Good news for future Green Builds


Tesla CEO Elon Musk claimed this week that a solar roof will cost less than a regular roof before you consider the electric savings.  If its true, this is nothing but good news for developers and self builders;

See Electrek website to read more…



Planning applications on the up

Latest quarterly data on planning applications made in England between April and June 2016 show that between April and June 2016, district level planning authorities in England received 132,000 applications, up seven per cent on the corresponding quarter of 2015.

During the second quarter of 2016 authorities granted 100,900 decisions, up six per cent from the same quarter in 2015; this is equivalent to 88 per cent of decisions and decided 83 per cent of major applications within 13 weeks or the agreed time, up from 79 per cent a year earlier.

These figures also showed that there were 11,900 applications for prior approval for permitted development rights during April to June 2016, up seven per cent from the same quarter of 2015.

Around 9,700 of those applications were approved without having to go through the full planning process, up eight per cent on a year earlier.

Crazy, but for a wonderful cause

A 4,000km non-stop, unsupported bike race from Belgium to Turkey!

My good friend Darren is going the extra mile to raise money for Cancer Research UK.  Well, 2,500 miles to be precise.

He set off on an unsupported bike ride from Belgium to Turkey, on Friday 29th July Updates will be available via social media, but you can follow his progress through his GPS tracker. 

How to follow the race

Cancer affects 1 person in every 2!  That number is HUGE!  Think about it, it’s you or your partner, half of your friends. Half of your kids!

I can’t imagine sitting on a bike saddle for that distance or time, so please make his pain worthwhile and support his cause by donating generously.  You can read his blogs and donate to his Just Giving page by visiting The Adventure Capitalist on WordPress.

Together, we will beat Cancer!


Project Management

“The Project Manager is the most important role after the architect” – Kevin McCloud Grand Designs Handbook

There are many definitions of what a Project Manager is and what they do, and it is sometimes difficult to explain to a prospective client the benefits of employing one.

Below are a few of the tasks a Project Manager undertakes;

  1. Programme Management – Creating a detailed Project Plan at the outset with targets and milestones so all involved know what is going to happen and when.  This needs to monitored and updated as the build progresses to keep the project on track.
  2. Cost management – Creation of a realistic budget and contingencies which can only come from experience.  No matter how well planned, there will always be unexpected complications or additions.  changes during the build process are common and unless controlled, a client can find themselves over budget with no record of where those costs accumulated.
  3. Quality Control – Supervision & coordination of labour, materials, inspections, payment dates are all essential to keep a project on track..
  4. Coordination – Building Control inspections, payment dates, material and labour supply. Successful coordination is essential to keep a project on track.
  5. Problem Solving – Every build brings its own unique set of issues to overcome. An experienced Project Manager needs to think on his feet to find a resolution or re-organise works until a resolution can be found

If you are still not convinced, read the following quotes;

Kevin McCloud Grand Designs Handbook – The Project Manager is the most important role after the architect: one individual who takes the responsibility for seeing the whole project through from start to finish. The best team arrangement is, in my view to employ an architect, an independent project manager and a builder or set of sub-contractors.”

UK Association of Project Managers Project management is the process by which projects are defined, planned, monitored, controlled and delivered such that the agreed benefits are realised. Projects bring about change and project management is recognised as the most efficient way of managing such change.”

UK Office of Government and Commerce Experience has shown that projects are inherently at riskthrough overrunning on time and cost and/or failing to deliver a successful outcome. Project management helps to reduce and manage the risk.”

Business Management Magazine OnlineHaving good project management skills does not mean you have no problems. It does not mean that there are no surprises. The value of good project management is that you have a proactive mind set and standard processes in place to deal with all of these events.”  “Time is Money. One of the most demanding aspects of any self build is the project management. This isn’t a role that just anyone can take on. It demands the ability to juggle the ordering of materials, worker priorities and everything else that gets the house built, including the money.”






Is it time to start thinking more about the ground our homes are built on?  With internal space at a premium especially in inner cities, perhaps the answer to more living space is to dig down?


Unless building a utility room or a home cinema, walk over glazed roof lights mean living underground doesn’t have to be dark.


Build It magazine explore the pro’s and con’s;



Continuing the Before and After comparisons…

Continuing the Before and After comparisons, although in fairness, this is a Before & During.

This Victorian semi was extended to the rear in the early 1980’s. The two-storey extension was rather unimaginative with a flat roof and completely different bricks to the original house.

before bw

The clients scope was to improve on the existing and extend the ground floor to provide a larger kitchen / family space overlooking the back garden. They were keen to be sympathetic with the original house but happy to include contemporary elements like the large glazed roof area and sliding folding doors.

during bw

The reorganised space provided a new glazed lobby entrance and an additional shower room come utility and included updated insulation and under floor heating.