Tag: construction

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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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Design and Inspiration

Everything You Need to Know About Installing a Balcony

How much does it cost to add a Balcony? 

Depending on the complexity of the job would depend on the price. The estimated price to installing a balcony would vary between £1,500 – £5,500. 

The estimated cost would cover: 

  • Size
  • Design  
  • Labourer costs 
  • Material costs 
  • How complex the job is. 

Types of balconies  

  • Stacked – The most popular and common. Easy to install. 
  • Juliet/Faux – This is a faux balcony that may contain a small standing area but usually does not. A Juliet balcony contains a balustrade connection to the building without flooring to walk on. 
  • Hung – This structure is made out of stainless-steel cables that are fixed on the sides of the structure. These balconies are less common but have great strength. 
  • Cantilevered – This structure can be made from concrete, steel or timber. This type of project needs to be planned accordingly as the job is quite complex. 
  • Mezzanine – They have a large decking area with railing. This structure gives you more space. 

Do I need planning permission to install a balcony? 

If your home is in a conservation area or your property is listed you must apply for planning permission. 

In other cases, if your balcony is smaller that 300mm you may not have to seek planning permission but it is always best to do so. When submitting your planning application form expect to pay a fee. 

Installing a Juliet/Faux balcony means you won’t have to apply for planning permission, unless you decide to add flooring to walk on and then you must. 

Will it raise my house value? 

There are no guarantees that this will raise the price value, but they have been known the raise the value up to 12%. 

What are balconies used for? 

Balconies are used for extras space, kind of like an outdoor room. Many people like to use their balcony like a garden. For example adding a barbecue or flowers onto it. Others like to use their balcony to admire the views the structure allows them to see and relax on it. 

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Uncategorised

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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Architecture & Building, Materials

Frequently Asked Things About SIP Panels: Get To Know

What is a SIP panel?  

A structural insulated panel (SIP) is a sandwich structured composite. Consisting of an insulating layer of rigid core sandwiched between two layers of structural board, used as a building material.  

The board can be sheet metal, plywood, cement, magnesium oxide board, or oriented strand board. In addition, the core can either be polystyrene foam, extruded polystyrene foam, polyurethane foam or be composite honeycomb.  

How sustainable are SIPs?  

Structural insulated panels are one of the most environmentally responsible building systems available. They are constructed offsite and the elements are fully manufactured in a controlled environment. This minimises the loose materials sent to the site you are balancing the risk of waste. Also, all of the materials used in the manufacture and construction are recyclable.  

Installing and longevity of SIP panels –  

When using SIP panels, the build speeds are a lot quicker than the normal construction methods. This is due to the number of elements you need for a build. The panels just need slotting together, once they have need delivered.

The life span of structural insulated panels usually lasts around 60+ years. This is because they are a high-performing system that is extremely strong.  

Are SIPs cost-effective?  

SIP panels are usually the same or sometimes less expensive than using other building systems. They are known to be 90% more energy-efficient than a traditional home. This is because of all of the insulation and airtightness they provide. The panels are also a cheaper option because there will not be many construction and labour costs.  

Advantages and disadvantages –  

SIP panels have many pros and cons, and they are the type of product you should investigate before committing to them on your project.  

Advantages –  

  • They are considered to be up to 6 times stronger than a timber frame.  
  • Can me manufactured off site – this means the build will be less costly and will take less time to construct.  
  • Fire resistant – they have tested to offer 73 minutes of resistance, which exceeds British fire safety regulation.  
  • Highly thermal – they have also tested to outperform fibre insulation. 

Disadvantages –  

  • Require additional ventilation – this is because of the heat trapped inside. To avoid built up condensation you need to use the vents.
  • It is harder for changes to be made once you have decided on the design of you SIP home.
  • Need additional airflow sources – because of the tight seal you need more airflow. If not, the walls can become damp, and even mouldy.  
  • Relatively new to the UK – therefore, finding professional builders with experience can be hard.  
SIP panel

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Advice Center

The Ultimate Guide To Knowing About A Drop Kerb

What is a drop Kerb? 

A dropped kerb is the dip in the path and kerb that lets you drive up to your house. The kerb is dropped from the normal height and the path is straightened to take the weight of the vehicle.  

Do I need a dropped kerb?  

If you intend to drive your car over the path into your driveway off a road, then you will need a drop kerb. It is against the law to drive over the path. If you do so, you are breaking the law and enforcement action could be taken to prevent such practice. Furthermore:  

  • Fistly, You may become liable from a collision with a pedestrian  
  • You may become liable for damage to the path  
  • You may face considerable costs as a result of damage to any utility apparatus under the path.  

Can I drop a kerb myself?  

The majority of local authorities will assign a contractor to complete the job, once your permission has been granted. The local council will strongly advise against DIY dropped kerbs. However, the council will allow you to DIY it if you are qualified to do the jobs yourself.  

Do you need planning permission?  

If your road is owned by the council you will need to apply for planning permission. However, if your road is a private road, you will not need to get planning permission. If you don’t get planning permission and you decide to build a dropped kerb, you may be fined up to £1,000.  

The cost of a dropped kerb –  

The average dropped kerb cost is around £600. This price covers the costs of materials and the labour’s work although, it doesn’t cover the costs of the planning permission. The average drop kerb prices for 2 kerbs will typically start at £350 for labour and materials, while the price you can expect for 3 kerbs is £ 525 and £700 for 4. They can take up to 1 – 6 weeks depending on the size, complexity and whether any utility’s need moving.  

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Extensions, House Extension

The Ultimate Beginners Guide To Ground Floor Flat Extensions

Improving your home is becoming very popular among homeowners who are looking for more space. This is because with property prices increasing, it is becoming more expensive to move houses. If you own a ground floor flat it can be greatly improved by a bit of construction work.  

Ownership of the flat –  

Firstly, if you are a leaseholder and want to commence works on the property, you must get freeholder consent before you can carry out any internal or proposed building extensions.  

The lease plans will tell you whether the demised premises space is occupied under a lease contract. This includes the garden that comes with the flat, or whether you simply have permission to use it. Some leases don’t allow any construction to take place in the garden, so make sure you check.  

Do you need planning permission?  

Before going into the planning process, it’s a good idea to know what you are trying to gain from the proposed space.   

When adding an extension onto a ground floor flat, planning permission is a must. However, with the right architects by your side, this doesn’t have to be stressful. 

To add an extension to your flat you must apply for planning permission. If your flat is a listed building it is likely that you will need listed building consent. You should contact your local planning authority for advice before you start work. 

Adding work to a listed building that affects the historical character without consent is a criminal offense. 

However, if you are using an architect, they will be the best people to guide and advise you through the planning process.  

Planning your design for the flat extension –  

Once your planning is approved it is a good idea to plan and understand exactly what you require to do with the new space. Do you want to extend the kitchen? Open up the living room? Or create another bedroom?  

It is also important to play around with the space and work out the best layout for the extension. A popular element many homeowners like to include is natural daylight. So, to increase the property value and aesthetic of the home you should think about including skylights and bi-folding doors.  

Lewisham basement flat extension - JNJ Building Solutions

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Advice Center

How Long Does Planning Permission Last? Everything You Need To Know

When does planning permission expire?  

Normally, planning permission is valid for 3 years from the time the local authority grants it. This means you have 3 years to start construction work on the site. 

History –

Before 1968, there was no limit on the duration of permissions. Between 1968 and 2009, the duration of the permission was set out in the conditions. It was often limited to 5 years within which the construction had to begin. Although it was sometimes possible to extend this.

How can you stop it expiring? 

In order to stop planning expiring on-site, you can submit a planning renewal application. You can re-submit the original planning application, at one-quarter of the original fee price. Just like the original planning application, the renewal will last 3 years.  

How Long Does Planning Permission Last? [2021 Update] | Urbanist  Architecture - London Architects

Types of planning permission –  

There are two types of planning permission: outline planning and full planning permission. It is advisable to check with your local authority to determine what type of permission is required for your development.  

Outline planning permission –  

Outline permission is used for bigger projects. You’re basically asking the local authority to agree to the overall idea of the scheme. And then you put in a separate application covering the details: 

  • Outline application with all matters reserved 
  • Outline application with some matters reserved  

Full planning permission –  

Full permission is normally required for change of use developments in conservation areas. And for developments that affect listed buildings. It also applies to industrial and commercial developments. 

What if the building takes longer than you planned?  

You only need to start building within the 3-year limit, you don’t need to finish the project within that timeframe. You must have made some kind of visible first step, to count as started.  

However, there is a criterion you must follow to show the first steps of the project. You must start your build in the right place and you must show you have completed more than the bare minimum.  

Planning Consultants Leigh - MPD Built Environment Consultants

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Architecture & Building, House Renovation

An Informative Step By Step Guide To Building A New Home

Looking to build a new home but don’t know where to start? this step by step guide is a perfect way to understand the process of the construction

1. Prepare the construction site 

Firstly, before any construction can happen, the local government must approve the design and provide permits. You will need these permits for everything from home construction, electrical work, plumbing, and planning. Once the permits are required, construction can begin.  

Often site preparation and foundation are performed by the same people. The crew clears the site of rocks, debris, and trees. They then level the site, put up wooden forms to serve as a template for the foundation, and dig holes and trenched. The footings are then formed and poured, as well as the foundation walls. The areas between them are levelled and fitted with plumbing drains and electrical chases; then the slab is poured. Once all of the concrete is set an inspector will visit the site to make sure the foundations are up to code and installed properly. 

2. Complete rough framing  

The floor, walls, and roof systems will all be completed. Usually, plywood sheathing is applied to the exterior walls, roof, and windows and the exterior doors are installed. It is then covered with a protective barrier known as a house wrap. This prevents liquid water from infiltrating the structure. This also reduces the likelihood of d rot.   

3. complete rough plumbing and electrical 

Once the shell is finished the roof can be installed and the following are installed: 

  • Pipes and wires 
  • Water supply lines 
  • Sewer lines and vents  
  • Bathtubs, shower units 
  • Ductwork for HVAC system 
  • HVAC vent pipes 

Once all of the things are installed you will need to have a few more inspections. 

4. install the insulation  

Insulation plays a key role in creating a more comfortable, consistent indoor climate and improving the home’s energy efficiency. The most common types of insulation used in new homes are fiberglass, cellulose, and foam. Most homes are insulated in all exterior walls, as well as the loft and floors.  

5. Complete drywall and the interior fixtures, start the exterior fixtures 

The next step is to hang the drywall and make sure it is taped so the seams are not visible. After the taping is complete the primer coat of paint is applied. Then the contractors will begin installing the external finishes such as brick and stone. 

6. finish interior trim, install driveway and walkways  

All of the interiors get completed and this includes doors, baseboards, window sills, cabinets, vanities, fireplaces, and much more. The walls get the last coats of paint and the wallpaper is applied.  

Generally, the driveway, walkways, and patios are formed at this stage.  

7. install hard surface flooring and countertops  

Ceramic tile, vinyl, and wood flooring are installed as well as the countertops.  

8. finish mechanical trims 

Light fixtures, outlets, and switches are installed and the electrical panel is complete. All of the bathroom fixtures are also installed such as sinks, toilets, baths, and showers.  

9. install finishing touches  

Mirrors, shower doors, and carpet are installed and a big final clean-up takes place. They also complete the landscaping by adding trees, grass, and shrubs  

10. The final walkthrough  

The final step is a walkthrough, your builders will show you and acquaint you with your new home, the features, and the operation of some things. This is also an opportunity to spot items that need to be corrected or adjusted. And also, to check there are no possible damages to the countertops or walls.  

Discover How to Avoid Budget Blowouts when Building a Home | BBBLOGS®
Building a new home

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Architecture & Building, Design and Inspiration

Digital Progression – The Ever-Evolving World of Modern Architecture

Before the digital age, geometry generally dictated what architectural designers could achieve. Some extraordinarily talented individuals were ahead of their time when it came to creating building designs with unusual patterns. However, for the most part, these designs were limited to relatively simple shapes and sizes.

This changed with the arrival of CAD (Computer Aided Design) and BIM (Building Information Modelling). In recent times, technological tools like these have provided designers with more powerful means to render complex designs.

Below, Pro Arkitects – Design & Build Experts take a look at some of these new technological gizmos. Plus, we explore the constructions that continue to push the envelope of what is possible in building design.

Geometry Projects Defined by Computer Algorithms

New programmes, such as Autodesk’s Project Abaka, make it possible for designers to go beyond the rules of geometry. Now, an architectural designer can tell a computer the requirements of a design they want to produce. This is achieved using a concept collectively referred to as Generative Architecture.

To illustrate, assume a client has a specific vision for how he or she wants a project to be built. After entering the client’s desired criteria, the computer will provide a vast quantity of project design solutions and geometric configurations. This will only take the computer a few seconds to complete, whereas for a person, it will take much longer.

Computer Printout Buildings

In a spectacular feat of architectural science, the Landesgartenschau Exhibition Hall in Germany was constructed. A combination of bio-mimicry elements, robotically prefabricated beech plywood plates and digital architecture software were used to accomplish this. The exterior design itself is based on sea urchin skeletons.

A sophisticated digital programme was used to complete the build. Not only did it draft the plans for each panel – it also controlled the CNC (Computer Numerical Control Milling) machinery. This cut each piece and directed the robotic arm which joined them together.

The revolutionary building designs state that the Hall is the only commercial building to have been made from prefabricated plywood beech plates by a robot.

Expanding Possibilities

Gramazio & Kohler Architects are at the forefront of digital fabrication. They use a combination of CNC milling, 3D-modelling software and hand-drawn conceptual mock-ups to finalise projects. Examples of this are the ceilings of the Federal Court Building in Bellinzona, Switzerland.

As described in a recent publication of Architectural Record, “The ceiling panels, which include perforations and a swirling pattern, perform both aesthetic and acoustical functions.” The report elaborated; “They reflect light from a central skylight above the rooms and help ensure that the court proceedings are audible.”

Only a generation or two ago, these fabrication techniques and building designs would have solely taken place in fiction. But now, courtesy of the continued innovation in the field of digital architecture software, they are gradually becoming a reality.

Advice Center

What Season Should I Start Construction Work? The Ultimate Guide

Looking to start construction work but are not sure when the best time of year is? This blog will help you decide.  

The climate is the biggest and most important factor when it comes to construction. This is because it determines the materials you can use and the longevity of the work.  

Autumn – Winter Construction

The fall and winter periods are a classic time for dangerous construction sites. many accidents happen because the ground is often slippery and wet. Workers also need to dress up warmly and wear extra padding, this leads to having less mobility which leads to accidents. You also need to watch out for the water and electricity and make sure they do not come in contact. Because the site can become a death trap if it is not managed properly.  

Thunderstorms –  

Thunderstorms and heavy rains cause a lot more damage to a build than expected. If there are high winds materials being used in the construction can be destroyed or damaged. And if it is hailing it can easily break glass and can dent sheet metal.  

Moisture –  

Moisture is very bad when it comes to construction it can lead to accumulating Mold in the environment. The metals used in the construction such as iron and steel will be accessible to rust. If you are working with wood, even when it is cured it is still open to moisture. Bricks are one of the first building materials that is immediately affected by moisture during construction.  this is because it traps the moisture in the tinner walls and it could be released at a later date. 

Extreme Cold –  

Materials contract in extreme cold, so applying paint and glue to surfaces on these days will lead to cracking and wrinkling. Concrete and cement will also form ice particles and this drastically reduces strength and stability.  

However, building in cold climates is not a new thing and cold counties have successfully overcome all issues. Because they use specially adapted materials, additives, and application processes. 

How Does Weather Affect Construction? | H3 Construction & Design
construction in the winter

Spring – Summer Construction  

You may think because the weather is getting warmer it is for the better, however, moisture is an even bigger issue in spring.  

Heat – 

The heat can be just as big of an issue as the rain. Heat changes the expansion dimensions of materials and this may lead to misaligned joins during the construction. The heat also causes workers to be less careful, wearing less protective clothing and causing drowsiness due to heat fatigue. 

It has shown that preparing concrete on hot days without adding in extra water requirements will lead to weaker applications. Bricks in the heat can also become brittle and, pain, when applied, might crack as well as discolour.   

Heat and Sun Protection Tips for Construction Workers
construction in the summer.

Just like the colder season building in hotter seasons have its own issues and many countries manage to develop methods and tools that work for the climate. However, it is clear to see that it is better to start construction in the spring-summer months compared to the autumn-winter months.    

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