Archive for the ‘Self Build’ Category

Self Build Projects Are Back

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Thinking of A Self Build Project?

Not So Long Ago The Self Build Market Was All The Craze – So What Happened!

Well, the recession hit everyone hard.. Peoples dream of building their own home became a fantasy unless you were fortunate enough to have a lot of cash in the bank or lucky enough to find a self build mortgage lender. Prior to the recession there were over 40 such lenders offering self build mortgages and then over night just two or three were left. As a result the idea of starting a self build project became a dream for many… Thinking of A Self Build Project

Regardless of the hard times Derwood Homes has continued to build homes of all shapes and sizes for our customers. Like everyone else we put up a fight and continued helping people all over South Wales make this dream come true yet again. More and more people are becoming confident that they can now afford to start a Self Build Project especially now that Self Build lending packages are becoming readily available again.

The good news is that more and more lenders are starting to offer self build mortgages again and companies such as ours makes the whole process even easier. Not only do we design and build homes from start to finish but we can also help spread out the build costs over the course of the construction work. With every trade ‘in house’ we can guarantee that every self build project runs smoothly and efficiently.

What Is The Cheapest Way To Construct Your Self Build Home?

Well first of all building your own home should be fun and a memorable experience. Unfortunately for some people they find building their own self build project stressful and overwhelming. Well folks, it shouldn’t be.. My advice is plan it carefully and seek as much help and advice as you possibly can fro the outset.

Yes, I agree that the cheBuilding Your Own Self Build Home Can Be Funapest way to build your own home is to do most of the work yourself.. But that means working every spare minute you have on your project. Every night, every weekend and every holiday time you have. It can also mean that the construction process can be long and daunting. Unless you have the knowledge it can also end up costing you more in the long run if you made any expensive mistakes and possibly a project that you could not afford to finish..

We’ve all come across a self build project that seems to go on and on for years or has been deserted for some reason or other. It’s generally due to poor planning and budgeting so don’t make the same mistake. The amount of times people have come to us asking to finish their project is quite alarming and it’s generally because they can no longer deal with the stress or because they don’t have the time to do so. Getting involved is what we generally encourage people to do.

Some will, some prefer not to whereas others like to take part in making a mess and helping out in any of the demolition works like one of our customers recently did!

Project Managing Your Own Self Build

Another way to save money building your dream home is to hire a builder to do most of the work for you but instead of someone else project managing the build you, you do so yourself.

Self Build Specialists Derwood HomesSome people we have worked with have thoroughly enjoyed doing so whilst others have tried and found it to daunting. Any successful project has to be managed efficiently otherwise it could end up costing you more than you had hoped. For example… You have to ensure that every trade is well organized so that no one particular trade is held up with their work and that all deliveries are on time and of course correctly ordered. You also have to arrange for someone to off load the deliveries, check them as they arrive and ensure that all of your tradesmen can continue with their work. Otherwise they could charge you for ‘waiting time’.

If you are at work when your house is being constructed you we will need to be able to take calls from your tradesmen and deal with any thing they may need at short notice. Dealing with these simple things if not done correctly can end up causing you and your family a lot of stress. It can even result in your relationship with your tradesmen becoming sour. Managing different trades to construct different stages of your new home can if done correctly work well. However, these trades have to make money and charge you for their services unless of course they are family or friends.

Building your project in this way can in the long run be more expensive than any other method. The best way is to hire a reputable builder who can not only construct your project from start to finish but also project manage the whole process for you.

Hire A Reputable Builder To Construct Your New Self Build Project

There are plenty of good builders out there… far more than you think. Here at Derwood Homes our reputation has grown from strength to strength simply because we offer a very flexible or comprehensive 1st class Self Build Service to suit our Self Build Project Derwood Homescustomers needs. Not only can we obtain planning permission for your self build project, we can also design your home to suit your budget and then build it without anything for you to worry about. Our team of highly skilled and caring tradesmen ensure that the whole process runs smoothly and efficiently.

There are many things you need to consider when building a house. The structural and engineering detail that is sometimes needed can be quite complex. With Building Regulations changing on a frequent basis and more environmental friendly, recycling systems having to be installed as part of the building process the cost to build a house is on the increase. Some of the skills and technology need to install these systems has become to much even for the DIY minded individual . However, we love a challenge and thoroughly enjoy building homes for our customers.

The end result is that our customers can then enjoy all of the high quality benefits that a Self Build Project has to offer..

Feel free to leave any comments below or to contact us here at Derwood Homes




Planning Permission – The Basic Requirements

Friday, October 14th, 2011

How To Get Planning Permission

There Are Some Very Basic Things To Consider Prior To Applying For Planning PermissionFor A New House, A Loft Conversion, or a House Extension.

Over the last 12 months planning rules have changed and in particular so have Building Regulations. The process towards obtaining Planning Permission, in our opinion hasn’t become easier as the government promised. In fact, if truth be known, we could seriously question what if anything the government have done to help the building industry, in particular the so call small builder and developer, let alone people who simply no longer can afford to move house and instead want to carry out refurbishment works.  3d_architecture_concept

Before I get carried away with myself let’s consider what you can do to ensure that whatever planning application you are considering, you can at least help make your application process flow smoothly hence avoiding any long delays.

Here are 10 hots tips for you to consider towards putting together a planning application that in turn will definately help you to save time and money and prevent you from tearing your hair out.

  • Think carefully what it is you would like to achieve and why. In other words, a bigger kitchen, extra loft space for a play room, a bigger lounge or even a garage.
  • It is worth while doing a Google street view search of your property to try and visualize the impact it might have on the street view and your neightbours. This will give you an insight as to whether your expections will over effect your neighbours.
  • Have a chat with your neighbours to see what their thoughts would be and to establish if they would have any objections. It is always best ot have them on your side rather than the other way around.
  • Local planners always consider the impact a house extension, loft conversion, or a garage conversion would have on the street scene and how it would look in comparasion to adjourning properties, so bear this in mind when considering the size and style of what you are considering . It is no good asking for planning permission to build a black house in the middle of a white house, because it would stick out like a sore thumb !
  • The fees that local authorities charge for applying for planning or building regulations have all increased. Some authorities now even charge to consult them for advice. So long gone are the days of being able to pop in to see the planning officer for Free Advice.. Typcial!
    However, their advice could still be worth paying for . That said, just because a local planning officer may not agree with an application whether it be a loft conversion or large extension, it doesn’t mean that you won’t get permission granted. More and more planning appeals are being won than ever before because of the way some local authorities previously ran their departments.Planning Application, Loft Conversion, Garage Conversion, House Extension
  • It is worth while appointing a good builder, architect or engineer who can help you. Someone who is experienced in planning rules and if at all possible can offer who a complete design and build package.
  • Sadly for some reason the local authorities create a lot of unnecessary stress, delays and costs for ordinary people because of the way they operate their services. This can also be very demoralising and extremely stressful for people which has led them to give up trying, Having someone who can offer you a complete package and take away all of the stresses and strains is worth it’s weight in gold.
  • Set yourself a budget and have your project designed around such a budget rather than the other way around.
  • Alway, always, always take into consideration that you may spend more than you anticipated on design and engineering costs towards applying for planning permission and building regulations.
  • It is well worth asking what the design costs, application fees and engineering and building regulation fees will be, prior to kick starting your application.

With new Planning and Building legislation now in place it is a sad fact that costs are rising all the time. So be prepared for how quickly the design and planning fees can all add up to before you even start to dig a hole !

Yours Truly



Are House Prices Over Valued ?

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

Moving House V’s Home Improvements

The majority of Britons think property is over-valued, but only one in four people are predicting further house price falls, a survey has suggested.

Around 25% of people think house prices will drop during the coming year, down from 32% who were expecting them to slide further when the same research was carried out during the first quarter of the year, according to property website prices
Instead, 40% of people think prices will be broadly unchanged 12 months from now, the seventh consecutive quarter during which the proportion of people expecting there to be no change has increased.

But despite predicting house prices will be stable during the coming year, 48% of people said they thought property in their area was over-valued, rising to 66% among first-time buyers.

People in London were most likely to think house prices were too high at 61%, followed by those in the South West at 53% and those in the South East at 52%.

Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove, said: “There is a growing sense that many homes coming onto the UK housing market are priced too high and this is borne out by the views expressed in this survey.

“We now have a situation where half of the UK public feel house prices are too high, yet three-quarters of the same public are expecting prices to either stay the same or increase over the next 12 months. This suggests the prospect of a market stand-off and rising unsold stock levels if sellers don’t wise up to the house price views of their target market.”

Earlier this month, Rightmove reported that the level of unsold stock estate agents had on their books had risen to its highest level for four years, after new sellers increased their asking prices for the fourth consecutive month, raising them by an average of 1.7%.

PD*26644713Among those who feel optimistic about house prices, 54% said they thought the economy would improve going forward and this would help the property market, while 26% thought mortgages would be easier to obtain. But 58% of those who predicted house price falls think the economy will get worse, and 23% of this group think there will be little or no change in mortgage availability. As part of the survey Rightmove carried out this April they questioned 26,240 people.

More people seem to have decided to stay where they are than ever before and invest money into their homes via home improvements such as a new extension, loft conversion or even a basement. There is so much uncertainty and confusion, it’s no wonder we appear to still be within a housing market crisis.


5 Top Tips Towards Creating Your New House Extension

Friday, March 18th, 2011

What To Consider When Thinking About Adding A New Extension

To Your Home !

Whether you are looking to add a great new space to your home or to add value to your home, we have some great tips to keep in mind when pursuing this project. So where to start? When planning a big new build there are a lot of things you need to keep in mind.

Top Tip 1: Decide what you want! We understand that there may be many things running around in your mind, but to avoid sleepless nights, ideally decide what you want as soon as possible. Indulge in some internet research or pick up a few house improvements magazines for some ideas. This will be the biggest decisions you are likely to make along your journey, so we encourage you to make the right decision for yourself. A single storey build to the rear of your property is what a lot of people decide upon, but you might have a side extension in mind? Also there is the option of a double storey build to add more than one room to your home, maybe a kitchen as well as an en-suite? Whatever you have in mind, make sure you feel comfortable with the plans.

Top Tip 2: The next important stage is the costing. Please don’t be disheartened by money costs, you may be pleasantly surprised by how much the build may not cost. We urge you to look around for different quotes from different builders, go for a builder who has a recognised name or has a selection of past testimonials to prove they are who they seem. It may be a good idea to construct a plan before starting any work, to set out a budget to the amount of money you want to spend and an emergency fund in the case of an emergency. Architecture project

Top Tip 3: The design needs to be taken into consideration. Although you may have already thought about this in the first tip, we would like to support you in making the right decision for the outside look of your extension. Do you want an ultra-modern look to your new extension or would you want it to blend in with the rest of the house? There may be different costs depending on what look suits you. Also we would like to remind you to remember to take into account the windows you want to include in your extension. Do you want them to match or something to modernise the look. Again we encourage you to shop around for different quotes.

Top Tip 4: Choosing an architect can be a difficult shop around. It will become apparent when your extension is built to what architect you chose. We persuade you to choose the right architect for what type of build you require. Many architects might have a modern feel for extensions or others more original. A great place to start is The Royal Institute of British Architects or The Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists. These architects will then know if your plans are likely to be passed through planning permission and have contacts in that area of expertise. Please don’t be disheartened if you have to change your original plans a little. Once you’ve chosen the right architect you should be able to trust them but don’t be afraid to share your opinions after all your paying.

Top Tip 5: Last but not least, try and take into consideration many different gadgets you could include into your project. What we mean by this is recyclable materials, ways to save energy in the long run, possibly solar panels? There are many companies to contact who can assist you further. Think about the amount of light that will enter your property. If the extension will be facing the sun throughout the day, it could be extremely beneficial to fork out the extra money for solar panels that will save you money in the future. Although these are far from a necessity but we would like to encourage you to keep them in mind, especially if you are going for the modern look, they can add the finishing modern touches.

We would now like to wish you the best of luck in your new build and hope these top tips help you on your way to a stress free house extension.

If we can help in any way please feel free to contact us here.


Five TOP TIPS to make sure your loft conversion adds value to your home

Friday, March 18th, 2011

Add Value To Your Home With a Loft / Attic  Conversion

In the current climate, there are plenty of people looking for more living space who can’t afford to move and almost as many who can afford to move but are trapped because they can’t sell their home!  This is quite a dilemma and the solution is more often than not found just under the roof.

As well as providing extra space, a loft conversion, if done properly is pretty much guaranteed to add value to your property as well as giving you the opportunity to experiment with your interior design skills.  To help you make sure your loft conversion project adds value to your home, we’ve put together our five TOP TIPS:

Think medium to long term. If you’re thinking of a loft conversion to help sell your house in the short term, think again.  While a loft conversion iStock_000010600743XSmallmight be just what’s needed to get your house noticed in this competitive marketplace, investing purely to sell is a risky strategy.  The best way to think of a loft conversion, like any other investment, is to think in terms of a 3 to 5 year return.

Add living accommodation. Developing any property involves an element of risk, but generally speaking, if you’re making a 3 bed, 1 bathroom home into a 4 bed, 2 bathroom home, it’s pretty certain you’re going to add value.  By adding an extra bedroom and a bathroom, you’re effectively taking your property into a higher price bracket, simply by making it bigger and by increasing the sleeping accommodation.   A word of warning on this point though: don’t skimp on the finish.  Make sure the rooms you add are at least of the same quality finish as the rest of the house and have all the features you’d expect for their purpose.  Finally, it’s important to make sure that your loft conversion respects the style and architecture of your property.  This doesn’t mean that you can’t experiment: a clever blend of old and new works really well, particularly in period loft conversions.

Invest in a proper staircase.
If you choose not to install a proper staircase, you risk your loft conversion not being considered part of the house.  It’s really important to plan the access to the loft conversion and as far as possible to make the new staircase seem like a natural continuation of the original one.  While this will add to the cost of the conversion, it’ll certainly make a difference when the time comes to sell.

Get an estate agent involved.
Any property development project needs to make financial sense.  One good way of checking to see if your planned loft conversion will add value to your property is by asking the opinion of a trusted local estate agent.  The secret here is not to over-develop.

Work with a reputable company. Even for the most ardent DIY-er, a loft conversion is not generally something worth dabbling with.  Working with a reputable company on your loft conversion will help you, amongst other things: to make sure you respect all the rules and regulations; to make sure you have a good architect and structural engineer on board; to minimise the hassle and real cost of your project and of course to help you get a great end result.All in all a simple loft conversion can provide answers to numerous scenarios and can also add value as well as extra space to your existing property. However, if you ever consider having a loft conversion, remember to choose an established, reliable builder who can provide testimonials of their work. This will help to ensure that the project runs smoothly to help you realise your dreams in a relatively stress free way.

For a Free Quote or Advice Call Us At Any Time



Building Your Own Home

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Advice on how to make it a pleasurable experience

Every time that I drive up the driveway of my home I still cannot believe that I actually live in such a beautiful house. The only reason that I am fortunate enough to live in this house is because I built it myself. Were all of the sacrifices that I made to achieve my dream home worth it?  Yes definitely.

The most difficult process of building your own home is being able to visualise the end product. It is difficult to imagine how an ordinary field can suddenly transform into a lovely house with beautiful, spacious gardens. Fortunately I have good vision and I could easily imagine the finished product. Convincing my family was another matter. All that they could still see was a muddy field stuck in the middle of nowhere.

Fortunately my wife trusted me enough to commit to selling our previous home in order to purchase the field to build our dream home. We were very lucky to sell our house in six days and within weeks we had packed up all our belongings and were on our way to a new adventure. We obviously had some reservations as we took one last look back at our house but our worries were soon replaced by excitement at the prospect of building our new home. It was even more poignant as my wife was seven months pregnant at the time.

We spent the next seven months living with parents whilst I dug out the necessary access route into the field in preparation for the next part of our adventure—living in a caravan!

Our daughter Danielle was six months old when we moved into the caravan.

It was strange to begin with as it was very isolated and dark. However it was wonderful to be back on our own together as a family unit. Our families had been incredibly supportive and kind but there is nothing like your own space- however small that space may be. It was wonderful for my wife Julie to be living on site as it meant that even though we were spending very long periods apart due to the lengthy hours that I was spending building the house at least she could look through the window and be able to watch me and the progress being made.

The situation became even more challenging when we found out that Julie was pregnant again and that there would only be a sixteen month age gap between the two children. However we managed and soon there were two babies crawling around the caravan. Our bedroom was the biggest challenge. You could never imagine that so many people could fit into so small an area. My wife and I slept in the bed, I made a custom built cot for Danielle and Jessica slept in a Moses basket on a stand.

Some of the weather conditions during the time that we were living in the caravan were atrocious.  There were times when the caravan literally swayed from side to side during terrible storms.  We then had to manoeuvre our way through thick squelchy mud to our temporary laundry room situated in a shed.

I have to say that it sounds like a nightmare but it was actually quite fun because we had mentally prepared ourselves for the challenge. We also kept focusing on the full picture. This was becoming easier as the house build progressed and our dream home was beginning to seem a reality.

The first exciting stage of the build was pouring the concrete for the foundations. This involved all hands on deck and was at times chaotic. Again I had to convince the family that the finished foundations would actually convert into a big house as at this stage it looked small.

Then the partitions were put in place and the necessary beams. Suddenly the house was taking shape and when the bricks were being laid it became easier to imagine the finished product. Eventually the roof went on, the walls were plastered and painted and all the services were installed. It was now time to pick the decor and appliances. This was the nice part but it’s surprising how lengthy this process can be – especially agreeing on what to buy. It was particularly important at this stage to try to stick to the agreed budget as this is the stage when many people who build their own homes become unstuck by overspending.

It is surprising the little things you suddenly have to decide upon.  For example whether to have gold or silver handles on the doors or whether to have a combination of both? Then should the doors be brown or white and should there be glass in the doors to maximise light? We eventually came to a compromise and the last part of the process was complete. The best part of all was watching our kitchen transforming from a bare, empty space into a large luxurious one as one by one the units were installed. This had been the main focus in the planning of our house as we had always wanted a large, open kitchen.

In our experience we had always found that no matter how many living areas you have in a house it is always the kitchen that everyone congregates into. Therefore with this in mind we built a large kitchen which also comprised of an adjoining family and sun room. This has worked perfectly and we have had many enjoyable social gatherings within this area. Eventually after living in the caravan for two years our project was complete and it was time to move into our new home. Our eldest daughter who had only ever known living in a caravan cried as she watched the caravan being towed off site.

It took a while to adjust to suddenly living in such a big house.  Every sound seemed to echo and it took a while to remember our way around. We have now been living in our home for five years and the novelty still hasn’t worn off. I still look in wonder at our lovely house and our beautiful landscaped gardens whose beauty changes with every season.  Had I not built my own house I would never have been able to afford to buy the house that I live in. It was certainly worth the sacrifices that I made to achieve it. The important thing is to always stay focused on the project and to make it as fun as possible.

The end result certainly makes all the hard work worth it.

Since then I have built homes for numerous clients and have helped them to achieve their dream homes. I have been able to successfully do this having had firsthand experience of building my own home. All in all there is definitely nothing more rewarding than building your dream home. I was fortunate that as I was self employed and was therefore able to dedicate the time needed to realise my dream.  However the dream is still achievable to anyone provided they find a good plot of land and a good project manager to get the house built on their behalf.

Good luck to anyone who decides, like me, to build their own home.

The excitement of building your own home quickly made me realise the amount of fun and fulfilment such a project creates, not only for yourself but also your family and friends. Another such fulfilling opportunity that I have developed is working from home.