then you may be covered under Permitted Development (PD) rights and therefore not require planning consent. However, bear in mind that if your house is in a Conservation Area or national park, the amount of work you can do under PD is usually reduced.

To be covered under Permitted Development rights, a single-storey extension should:

  • be a maximum height of four metres
  • not extend beyond the original rear wall of the house by more than six metres if it is an attached house (i.e. semi-detached), or eight metres for a detached home
  • If you are adding a side extension, this must be single-storey with a width of no more than half that of the original house.

If your building is listed, then you will require planning permission regardless of whether you are adding an extension or knocking through a wall. If you have any doubts, you should check with your local planning department.

Building Regulations

Your work will require Building Regulations approval to ensure that the minimum design and construction standards are achieved. These cover all manner of subjects such as fire and other forms of safety, insulation, drainage, electricity and access.

Building Control

The role of a Building Control officer is to ensure that the minimum standards set out by the Building Regulations have been met. If you are carrying out an extension for your kitchen diner – or are even knocking through walls – Building Control will need to be notified. Notify Building Control by sending a Full Plans application to the local authority, where you pay a fee and the building inspector visits the site at the various stages of the build and inspects the work as it proceeds.

Kitchen Appliances

Looking to update your kitchen appliances? Take a look at these best buys from RealHomes.com.

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Planning Permission: The Complete Guide

Planning Permission: The Complete Guide


Planning permission is the key that turns the corner of a field or large garden into a building plot. In the south-east of England, an acre of agricultural land is worth about £15,000, but with planning permission for residential development, after all costs are deducted, it’s worth £500,000.

But securing planning permission can be a difficult process and especially daunting for those building their own home for the first time.

If you are looking to submit a planning application, this guide explains all you need to know about the process — from what planning permission is and when you need it, through to costs and timescales, all the way to what an application involves and what to do if your application has been rejected.

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What is Planning Permission?

The building of a new dwelling, or extensive changes to existing buildings, usually requires planning permission. The system is in place to deter inappropriate development.

Decisions on whether to grant planning permission are made in line with national guidance (in the form of the National Planning Policy Framework) and the local planning policies set out by the local authority.

(MORE: The Complete Guide to Self Build)

How Much Does a Planning Application Cost?

The cost is currently £462 for a full application for a new single dwelling in England, but this fee is different in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. For home improvers, an application in England for an extension currently costs £206, whereas in Wales the cost of a typical householder application is currently £190.

Since April 2008, all local planning departments use the same application form, known as 1APP, you can find the appropriate form for your area and complete the application process online at the Planning Portal.

As well as fees for pre-application advice, further small sums are payable for the discharge of planning conditions which must be met before development begins.

Also bear in mind that you may need to make more than one planning application in order to reach agreement with the council  and make revisions to your plans accordingly (which may involve further architect/designer fees). A minimum budget of around £2,000 (including architects’ plans and specialist reports) is probably realistic for getting planning permission.

How Long Does Planning Permission Last?

All planning permissions automatically expire after a certain period. Unless your permission says otherwise, you have three years from the date full consent is granted to begin building.

Depending on how soon your consent expires, you may take different steps to get your project started. If the expiry date is imminent, it may be best to reapply to ensure you have adequate time to plan effectively.

If you have sufficient time to make what is known as a ‘material start’ then it may be best to secure the permission in perpetuity, allowing you the time needed to get started properly.

Avoid buying a plot with permission that is about to expire — consent will expire before you have chance to get started. This is especially relevant on consents that were hard fought or where planning policy may have changed. Securing new permission may not always be possible. 

When Do I Need Planning Permission?

If your project involves the creation of a new dwelling (by either building from scratch or subdividing an existing home), then planning permission is normally required.

Larger outbuildings or extensions, or builds/improvements in Designated Areas or involving listed buildings, are also likely to require planning permission.

Smaller additions and improvements can normally be made under Permitted Development.

What Type of Planning Permission Do I Need?

Full Planning Permission

This grants permission for a project with a detailed design. But before going full steam ahead on site, the planning conditions attached to the consent must be discharged. They must be discharged (satisfied) formally by letter by the local authority, usually before commencing work — otherwise the approval is invalidated.

Outline Planning Permission

This grants permission in principle, but does not include design specifics. It is important to note that outline planning consent does not provide permission to start work. An application for ‘reserved matters’ – which may include the size of the proposed house, appearance, position, landscaping and access – will need to be submitted and approved before work can take place.

If your detailed plans deviate significantly from the original outline planning then you’ll likely need to submit for full planning.

Also, if you are keen to start your project quickly, then it makes sense to apply for full planning permission.

How Long Does Approval Take?

Local authorities are supposed to determine planning applications within 10-12 weeks of registration, and the majority of straightforward householder applications will be dealt with within this time frame.

A sign is posted outside the address relating to the proposed development and any neighbours likely to be affected are written to and invited to view the plans and to comment. This is known as the public consultation process and it takes three to eight weeks. The authority will make statutory consultations to the local Highways department, and where necessary the Environment Agency as well as others.

Realistically, if you are having to make more than one application (following revisions or changes to the design), you should consider setting aside 18 months for the process.

Should I Use a Planning Consultant?

Many people will appoint a planning consultant before they even buy a plot, to work out the potential of a development. This could save you thousands of pounds on buying a project that turns out not to be feasible.

Planning consultants have full knowledge of the ever-changing planning policies that any project will be subject to. So, whether you are extending, renovating or building a new home, their help could be indispensable — especially if your project is in an area of which carries restrictions such as a Conservation Area or AONB.

What Should I Include in my Planning Application?

In general terms, an application should include:

  • five copies of application forms
  • the signed ownership certificate
  • a site plan, block plan, elevations of both the existing and proposed sites,
  • a Design and Access Statement
  • the correct fee

What’s a Design and Access Statement?

These statements have to accompany all planning applications besides householder building works in unprotected areas and changes of use. Statements are used to justify a proposal’s design concept and the access to it. The level of detail depends on the scale of the project and its sensitivity.

Most authorities will have guidance notes available to help you but, unfortunately, unless you ensure you have included one in your submission, planning authorities can refuse to register your planning application.

How are Applications Decided?

The local authority will base its decision on what are known as ‘material considerations’, which can include (but are not limited to):

  • Overlooking/loss of privacy
  • Loss of light or overshadowing
  • Parking
  • Highway safety
  • Traffic
  • Noise
  • Impact on listed building and Conservation Area
  • Layout and density of building
  • Design, appearance and materials
  • Government policy
  • Disabled access
  • Proposals in the development plan
  • Previous planning decisions
  • Nature conservation

Neighbours will be consulted and invited to comment, together with parish councils (in England and Wales), but only those objections based on material considerations are taken into account.

If the neighbours do not object and the officers recommend approval, they will usually grant planning permission for a householder application using what are known as delegated powers.

What If Someone Objects?

Like it or not, when you build things, you risk upsetting people. It may not be rational, but people get very emotional about changes that they fear will affect their home, their view or their property’s value – or even just the street they live on.

So it pays to be polite, to talk to the neighbours and to show then the plans. If you can accommodate minor changes without undermining your goals then it might be worth doing if it could help avoid local objections.

If there are objections or the application is called into a committee by one of the local councillors, then the decision will be made by a majority vote by the local planning committee. At the planning meeting, you or your agent will be given an opportunity to address the planning committee, but this time is limited to a maximum of three minutes.

Face-to-face meetings can be helpful in thrashing out the justification for objections Requests for changes should be based on planning policies and they should be consistent with other recent decisions in the area.

Can I Alter my Design Once I Have Full Planning Permission?

You can make minor alterations by applying for a non-material amendment. However, major alterations could involve a further application for Full planning permission, so discuss your plans with your LPA first.

What Happens if my Planning Application is Refused?

In England around 75% of applications are granted. If your application is rejected, you can either amend and resubmit having dealt with the reasons for refusal, or you can make an appeal to the planning inspectorate.

Around 40% of householder applications that are refused are later granted at appeal.

Can I Go Ahead Without Planning Permission?

While it is not illegal to develop land without planning permission, it is not lawful and, consequently, if you have failed to get consent for your project, then the local planning authority can take action to have the work altered or demolished. In this instance, you can make a retrospective planning application and if this is refused you can appeal the decision. If you lose, it can prove very costly.

There is a legal loophole: if no enforcement action is taken within four years of completion, the development becomes immune from enforcement action (10 years for a change of use). The development then becomes lawful — but this is too great a risk to take.

Altering a listed building without prior permission is, however, a criminal offence, and in extreme cases it can lead to prosecution and unlimited fines — and even imprisonment. So do ensure you apply for approval first.

Can I Get Permission for a Home in the Countryside?

Many believe it is harder to get planning permission if you are building a home in the countryside. However it certainly isn’t out of the question as our guide to planning permission in the countryside explains.

In fact, under Paragraph 79 (formerly Paragraph 55) of the National Planning Policy Framework, it is even possible to build in green belt land, if your project can be shown to be of particular architectural merit and worth.

Planning Permission – 5 Things to Know

  • You can make a planning application on any piece of land in the country — you don’t have to own it
  • Your planning decision should take no longer than eight weeks from the point of application
  • The objections of neighbours and local people may well not have any impact on the final decision
  • You can withdraw an application at any time — so if you think you are going to get a refusal, you can withdraw it at any time up to the day itself, and resubmit free of charge
  • You can submit an infinite number of planning applications on any one site — and choose which one to use. As long as it is current, you don’t have to use the most recent

For further advice on planning, buy How to Get Planning Permission by Roy Speer and Michael Dade.

With thanks to Ken Dijksman.

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Sex in Different Places

sex-in-different-places

Sex in Different Places

Spontaneous sex adds a little spice to a good relationship. While we all know that women like being wined, dined and sixty-nined at leisure before intercourse, the risk of getting caught and the thrill of deciding to go for it on the spur of the moment can very effectively replace foreplay. Of course there are unpleasant thoughts regarding the consequences of getting caught, which usually range from getting fired to being forever known as a pair of loose individuals who don’t have the decency to abstain from sex while in public.

And, of course, someone may actually call the police. But all these only add to the reasons why you should try having sex outside the house. If you want to do it, but get cold feet and decide to postpone the moment, it’s ok. You don’t have to rush it and sex outside the house is not mandatory. But it is lots of fun. For one thing, this kind of sex requires boldness and determination, which is something women admire in men. Especially women you can find as an escort or escorts.

It also requires planning ahead. Men should wear zippered trousers and boxers; things that can be pulled down and back up in a second. Women should wear skirts; and not very long skirts, if you please. You need something that won’t get in the way. Get a pack of sanitary napkins with you and some of that no rinse antiseptic handwash for the after action cleaning.

Since trips to the parents are a regular part of most couples’ lives, you could try to start there. It doesn’t really matter if you’re going to do it at your parents or at her parents’ place. So, wheneverSince trips to the parents are a regular part of most couples’ lives, you could try to start there. It doesn’t really matter if you’re going to do it at your parents or at her parents’ place. So, whenever you feel comfortable with the idea and naughty enough to take the chance, sneak out with an excuse and go for it. Do it on the kitchen table, while the coffee maker is on and you’re waiting for coffee.

Follow your lady into the bathroom and have hot sex in there. The garage is also a good place for sex. Not particularly inviting, but this is not the time to be choosy. Frankly, any free room is fair target. Just be careful not make a lot of noise. And where could one get hotter sex than in the sauna. You’re both hot and you’re both naked and relaxed; what else could one ask for? Sex is practically in the air. Those who like sauna sex, outside sex… this means having sex in the park or in an alley. If you’re going for the park, try to find a reasonably secluded spot that is also comfortable.

No thorns, no unpleasant branches and no mud or garbage. If you think an alley is more to your style, find one where parked cars can hide you, preferably one that is not faced by fifty windows or so. In both cases, your best bet is to have sex standing up, preferably with the man penetrating the woman from behind. This will let you scan the area while having sex.

Having sex in the office must be one of the most common fantasies about the nine-to-five population. A hot work mate hints at being ready and willing for a date and the next thing you know, your brain takes over and starts looking for opportunities everywhere. The storage room suddenly looks like a godsend: it is cluttered and has a door that can be locked or blocked. Working late is also on the list of things that start to sound good.

If both of you should work late, there’s no telling what might happen. Just be careful not to get caught. It’s bad enough to lose your job; you don’t want to also get a certain reputation that could make future employment difficult. The risks are high, but it’s also very much worth it. It’s a basic act of defiance that can be exhilarating for anyone and a wonderful thing to share with your partner or an escort or escorts. It will make for excellent memories later on.

Click here for more suggestions on how to spice up your sex life!!

The Story of Roberto Cavalli

the-story-of-roberto-cavalli

The story of Roberto Cavalli

Cavalli is not a usual fashion designer. His great contribution in the fashion industry made his Cavalli Clothes and accessories, one of the most famous Brands, all over the world.

Roberto Cavalli did not grow surrounded  by fashion, but in his home he found art, colours and a sense of creativity. He was born in Florence on November 15, 1940, in a family already using his short trade tools: paintbrushes and pallets.

His grandfather was Giuseppe Rossi – a prominent exponent of Macchiailo’s iconographic trend, which was founded in Florence in the mid-19th century and whose works were already painted in the monumental rooms of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

His father died when he was only four years old and then he found the power and guidance of his mother Marcella, who played a fundamental role in Roberto’s decision to study Fine Arts.

Cavalli’s Dream

Once Roberto finished his studies at the Florence School of Fine Arts, he knew his future would go far beyond the opportunities offered by formal training. His way to success was elsewhere: in the world of imagination, invention, creativity.

Roberto Cavalli painted, but did not spend much time in front of his canvas. Instead he painted a lot through his work. Roberto often traveled to Como, home of the most famous Italian silk makers.

Cavalli’s Contribution

Through the observation of the working looms – and of the silk printed there – he made an innovative printing technique that allowed him to print his designs in whole garments, which were interrupted only by ornaments and seams. For the silk industry, his work was truly innovative.

Cavalli began his career in 1965 when he was 21 years old, painting t-shirts with a girl he knew from the art school. Roberto soon found himself handling a studio with sixteen people and managing all the work for which he was assigned. This was the beginning of Stampa Cavalli (Cavalli Printing), almost a trademark, which is recognizable beyond all counterfeit attempts. However, the world of fashion saw him and soon gave him the opportunity he needed to be part of the greatest Fashion eshop.

Cavalli’s Work

It was in 1969. Florence hosted a large world shoe exhibition. Roberto met with Mario Valentino, a name that made history in the Italian fashion world and then appreciated generally for his leather clothes. The two went to the exhibition with the idea of ​​using the same technique of printing on the leather that has already been used in silk. In a very short period of time, the skin prints were signed by Mario Valentino, Pierre Cardin and Hermès, and then Cavalli thought “why could not they have the label named Roberto Cavalli?”

February 1970 Paris, Salon du Prêt-à-Porter. A new brand has stood out among others on the international fashion scene: Roberto Cavalli. General surprise and immediate success followed when the evening dresses and swim costumes made of printed leather appeared on the catwalk. But for Roberto that was not enough. He returned to Florence and decided to transfer his creativity to an unexpected element and bring it to the fore: jeans.

In 1972, in the Sala Bianca (White Room) of Pitti Palace in Florence, patchwork trousers, mini dresses, leather long jackets and jeans became the centerpiece of the famous catwalk. Once again, the unusual representation was surprising and was an instant success. Comments from industry’s trusted people became a reputation among the general public and Roberto Cavalli quickly became the most popular brand in both traditional European and emerging US markets.

the-story-of-roberto-cavalli

In 1977 Roberto was invited to be one of the judges in the Miss Universe contest. There he met one of the contestants, Eva Düringer, who represented Austria and won second place, who he married in 1980 and is the mother of three of his five children.

1994 came quickly. From the point of view of fashion, the 80s unfold under the lighting of New Baroque and Maximalism: a weak hedonism was condemned to end with the re-polishing of Minimalism. This was not an exciting time for Roberto, who devoted himself to his own business as well as to the breeding of horses.

Minimalist piracy was doomed to end and the Cavalli brand seemed destined to become the protagonist of the new fashion trend.

Then came the time of the first official fashion shows at Milano Collezioni, where the appearance of new jeans created using a special ageing technique with sand blasting opened the way for what will become glamorous by Roberto Cavalli.

The beginning of a new Trend

His measured pieces marked the beginning of a new femininity, which strengthened women with nice curves. The new trend has been born. However, the term “trend” soon became too limited to describe his success.

Roberto Cavalli became a real fashion star of the 1990s, a phenomenon that – according to informed observers – was intended to last for a long time as it was built on the lifestyle pillars rather than the slopes of the passes. Imagination and creativity have merged with research and technology.

Standard Cavalli prints have become more and more modern. Even the classic painter turned into a true distinctive mark that was constantly re-created through new modern forms. As far as jeans are concerned, Cavalli introduced yet another revolution: the introduction of the Lycra fibre, which made them elastic.

Cavalli is considered to be the designer of the star system. His slogan is that “a dress can change your life,” and the many celebrities and friends around the world who identify with its versatile style can confirm it.

Read more in our Blog.

 

How to locate a plumber who is professional

plumbing-repairs-pipes

How to locate a plumber who is professional

Searching for plumbers isn’t that troublesome. Truly, you may have numerous things to truly consider, however, there are likewise numerous good approaches to enable you to locate the best plumbers in the territory. The following are a few interesting points.

Discover the qualities every single good plumber (kalos ydraylikos) have and you would effectively detect a good one from far, far away. A prepared plumber could make up a skilful plumber, however, this isn’t the main thing to search for. Trustworthiness and adaptability are likewise vital. Contract a plumber who could completely clear the administration and what should be finished. A good plumber would likewise clarify why the expense of a venture has become and you require not to request it.

Furthermore, in case you’re not one to agree to anything short of good, this means you may need to trust that the best plumbers will be accessible.

Try not to stress: this wouldn’t take excessively long. To really sweeten the deal tip: don’t employ a plumber who has so much available time in their grasp that they set aside the opportunity to make a cold pitch.

Obviously, there are likewise things that you have to see before you choose to contract the best plumber on your rundown. A good plumber ought to have the capacity to give you licenses to tell you that he’s affirmed, portfolios to tell you that he’s gifted and learned about the activity, just as protection intends to tell you that they have you secured.

Despite the fact that there are numerous ways that the look for as well as could be expected end, the greater part of them end in a solitary suggestion. Ask a companion or an associate. They may know somebody who has had their funnels or water frameworks fixed, or they may have paid for pipes administrations themselves as well.

See with your own eyes the nature of the activity that the plumber has given, and bear in mind to get some information about the plumber’s identity when he’s working. Another incredible place to discover prescribed plumbers is on the web, there are many verified online index destinations so get on the web and get looking.

l have not too many experience in writing, but l like blogging, so l will keep posting about my favourite things.

Thank you

 

Michelle, Nelson.

How to Unblock a Blocked Kitchen area Sink

Clogged-Drain-Sink

How to Unblock a Blocked Kitchen area Sink

 
Most of us use our cooking area sink daily. That is why a stopped up cooking area sink is a common plumbing problem – αποφράξεις Αντωνίου Πειραιάς. If you know just how to unclog a kitchen sink you can prevent making a huge component of the cooking area unusable.
 
If you locate your kitchen area sink running slow-moving or if your kitchen sink drain is blocked, just comply with the steps below to unclog a kitchen area drainpipe (αποφράξεις in ancient greek) and to obtain your kitchen area sink working.

Extra as well as a lot more plumbers and individuals generally are getting a lot more knowledgeable about the atmosphere, and also this additionally shows in the method we remove our slow-moving kitchen area sinks and various other clogged drains. Where we utilized to pour tons of unsafe chemicals down the tubes to remove the clog. Nowadays more individuals are trying to find eco friendly as well as all-natural methods to unblock the kitchen sink, without utilizing toxic chemicals or cleansers.


How to unblock a kitchen area sink naturally

In instance of a sluggish kitchen area sink drain or blocked kitchen sink, mix 1/3 cup of baking soda together with 1/3 mug of vinegar right into a bucket or huge dish. When the vinegar and also cooking soda have actually been placed with each other it will start to fizz, so it’s finest to see to it the bowl is large sufficient.


Put the vinegar as well as cooking soda down the kitchen area sink drain.

To clear the sluggish draining pipes kitchen sink try to pour the vinegar and also baking soda away as rapidly as possible. The faster you obtain the vinegar as well as cooking soda service down your kitchen area drain, the better, since the option will gradually lose its power. After you have actually poured the vinegar as well as baking soda service down the sink, take a wet cloth and also push it down securely in addition to the drainpipe to stop the vinegar and baking soft drink to come back out the kitchen sink. After concerning 5 minutes the vinegar and also baking soft drink will certainly have done it’s technique and.
Wash down the vinegar and also cooking soft drink.

The service will have removed the drainpipe by now and also you should activate the tap and let warm or warm water stream down the kitchen area sink for 2-3 minutes. The drain ought to be running a lot better once again, now the clogs are gone.


Exactly how to unclog a kitchen sink using pipes tools

When a kitchen sink is totally blocked or the obstructions just will not disappear utilizing the natural unclogging approach defined over, after that it’s time to call a plumbing or to venture out your very own plumbing devices.

Exactly how to unblock a kitchen sink using The Drainpipe Claw

” The Drain Claw” is a beneficial little device to eliminate hair from drain and to clear drains by appearing the build-up. The claw has more than 100 little hooks that will order the hair inside the drain, all it takes is a twisting movement to eliminate hairs entraped in a clogged up bath drain or kitchen sink. You will be astonished at what you’ll have the ability to draw out of your drains pipes!

For a sluggish or clogged bath tub drain, just function The Drain Claw around the crossbars at the opening of the drainpipe and also the brace that holds the stopper. For shower room sinks The Drainpipe Claw not only gets hair, but it can be pressed right into the trap to tear through the buildup of soap, tooth paste and also gels. The Drain Claw will travel through the turn up without needing to eliminate it.

For more details on the drain claw check out: http://www.thedrainclaw.com/


How to unblock a kitchen sink utilizing a Plunger

Unclogging a kitchen sink with using a bettor is a basic but often very reliable method to unblock a kitchen area sink. The plunger functions forcibly stress down the drainpipe when you push the bettor, and after that developing a vacuum when you draw it back up.

Making use of a bettor properly is needed to cleanse the drain:

  • Make certain the plunger has a suction mug big sufficient to cover the drain opening.
  • Petroleum jelly coat the the rim of the plunger mug to obtain a limited seal.
  • Fill up the blocked sink with water up to 1inch listed below the edge, to make sure that the bettor cup is additionally covered with water.
  • With double sinks, fill the second one as well.
  • Block off other adjacent fixtures making use of wet rags.
  • Put the plunger right into the water, hold it upright and also pump it intensely.
  • Use the Bettor regarding 10-15 times with effective up as well as down strokes.
  • Repeat this procedure to obtain the best outcomes.

How to unclog a cooking area sink with a sewage system jet

It does not really matter where your plumbing system is obstructed. To clear a totally blocked drain you will certainly need some expert pipes tools and drain cleansing tools like a sewage system jet. A sewer jet will blow up away the clog and also recover the pipes to an excellent problem.

After using the drain jet, make certain to check your sewer systems with a hydrostatic tester. If there were already some leakages inside the pipelines, but they were secured with debris, then that seal will certainly get flushed away by jetting. A line tester can be utilized to find those leaks – αποφρακτική εταιρεία στον Πειραιά.

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