Friday, 30 April 2021

 What Benefits Do Building Regulations Actually Have? 

Whether you actually see the benefits of having Building Regulations or not, you don’t have a choice when it comes to complying with them. These are set requirements, and without them, your project(s) won’t ever be completed! 


But other than the extra paperwork, what do these regulations give us? 


Building regulation approval states that the project you’ve had inspected meets the required criteria. Approval is necessary to ensure that your build meets the criteria for the following sections.


1.     Fire Safety

2.     Structural Safety

3.     Materials and workmanship

4.     Toxic Substances

5.     Sound Insulation

6.     Ventilation/Air Tightness

7.     Sanitation, hot water safety and water efficiency 

8.     Heat

9.     Drainage and waste disposal 

10.  Conservation of fuel and power

11.  Access

12.  Electrical Safety

13.  Sustainability

14.  Glazing


Don’t forget, you either need to use the services of your local Building Control, or use an approved inspector when seeking signoff. 


Sometimes when working towards meeting the criteria, your project can present problems. This can be especially true if you’re talking about a conversion project. Often the reason for this is because of the constraints of the original building. The standards are always being revised. Previous constructions will not have needed to adhere to the strict criteria which we have now. 


How can I ensure I pass the criteria?


You can get the backing of a professional early on. A professional will be able to help with every aspect of your project from the beginning. By doing this you can ensure you’re compliant when it comes to the inspections. Also, you might even learn some tricks of the trade for future builds. There is nothing like learning from experience! You will be able to get help on all aspects of your build, from the materials to the design, and everything in between. 


What you must remember is that with these regulations there are also many benefits to the occupants. Take air pressure testing, for example. Which is actually one of the most important tests in terms of creating an energy efficient build. It is the foundation to your project. Yes, you have to meet the criteria in order to be able to get signed off, but just think for a moment what would happen if you built to your own, stringent regulations? The better the airtightness result, the better the energy calculation, which in turn means the better the EPC.  So not only will you improve your EPC but you will also be ensuring a more energy efficient build, lower energy bills and a healthier living space. You don’t have a choice when complying with the regulations but you do have a choice whether to try and better them. To me, it is a no brainer. Why would you do half a job?


What you have to realise is that it doesn’t matter if your build is beautifully designed, or if it got planning permission without any trouble first time round. Building regulations are a separate entity. Your sweeping staircase won’t ensure a pass. If your build doesn’t comply, it doesn’t matter how stunning it is! 


The stages for inspection are as follows:


1.     Commencement 

2.     Excavation of foundations 

3.     Foundations laid 

4.     Oversite preparations 

5.     Damp proofing 

6.     Drains 

7.     Occupation prior to completion 

8.     Completion 


You must always inform your inspector when you have completed a particular stage. If you don’t do this, you could be asked to open up again so that an inspection could take place. This would be both timely and costly! 


My advice, get the expert help where possible. You can only build better with more knowledge, and building better can’t ever be a bad thing!


Friday, 23 April 2021


What is Veritherm I hear you ask?


There is an exciting new testing system which I want to share with you. Veritherm“Measure and verify as-built thermal performance with our simple overnight test”


The Veritherm testing is new to the construction industry, but I have no doubt it will take it by storm. I have been in construction for many years, (more than I’d like to admit), and I am very excited about this. 


Veritherm is a performance test for the whole building. It is set up overnight so there is little, to no disruption, to you or your family, if you’re living there. If you’re working on site, it will be done when no one else is around. This is a massive plus and I can see this being a big pull for this type of testing. 


Veritherm will enable you to find out exactly how your build is performing in terms of thermal energy efficiency. This is big news. It is what we are all trying to find out but we haven’t, until now, had such a straightforward approach! A lot of the testings up to this point, could be both costly and lengthy. It is a breath of fresh air to be able to use a different system entirely, without compromising on accuracy.


How does Veritherm work?


This is a good question! Veritherm uses sensors and loads to find out if the thermal performance of a build is within target. The equipment is set up overnight, and will provide real-time energy efficiency figures. This data is collected and analysed and a result will be provided at the end of the test. It sounds simple, and thankfully it is. This innovative design uses technology in its finest form. 


Finding out your build’s energy performance allows you to see where, if anywhere, it is failing, or at least not hitting your required targets. This again is a simple and effective way of pinpointing any issues without too much manual detection. You can keep track on the quality of your work, or even your employees’ work. We all learn by our mistakes, but we can only do that if we know what those mistakes are!


Veritherm can help us to build better. It is a revolutionary product and, currently, one of a kind. You can make decisions on your project based on actual data and facts received from said project. There is no need for guesswork where this is concerned. You can probably tell that I am very excited about this system!


We have all heard of buildings being signed off only to then realise that there are issues which need to be rectified. This can be costly to do in retrospect, and also your reputation could be damaged if the quality of your build isn’t up to your usual high standards. Veritherm can stop this. Any problems can be detected and therefore rectified before handover/signoff!


We are told relentlessly, and quite rightly, about the ‘performance gap’ on builds; that is, what we estimate the energy performance to be and what the actual energy performance is. Veritherm technology allows you close this gap. If you’re going to build a house, property, or even a commercial build, then your predicted energy performance should be reached, if not surpassed. But, you’d be surprised how many times there is disparity in the results. By using Veritherm you can stop this from happening. As I have previously said, you can keep on top of your build’s performance, rectifying any issues as you go along. 


This isn’t just for newbuilds though, so don’t be disillusioned. If you’d like to know the energy performance of your current home, or offices etc, you can still use Veritherm. You will get your results quickly and, if you wish, you can make changes where needed to improve your building’s energy performance! This really is propelling new and existing properties towards eco living! 


We have many deadlines heading our way in the construction industry and we are well on target to meet them. Systems, such as Veritherm, allow us to move closer and closer to our target each day. The ease of this system is ideal!


Are you as excited about Veritherm as I am?



Friday, 16 April 2021

Why should we all be building eco? 

When we take on a project, we have decisions to make. Building eco can have many benefits, from being cheaper to run, and also reducing your carbon footprint. We need to find ways of coexisting with our planet without destroying it in the process. The saying goes “The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do”


What you have to remember is that building sustainable homes will increase the energy efficiency of your build and, over time, it should mean less maintenance. Green materials often require less upkeep, which not only helps with lowering your carbon footprint, but also helps reduce the need for costly repairs. Green living is now, more than ever, easier to achieve. There is a wealth of information on the web which can help you plan, build, and give ideas and advice. 


We all have different ideas as to what building eco means. To some it will mean living completely off grid, maybe even having your own veg patch. To others it is a process which needs easing into. This could mean using certain eco elements, such as solar powered energy. Whatever it means to you, taking that step is vital in order to maintain our environment. If we each take action now, we can reduce our carbon footprint considerably. We are merely borrowing our planet, we need it to survive, but we are the only ones who can protect it for future generations. 


Energy efficiency. 

We have all, at one stage or another, been victims of increasing energy prices. The only way to ensure that your utilities are kept to a minimum is to build in a manner where electricity, for example, is generated naturally. If you’re planning to stay in your home for the foreseeable, you will soon recoup the initial upfront set up costs. 


Indoor environment 

A lot of building materials, to some degree, contain harmful substances, even if only a small amount. This can be because of the way the materials are made. If you build eco, you will benefit from using materials which are free from these substances. You will also build to strict building regulations, which means the air quality inside your build is healthier and more comfortable. Using the right materials, we can harvest the existing heat, which remains in the property, using a heat exchanger. Cold fresh air brought in through the exchanger replaces the polluted warm air with fresh air, with minimal heat loss. Air tightness is key, along with the fabric, for this to be achieved.  


Lower carbon footprint. 

As I have already stated, we need to be lowering our carbon footprint in order to protect our planet and reduce our negative impact. If we don’t start changing our ways now, then we are destroying the future for the younger generations. 


Higher property value

What we have to remember is that when we build to a higher standard, we can charge more, when selling, to recoup the costs. Energy efficient builds are sought after due to the fact that there aren’t many around. We want to be able to help the environment and we want to have reduced energy bills. I am really hoping that mortgage companies, carrying out valuations on these builds, start to recognise them in a positive light, and value them accordingly. This would encourage developers to construct such builds.   


Together we can have a hugely positive impact on our planet; we just need to understand what works best for us. Don’t be put off, just do your research. 

Friday, 9 April 2021

What are the benefits of timber frame construction?

I have no doubt that when you’re thinking of starting a build you consider all of the different types of construction, as you should. Which means you’ve probably thought about timber frames and wondered what their benefits are. Well, I’m going to discuss a few of my thoughts around timber frames. 

Firstly, timber is a natural material. There aren’t many natural building materials in the grand scheme of things, but timber has a lot of advantages. Firstly, when timber ages, it does so naturally. Generally speaking, timber is non-toxic, meaning it doesn’t leak any chemicals or vapour into the building. This makes it safe to use in terms of longevity and also for the construction process itself. Your timber framed home will have a safe, comfortable and fresh environment for your occupants, which is exactly what we’re all looking for. 

When taking on any build, it is always best to understand not only where your materials come from, but also what the production process is. With timber there is very little energy used to produce a working material, compared to other materials, such as steel. This means that the energy used to produce a working material from timber is low. When constructing we really do need to consider what the materials can do for the build, and also how they are being produced. This will all impact the environmental footprint of the build. 

With sustainability being so prevalent, it is important to understand the ecological and sustainable factors of your materials. Timber has been used for many years and is a natural, sustainable, and renewable building resource. You need to check where you are getting your supplies from, ensuring you get them from a responsible and reputable company. Most companies that supply timber for use in buildings, have policies in place to ‘re-grow’ more timber than they use. It is your responsibility to ensure that the suppliers you use are reputable and take sustainability seriously. A few studies have shown that timber framed buildings actually outperform houses built with steel and concrete, which is another added bonus to timber framed builds!

Due to timber being a natural material, it really is durable. Well-made wooden buildings can last for centuries, and have done just this in the past; the proof is in the pudding as they say. Another big pull for timber framed builds is the time they take to construct. Timber can be partly pre-cut which helps in saving valuable construction time. In comparison to other methods, timber framed builds are much faster, which in turn saves money! 

Timber is a natural insulator which helps to reduce energy. As I have said many times, sustainability is key to ensuring the future of construction and also our planet. 

I really like, and appreciate, the use of timber in builds, and I am an advocate for a timber framed build. Don’t just take my word for it though, do your own research, I have no doubt you will soon come to realise the benefits of timber and you’ll soon be an advocate for it too. 



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