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Bricks: Simple And Easy

Types  

  • Sun-dried brick 
  • Burnt clay brick 
  • Fly ash brick 
  • Concrete brick 
  • Engineering brick 

Engineering Bricks  

These bricks have high compressive strength and low water absorption. These bricks are commonly found in a red colour although you can find them in a blue colour aswell. 

Is this brick solid? 

This brick is detailed, square edged and solid. 

Can you drill into an engineering brick? 

This brick is extremely hard to drill into. Even though this brick is very strong, if drilled into with the wrong tools it could shatter or explode. 

Can you build a house with this brick? 

Yes. When having a construction project, you want a brick that is strong and durable. Also, this brick can withstand damp and cold weather. 

Burnt Clay Brick 

The common burnt clay bricks are constructed by pressing clay into Molds to make shape, and then dried and fired in a kiln. This brick is used for general constructions for example, walls. 

What is this brick used for? 

These are commonly used in columns, walls, foundations and more. 

Is a clay brick better than a concrete brick? 

An Clay brick is three times stronger than a concrete brick. 

Fly Ash Brick 

Fly ash bricks are made using waste of thermal power plant. 

Advantages  

  • They are light in weight as it is suitable for multi-floored buildings. 
  • This brick absorbs less heat  
  • Eco-friendly 

Disadvantages  

  • Slow strength gain. After the brick has set it gains strength the longer it’s there.  
  • Longer setting time 
  • Seasonal restrictions. Low temperatures increase the setting times and cause slow strength gain. 

Concrete Bricks  

Concrete brick is a mixture of cement and sand formed in Molds and cured. 

Why are concrete blocks used? 

 `These blocks have a hollow core to make them lighter and to improve insulation. 

Sun-Dried Brick

They are also known as adobe or mudbrick. It’s made from a mixture of sand, clay and water mixed with a binding material such as rice husks or straw. Instead of using a kiln these bricks are sun dried. 

Where is sun-dried brick used? 

This brick is one of the oldest building materials that have been used for thousands of years to build houses, mosques, churches, palaces and cities. 

professional construction worker laying bricks and building barbecue in industrial site. Detail of hand adjusting bricks

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Listed Buildings: An Easy Guide

Categories of listed buildings 

In England and Wales there are 3 categories of listed buildings 

  • Grade 1 (2.5% of buildings)- Buildings of exceptional interest. For example, the Liverpool Anglican cathedral. 
  • Grade 2*(5.5% of buildings)- Buildings with particular importance. For example, Buckingham Palace. 
  • Grade 2 (92% of buildings)- Buildings of special architectural or historic interest. A grade 2 listed building is defined as a UK building or structure that is of special interest, warranting every effort to preserve it. 

Things you should know before buying a listed property. 

  • From your local authority, you’ll need to be granted permission for any changes to the building. This is including all renovations or any changes to the internal layout.  
  • All listed buildings are on a national register which is searchable on the Historic England Website. 
  • Repairs will cost more. You will have to hire specialist labourers that have the correct skills and tools to carry out the repairs, which can be more costly than a standard labourer.  
  • You’ll need specialist home insurance to cover your home which will cost more. This will cost more due to the materials needed for your home. 

Do’s and don’ts for listed buildings  

Do’s 

  • Remove or alter original architectural features such as doors, decorative stonework, fireplaces or windows. 
  • Don’t assume your garden is yours to play with. Walls and Trees are listed too. 

Don’ts 

  • Before buying a listed building, you need to make sure that all renovations done by the previous owners were done correctly. It doesn’t matter if the renovations were done before you owned the building you are still liable. 
  • Make sure you have specialist home insurance. 
  • Keep in regular touch with your conservation officer as they have all the information you may need.  

How are buildings chosen for listing? 

The older the building is the more likely the building is listed. All buildings that were built before 1700s which is still in its original condition will be listed. 

The newer the property the more remarkable it needs to be to become listed, for example a building with outstanding architecture. Buildings are not usually eligible for listing until it’s at least 30 years old. 

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A Guide to Commercial Buildings

What is a commercial building used for?

A commercial property is a space that allows you to use the space for commercial activities such as food service, retail or any other business. Commercial buildings have been split into classifications designated into class A, B and C. 

Class A buildings are usually newer construction properties with better amenities and infrastructure. However, this could be an older building that has been remodelled. Usually located in a popular area. 

Class B buildings are maintained and well managed. Not always a new build but can be easily transformed by some renovations. 

Class C buildings are often old properties, located in unbeneficial areas that are less maintained. There are building tends to need more work done. Landlords will charge less due to the work needing to be done. 

Classifications  

Classifications for each building:

A1 – shops such as:  

  • Retail (not hot food) 
  • Post office 
  • Hairdressing 

A2 – Professional services 

  • Banks 
  • Health and medical services 

A3 – Food and Drink  

  • Cafes  
  • Restaurants   
  • Anything that serves hot food 

A4 – Drinking establishments  

  • Bars 
  • Wine bars  

B1 – Business 

B8 – Storage and Distribution  

  • Wholesale warehouse 
  • Distribution centre  
  • Repositories 

C1 – Hotels  

  • Hotels  
  • Guest homes  

C2 – Residential institutions  

  • Boarding schools 
  • Training centre 
  • Hospitals  
  • Nursing homes  

Do I need planning permission?  

Yes, you do, it is essential that you have planning permission for commercial buildings.

When do you need commercial planning permission? 

You will definitely need to have planning permission if you intend to: 

  • Add an extension or large-scale renovation. 
  • Build a new property. 
  • Change the use of the building. For example, changing the use from commercial to residential or residential to commercial. 

Do I need Planning permission if I work from home? 

Using space in your home will not usually need planning permission. However, you should get planning permission if: 

  • Your business is unusual to be in a residential area. 
  • Your employees work from your home. (But are not occupants) 
  • The number of customers visiting your home increases. 
  • Your business could disturb your neighbours. 

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Beginners Guide of Removing Your Chimney Breast

What is your chimney breast for? 

The chimney breast is the part that peeks outwards into the depths of your home. They ae mostly seen in older homes. In the past this was the main way of heating our homes, this was an important element in pushing heat throughout our houses. However today chimneys are rarely used due to central and electric heating. 

Why would you want to remove your Chimney breast? 

For some a chimney breast is seen as something that takes up valuable space that could be used for something else. However, some people love the idea of an open fireplace which is also the most inefficient way to burn fuel at home. Some may have the chimney-piece removed for an eco-friendlier way of heating. 

Removing the Chimney, the correct way  

This is not a quick DIY job. When removing the chimney-piece, you are also removing an important load-bearing wall. Due to this you need to ensure that the structural integrity of your building isn’t put at risk.  

One of the most common internal altercations carried out is to remove an obsolete chimney breast at ground floor level to create more floor space. Commonly chimneys are also removed at first floor level leaving the roof bare and external section of the chimney in place.  

Building regulations apply to this work because it is material altercation to the structure ensuring the remaining part of the stack is properly supported. 

Regulations and considerations  

There is a lot of planning, approval and checks that are needed to be done, plus your labourer. The next steps you should go through is: 

  • Planning permission 
  • Get building regulations approved 
  • Party wall agreement (only if you have adjoined neighbours) 
  • Speak to structural engineer  
  • New building support structure  

What will the structure engineer do? 

The help of a structure engineer will determine how the chimney breast should be removed in the safest way. 

The Party wall agreement 

This step only applies if your property is adjoined to a neighbouring property. This means you must inform and agree with your neighbours on any work done on a shared boundry. 

Costs of removing the chimney breast 

Removing a chimney breast isn’t a low-cost project, the total cost will depend on the complexity of the job and how much you want removed. For example, only removing the ground floor chimney-piece could cost around £1,500 estimated, but wanting to remove the entire chimney it could cost around £4,000 estimate. 

Can you still have a fire without the chimney breast?  

Yes… There are other options to pick from such as: 

  • Balanced flue gas fires 
  • Flueless gas fires 
  • Electric fires 
  • Wall mounted fires. 

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Dormer Loft Conversion Cost 2021
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How Much Does A Dormer Loft Conversion Cost in 2021?

Whenever someone wants more functional space in the house, most of the people recommend dormer loft conversion. It is a simple build and hence does not require planning permission. Furthermore, this type is cheaper compared to other loft conversions. The question is “how much does a dormer loft conversion cost in 2021?”. Our experienced team at Pro Arkitects will help you find out the answer.

Dormer Loft Conversion Cost 2021

Various things affect the cost of a build. In case of a dormer loft conversion, it depends on the number and size of the dormers added to the existing roof. Furthermore, there are various other things such as insulation, flooring, fittings and fixtures, staircase and so on. According to our experts, a standard dormer loft conversion cost in 2021 is around £50,000. It depends on the scope and size of the project.

Steps involved in the Dormer Loft Conversion

There are various steps involved in the process from planning to the completion of the build.

Dormer Loft Conversion Plans Cost in 2021

You should have plans for the conversion either from an architectural firm, or designer, or surveyor. These plans should explain all the alterations required for the project, and it will cost you around £1,000 plus VAT.

Planning Permission Dormer Loft Conversion Cost 2021

In the case of a loft, a homeowner does not require planning permission as it comes under permitted development. However, it all depends on the work required for the conversion. You need to make sure that it does not require changes in the foundations of the house. Planning application cost in England is around £172.

Build Cost

Most of the construction work is done externally. In some cases, the contractors cover the roof to allow the work to continue during bad weather. First of all, they need to provide access inside the home to finish the flooring. It requires some alterations to the roof to construct dormers. As you are going to use this space for living, you need to insulate the walls. In short, this is where most of the cost will be spent.

How Long Does It Take?

Normally, a dormer loft conversion requires six to eight weeks. If you need planning permission, then you need to keep in mind that the process can take longer. The good thing is that you do not need to leave your home during the work.

Tips to Keep Dormer Loft Conversion Cost 2021 Down

To keep the cost down of your project, we will recommend you to work with trustworthy people. We will also recommend you to hire a Design & Build Company in your local area to avoid the hassle of finding designer and contractors separately.

At Pro Arkitects, we always hire a particular specialist for each role. As a Design & Build company, you do not need to hire everyone separately for design, project management. We will oversee the entire project from start to finish. You can also manage the project yourself, but hiring a professional provides you with an edge while dealing with contractors.

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Oak Frame Extension: Things A Homeowner Needs to Know

Oak frame extension is a great way to add some character to your home. However, there are lots of things a homeowner needs to know before starting work.

We know that the timber frame is a really good choice, oak is also popular for new build homes. There are lots of benefits of oak frame extension. One of the things that we like in oak frame is flexibility. There are lots of properties in which oak frame extensions suits including postwar homes to cottages. Furthermore, it brings character to your new extension.

Designing

One of the most cost-effective routes is to approach an architectural service provider or an oak frame company who is able to provide in-house design service. It is better to approach a company as it knows all the limitations, possibilities and challenges during the construction. It is important to make sure that it does not require any extra work to accommodate the frame. Like any other house extension, it is essential that the design relates to the existing house.

Planning Permission for Oak Frame Extension

Just like any other extension, you do need to comply with planning rules. There are some extensions that do not require planning permission as they fall under permitted development. You need to consult with local authorities about the style, size and requirements of the policy.

How to Build Oak Frame Extension

Most of the homeowners work with a company to build the extension. These companies can build and supply the frame. Nowadays, the oak frame is encased within a system such as timber panels or SIPs. The reason to use these materials is to meet thermal efficiency requirements.

Cost of Oak Frame Extension

Oak is a premium building material and hence more expensive. An estimate cost of oak frame extension about £2.500 square meter.

Well, there are various other factors that affect the cost of an extension and conversion. One of the factors is the price oak. I mean oak is expensive and roof rafter made of oak costs more than softwood. Another thing is the amount of glazing which impacts the cost. Furthermore, the complexity of the project and the location also affects the budget.

Things to Consider

If you want the work to go smoothly then the communication between you, builder and the oak frame company plays an important role. It helps keep the project on track and avoid long delays. There is a lot of groundwork required before the delivery of the frame.

Another important thing is the access of a crane which is required to erect both the SIPs and the frame. If access is limited then you need to find solutions. You need to keep in mind that is versatile and has some limitations. That is why; we will recommend you to get help from an expert who has experience with oak frame extensions.

Small Loft Conversion
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A Simple Guide for Small Loft Conversion

Converting a loft is one of the most favourite home improvements in the UK. The reason is that you do not need to lose any area to get some more living space in the hose. Furthermore, it is the cheapest alternative to moving a house. Well, not every loft is suitable and hence we are here to guide people who want small loft conversion.

Some of the houses have a too small or too large loft, which is very tricky to turn into a living area. However, they can be converted but what is important is that they can justify the expense of conversion.

You do not need to worry as we are here to help you with small loft conversion. You can turn them into a bedroom, home office or a space that provides a fabulous view of the neighbourhood.

Building Regulations

To convert a loft, It must have at least 2.4 meters head height. You can easily measure it using a measuring top. You need to keep in mind that conversion is also going to reduce the head height. Because the roof will require plastering and panelling. If you have 2.4 meters of head height then after conversion you will be left with about two meters.

Dormer Windows for Small Loft Conversion

Dormer windows are one of the best options for converting a loft into living space. Furthermore, it can add some extra headroom that adds character to space. The loft room is at the highest point of a house so having a window provides a great view. If you have more space in the loft then you can fit right against a bed for a morning wakeup bathed in sunlight.

Use Skylights In Small Loft Conversion

It is good to have natural light inside the house and hence skylights are the best fit. It allows more natural light inside the loft and make it bright and airy. Skylights have upward facing angle and hence the loft ceiling is the best place to install them. The skylights allow more light during the day compared to other alternatives.

Extra Storage

A small loft conversion does not mean that you cannot store your things. However, it is best to keep the minimum things to keep the loft clean.  But sometimes some few extra things inside a small space make it looks large. So, it is good to have some clever storage solutions to hide all the clutter.

Furniture

People with small loft conversion thinks that they need small furniture as they do not have enough space. But sometimes it is good to have a king-sized bed or giant sofa inside the loft. However, it is important to keep the loft stairs in mind while buying new furniture.

Bungalow Conversion
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Some Great Design Ideas for Bungalow Conversion

Are you looking for some ideas for bungalow conversion? Then you are in the right place because there is good news for you. The bungalows are no longer reserve for the homeowners. There is a huge potential to transform them into something exciting. There is not just the potential for renovation but also great design opportunities.

Just like any other home in the UK, bungalows are also built on large plots. It means that you have enough space for the extension. Usually, they have low roofs to cut down the cost of maintenance. If we keep architectural standards in mind, it does not seem that they are a very attractive option when it comes to bungalow conversion.

Do not worry! In this article, we are going to share some ideas for renovating your bungalow.

Remodel Your Bungalow as Part of Renovation

When you live in a single-storey home one thing is clear that all of your rooms will be on the ground floor. So, it is very important to decide their positioning and orientation. When we talk about bungalow conversion, we need a solid plan for the rooms. You should know the purpose of the room and also need to consider glazing options for the rooms viewable from the road. Other things that you need to consider while remodelling is the lighting scheme and furniture placement.

Bungalow Extension

You can also consider adding a bungalow extension. However, the process is trickier to achieve from design and structure point of view. The builder needs to ensure the join between the old and the new structure.

Converting A loft As Part of Bungalow Conversion

You can also consider the loft conversion for your bungalow. However, you need to make sure that the head height is at least 2.3m. Furthermore, you may not need planning permission application as it comes under permitted development rights. A loft conversion is a great way to create some useable space. One of our favourite types is a dormer which is the cheapest and easy option.

Natural Light in A Bungalow

One of the problems that bungalow owners face is there is not enough light. Usually, it consists of dark corridors which separate the living area from the sleeping quarters. So, the lack of natural light inside a bungalow is a normal thing.

You can consider roof lights to bring some natural light inside the bungalow. Also, you can consider removing a flat roof to create some space for adding roof lights. It also helps in increasing the head height of the space and bring natural light inside the bungalow.

Second Storey As A Part of Bungalow Conversion

Well, you can also consider adding an entirely new storey to a bungalow. It is a great option to improve living space and to transform the layout. Furthermore, you can avoid the cost of a new foundation to increase living space.

Last Words!

There are lots of options for bungalow conversion. You can convert it to bring more natural light, or you can consider adding a second storey to increase living space. Another great design idea is to convert the loft if you have enough head height. Adding a second storey is a great option as it avoids the cost of a new foundation. However, you will need to get planning permission for adding another storey.