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Advice Center

An informative step-by-step guide to installing a roof

This step-by-step guide will show you how to install a roof. It will also list tools and items that you would need during this project.  

List of tools required –  

  • Caulk gun 
  • Air compressor 
  • Circular saw 
  • Roof harness  
  • Roofing Nailer 
  • Scaffolding  
  • Stapler  
  • Utility knife  
  • Cordless drill 
  • Tape measure  
  • Chalk line 

List of materials required –  

  • Felt underlay  
  • Asphalt shingles  
  • Roofing nails  
  • Drip edge  
  • Hook blades  
  • Sealant 
  • Waterproof underlay  
  • Staples  
  • Step and dormer flashing  
  • Valley flashing  
  • Vent flashing  

Step 1: installing the ventilation system  

A rafter roll is usually laid across the eaves and is designed to guide fresh air into the roof. It also allows air to circulate around the space to prevent dampness.   

What is a rafter roll? 

A rafter roll is a glass mineral wool roll. Designed for use in warm roofs where the roof is insulated at rafter level. It offers excellent thermal performance.  

Make sure the rafter roll comes out above any pre-installed insulation. If you don’t the insulation will block the airflow.  

Step 2: installing underlay  

To protect the roof against ice, wind, and rain you should install a good underlay. You need to make sure the underlay you have chosen meets the building regulation requirements for your project. So, to install the underlay you should start on the right side of the roof and tack it into place. Depending on your ventilation system, you may need to leave a gap at the ridge of the roof to allow air to circulate effectively.  

Step 3: putting in the battens and tiles  

You will need to determine the first fix point on the roof for your tiles, and that’s where the top of your first batten will sit. In addition, make sure you use the right size timber batten for your roof tiles. Line up the top of the batten with the chalk line and fix with a nail to every rafter. After that, to keep the ridge batten secure you must use batten straps to keep it in place.  

What is a batten?  

A Batten is a small section of timber or steel that provides a means of supporting, positioning, or fixing roof cladding and ceiling sheets. A Tile batten is parallel to the eaves line and at right angles to the rafters to which tiles are fixed

Next, you should lay your first line of tiles across the roof. Then, make sure that you have a minimum of one nail per tile and two nails per tile around the perimeters. You should time from right to left, depending on the interlock of the tile.  

Finally step 4: adding the roof ridge 

You should place your ridge membrane in a straight line across the ridge batten. Once it’s secured all along the ridge, it’s time to screw the ridge tiles to the ridge batten. Finally, when that is completed, you can install a ridge-to-ridge seal to offer extra strength to the ridge.  

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Loft Conversion

The best 2022 guide to a Velux loft conversion

If you’re looking to gain extra space in your home, and want to add value to the property, then a loft conversion can be a great solution.  

What is a Velux loft conversion? 

A Velux loft conversion is when the shape of the existing roof is retained and Velux windows are installed into the rafters. The rafters will have to be cut depending on the size of the new windows, the inside of the roof space is fitted out to a carefully thought-out design. The name Velux is after a famous brand of loft windows.   

Will you need planning permission?  

Most loft conversions are considered permitted development, which means you won’t need to get planning permission as long as the building work fits certain criteria. So, if you’re looking to get a simple conversion with roof windows, you generally don’t need to worry. However, it is best to check just to be safe.  

How long does a this loft conversion take to complete? 

Velux loft conversions are usually completed in between 4 and 6 weeks since they are one of the simplest conversion types. 

Cost of a Velux loft conversion –  

The average cost for a Velux loft conversion is around £27,500. However, there are various things that will affect the cost such as: 

  • Size of windows 
  • Number of windows required 
  • Type of windows 
  • Head height and space of your loft 
  • Where you live 
  • Style and quality of finishings  

Velux windows –  

A Velux window is easier to install than a dormer window, and still provides a good amount of light to the space. The windows are paired with a number of modern features, such as: 

  • Electric operation  
  • Solar operation 
  • Top hung hinges  
  • Hundreds of blinds and shutter options  
  • Extra-large balcony windows 

How they can transform your home? 

Compared to other loft conversions, Velux requires less construction and hence low cost. The main addition in the loft will be the Velux windows to transform the space. Many of our clients have used this extra space for: 

  • Bedroom 
  • Home Office 
  • Living Room 
  • Bathroom 
  • Entertainment Room 

You see, there are lots of possibilities to transform this unliveable place into something useful for the whole family. Furthermore, the windows in the loft will allow for more natural light and ventilation. If you are living in a warm area, then you can use glass that prevents sunlight from entering. 

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Architecture & Building

How much does it cost to build a new house in 2022?

Buying your first home is exciting, so just imagine the excitement of building your first home. Self-builds are becoming a popular trend in the UK, with more homeowners opting to build rather than buy. However, you should know how much your dream house is going to cost.  

Build cost factors –  

Here are several key factors which can affect the cost of building a house:  

  • Size 
  • Location 
  • Build quality 
  • Complications  
  • Design complexity  
  • How many storeys  
  • Professional services required 

Size of the house –  

The price of your project can vary majorly depending on the size and design of your proposed house. A great way to get a general estimate is to think about the cost to build a house per square metre. Averagely in the UK, you can expect to pay anything from £1,500 – £3,000 per m2.  

Location of where you want to build –  

The prices of building a house differ widely depending on the location. However, the closer to London you decide to build the more expensive the project will be. Central London is the most expensive area to build in, in the UK and the second-highest priced in the world. If you are looking for the cheapest areas in the UK to build a home, you should look in the North West and Scotland. Prices average between £99,000 – £160,000 for a new build.  

Build quality –  

The materials you choose to use and the finish you want will have a big impact on the price of your project. However, the prices of materials have been increasing rapidly over the last year and in 2022. This is because of a supply and demand issue caused by lockdowns and Brexit. This means you may have to pay a little extra for certain materials. 

Complications –  

When it comes to a new project it is always good to have a plan and a budget just in case anything goes wrong. There are many potential complications that can arise during a build. This can happen during the planning stage, or when the building work is underway, which is why it is important to have a contingency plan.  

Design complexity –  

It is common knowledge that the more complex your design is, the more the price will increase. More complex designs take longer to build meaning you will need to pay more for contractors. Also, your architect’s fees will be higher because they have to spend more time on your drawings.  

The number of storeys –  

The more storeys you design your property to have, the more the price will increase. A single-storey property will be cheaper to build than a two or three-storey house. However, the size, shape, and location of the plot will decide how many storeys you can build. 

Professional services –  

You will also need to budget for an architect, project manager, and contractors. The industry’s standard fees for professional services range from 1% to 15% of the total cost, depending on the scale of the job.  


Building A Conservatory On A Budget: Ways How To Save Money

If you are looking to add a valuable asset to your home, conservatories are the way to go. However, if you are trying to stay within a budget there are ways you can achieve a well-designed project. Some conservatories can reach up to £75,000 although, there are ways to get one done for as little as £5,000.  

Here are some ways to save money on a conservatory. 

Create a DIY conservatory –  

One of the best ways to save money on creating and installing a conservatory is by doing it yourself. While this is a much cheaper option, the process is complicated and can cause a lot of stress. 

You’ll need to build every element on your own, from the foundation to the roofing. As well as this you will have to make sure your design is within permitted development. Otherwise, you will have to spend more money on planning permission.  

Choose a cheaper type of conservatory –  

 There are a lot of options when it comes to the type and size of the project you want to create. You can decrease the costs by being careful with the size of the new space.  

For example, you could do a flat-roof and squared-off build to reduce the number of materials. However, if you use double glazing and slimline frames it lets the natural light flood in.  

If you design a conservatory with a fully tiled roof and partial brick wall instead of glass, be expected to pay more. Whereas, you can get simple lean-to frames that are not that expensive.  

 Choose uPVC over aluminium  

 UPVC offers a great balance between durability and price. It is a cheaper price than aluminium but it isn’t far off when it comes to performance. UPVC gives you as much flexibility and energy-saving potential. You can ger recyclable uPVC, meaning you can also help the environment while you cut the cost of your conservatory.  

Decide what it’s going to be used for first –  

Make sure you know how you are going to be using the conservatory. So, you don’t payout for any unnecessary features you don’t need.   

You should think about what you will use it for and when you are spending the most time in it. If you only use it on hot days in the summer you might not need as many electrical sockets. And if you use it all year you may consider adding underfloor heating.  

Use energy-efficient double glazing –  

A crucial way of saving money is to make sure you are using energy-saving materials. A way of doing this is by getting double glazing windows which increases the insulation and reduces energy usage.  

Double glazing works to create a thermal barrier for your space, pairing with the frames to give you air and water tightness. Because of this, you can stay comfortable in your space without relying on heating.  

Small Conservatories - Small conservatory range | Anglian Home

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Conversions, Extensions

Planning A Basement Extension/ Conversion: Here’s What You Should Know

If you are in need of extra space but aren’t in a position to move house or extend outwards or upwards, there is another way. You could consider a basement conversion or an extension.  

What is a basement extension? 

A basement can be a great way to expand your living space by creating an extra bedroom, lounge, office, or gym. Basements are slowly becoming more popular in the UK. As people look for more space and don’t have the ability to extend wider, longer, or higher.  

What is a basement conversion? 

A basement conversion is a process of changing the space into an inhabitable room.  

There are three ways of building a basement extension:  

  • Conversion or refurbishment of the existing one 
  • Adding a basement to an existing property – a good option for when there’s no other way to gain extra space.  
  • Building a new basement as part of a new house build. 

Do basement conversions/ extensions need planning permission?  

You should speak to your local planning authority and building control department before you start any work. To make sure you know what permission is required. 

If you are converting an existing basement and are not making any changes to the external appearance of the building, you are unlikely to need planning permission. Whereas, if you are creating more room or if you are making changes to the external appearance of the property by adding a light well, then you are likely to need planning permission.  

Advantages basements can provide –  

In some parts of the UK especially London, where property values are at a premium, many people are turning to conversions and extensions. Another advantage is that you can create a new floor that can be used in different ways. 

Some more practical advantages are: 

  • Sun tunnels – these use mirrors to reflect sky and light above. 
  • Open up the space – keep the space as open as possible with minimal structures like walls. Consider using glass to enhance the light, for example, a glass staircase.  
  • Rooms with no light – rooms that work well with no light are perfect for basements, for example, entertainment rooms, storage, utility rooms, etc.  

Conversion/ extension disadvantages –  

The major disadvantage of starting a project in your basement can be the cost. However, in areas where property values are high, basements can work financially. Another disadvantage is that the construction of an extension or conversion can be complex, messy, and loud. 

Cost –  

Depending on the type of project you would like to achieve the prices will differ. Converting an existing basement will averagely be around £800 – £1500 per square metre. And if you are lowering the floor level it will cost you between £1400 – £2000 per square metre.  

Architects in London were asked how much it would cost to extend a basement. Most varied between £3000 – £4000 per metre square, for mid-range finishes.  

East Sheen - Cellar Conversion and Basement Construction Cellar Conversion  and Basement Construction

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Design and insperation

The Richest Architect In The World: Norman Foster

Norman Foster drops Madrid foundation project after planning snub
Norman Foster

A short summary –  

The richest architect in the world Norman Foster was born on the 1st of June 1935 and then took on the profession of a British architect and designer. He is now a key figure in British modernist architecture. His architectural practice Foster + Partners was founded in 1967. It then soon became the largest in the UK, and it maintains offices internationally. 

Childhood – 

Norman was the only child of Robert and Lilian Foster. The family moved to an area in Manchester England, where they lived in poverty. His parents were diligent and hard workers. His father was a machine painter at an electrical engineering company. This influenced Norman to take up engineering, design, and architecture. And his mother worked in a local bakery. His parents were always working and Norman often had friends and family look after him which led to a restricted relationship with his parents. 

Education to be an architect-  

Foster attended Burnage grammar school for boys. He was bullied and considered himself quiet and awkward. When he turned 16 and passed a trainee scheme exam which led to his first job. He became an office junior and clerk.  After that, he then had to complete his national service. In which he chose the air force because aircraft had been a long-time hobby.    

Upon returning to Manchester, he became an assistant to a contract manager in a local architect. (John E Beardshaw and partners). The staff advised that if he wished to become an architect, he should prepare a portfolio of drawings using the equipment from Beardshaw’s practice. Norman’s work was so impressive he joined the drawings department.  

In 1956, Norman began to study at the school of architecture and city planning part of the University of Manchester. He was eligible for a Maintenace grant so he took part-time jobs to fund his study. His talent and hard work were noticed in 1959 when he won a RIBA silver medal. He won this for what he described as a measured drawing of a windmill. After graduating in 1961, Foster won the henry fellowship to yale school of architecture in Connecticut. Where he met his future business partner Richard Rogers and earned his master’s degree.  

Career as an architect –  

Norman returned to England in 1963 to establish his own architectural practice, with rogers and 3 other people. One of their first projects was the cockpit, a minimalist glass bubble installed in Cornwall. The feature of this project then became a returning theme in Foster’s future projects. After the four separated Norman and one other from the group Wendy founded a new practice. Foster Associates. Norman collaborated with American architect Richard Buckminster Fuller on several projects. Such as the Samuel Beckett Theatre at St Peters College, Oxford. 

Foster associates concentrated on industrial buildings. Until a family-run insurance company wanted to restore a sense of community to the workplace. In response, foster designed space with modular, open-plan office floors, long before open-plan became popular. He also included a roof garden, a 25-meter swimming pool, and a gymnasium to enhance the quality of life for the employees.

Some of his biggest work –  

Foster received a commission for the construction of a new terminal building at London’s Stansted airport. The building is a landmark of high-tech architecture. It was awarded the European Union Prize for contemporary architecture.  

He also gained a reputation for designing offices. Norman designed the HSBC Main Building in Hong Kong, at the time it was the most expensive building ever constructed.  

Foster + Partners submitted a plan for a 385-meter-tall skyscraper, the London Millennium tower. However, the height was excessive for London’s skyline. So instead, Norman proposed 30 St Mary Axe, popularly known as “the Gherkin”.  

Norman Foster Cancels Plan to Move Foundation to Madrid | Artnet News

His style evolved into more sharp-edged modernity. And he then designed the tallest bridge in the world, the Millau Viaduct in Southern France.  

Norman Foster: 'I have no power as an architect, none whatsoever' | Norman  Foster | The Guardian

Retirement –  

In January 2007, it was reported that Foster has called in to find buyers for Foster + Partners. Foster doesn’t intend to retire but sell his 80-90% holding in the company valued at £300 million to £500 million.  

Norman currently sits on the board of trustees at architectural charity article 25. Foster believes attracting young talent is essential. And is proud that the average age of people working for Foster + Partners is 32 just like he was in 1967.  

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Advice Center

Top 10 Greatest Architect Of All Time

1. Frank Gehry architect (28/02/1929) – 

Firstly Gehry was a Canadian-born American architect and designer. A number of his buildings have become world-renowned attractions. So, in 2010 vanity fair labelled him as “the most important architect of our age”. Furthermore, some of his most famous works include the Guggenheim Museum in Spain, the museum of pop culture in Seattle. The dancing house in Prague, the Walt Disney concert hall in Los Angeles, and many more amazing and popular buildings. And he has been assessed as someone who “produced buildings that are fun, sculpturally exciting and a good experience”.  

Frank Gehry and his design

2. Frank Lloyd Wright architect  (08/06/1867 – 09/04/1959) – 

Secondly, Wright was an American architect, designer, writer, and educator. In fact, he has designed more than 1000 structures over a period of 70 years. Wright believed in designing in harmony with humanity and the environment. As a result the philosophy he called organic architecture. This philosophy was exemplified in Fallingwater (1935). Which has been called “the best all-time work of American architecture”. Some of his most famous work includes the imperial hotel in Tokyo, Fallingwater in Pennsylvania, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Robie House in Chicago. In addition, he was known as one of the pioneers of modernist architecture.  

Frank Lloyd Wright

3.Leoh Ming Pei (26/04/ 1917 – 16/05/2019) – 

Thirdly, Pei was a Chinese-American architect who was raised in Shanghai and moved to America in 1935. After he graduated from university in Pennsylvania, then he enrolled in the Harvard Graduate school of design. His major recognition came with the Mesa Laboratory in Colorado and became chief architect for the John F Kennedy Library in Massachusetts. Then he also designed one of the most popular landmarks to this day, the Louvre in Paris. in Addition, Pei found the pyramid shape best suited for stable transparency. Therefore considered it “most compatible with the architecture of the Louvre, especially with the faceted planes of its roofs” 

Leoh Ming Pei and the louvre

4. Zaha Hadid (31/10/1950 – 31/03/2016) – 

Fourthly, Hadid was a British Iraqi architect, artist, and designer. However, she was the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize. And in 2010 and 2011 she won the UK’s most prestigious architectural award. Some of her main works include the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympics, the broad art museum, Rome’s MAXXI Museum and the Guangzhou Opera House.  As a result, she was made dame by Queen Elizabeth ll for services to architecture. 

10 Zaha Hadid Buildings You Need to Know if You're an Architecture Lover
Zhah Hadid

5. Philip Johnson (08/07/1906 – 25/01/2005) –  

Johnson was an American architect. Was best known for his works of modern and postmodern architecture. In 1978 he was awarded an American Institute of architect gold medal. And in 1979 he won the first Pritzker architecture prize. Some of his most well-known designs are his glasshouse in Connecticut and the postmodern 550 Madison Avenue in New York. Also, the one Detroit centre in New York. In 1993 Johnson came out as gay. And nonetheless, was known as “the best-known openly gay architect in America”. 

Philip Johnson, the Man Who Made Architecture Amoral | The New Yorker
Philip Johnson infront of his Glasshouse

6. Tom Wright (18/07/1957) –

Wright qualified as an architect the same year he was accepted as a member of the Royal Institute of British architects. Wright then became a design director in Dubai and wanted to create an icon for the city. Much like the Eiffel tower in Paris. Wright created the Burj Al Arab, and it has become one of the tallest hotels in the world.  

Tom wright with the Burj

7. Ludwig Meis Van Der Rohe (27/03/1886 – 17/08/1969) – 

Meis was a German-American architect. In addition, he was known as a pioneer of modernist architecture. Furthermore, after Nazism’s rise to power, with its opposition to modernism, Mies emigrated to the US. Meis strove toward architecture with minimal framework and freedom of unobstructed free-flowing open space. Some of his well-known work includes Crown Hall in Chicago, the Seagram building in New York, and the Barcelona pavilion.  

Mies van der Rohe with a model of Crown Hall (photographer: Arthur... |  Download Scientific Diagram
Ludwig Meis Van Der Rohe

8. Renzo Piano (14/09/1937) – 

Piano is an Italian architect. In fact, his notable buildings include the shard in London, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. And the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre in Athens. Piano also won the Pritzker Architectural Prize in 1998. The jury citation compared Piano to Michelangelo and Da Vinci and credited him with “redefining modern and postmodern architecture”. 

Renzo Piano: Ecological Innovator - Organized Architectural Case studies!
Renzo Piano

9. Jean Nouvel (12/08/1945) –

Nouvel is a French architect. Therefore, he has obtained a number of prestigious awards over the course of his career. Including the Ago Khan award for architecture, the wolf prize in arts, and the Pritzker Prize. Some of his notable works include the Arab world Institute in France, the Torre Agbar in Spain, and the Doha Tower in Qatar. And also, the Louvre Abu Dhabi.  

Jean Nouvel

10. Moshe Safdie (14/07/1938) –

Finally, Safdie is an Israeli, Canadian and American architect. And, his projects include cultural, educational, and civic institutions. Also, Safdie has had projects in North and south America, the Middle East, and Asia. As a result, he is most identified with designing Marina Bay sands, Jewel Chani Airport. And as well as his debut project Habitat 67. He was awarded a Gold Medal from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. Also the American Institute of Architects, and the Wolf Prize in Architecture. 

Moshe Safdie | Architectuul
Moshe Safdie

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Advice Center

Green Belt Areas: Everything You Need To Know.

England’s 14 green belts cover around 12.4% of land in the country and provide a breath of fresh air for 30 million people. 

What is a green belt area?  

A green belt is a policy and land use zone designation used in land use planning. They retain areas of largely undeveloped, wild, or agricultural land surrounding or neighboring urban areas.  

There are three different types of land and they are:  

  • Brownfield – land that has been built on previously, but is now vacant or in need of redevelopment.  
  • Greenfield – land that has not been built on before (agricultural/grassland). 
  • Green belt – highly protected land with tight restrictions on development.  

Local planning authorities are extremely cautious about their green belt areas. This is because the purpose of one is to capture the fugitive emissions emanating from plant operations, alternate the noise generated and improve the aesthetic. 

New homes can be allowed in the green belt if they meet the need. And this exception only applies to specific policies in the local plan. And only then if the need for those homes is clearly demonstrated they will be able to live in a green belt area. Developers need to submit a case for very special circumstances in which the building would outweigh the resulting harm to the environment. 

How much does it cost to buy green belt land?  

The cost of the land largely depends on whether it has planning permission or not. Green belt land is usually cheap if it doesn’t have consent to build on. It is cheap because of the strong building restrictions. However, if the area has consent to build on it could sell for about £500,000 per acre. 

Green belts are intended to check further growth of large built-up areas such as London. This is because they need to prevent neighboring towns from merging into one another.  

You definitely can’t overlook the benefits that green belts can offer for your health and wellbeing. For example, being in the countryside where it’s rich with nature, and there’s plenty of fresh air for everyone to enjoy. They also double up as local nature reserves. So, they work brilliantly for wildlife, allowing creatures to move between habitats safely and flourish in a mix of landscapes. 

Instead of viewing the Green Belts as a limitation to building more homes, we need to focus on restoring and enhancing the land. So, it can continue to provide a space for nature and a place to relax, play and grow our food. 

The Green Belt: what is it and why does it matter? // High Living Barnet
Londons Green Belt Area

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