Blogs

 

Read through my latest blog posts and please feel free to post a comment on them.

 

If you need me to get in touch about something confidential or specific to your project,

then please leave your details here and I will get back to you.

 

If you want to be informed when new blogs are posted, please leave your email address and write "blog notification" in the 'Your Comments' box.

Filter:

Latest Posts

The UK’s small house builders play a vital role in meeting the increasing demand for new homes, but this important sector of the house-building industry is in decline and facing a number of significant challenges.

 

 

 

 

In the recently published NHBC report “Small House Builders And Developers: Current Challenges To Growth”; 38% of the companies surveyed ranked ‘the planning process and associated costs’ as their most serious business challenge and 31% ranked it as their second main challenge. This presents a more pessimistic view of the situation than in 2014.

The report examines the factors that are currently limiting business growth, pinpointing those areas of the planning process that require improvement and highlighting the need for improved access to smaller, viable sites.

Regularly published planning performance statistics do not reveal the real problems faced by many small builders and designers, in terms of time spent waiting for decisions and responses from consultees. We need a faster and much more consistent planning process and the necessity for politicians and planning authorities to act on this is clear.

Any questions or comments? Please get in touch with me (info@landmarkdesigns.org.uk)

PV Panel Agreements

Posted on 19th June, 2015

#solarpanels

For anyone considering leasing their roof for fitting PV (photovoltaic) panels in Northern Ireland, the CML (Council of Mortgage Lenders) provide advice. The following is a brief extract from their guidance notes:

You should be aware that most lenders’ mortgage conditions will require the lender’s consent to be obtained to any Lease of Rights. It is important to be aware that proceeding without a lender’s consent where required, may be a breach of the mortgage terms and conditions.PV panels on roof

PV panel providers should always ensure that the lender's consent has been given but you might like to verify with your lender that that this has in fact been done. Where a borrower seeks to re-mortgage or purchase a property with an existing PV panel lease, it is possible that the lender will refuse to lend against the property if the lease of rights is not in order.

For a copy of the full wording of the CML guide, go to:

https://www.cml.org.uk

 

This is not intended as legal advice and if you require legal advice on an existing or proposed agreement, you should always ask your solicitor first for detailed guidance.

£300.00 off Insulation

Posted on 29th January, 2015

According to PowerNI, “By installing cavity wall insulation you could save £115 per year off your heating bills and by adding loft insulation, another £150 per year”.

They are now offering up to £150.00 off cavity wall insulation and up to £150.00 off loft insulation. The offer is available on a first come, first served basis until funds are exhausted; or 31st March 2015.

If, like most households, you are in need of additional insulation; go to the PowerNI website and register your interest for the offers.

 

Regards,

Les.

House Prices Rise In Northern Ireland

Posted on 14th January, 2015

According to recent figures from the Office of National Statistics, houses in Northern Ireland still have the lowest average price, at £147,000.00.

 

What is more interesting is the fact that last year, the average price here has increased by 11.7%, whilst the annual inflation was 10.4% in England, 3.1% in Wales and 4.4% in Scotland.

 

Read more here: 

 

This is obviously good news for sellers. Of course, we don't know what the future will bring and I am not offering financial advice, but if I was in the market for a new home in NI, it would appear to make sense to buy sooner rather than later.

 

Happy New Year,

Les.

3D Concrete 'Printing'

Posted on 2nd December, 2014

The Freeform Construction team at Loughborough University are developing large scale additive processes for the manufacture of building components.

 

According to Rob Francis of Skanska (who are collaborating in the project), “3D concrete printing, when combined with a type of mobile prefabrication centre, has the potential to reduce the time needed to create complex elements of buildings from weeks to hours.”

 

It is expected that the technology will be available for use on sites in as little as a year.

 

Read more here and let me know what you think:

 

Renewable Heat Premium Payment

Posted on 28th October, 2014

The Northern Ireland Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) scheme is designed to help domestic householders afford alternative renewable technologies that can heat their home and provide hot water. If your property is suitable, you can apply for funding from the scheme.

If you qualify, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) will provide you with a voucher. Once you have had one of the following renewable technologies installed in your property, this voucher can then be exchanged for grant money.

Voucher Values are: £3,500 for a Ground-Source or Water-Source Heat Pump, £2,500 for a Biomass Boiler, £1,700 for an Air-Source Heat Pump and £320 for Solar Thermal Hot Water.

 

You will need to know whether you qualify for the scheme, so check out the eligibility criteria here:

 

Advice on which technology would best suit your home can be found here: EST Technology Advice:

 

Note that air-to-air heat pumps, wood fuelled stoves (unless they are part of a system with a back boiler) and bioliquid fuelled systems are not eligible for this scheme.

 

Any questions? Please email or call me.

 

Regards,

Les.

Renewable Heating Incentives

Posted on 24th June, 2014

These days, there are so many competing claims about heating systems, 

it could be easy for you to end up with something that is not quite right for your needs. 

One important thing to be aware of is the availability of financial assistance for certain 

solutions such as heat pumps (both ground-source and air-source), biomass boilers and solar 

thermal installations. 

Armed with this information, you should be able to make a better informed decision. 

It will at the very least, enable you to ask the right questions of potential suppliers and installers.

 

Have a look at the details about the RHPP scheme (Renewable Heat Premium Payment) in 

Northern Ireland:

 

Follow this link.

 

Meanwhile, in the Republic of Ireland, the Better Energy Homes scheme offers grants to 

homeowners and landlords for heating systems upgrades (and insulation installations). 

Find out more here.

 

If you require more information on which system would suit you needs, let me know.

Print Your Own Home ...

Posted on 17th April, 2014

The Shanghai WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co can now make 10 new houses in a day, using a giant 3D printer. The technique deposits high-grade cement and glass fibre material layer by layer, consistently building upwards to make components which are then assembled into 200 sq m (2153 sq ft) houses. The houses are being built in Shanghai’s Qingpu district and are estimated to cost just £2,800.00 each.

This is somehow appropriate, coming from the people who invented printing almost 1,000 years ago, don't you think?

 

Image courtesy of http://blogs.ft.com/beyond-brics/2014/04/15/has-china-beaten-the-west-in-building-the-first-3d-printed-house/

Selfbuild & Improve Your Home Show

Posted on 12th February, 2014

Hi,

To anyone who requested free tickets to the above - I need your addresses; so if you have not already done so, please use the Contact page to send your details;

 

or alternatively drop me an email at: info@landmarkdesigns.org.uk 

 

Thanks and enjoy the show - it's always informative and interesting.

 

Regards,

Les.

I have a few tickets for the Selfbuild Show in February at the King's Hall, Belfast to give to anyone who would like to go: 

 

Message me with your address if you would like some free tickets.

 

SelfBuild & Improve Your Home Show, BelfastKINGS HALL COMPLEX  |  14-16 FEBRUARY 2014 (10am-6pm)