Amazon invests in Smart Homes
Amazon have invested in a start-up prefab housing company which could lead to a super-efficient, voice-controlled housing future.
The houses are quicker and cheaper to build than traditional homes with Amazon keen to continue the growth of smart technology by introducing fully integrated smart homes.
The Amazon Alexa Fund and Obvious Ventures have invested £5.14 million in capital to support using voice technology in their products.
An Amazon spokesperson said “We’re thrilled to support this development as they make sustainable, connected homes more accessible to customers and developers.”
Whilst you wait for the future of housing, try investing in a loft conversion in Watford from MRS Construction.
Permitted Development for your Loft Conversion
Under permitted development rights it is possible to add a loft conversion to your property without applying for planning permission. However, the criteria can be confusing and subject to misinterpretation and the last thing you want to have to do is apply for retrospective planning approval once you have finished your build – especially as it is possible that you will be asked to restore the property to its original state!
The best way to avoid this scenario is to find a really good loft conversion builder who can help you navigate the minefield that is planning guidelines and convert your loft for you.
Working with a good local builder that is experienced in house extensions in Watford will prevent any confusion and insure that you get the extension that you want with the minimum of disruption and fuss.
Is a loft conversion right for you?
Almost all homes can benefit from loft conversion and the added space they can provide. A bit of basic planning can add a lot of extra space. Here are the answers to some common questions about loft conversions.
Do I need Planning Permission and Building Regulations Approval?
Yes – all loft conversions, especially those in semi-detached or terraced houses require Building Regulation approval, regardless of whether planning permission is needed or not. If your proposal interferes with a neighbouring wall, under the Party Wall Act, you must inform the neighbour of your proposal.
Is my loft suitable?
Head height, pitch and structure as well as obstacles such as chimney stacks and water tanks are all things to take into account when considering a loft conversion
Although there is no regulated ceiling height for habitable rooms, stairs must have a 2m height.
How much will my loft conversion cost?
Cost of a loft conversion is dependent on the structure of the roof, the existing space and the alterations needed to add a staircase.
There are several types of loft conversions available, all explained by MRS here.
To get a quote for a loft conversion in your home, contact MRS Construction in Watford.
Add value to your home
A study by the Land Registry, the Office for National Statistics, Hamptons estate agents and results from Energy Performance Certificates has concluded that building an extension on your property will increase the value of your home in the majority of cases.
A home extension is an increasingly popular choice for homeowners unwilling to move yet needing more space. An extension will make the best use of available funds without the considerable moving costs of moving home, stamp duty, agents and legal fees etc. Call your local Builder in Watford, MRS Construction for a free site visit and quote.
As the UK struggles to build enough new homes due to the shortage of building land it has been suggested that between 300,000 and 400,000 new homes could be developed if more use was made of the empty spaces available above High Street shops. Many trades people and builders specialising in domestic and commercial building work will welcome the report.
A report from the FSB (Federation of Master Builders) suggests ‘Exploring the potential for house building and redevelopment opportunities on our high streets is the logical next stage to this policy journey. Where there is unutilised space above shops that could be more intensively used or redeveloped into additional housing units, these types of conversions can make useful additions to the housing stock and help local councils meet their housing need,’
‘These sorts of properties would be ideal for young professionals, or young families just starting out, as they benefit from good transport links and are close to shops, bars and restaurants. What we must avoid is perfectly good space lying empty and achieving nothing in terms of boosting the local economy or housing individuals and families.’
If you are looking for a house extension or need a Builder in Radlett, call MRS Construction today.
UK house building
In the UK there are still not enough new homes being built. In 2015 only 143,000 new houses were built in England, 107,000 short of the required target. It is widely reported that the housing shortage is now so severe that to cope with demand 300,000 new homes should be built each year.
As a result of the recent political changes and with a new Prime Minster and Chancellor now in place experts are predicting that a new £3billion fund is to be made available.
This Government initiative should also encourage movement in the housing market. Interest rates are the lowest they have been and show little sign of changing so now is a good time to plan and undertake a new kitchen or loft extension or implement any structural repairs that are needed. To enlist a quality Builder in Watford call Mrs Construction.
Wickes the DIY suppliers have completed a survey that shows the majority of people are dissatisfied with their kitchen. Around a quarter of people surveyed didn’t like the layout or felt there wasn’t enough cupboard space and that it was generally too small. When families come together for a special occasion like Christmas or some other celebration it highlights the problems and people start to consider their options. A new kitchen can be an expensive investment but some experts believe that an up to date kitchen can add around 15% to the value of your property. With the relaxation in the planning laws it is a good time to consider and extension to accommodate a new kitchen. People are turning their kitchens into multi function rooms where families and friends can come together and relax. With such a wide choice of products, finishes and gadgets available why not call us today to discuss your building extension in Watford or Bushey.
Changes to planning laws are being welcomed by Builders up and down the country as the Chancellor has eased the regulations covering home extensions. The Government are keen to give home owners more flexibility and be able to add an extra storey to the property without having to obtain approval from their local council.
In London where building space is becoming rarer than hen’s teeth more and more people are realising the advantages of building up and adding extra living space. If your neighbour has an extension there is a fair chance that you will be able to extend also, but without the need for planning consent – building regulations will of course still apply.
To discuss a loft Conversion in Watford or any other building ideas call 0208 950 8468 .
Loan fund for Rural Community Buildings
Communities in Hertfordshire are being encouraged to apply to a £700,000 Defra loan fund to improve rural community buildings – or even build new ones. The Rural Community Buildings Loan Fund plays a crucial role in helping community groups renovate and refurbish buildings such as village halls, church halls and community centres. It encourages communities to raise funds, knowing a loan could be available to help them meet their target and win funding from other sources.
The Fund is managed by ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England), the national voice for England’s network of 38 rural community councils, on behalf of Defra.Community Development Action Hertfordshire (CDA Herts) a member of the ACRE Network, provides a dedicated advice service for the volunteers who run village halls and similar community buildings. Kate Belinis, CEO at CDA Herts said: “The fund is a real boon for communities because it allows work to be done immediately, bringing instant benefits. “The loan process is simple and we can use our in-depth knowledge of managing community buildings to help guide and support applicants. “Village halls are the heart of rural communities but the majority of the 10,000 across England were built before 1970 and some are in need of a facelift or major renovation. For more information on House extensions in Watford click here.
The average loan taken out by village hall committees is around £15,000 – but larger loans are considered. Around 40 loans are live at any one time and ACRE makes around 10 to 14 new loans every year. The interest charged on the loan is returned to the Government, but capital is put back into the fund to support other community buildings. ACRE’s Rural Community Buildings Officer Deborah Clarke said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the contract by Defra to manage the loan fund for another three years. “We have helped hundreds of communities who tell us that without the fund, the refurbishment of their village hall would never have happened. We’re also keen to hear from groups who want construct a new building, through the Community Right to Build Powers or buy an existing building for community use, through the Community Right to Bid powers.” Defra said: “The Rural Community Buildings Loan Fund plays an important role in supporting vital community buildings that sit at the heart of rural life. We would encourage communities to use the fund not only for the maintenance and improvement of current community buildings but also to help communities bring buildings into community use and ownership where there is a local need.”
New Career for Ex-Service Personnel
Persimmon homes, the UK’s biggest builder is addressing the skills shortage in the industry by recruiting former military personnel as bricklayers and joiners.
Between 12,000 and 15,000 people leave the armed services each year. Persimmon has already employed 100 former military personnel to train mainly as bricklayers and hope to increase the number to 500 a year, alongside the 100 school leavers who are taken on annually as apprentices. Jeff Fairburn, Persimmon’s chief executive speaking of the ex servicemen says ‘these individuals are keen to learn. It’s a skill for life.’
The recruits can be trained in twelve months to two years, whereas traditional apprenticeships for school-leavers can take three years or more. Persimmon hopes to have a new training centre in south-east England up and running by April and intends to open another one in the Midlands where they will be looking for Builders in Watford.
Barratt’s Profits Double
National Hose Builder Barratt Homes has reported that a recent spikes in profits can be largely attributed to the government backed Help to Buy scheme. Their annual profits hit £390 million, helped by the government initiative.
The Help to Buy scheme Initially launched in April 2013, to give support to both new property buyers and the property market as a whole. Barratt’s average selling price for private properties has risen by 15%, equating to £250,000. After the downturn, Barratt began to shift their focus from smaller flats to larger family houses, and since taking this step they have finished 15,000 houses some 8.6% higher than seen in the previous year.
David Wilson Homes is predicting finishing the construction of 16,000 by the end of the current year. Mark Clare, chief executive of the company commented: “This is good, stable, extended expansion”. The Help to Buy scheme was scheduled to finish in 2016 but now the government has seen fit to extend it until 2016. Mark also added, “In the beginning the Help to Buy initiative had a very positive impact on sales rates during last year’s summer. During the current year we have observed a return to normal seasonal trends”.
At Redrow builders, Steve Morgan, remarked, “We are experiencing a simmer down to a more sustainable rate of sales”. During the summer time the market is usually much quieter as many will be focusing on travel and holidays. Evidently, the scheme has raised the overall demand for new housing even during this usually quiet period. Help to Buy is predicted to account for 30% of last year’s sales for Barratt, then 35% for Redrow.
Co-operative new building declared greenest building in the world
The Co-operative Group's £100m new office has been declared the most environmentally friendly building in the world,and its official opening will be by the Queen today. Based in Angel Square it aachieved the highest ever eco rating for a building by BREEAM, the industry environmental assessment experts, due to so many eco-friendly features which include power generated from crops grown on the group’s local farms, the building has a rainwater harvesting and recycling system, a heat recovery system to collect and recycle waste heat, and 300,000 square feet of exposed concrete that acts as a thermal sponge.
Ian Fleming, who is the director of BIan Fleming, who is the director of BAM Construction, said: “The commitment of the Co-operative to build a truly sustainable building set us a challenge unprecedented in commercial buildings.“To have achieved the goal with this BREEAM accolade is a testament to the genuinely collaborative approach between the Co-operative, BAM Construction, the designers 3D Reid, Buro Happold and all our partners.“This synergy combined with new technology and traditional construction skills has created a world class building and a legacy for which the people of Manchester can be proud.” One Angel Square is part of phase one of a £800m scheme to redevelop 20 acres of the northern part of Manchester city centre as part of a 10 year programme that will create a mixed use district, incorporating office space, residential, and leisure facilities.
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