Planning permission – when to apply

Aspinalls Ltd, extensions, kitchens, bathrooms and much moreIf you build something which needs planning permission without getting permission first, you may be forced to put things right later, which could prove troublesome and costly. If you are in any doubt, Aspinalls Ltd recommends that you contact the planning department of your council.

When you need to apply

Here are some common examples where you would need to apply for planning permission:

  • adding or extending a flat or maisonette, including those converted from houses
  • dividing off part of your house for use as a separate home (for example, a self-contained flat or bed-sit)
  • using a building or caravan in your garden as a separate residence for someone else
  • building a separate house in your garden
  • dividing off part of your home for business or commercial use (for example, a workshop) or building a parking place for a commercial vehicle
  • building something which goes against the terms of the original planning permission for your house (for example, a planning condition may have been imposed to stop you putting up a fence in the front garden because the house is on an ”open plan” estate)
  • work you want to do might obstruct the view of road users
  • work would involve a new or wider access to a trunk or classified road

For further advice on when you will need to apply for planning permission visit the Planning Portal website.  You can also discuss your proposals by contacting the planning department of your council.

When you don’t need to apply

You can make certain types of minor changes to your home without needing to apply for planning permission – for example, fitting an alarm box or putting up walls and fences below a certain height. These are called your ‘permitted development rights’.

In October 2008, these rights were clarified and extended to cover more building projects. Projects that can be carried out without planning permission – as long as they meet certain important conditions (such as those covering the dimensions and position of an extension) – include:

  • extensions and conservatories
  • loft conversions
  • fitting solar panels
  • roof alterations
  • patios and driveways

Areas of special interest

In some areas of the country permitted development rights are more restricted. If you live in a listed building, a Conservation Area, a National Park, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you will need to apply for planning permission for certain types of work which do not need an application for in other areas.

Aspinalls Builders Ltd is an experienced family run business. We are London builders who offer a wide range of London building services covering areas such as loft conversions, extensions, brick work, plastering, painting, decorating, plumbing and electrics.

Top tips for bathroom design in your home

Aspinalls Ltd, extentions, kitchens and bathroom designBathroom design takes time, careful planning, and precise execution. The objective of a bathroom remodel is to upgrade the appearance of your bathroom with the latest bathroom designs, fixtures, and styles. However, bathroom remodelling can be a bit overwhelming. Even if you don’t install your new fixtures and furnishings yourself, simply selecting that perfect bathroom vanity, sink, and mirror can be more complicate than you think, especially if you’ve never remodelled a bathroom before.

Below are a few tips on what NOT to do when considering your bathroom design. Use these tips to avoid common mistakes and ensure that the look you intend for your bathroom is actually what turns out.

Bathroom Design Tip #1: Don’t Wing It

Some people think that remodelling a bathroom is a piece of cake and simply involves swapping out an old sink or vanity with a new one; however, because the bathroom involves plumbing, you need to carefully plan out your remodel. You need to make sure the new fixtures you select fit the space and the plumbing of your bathroom, or at least understand that rearranging the layout of your bathroom may involve rerouting some pipes.

Before you even think about the new vanity or sink you want to buy, establish the basic layout of your new bathroom. If the layout is staying the same, take note of the plumbing layout and keep that in mind when you’re shopping for a new sink, toilet, or vanity. If you’re rearranging a few items, draw out how you want your bathroom to look, measure everything to make sure your vision is realistic, and then see if you need to reroute any plumbing.

In some cases, you won’t know if your new bathroom design layout will call for new plumbing to be installed, so call a plumber and get his/her professional opinion. After you’ve mapped everything out and established the basic layout of your new bathroom design, then you can start shopping for your new lavish bathroom furnishings.

Bathroom Remodelling Tip #2: Don’t Buy the First Thing You See

The key to successfully remodelling your bathroom is to shop around. You never want to buy the first thing you find. If you’re not already set on a specific vanity or sink design, go online and check out the latest bathroom furnishings. This way, you’ll get a better idea of the number of different styles available without having to leave your home.

Shopping around will also give you the opportunity to comparison shop. Today, modern bathroom furnishings are more available and affordable than ever before. Thanks to wholesalers who purchase bathroom furnishings in bulk, you can get that elegant vessel sink you’ve always wanted at a price that won’t bust your remodelling budget. Before you buy, you better shop around.

Bathroom Remodelling Tip #3: If Don’t Know, Don’t Install It Yourself

Getting a new toilet is a different experience from getting a new bed. With a bed, you pay the extra $50 to get it delivered and put in your home. However, with a toilet, getting it delivered and put in your home is only the beginning. Bathroom remodelling almost always involves plumbing work. Even if you aren’t rerouting pipes or drainage systems, installing new bathroom fixtures (such as a toilet, sink, and faucet) takes a little plumbing know-how. However, not all of us are as “handy” as we would like to be. And when you’re dealing with running water, it’s important to know how to properly uninstall and install bathroom fixtures.

So, if you’re a novice at plumbing, call a professional. Many bathroom remodelling shops offer installation with the purchase of their products (for an added fee) or know of plumbers in your area who can install your new bathroom fixtures for you. Either way, if you’ve never installed a toilet, sink, or faucet, or had a bad previous experience with plumbing, it’s worth the money to have your new bathroom furnishings installed right.

When it comes to bathroom remodelling, it’s very important to plan out your new layout, shop around, and install your new bathroom furnishings properly. Failing to do so could cost you more money in the long run and result in a less-than-perfect remodel.

Aspinalls Builders Ltd is an experienced family run business. We are London builders who offer a wide range of London building services covering areas such as loft conversions, extensions, brick work, plastering, painting, decorating, plumbing and electrics.

Stamp duty move will help builders, says FMB

Aspinalls builders understands that the new two-year exemption on stamp duty for first-time buyers purchasing residential property valued at up to £250,000 will provide a “welcome boost” to builders, according to one industry group.

Responding to the announcement for the 2010 Budget, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) said that while the move will stimulate the housing market and demand for new homes, Chancellor Alistair Darling failed to address the “acute shortage” of mortgage finance that is holding back a full recovery.  What a shame that he never read our blog ‘The futures bright, the future’s plastic…and so is your home!’

The power and impact of supply and demand on the property industry cannot be underestimated. This is a long term problem we have in this country and unfortunately not enough is being done to address the serious issues at hand.

The organisation’s director-general Richard Diment warned that despite a commitment to increase lending by partially-nationalised banks such as Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland, many people will still struggle to secure the funding necessary to get a foot on the property ladder.

Darling and the Budget

2010 budget

He also expressed disappointment that the Budget speech did not include specific measures to boost apprenticeships, as these schemes are essential to preventing a future skills crisis in construction. At Aspinalls, the quality of the workmanship is our biggest priority because this ensures our customers are beyond satisfied with the job we did, whatever it may be. The customer is putting their trust, and literally their homes in our hands and so we must always treat it with the same respect that we would give to our own homes.

“Any investment in key skills must include creating more apprenticeships, as they are the key to securing the UK’s competitive future,” he said.

Aspinalls Builders Ltd is an experienced family run business. We are London builders who offer a wide range of London building services covering areas such as loft conversions, extensions, brick work, plastering, painting, decorating, plumbing and electrics.

House prices have forced couples to delay marriages and families

North London Builders, london builder, painting and decoratingAspinalls Builders understands that despite the growing need for cheaper homes, house building has fallen to its lowest level since 1923.

Couples are delaying getting married and starting families because they cannot afford to buy their own homes, according to a YouGov survey commissioned by a housing campaign group.

Four out of 10 young adults have said they will not settle down until they can buy their own house. A further 7% of people aged between 18 and 30 said they had put off marriage because they could not afford to buy a property or were saving up for one.

“We are in danger of locking a whole generation of young people out of the housing market because prices are simply too high,” said David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, which commissioned the survey of 1,096 young adults who did not own their own home.

“A chronic shortage of new affordable homes has sent prices rocketing over the last decade, well out of reach of the vast majority of first-time buyers.”

Almost two-thirds of those questioned said high prices were to blame for them being unable to buy a house. Just over 40% said banks had refused to offer a mortgage. One in five said uncertainty over the economy was another key factor in their decision.

A record 4.5 million people are on housing waiting lists in England. The federation says rising unemployment and repossessions have fuelled demand for affordable housing during the economic downturn.

Despite the growing need for cheaper homes, house building has fallen to its lowest level since 1923. The average first-time buyer’s home costs around £135,000, more than 4.2 times the average wage. In 1990 the average was around £46,000, 2.5 times the average wage.

The federation has said the government will struggle to build even half its target of 1m affordable homes by 2020 if the housing budget is not exempted from public spending.

The group has called on the three main political parties to grant housing the same “untouchable” status as health, education and crime fighting, and to protect it from spending cuts in order to address what it says is a crisis.

Aspinalls Builders Ltd is an experienced family run business. We are London builders who offer a wide range of London building services covering areas such as loft conversions, extensions, brick work, plastering, painting, decorating, plumbing and electrics.

What could your Loft Space Open up for You?

What could your loft space open up for you?

North london builders, loft extension, painting and decoratingA loft conversion can be tailored for many different purposes. While many people just want an extra bedroom and maybe an en-suite, others find it solves very different problems. It’s certainly cheaper than moving home if you need slightly different accommodation options.

Working from home courtesy of a converted loft office

Maybe your boss has agreed that you can work at home. Where else can you find the quiet space you’ll need for an office with desks, files, computer and IT peripherals? A cloakroom would be a good idea too, and a new bathroom is always handy when you have a houseful.

Create an artist’s studio in your loft conversion

For an artist, a bespoke loft conversion can bring a studio into the home. There are many ways with windows and skylights to make the most of the light in your high spot, and the views from the top of your house could be really inspiring.

Extend upwards and create a kids’ playroom

Are your children growing older and noisier? Wouldn’t it be great to have a separate room to store all their toys and be available for them to take their friends and play computer games or make mayhem without interfering with your tidy house? In the evenings it could turn into a favourite quiet place for them to do homework, or sit and read or dream.

An entertainment room in your roof space

If you prefer your living areas downstairs to be free of television, why not put it in your loft conversion and furnish a comfortable space around it? Or you could buy an extra set to keep up there and have no more disagreements about what you’ll be watching tonight! You could even put in a large screen and a small bar to keep the men of the family out of the pub when the football is on.

Loft conversion studio flat

Perhaps your children are already grown and want to be independent but can’t afford their own home yet? What about having a small studio flat above you with a shower room and a little kitchenette? That could also suit a lodger and even make money for you.

Don’t forget that your bespoke loft conversion may be more acceptable to the town planners than a full blown extension and could therefore give you an easier ride. It may not even need planning permission at all; depending on where you live and exactly what you want to do.

Aspinalls Builders Ltd is an experienced family run business. We are London builders who offer a wide range of London building services covering areas such as conversions, extensions, brick work, plastering, painting, decorating, extensions, conversions, kitchens, bathrooms, heating and plumbing.

Aspinalls top tips for new kitchens!

Aspinalls Builders top tips for new kitchens!

It has been said that the kitchen is the heart of the home, but have you ever worked out how many hours you spend in your kitchen every day? Even more revealing, how much of that time is spent on unnecessary work caused by poor design?

Here are five simple tips to ensure that you have a kitchen that does the work for you – not the other way around!

  • Focus on true value
  • Eliminate risks
  • Don’t compromise
  • Get professional advice
  • It’s all in the layout

Focus on true value

Smart consumers now realise that the value isn’t merely the benefits gained minus the price paid. It’s the benefits less ALL the conditions you have to meet in order to gain those benefits. Price is only the first condition to be met.

So if you get a bargain-priced new kitchen, but you have to work twice as hard to make it work at all, or it begins to fall apart, where are the real benefits? (Peace of mind will certainly not be one of them.)

The intelligent consumer saves money where it genuinely counts: on the mass-produced components of their kitchen… like appliances, fittings, floor coverings, paint, wallpaper and tiles.

They refuse to compromise on either quality or value-for-money when it comes to the critical design and construction aspects of a new kitchen.

Eliminate unnecessary risk

It makes no sense at all to accept unnecessary risks of any kind. You need to be in control of the creation at every stage, from design to construction and the final kitchen installation.

At Aspinalls we help you achieve this control by providing you with reliable information, constant communication, and a qualified and experienced workforce.

Refuse to compromise on quality

Don’t be fooled by the notion that quality costs more. It’s usually the other way around. Poor quality doesn’t last. You have to work harder to offset the deficiencies as things fall apart and it robs you of any lasting enjoyment.

You end up having to replace or repair things in a very short time. Any savings you gain by cutting quality are false. The old saying “quality remains long after the price is forgotten” is just as true of poor quality at a cut price.

Get the best professional advice

There is a huge amount of advice that can be found on the internet about getting a new kitchen. By spending a little bit of time researching your new kitchen you will become more knowledgeable and the likelihood of unforeseen problems can be reduced. From start to finish there should be no real confusion or any surprises.

There’s a lot more to successful kitchen design than just style. It’s the things you can’t see that make the real difference between delight and despair when it comes to actually living with your new kitchen from day to day.

It’s all in your kitchen layout

When you boil it all down, the ultimate difference between a great kitchen and an ordinary one isn’t the finishes or the styling. It’s the kitchen layout — whether it eases your work load, streamlines your work flow and helps you achieve satisfaction and enjoyment.

Aspinalls Builders Ltd is an experienced family run business. We are London builders who offer a wide range of London building services covering areas such as conversions, extensions, brick work, plastering, painting, decorating, extensions, conversions, kitchens, bathrooms, heating and plumbing.

The futures bright, the future’s plastic…and so is your home!

Aspinalls Builders has recently learned about a whole new approach to building homes. This new method goes some way to solving the huge problem of managing the mountains of rubbish we throw away. The latest use of recycled plastic is building family homes.

A company is building three-bedroom houses with frameworks made entirely of recycled waste. And this is all yours, complete with new bathroom, new kitchen and plumbing, for £42,000 – although you will have to provide your own land.

Plastic homeThe homes are made from 18 tonnes of recycled plastic in Swansea. They are fire and waterproof and stronger than concrete

Each house is made up of 18 tonnes of recycled plastic trash that would have been destined for waste tips across the country, which equals 9,000 old televisions or about 7,200 desk top computers.

The special plastic is almost four times as strong as concrete and insulation around the house twice as well, enabling house-holders to cut their heating bills in half.

In addition it is fire, storm and wind proof and, being made of plastic, is naturally waterproof.

The firm, Swansea-based Affresol, uses material that cannot be recycled any other way, to make panels that bolt together to create low carbon homes.

Any plastic, from old patio chairs and tables to building fixtures and fittings, are ground down into small granules that are then fused together in a chemical reaction to make Thermo Poly Rock (TPR).

Managing director of Affresol, Ian McPherson, believes the company is solving the country’s housing and recycling problems at the same time.

On first impression a plastic home might not sound that appealing. Visually a plastic home doesn’t sound great but this has been carefully thought through. Each house can be clad in brick or stone and the interior can be plastered and the painting and decorating is like any other home

Father-of-two Mr McPherson, 60, said: ‘the materials are stronger and lighter than concrete. They are waterproof, fire retardant, do not rot and have great insulation. We estimate the life of the houses at more than 60 years and after that they are recyclable.’

‘We believe there is tremendous potential for this new product particularly with the growing focus on carbon reduction, low energy affordable homes and sustainability.

‘At the moment about 50 to 60 per cent of all plastic is recycled – we take the other 40 to 50 per cent and use it to make something really useful. Individuals can buy houses from us or developers can buy in bulk. This is a new kind of prefabricated house which helps the environment as well’.

‘As a country we put far too much waste into landfill and this goes some way to helping solve the problem of all our rubbish. It’s exciting to build something new out of things we throw away.’

The company has launched a range of eco-friendly homes and portable factory units with £140,000 of backing from the Welsh Assembly Government.

Affresol aims to have a pilot scheme of 19 houses built in Merthyr Tydfil up-and-running in the next few months once they receive accreditation from the Building Research Establishment.

And within three years their target is to build 3,000 homes – mainly for the social housing market – each year using 40,000 tons of waste

There would be a wide variety of homes with a typical construction cost of a semi-detached about £40,000 to £50,000- and taking just four days to erect the framework.

The company claim the eco-friendly homes, like the detached show home at its factory on Swansea West industrial park, could revolutionise the building industry.

Aspinalls Builders Ltd is an experienced family run business. We are London builders who offer a wide range of London building services covering areas such as conversions, extensions, brick work, plastering, painting, decorating, extensions, conversions, kitchens, bathrooms, heating and plumbing.