Incorporating a Water-Efficient Bathroom into your Home Extension
Many homeowners choose to enlarge their bathroom with an extension, or even create another. By putting a little extra planning into which fixtures and fittings you’ll be adding, you can create a fresh modern bathroom that is economically and ecologically friendly too!
With energy bills on the up, it’s always a good idea to find new ways to cut down on the amount of water we are using in the bathroom, as the energy used to heat hot water seems to cost us more each year. It goes without saying that cutting down on water usage will save on our annual water expenditure too.
Fixtures and Fittings
There are a huge number of bathroom fittings and fixtures on the market that can help save money and reduce wastage.
Firstly, taps with aerated nozzles use substantially less water than regular bathroom taps. By mixing the air with water before it is emitted, the tap is able to use less water without compromising performance. Another great water efficient alternative is aerated showerheads, working in the same way as the taps and making good use of smaller water holes. Aerated heads use around 50% less water, further cutting down on water wastage and improving the efficiency of your bathroom.
Toilets with dual-flush functions are much better at saving water and money by only using the water that is needed for each flush. Most new toilets are already equipped with a built-in dual-flush system. However, if your toilet does not and you wish to add one at a later stage, retro fitting a dual-flush syphon is not hard in the slightest. These can be picked up for around £25.00, and will pay for themselves in no time, by reducing water wastage by around 8,000 litres per year!
If you are prepared to go a step further, you could consider installing solar thermal panels on your roof; they can provide you with around 30% – 70% of all your home’s hot water needs, and all by simply using the power of the sun! Remember, every shower, bath and sink full of water that isn’t heated by your gas or electricity provider could potentially be staying in your pocket.
If you are planning to incorporate a second bathroom into your extension, be sure to make it an eco-friendly bathroom. Not only are modern, eco products great for cutting costs, but their cutting-edge design will give your bathroom the look you’ve been dreaming of!
Thanks to our guest blogger, Dan, for this blog post. Dan Travis – Brown writes regularly on the topic of home renovation, décor and eco-friendly alternatives over at the bathshop321 blog . Find Daniel on Twitter @DanTravisBrown for more updates and info!
Larger house extensions without the need for planning permission
Following last month’s statement that planning regulations are to be relaxed, the inevitable political backlash has gradually been joined by council leaders, town planners and environmentalists, all anxious about the potential rise of ‘eyesore extensions’ and neighbour rows. The coalition’s plan, following review, is to allow larger extensions for a limited period, was designed to offer a boost to the UK’s ailing economy and meet some of the problems of the housing shortage. David Cameron said that developers are being held back by bureaucracy and that “getting the planners off our backs” is a step towards making it easier for everyone from businesses to those planning house extensions to go ahead with their plans.
Making a property more usable
Opposition leaders were quick to claim that planning regulations are not responsible for a lack of suitable housing or a decline in the construction industry. Those responsible for planning and regulating how land is used have expressed concern that the landscape is to be blighted by a sudden rash of ugly, large additions to houses. However, the reality is that for those needing house extensions at least, this change represents an opportunity to make a current property more usable and avoids potentially having to move house. Government has assured those worried that their neighbour will suddenly be able to erect a large house extension overlooking their property that strict planning regulations will still apply, and for those requiring planning permission, all the usual procedures will need to be followed in order to receive approval. On a personal economic level at least, being able to improve a current property and create more usable space is likely to be financially preferable to moving house altogether.
Extending up to 8 metres is now possible
The relaxation would allow for house extensions to potentially extend to eight metres rather than the current four metres for detached homes, without planning permission being required, although the rule that extensions cannot take up more than half the garden is to be retained.
Although any change would currently only be in place for a limited time, minister Nick Boles claimed yesterday that if the measures are successful, they could potentially be retained for the foreseeable future. “We want to encourage people to do these extensions in the next three years because the construction industry is having a miserable time. We want to support them," he told MPs, before adding that if “everybody is happy with it” it could be kept in place beyond the initial three year period. Given that planning regulations are a significant factor which frequently puts off those wanting house extensions, the proposed change is likely to encourage homeowners to go ahead sooner rather than later, however, since the cut-off date is uncertain.
The Home Extensions Company uses a unique build method which means that extensions can go up in as little as three to four weeks, from start to finish. We can also do your planning application for you, if planning permission is required. The proposed relaxation of planning regulations is under review and not expected to take place until 2013. Please call us on 01767 683 008 if you need any information or to book a free site survey.
Planning rules relaxed today for home extensions
In an exciting move for the house extension industry, the government announced today that planning regulations are to be relaxed in order to allow people to build bigger extensions without planning permission.
This relaxation of planning laws is designed to boost Britain’s economy and aid recovery from recession. In addition, the UK has an urgent need for more housing, which could be partly met by homeowners expanding their current dwellings.
The generous new allowance – up to 8 metres long for an extension on a detached house, 6 metres for others – is potentially only going to be available for a limited period of time. It is expected that this may result in a rush to build new home extensions before the original rules are reinstated.
The news is also good for businesses, as it is understood that shops will be able to increase their size by 100 sq m and industrial units by 200 sq m without applying for planning permission.
David Cameron stated that the change in law is a way of “getting the planners off our backs” and hopes that it will ultimately boost the construction industry and in turn the economy. Home extensions are frequently held up by the formalities and red tape of the planning permission process, and many people are put off even beginning the process because of the horror stories they have heard about the system.
At the Home Extension Company we can add an extra bonus to this news today. Our extensions – have a look at the range here – can be constructed in just a few weeks, rather than the months associated with a typical build. They are of the highest quality, bespoke to your exact requirements, and our Structurally Insulated Panel method is not only eco-friendly but exceptionally long-lasting and beautiful. This speedy construction method, combined with today’s relaxation of planning rules, means that you could have a large extension on your home in just a few weeks from now. And don’t forget – our current Grand Designs offer will get you a free pair of tickets to the show, free champagne, and the chance to see one of our home extensions in real life, all just for booking a free no-obligation site survey.
The best way to a problem-free house extension
It is no secret that if you choose the wrong builders, from incompetent to pure cowboy, renovations, extensions and conversions can quickly become disastrous. Far too many people have become victims of poor workmanship, which can quickly lead to a chain reaction of events with an end result far worse than the initial situation. Actor Sean Connery ended up being sued no less than three times by a neighbour after renovations allegedly caused foul smells, rat infestations and the irreparable ruination of a collection of antiques. Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne are apparently being sued for illegally extending their Los Angeles property. It is clear that having a home extension or renovating a property comes with many potential pitfalls.
It doesn’t have to be like this, however. By choosing the right companies and contractors, the process can be easy and worry-free. Businesses like the Home Extensions can oversee the entire process on your behalf, ensuring that any necessary planning permission is obtained and giving you access to a personal supervisor to keep you fully informed and answer any questions you may have. For full peace of mind, the Home Extensions Company also has a Customer Charter which makes clear their commitment to customer service and reassurance.
When choosing a builder for your house extension, it is essential to check references for the company too. Testimonials are the best way to gain an understanding of whether a company is trusted and reliable. Any good company will allow you to talk to previous customers and even view the buildings or extensions they have built for others. The Home Extensions Company finds out what sort of building or house extension you want through a free site survey and then finds a past customer who would be happy to show you the building they had. It is this sort of customer service which sets apart the cowboys from the extension experts.
Britain builds the smallest homes in Europe. This isn’t news to most of us. Anyone who has done anything from a school language exchange to buying property in another country will vouch for the fact that foreign dwellings almost universally feel spacious and ample. It is often claimed that this is due to a lack of suitable in land in the UK; that we are a cramped, over-populated country with no room for bigger houses. However, the statistics do not support this – Japan, Italy and The Netherlands are all as densely populated as us, but build significantly larger houses. In part this is due to culture – people in the UK are used to smaller homes, as we tend to occupy terraces … and small cottages built to withstand island weather systems – storms, wind and extreme weather. However, ‘more space!’ is the universal cry of the frustrated British home-owner, and a primary reason for moving house. Frequently, the chosen solution is to build a house extension.
It is not chance that in addition to having the smallest homes in Europe, Britain no longer has official standards regarding minimum acceptable living space. Even when the Parker Morris standards existed, builders tended to interpret them as an ideal maximum, rather than a minimum. Added to this is the problem of modern appliances – they may save time, but they tend to take up space. Frequently, home extensions are needed simply to accommodate dishwashers, freezers and washing machines, never mind upgrading to include a tumble dryer and second sink. House extensions tend to be useful spaces for pets too – and the wipe-clean floors that many people choose are also handy for muddy boots and shoes and outdoor toys.
However, home extensions can of course be far more than a utility space. They really are simply an extension to your dwelling – forget conservatories, this is a proper extra room with full fixtures and fittings. Lots of people choose to use house extensions as dining rooms, playrooms, or a second living room – especially if you have a large family all wanting to watch something different on television! Here at the Home Extension Company, we can build your extension so it is suitable for just about anything. Our unique Structural Insulated Panel method means that your extension will go up in mere weeks, not the standard months and months. And if planning permission is required, we can oversee that whole process on your behalf. Give us a ring or send us a message today to book a free, no-obligation site survey.
Whatever the weather
Good news! The Met Office may finally be escaping from the country’s bad books, even if only briefly. We have been told we can expect the sun, for a few days next week at least. Up until now, this season has seen some of the worst summer weather most of us can remember. Spring began with an extensive hosepipe ban – surely the best way to guarantee plenty of rain, in much the same way that deciding not to take an umbrella out will ensure the heavens open – and now in the depths of summer Britain is enjoying widespread flooding. Famous for our indomitable spirit in the face of adversity, Britons have kept calm and carried on, making the most of this year’s special events.
The never-ending rain has meant that lots of events usually enjoyed outside have been moved under cover. In the past, a conservatory has often been the type of room used in these circumstances. It didn’t take long for us to realise, however, that conservatories were not the space solution everyone had been hoping for, and most now lie unused and unloved. Too hot in summer and too cold in winter, conservatories often require endless window cleaning and become little more than a dumping ground for overgrown houseplants and superfluous furniture. The type of extension built by the Home Extensions Company is a high-quality, modern alternative, much more fit-for-purpose, aesthetically appealing and without the usual hassle associated with extensions. Time on site is as little as three weeks, not many months, due to the unique construction method used by the Home Extensions Company.
We are all still hoping for some sun this year, but whether or not it finally arrives, a house extension can be the ideal answer to Britain’s changing weather. Huge bi-fold doors can create a feeling of extending into the garden on one side, and a sympathetically integrated extension avoids the often ugly contrast between houses and their conservatories. As everything is bespoke to your exact requirements, why not start as you mean to go on and create a room specifically designed for entertaining? A bar, a few flags, several friends and a large flatscreen television will soon dispel any disappointment you may have at missing out on Olympic tickets, as you take part in the excitement in the comfort of your own home extension.
Caroline Gregory 17/07/12
Gary Neville Making Eco Friendly Choices
Football is the last place you would expect to see someone battling for the country to become more eco friendly - as you walk through the club car parks you will see row upon row of petrol guzzling 4x4's, sure enough, fulfilling that footballer stereotype we've all come to know......but amongst the flash cars and brash lifestyles you will find ex Manchester United Gary Neville, in his humble Honda Prius.
Neville has recognised that he needs to make a difference to his lifestyle and has spent the past 18 months trying to get plans passed for his fully sustainable underground bunker home. Once finished he pledges to open it up to students and interested people so they too will be inspired to make changes to their lifestyle. Gary says "football is trendy, it's sexy, and it's edgy. We just need to add that to the eco-message" and in doing so has joined forces with Dale Vince, managing director of Ecotricity, Britain's largest sustainable energy supplier, and owner of non league Forest Green Rovers FC, to get his message across. Gary and Dale teamed up to make his testimonial match recently played against Juventus at Old Trafford - footballs first wind powered match, with Ecotricity promising that all energy used in the heating and lighting during the match, would be covered by their 52 wind turbines across the country. This was just the first of Neville's challenges as he continues to fight for Sustainability in Sport and in his five-year transition to become someone who makes a far lower environmental impact in their life.
It would be lovely if we could all decide that we wanted to live in a fully sustainable house and make it happen; but in reality until we win the lottery or fall into the lifestyle of a professional footballer, this is a mere dream. But taking the choice to make eco friendly changes is a good first step. If you are considering an extension look to an Eco Friendly build, such as that of The Home Extension Company, and grow from there!
Here at the Home Extension company, we are doing all that we can to help people make Eco Friendly choices with our innovative approach to Home Extensions. Contact us for a free site survey!
Building Rules Apply to us All!
As Sarah Burton comes back down to earth after the huge press attention surrounding the design of Kate Middleton's dress...it seems she hasn't received such a high accolade for her designs from the planning office. The couple have received a letter of rejection form the planning department following the submission of plans for the home extension she had planned with her husband David, a fashion photographer. The request to extend their terraced home in St. John's Wood to include a fourth bedroom and en suite bathroom, have not been approved.: 'Because of its size, location, bulk, scale and detailed design and the harmful impact on the composition and proportions of the existing building, the proposed rear extension would harm the appearance of this building and fail to maintain or improve the character and appearance of the St John's Wood Conservation Area.'
It just goes to show that no one is exempt from the planning and building regulations, no matter how rich or "of the time" you are; the same rules apply to us all. As an initial port of call you should call to have a free chat with your local planning office and find out if you too live in a conservation area, or if there are any restrictions imposed on your building. The Home Extension Company can then come to your property to carry out a free site survey and using our expert knowledge and experience we will guide you through every element of the planning and design, through to construction. So hopefully you will see your Home Extension go ahead unlike poor Sarah!
Getting Started with the Extension of your Dreams
Deciding to invest money in your home is a big decision, however with the current housing market it could be a wise choice. But where do you start? We've put together five helpful start points, if you are considering this smart investment.
- Decide on the location of your new addition. Is it to be to the side, to widen your living room? Or will it be to lengthen your kitchen into a breakfast room with a view? Whatever you decide on, the key thing is to research!!!! Look through magazines, trail the internet and talk to people. The aim here is to find out what your needs are and what you are trying to achieve with your new Home Extension.
- Take a look at the Planning Portal and talk to your local council to make sure you don't have any restrictions in your area. You will get a good idea about what is going to be possible without any further planning, or what further surveys you may need. Each extension is different but recent changes have seen planning rules significantly relaxed, so more and more Home Extensions need less intervention from the planning office. Don't forget to talk to your neighbours about your plans, paying attention to the fact that a work team may have to use their property for access. The last thing we all want is to see the excitement about your new investment, quickly spoilt with an ongoing feud with Derek and Cyril next door.
- Decide on your budget! Talk to estate agents and see how much your new Home Extension will increase your home value!! Don't be disheartened by quotes, further research may see these costs not being quite as scary as they first appeared.
- Decide on your design. Do you want to update your house architecturally with an eye catching contemporary extension? Or do you want to stay 'in keeping' with your traditional home? If you decide on lots of glass there may be further considerations, but other than that, dare to be brave and get creative!
- Updating your home is a great excuse to look into how you can improve its energy efficiency and save yourself money on future bills. Perhaps look at the inclusion of solar panels, under floor heating and use a highly insulated building system such as Structural Insulated Panel System (SIP) for the build. We all need to become that bit more energy conscious and start to reduce our carbon footprint. At Home Extension Company we will happily advise you in this area and can also offer you expert help with all things 'Extension' related.
Please feel free to contact us at Home Extension Company
Choose to be Eco-Friendly!
With all the emphasis currently being on climate change, and making changes for the future, it's time to think out of the box and look at what changes you can make to your life. We've all come to terms with the fact that now may not be the best time to start looking for that larger house, so the next best thing is to look at improving your home. An extension from the Home Extension Company is a great way to provide you with that much needed extra space, as well as helping to improve your homes overall energy performance.
The Home Extension Company, sources its materials from sustainable forests, to produce the 100% recyclable panels that are used in our builds. The Structural Insulated Panel System (SIPS) that we use creates home extensions that are comparable to that of a standard brick build; but with huge energy efficiency benefits, substantially quicker build times, with far less hassle and mess; and most appealing, we have made the eye catching contemporary designs of modern times now accessible to everyone. A SIP build extension creates a building, which exceeds current building regulations requirements on its own, so you can relax knowing that your new extension has done your bit for the environment. The SIP paneling gives a highly insulated building, making for the perfect environment for under floor heating; this means you can reduce your monthly heating bills -with the need for your heating having to be turned on dramatically reduced - consequently your carbon footprint also will be improved even further.
It's safe to say the flexibility and energy efficiency of a SIP build is the only choice, for any energy conscious homeowner!