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Exploring the Best Places to Build a House in the UK

Choosing the perfect location to build a house is a decision that involves a careful balance of factors. Ranging from convenience and amenities to natural beauty and potential for investment. In the United Kingdom, a country rich in history, culture, and diverse landscapes, there are numerous fantastic places that offer an ideal setting for constructing your dream home. So, let’s take a journey through some of the best places to build a house in the UK.

The Cotswolds: Timeless Charm and Idyllic Landscapes

Firstly, nestled in south-central England, the Cotswolds are renowned for their picturesque villages, rolling hills, and distinctive honey-colored stone architecture. This Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) offers a tranquil and rural setting. While still being within a reasonable distance from major places like Oxford, Bath, and Cheltenham. Furthermore, the Cotswolds provide a perfect blend of peaceful countryside living and access to cultural attractions.

Edinburgh: A Harmonious Blend of Tradition and Modernity

The Scottish capital, Edinburgh, boasts a unique blend of historical charm and contemporary vibrancy. With its stunning architecture, world-class universities, and a thriving arts scene, it’s no wonder that Edinburgh consistently ranks as one of the most desirable places to live in the UK. From the medieval splendor of the Royal Mile to the elegant Georgian architecture of the New Town, Edinburgh offers a diverse range of environments to suit various preferences.

Surrey: Suburban Tranquility Close to London

For those seeking a balance between the tranquility of the countryside and the convenience of city access, Surrey is an attractive option. Located just south of London, this county offers picturesque landscapes, affluent neighborhoods, and excellent schools. It’s a prime location for commuters, as it provides easy access to London while offering a more relaxed pace of life.

Bristol: A Lively Hub of Creativity

Bristol, located in the southwest of England, has earned a reputation as a hub for creativity and innovation. With a thriving arts and music scene, diverse neighborhoods, and a strong sense of community, Bristol is a popular choice for young professionals and families alike. The city’s maritime history is also evident in its vibrant waterfront area, which has been revitalized in recent years.

Lake District: Nature’s Masterpiece

If you’re captivated by the beauty of nature, the Lake District in northwest England might be the ideal place to build your dream home. Known for its stunning lakes, rugged mountains, and poetic inspiration, this national park offers an unmatched natural environment. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or simply seeking a serene retreat, the Lake District provides an unparalleled backdrop for your home.

Cornwall: Coastal Charms and Seaside Splendors

For those who find solace in the sound of crashing waves and breathtaking coastal views, Cornwall is a captivating option. Located in the southwest of England, Cornwall offers charming seaside towns, sandy beaches, and a laid-back lifestyle. From the artistic haven of St. Ives to the historic town of Penzance, Cornwall’s unique character is sure to captivate anyone seeking a coastal abode.

Oxford: Academic Prestige and Architectural Elegance

Finally, home to one of the world’s most prestigious universities, Oxford exudes academic excellence and architectural grandeur. In addition, the city’s historic center is a blend of stunning buildings, cobbled streets, and lush green spaces. With a thriving cultural scene and a strong sense of history, Oxford offers a refined yet vibrant atmosphere for those looking to build a home with a touch of sophistication.

In conclusion

The United Kingdom presents an array of captivating options for building your dream home. Whether you’re drawn to the scenic beauty of the countryside, the energy of a bustling city, or the tranquility of coastal living, there’s a place that suits your desires. The key is to carefully consider your preferences, priorities, and lifestyle. Ensuring that your chosen location aligns harmoniously with your vision for the perfect home.

Images: Getty Images

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Architecture & Building

The Rules and Regulations of a Built-In Swimming Pool in the UK

A private swimming pool is the epitome of luxury and relaxation, transforming your backyard into an aquatic haven. However, the installation and operation of a built-in swimming pool in the UK come with a series of rules and regulations that must be adhered to. These guidelines ensure safety, environmental responsibility, and compliance with local laws. In this article, we’ll delve into the essential rules and regulations that govern the construction, maintenance, and use of built-in swimming pools in the United Kingdom.

Planning Permission and Building Regulations:

Before embarking on the construction of a built-in swimming pool, it’s crucial to determine whether you require planning permission. In general, if the pool is to be located within the curtilage (the area of land around a building) of a listed building or in a designated area, you may need to seek planning permission from your local planning authority.

Building regulations also play a vital role in the construction process. These regulations primarily focus on safety aspects such as fencing, access, and water treatment systems. The installation of appropriate safety barriers, such as fencing or walls, is essential to prevent unauthorized access and protect young children from potential hazards. Building regulations may also require you to install anti-entrapment measures in the pool to prevent swimmers from being caught in drains or suction fittings.

Safety Measures:

Safety is of paramount importance when it comes to swimming pools. In the UK, the following safety measures are typically required for built-in swimming pools:

  1. Fencing and Barriers: A suitable safety barrier must be in place to prevent unauthorized access, especially by young children. Fencing should be of a certain height and design to ensure its effectiveness.
  2. Covers and Alarms: Some local authorities might require you to have a pool cover and/or alarm system. These measures enhance safety when the pool is not in use.
  3. Non-Slip Surfaces: The pool area and surrounding deck should have non-slip surfaces to minimize the risk of slips and falls.
  4. Rescue Equipment: Adequate rescue and emergency equipment should be easily accessible near the pool area.

Water Quality and Environmental Considerations:

Maintaining proper water quality is essential for the health and safety of swimmers. The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provides guidelines on pool water quality, including water treatment, filtration, and chemical usage. Regular testing and monitoring of the water’s pH and chlorine levels are crucial to prevent waterborne illnesses and maintain a clean swimming environment.

Additionally, there are environmental considerations to take into account. Proper disposal of pool water and chemicals is important to prevent pollution and harm to local ecosystems. Responsible water management and drainage systems are essential components of a compliant built-in swimming pool.

Energy Efficiency and Sustainability:

As environmental concerns grow, energy efficiency and sustainability have become integral aspects of pool design and operation. Employing energy-efficient pool pumps, heaters, and lighting can significantly reduce the environmental impact and operating costs of a swimming pool. Solar heating and pool covers can also contribute to energy conservation.


A built-in swimming pool in the UK is a delightful addition to any property, offering relaxation and recreation. However, navigating the rules and regulations surrounding its construction, operation, and safety is crucial to ensure compliance with local laws and the well-being of swimmers. From planning permission and safety measures to water quality and environmental considerations, each aspect plays a vital role in creating a safe, enjoyable, and sustainable swimming pool experience. Before embarking on your pool project, be sure to consult with local authorities, professionals, and experts to ensure that your pool meets all necessary regulations and provides a safe and enjoyable space for years to come.

Image: Forest Eyes Photography

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A Comprehensive Look at the UK Housing Market in 2023

The UK housing market has always been a subject of intrigue, reflection, and analysis. As we step into 2023, it’s evident that the market is undergoing yet another transformation. Shaped by a multitude of factors including economic shifts, government policies, technological advancements, and societal changes. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the key trends and dynamics defining the UK housing market in 2023.

Supply and Demand Dynamics

One of the most prominent features of the UK housing market in 2023 is the continued imbalance between housing supply and demand. Despite efforts to boost housing construction, the demand for properties, particularly in urban centers, continues to outpace supply. This imbalance has led to increased competition among buyers and upward pressure on property prices, making homeownership an increasingly elusive dream for many.

Rise of Remote Work and Location Preferences

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the shift towards remote work, and its effects are still reverberating in the housing market. As remote work becomes more normalized, individuals and families are reevaluating their location preferences. This has led to increased demand for properties in suburban and rural areas, where residents can enjoy a better quality of life, larger spaces, and closer proximity to nature. As a result, commuter towns and smaller cities are experiencing a resurgence in popularity.

Technological Disruption and PropTech

The integration of technology into the housing market has gained significant traction in 2023. PropTech (Property Technology) is revolutionizing the way properties are bought, sold, and managed. Virtual property tours, blockchain-based transactions, and AI-driven property valuation tools have become essential components of the modern real estate experience. These innovations are not only enhancing efficiency but also expanding opportunities for buyers and sellers to interact with the market.

Evolving Buyer Demographics

The demographic composition of property buyers is evolving, bringing new dynamics to the housing market. Millennials, who have long been regarded as a generation facing challenges in homeownership, are now entering their prime earning years. This has translated into a surge in millennial homebuyers, often seeking properties that cater to their preferences for sustainability, energy efficiency, and smart home features.

Government Policies and Affordability

Government policies continue to play a significant role in shaping the UK housing market. In response to affordability concerns, policymakers are exploring various avenues to support first-time buyers and increase the availability of affordable housing. Initiatives such as shared ownership schemes, Help to Buy programs, and incentives for sustainable construction are influencing the way the market functions and how individuals approach homeownership.

Environmental Considerations and Sustainability

Sustainability has emerged as a critical consideration in the UK housing market. Both buyers and developers are placing greater emphasis on energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly properties. The adoption of green building practices, renewable energy solutions, and eco-friendly materials is not only driven by environmental concerns but also by the potential for cost savings over the long term.


The UK housing market in 2023 is a dynamic and multifaceted arena. Shaped by an interplay of economic, technological, and societal forces. As buyers, sellers, and investors navigate this evolving landscape, understanding the trends discussed in this blog can provide valuable insights and inform strategic decisions. From the shifting preferences of remote work to the integration of PropTech and the emphasis on sustainability, the housing market is a reflection of the changing aspirations and values of a society in transition.

Image credit: Tana888/Shutterstock.com

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Conservation Area: Your Questions Answered

A conservation area is an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance. And in other words, the features that make it unique. So, conservation areas protect all the natural resources that are critical to people on earth. The protected areas provide for life’s essentials.    

What does it mean to live in a conservation area?  

Living in a conservation area can make it more difficult to make changes to your home. You will be able to alter your home. However, if you decide to make the smallest of alterations, you will need to apply for planning permission. For example, replacing your doors and windows.  

Is a conservation area the same as AONB? 

AONB stands for an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. They are similar but are not the same. An AONB are areas in the countryside in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. They are areas that have been designated for conservation due to its significant landscape value.  

Is it worth buying a property in a conservation zone?  

If you are happy to live with the restrictions in place regarding maintenance and home improvements, then you should buy a home in an area like this. Whereas, if you have a more creative side and enjoy renovating then purchasing a home outside a conservation area might be best for you. In addition, living in a conservation area is likely to increase the value of your home as your neighbourhood is very appealing and will stay that way.  

How many conservation areas are in the United Kingdom?  

In early 2021, there were just under 9,800 unique conservation areas in England. They provide heritage protection for around 2.3% of England’s land area and over 10% of properties.  

Can I change the exterior of my house?   

Permitted development allows you to alter the exterior of your home looks as long as you build with materials that match the property’s existing look. Furthermore, if you’d like to change your property exterior look completely you will need to apply for full planning permission.  

Photo courtesy of BlogTO.
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How Much Does It Cost to Build A House in the UK?

As an architectural services provider, our clients often ask this question, “How much does it cost to build a house in the UK?”. After delivering more than 500 projects includes, including renovations, extension, conversions, and designing new houses and flats in the UK, we have concluded that the cost of a project depends on the drawings and quality of the materials. It is the only best way to estimate the cost of building a new house. There are various factors involved while calculating the cost.

Various industry standards can help in calculating the cost of building a house at the development stage. You can get a reasonable estimate, even if you do not have building regulations, drawings, and planning permission for your project.

The Cost of Building A House in London is the Second Highest
in the World

One of the factors that affect the cost is the location. The cost of building a house in one part may be highest to another. For example, the value of a property is the second-highest in central London.

However, there are various other factors too that influence the cost of building a house. The first factor is the location, and the others are competition for tenders, designs, and specifications. Another significant factor is the cost of labour which account for 40-45% of the total cost.

In this article, we are going to provide you with cost advice, which can help you determine the cost of your project. We are going to use industry standards in the UK. Furthermore, we will discuss three main factors that affect the cost and how you can prevent unforeseen expenses.


Whenever someone decides to build a house, they have a budget. There is nothing more exciting than owning a new house. But you start building the home without proper planning, and then you realize that the cost of building increased. So, how you can cope with such unforeseen

We know that it is a frustrating situation for anyone. It is also true that after such an incident, a person will want to band its head against a wall. Do not worry! We will give some advises that will help you prevent these mistakes from happening. The design of a house has a significant effect on the building cost. Hence, it is essential to work with some having a pleasant experience with designing projects similar to yours. The architectural services provider will help make your dream home a reality according to your requirements and taste.

Another important thing is to hire an experienced builder who understands the cost of a project. We have seen that many contractors under-quote a project, especially the design and build contracts. To avoid this, we will recommend you to hire an independent designer and make sure
that they are designing the project from the beginning. The architectural service providers must provide contractors with building regulations, tender drawings, and planning permission at the tender stage. This should be done before work starts to make sure that the builders can understand the design and estimate the cost. You should follow this process to make sure that the builder does not change the price during the construction.


Whenever we start building our new home, there are lots of options in terms of specifications and designs. These choices have a significant effect on the overall building cost of a house. High-quality means, you are going to spend more money on the project. These choices are about finishes, specifications, and fixtures of your project. Keep in mind that these choices also affect the speed of construction.

It is the responsibility of the architectural service providers to make decisions about the materials of the project. They should understand the cost of specific materials and how they can put more financial burden on the project. You must be asking why the details of specifications are so
important. Well, they are essential to complete the job. Hence, you need to know about them and the materials for determining the actual cost of the project.

The tender documentation must be accurate because it is the only way to build a house within an acceptable range. If you are planning to make changes in the drawings, then it can increase the cost by a significant sum.

Project Manager

The method of managing the project can also affect the cost of building a house in the UK. If you think that you can handle this on your own then you can save some money. If you do not know about the building process, then we will recommend you to hire a project manager.

Advice Center

Basements: why are they uncommon in the UK?

Having a basement in your home may seem like a given if you are from most parts of the United States. However, if you are from England, you probably don’t know that much about having a basement. 

When were basements common?  

Although, you may have not seen many, basements/ cellars actually are pretty common in some places in the UK. The Victorians and Georgians loved them. So, any town with lots of Georgian and Victorian housing like Leeds, Manchester or Edinburgh will have lots of basements. As for the places that don’t, you can break them down into a few reasons: 

Age of home. While the technology required to build underground spaces has existed for thousands of years. However, the requirement to do so has not. Before mass urbanisation began in the early 1800s, 60% of people lived in small, communities where land was pretty cheap. The cost of digging a basement for your house compared poorly to the cost of just buying a field out back and building a bigger house. 

Ground conditions. Unlike Scotland, Wales and the west of England, much of eastern and central England is quite low lying, and a lot of the east coast was reclaimed from salt marshes by the Georgians. This means that the ground was too wet and muddy to build a basement in, especially when it’s expensive and impractical to pump the water out every time it rains heavily and the water table rises. 

The weather. One of the main reasons that basements became very common in America is the weather. Both the intense cold in some parts and the risk of adverse weather in others. Foundations have to be built far below the ground to stop them being damaged by frost, so you might as well fill all that space with an extra room or two. Similarly, a basement doubles up as a tornado shelter in other places. The UK has little extreme weather, so basements weren’t as functional in the past as they are in North America. 

Why did the UK stop making basements? 

However, nowadays almost all new build homes have no cellar or basement. This is due to the extra cost of digging down further into the sub-soil and a requirement for much deeper foundations and waterproof tanking.  

How much would It cost to build a basement? 

If you are thinking of building an entirely new basement under your home, you should expect the starting costs to be around £2000 – £3,500 per square meter. On top of this you would need to pay for the contractors to complete the job. So, it’s not often a cheap project.  

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All there is to know about extensions in Sevenoaks Kent

If you are looking to build an extension in the Sevenoaks, are you have come to the right place. Building an extension is a journey. Your build journey will be unique to you and your home, so it is important to plan and manage it well for it to be successful.  

What is an extension?  

An extension is a great way to add additional space to your home, without moving properties. On average the cost of a house extension in Sevenoaks is a lot less compared to if you were to move to another location that offers more space.  

Are extensions in Sevenoaks worth it?  

If an extension provides you with the space, you need and is going to improve the quality of the way you live then it is definitely worthwhile. In addition, extending your home can also be a cost-effective investment that will pay back on itself when you eventually sell.  

Sevenoaks house value increase 

Single-storey extensions are most commonly used to extend kitchens and/ or living rooms. With open plan living becoming hugely popular with homeowners in the UK. Single-storey extensions can often add 5-8% to the value of your home. Whereas, creating a double bedroom and an En-suite can add up to 23% to the value of the property.  

Planning rules have changed  

In recent years the government has relaxed planning rules in regards to extensions. The changes have given homeowners more flexibility to improve and increase the value of their homes. Previously, without planning permission, you could add a single-storey extension of up to 3 meters in depth for an attached property and 4m to a detached house, these distances have been doubled. 

How much does an extension cost in the Uk?  

  • Small rear extension (15m2) costs around £15,000 – £20,000 
  • Medium rear extension (25m2) costs around £30,000 – £40,000 
  • Large rear extension (50m2) costs around £50,000 – £60,000 

Get in contact with us –  

If you are looking for someone to provide excellent advice and support in and around the area of Sevenoaks. Here at Pro Arkitects we will provide you with the best possible services.

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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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Advice Center

Looking To Become An Architect? Here’s What You Need To Know

What do you do as an architect?  

An architect is a skilled professional who plans and designs buildings and usually plays a key role in their construction. Architects are trained in the art and science of building design. Since they’re responsible for the safety of their building’s occupants, architects must be professionally licensed. 

Is being an architect a good career?   

Architects are highly respected in society. Due to their creative nature and attention to detail, they are considered a combination of arts and intelligence.  

Is studying architecture hard?  

You may have heard that architecture is a challenging subject to study, which might be daunting if you are thinking of perusing a career in it.  

Architecture is more difficult than many degrees as it involves thinking creatively and technically. It is also a very time-intensive course with an average workload of 36.7 hours per week. 

The different ways to get into this role –  

You can get into this job through:  

  • University courses 
  • An apprenticeship  
  • Working towards the role  

University –  

For example, you’ll need to complete:

  • A degree recognised by the architect’s registration board (ARB) 
  • A year of practical work experience 
  • A further 2 years full time university course like BArch, Diploma, MArch 
  • A year of practical training 
  • A final qualifying exam 

Course providers will want to see a portfolio of your drawings, hand-drawn sketches, photos, and models. So prepare when you are getting interviewed for degree courses.  

Apprenticeship –  

In particular, you can get into this role through an architect degree apprenticeship. This usually takes 48 months to complete, with a mix of workplace learning and academic study at an approved university. In addition, you’ll usually need 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) AND A levels, for a higher or degree apprenticeship.  

Work –  

If you’re already working at a high level in an architectural practice but cannot study full time, you could qualify through RIBA Studio.

You’ll need to be registered with the ARB. Furthermore, you can register here:


How much do architects earn?  

According to the RIBA jobs salary 2020, the salaries of registered architects in the Uk range from £21,000 to £80,000 a year. In addition, the average mid-career salary is somewhere around £40,000 a year.  

Although, we see that many architects actually earn very little, considering the work that they do and the responsibilities that they carry.  

Is being an architect worth it? 

The short answer is yes, it’s a creative, diverse, and ever-changing subject and profession that provides a huge array of opportunities and avenues to explore. Architecture is not easy, but if you dedicate yourself to it and are passionate about the subject it can be very fun.   

B.Arch Degree Course Syllabus,Eligibility | Education After 12th
an architect in work

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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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