All posts by wp_1497

Find the Best Local Builders to construct your Dream House

We all have totally different expectations from our dream house. Some dream of getting a casual rumpus room within the basement whilst others al desire is to have a sun nook where they can relax. In my opinion, a dream house is a home that satisfies and justifies the needs of each member living in the property.
Nowadays with the abundant information available on the internet it makes it far easier to search out a local builder than ever before, however, its still valuable to state some basic rules which can enable you to employ the right builder for you whilst avoiding some of the hassles or issues. For example, use a trustworthy website. Like everything else on the net, the square measure of a company’s website must be trustworthy or you could be entering dangerous grounds for you and your computer, scam artists often portray themselves as different people to get to your stored financial details on your computer, be careful when using these untrustworthy sites. Finding, and steering toward, a reliable and counselled web site with better load times can also help make transactions easier and bother free.
When your square measure is to shop for a brand new property it’s necessary to think about any work that needs to be undertaken on the property before you consider it to be a contender as a new family home. Only a few people are lucky enough to move into a new property and make only a minimum of changes, like just aesthetic changes, however, the majority prefer to make their own mark on the house with major works, like extensions.
Another persons square measure of a property could be focused on the garden. If they are retired or have loads of free time, then growing plants, flowers and vegetables may be on their agenda, and space for a large greenhouse in your garden may be at the top of their list of priorities. Some individuals’ square measure may be linked to requiring space to work from home, the need to add a sensible and user-friendly home office would be their major requirement.
Home restoration or improvement has always been very popular with both old and new home owners, within any economic climate, to maximise the use of all the space in a home. All new home owners want to keep the purchase price of the property to a minimum so will buy a house now with the intention to create the space they need later. So keep your fenestra cochleae open and listen to good advice from web sites you have the square measure of before moving forward with your plans for that dream house!

Call Bishop Ltd on 0208 926 2010 for a no obligation quote!

Garage Conversions with Local Builders –Bishop Ltd

Are you in need of space? Who isn’t? A garage conversion could be your answer!

Garage conversions are an economical way to gain more room from your property, in turn, utilising an area of your home that is often neglected. No matter what you want to use this room for by employing a reputable builder you can make it happen. For these smaller works, it makes sense to employ a good local builder as a local builder will be more inclined to accept a smaller job if it is closer to his home, garage conversions would be classed as smaller jobs for a good building company. Logistically, there will be less likelihood of late arrivals to hold up your work and less time spent by your builder fighting traffic jams! The builder may also reduce his price if he does not have to account for lengthy travel and fuel costs. Should any issues arise after the work is completed, it would be easier for a local builder to pop in and fix the problem rather than you having to wait until the long distant builder is able to come your way again. Generally, you will be able to find experienced builders in your area if you talk to friends and family, or by a quick search on the internet. However, make sure you do your homework before employing them.

A basic garage conversion should only take a matter of weeks to complete. In most instances, existing garages usually have lighting and, depending on what you are using the new space for, you could also have heating installed in readiness to use as an extra room within (or adjacent to) your home. In addition, you should not experience much inconvenience while the work is in progress as it will be away from the main house. However, and very importantly, you should always contact your local council offices to check if your intended building work is subject to planning permission before starting any works. If your conversion is subject to planning then consider laying foundations to accommodate a second storey at a later date (again subject to planning permission!) Don’t forget to also budget for the demolition and removal of any existing garage/building!

Garage conversions are perfect for many homeowners looking for that gym / play room / extension to your existing lounge etc. Why not contact your local builder and ask them for advice on how best you can utilise the space? Local builders will have completed many jobs like yours and are a valuable source of knowledge, both for the design and build and also with planning requirement questions. Just make sure you have chosen the right builder for you, and tap in! You may be amazed at all the options you come up with once you get your thinking cap on. Wouldn’t it be

great to wake up in the morning and walk less than 20 feet to the office, with all your paperwork stored outside of your home but still to hand? What more could you ask for?

A further great advantage of garage conversions is that they add value to your home. It’s a “win win” situation! It’s time to stop using that valuable space as a very large junk cupboard and put it to good use, whilst also increasing the value of your property. You will love the return on your investment come sale time!

If you have a garage collecting cobwebs and are crying out for more space it’s a no brainer…Convert that garage!!

Contact Bishop Ltd – Builders and Developers – for all your building needs!

We are a leading bespoke commercial and residential construction company. Our services include a completely managed construction process, spanning the Pre- Construction, Construction and Post-Construction phases of your project. Our main services include Architecture and Construction, Project Feasibility, Cost Analysis, and Project Management. We have offices in Loughton Essex and Aylesford Kent and operate locally across Essex and Kent.

Planning and Building Regulations

Most building projects require Planning Permission and Building Regulations; extensions, loft conversions, outbuildings etc., however, when it comes to New Build homes it is essential to obtain planning consent BEFORE any building work starts, it is a legal requirement.

To draft your plans, you will require the services of an architect, who will also be able to advise you if planning permission will be required for your project. An experienced architect not only prepares your drawings but can be very helpful when it comes to planning official requirements and design or layout of your new space. For a small fee, many can also help with the application process itself, submitting your plans to your local council and dealing with any pre-application issues so you are not caught out!

In addition to this, your builder may also be able to advice you when it comes to planning requirements, they can also keep you up to date regarding the necessary Building Regulation checks during your build, allowing for you to make arrangements for the inspections in good time. Remember, it is ultimately the responsibility of the property owner to ensure that all legal requirements and paper work involving the planning rules (and building regulations) are fulfilled.

When it comes to planning, make sure you have all the necessary legal paperwork in place before starting work and follow the very useful guidance and support of your architect and builder. If you prefer to take the stress-free root, ask your architect to deal with your planning application on your behalf, well worth the few extra pounds in my experience…

Architectural Service and Build, making it all that much easier…

The average person may have some difficulty in knowing where to start with their residential building project. It can be a mine field of bodies and red tape, Architects, Builders, Planning Permissions, Building Regulations etc. People usually start with an idea in their mind about what they want to build / extend but don’t really know how to fully go about it.

Our company, Bishop Ltd, started as local builders in Aylesford Kent but have recently expanded the company to also cater for the south Essex area, Chigwell in Essex and Loughton in Essex being the main hubs of our activity. In all areas, we found that clients were too busy to spend time going out looking for ideas but had an image in mind as to what they wanted as an end result for their homes. For this reason, we at Bishop Ltd decided to include a further service to our list to help support our clients a little more than the average builder, Architectural Services. Our Architectural service is a stand-alone package that encompasses all the early stages of a project. These early stages relate mainly to the design, drawings and Planning Permission aspect of a project. If you are setting out as a ‘first time builder’ we would strongly advice that you consider using this service.

The aim is to help you achieve not only the best results for your project, but to also gain a clear vision of how you would like your property to serve you, and your family. For example, it may be that you work from home so need to divide the internal space in such a way as to include a study, or would it be best to add that new office with a garage conversion. All design work for a new home, or extension, must be thoroughly considered to make sure you get the optimum use out of your new space.

With our Architect service, after confirming your likes and dislikes, we will start by helping you to focus on an actual design layout that works for your new property, or new space in the case of extensions. This could include helping you to decide what style or look you want to achieve, both internally and externally, what you will be using the new space(s) for, or it could be help with choosing the right doors, windows, kitchens or bathrooms.

Once you are clear on the design part of the build the architect will complete all your plans and drawings in preparation for submission to your local Planning Permissions Authority. For a small fee, he can make the submission for planning permission for you.

Whatever design and planning support you need we at Bishop Ltd are here to help you. Why not give us a call and put us to the test!

A Few Basic Points to Consider When Building Your New Home

Before jumping in to the exciting prospect of building your new home you should think long and hard if this is really the path you want to take, or would it be more suitable and cost effective to simply buy a new property. Don’t get me wrong, if you do decide to build your home, and if you use the services of a reputable building company, the joy will definitely outweigh the headaches but you must approach your project with your eyes wide open.

I failed to do this on my first project in Chigwell Essex. I did get advice from a friend, who was also a local builder in Aylesford Kent, and although his advice on the build was invaluable he was not accustom to the Chigwell area (I obviously should have contacted a local builder in Chigwell Essex instead!). Therefore, I did not fully comprehend the pitfalls I could face when building my own home. If I was to give one piece of advice on this subject it would be this… it is essential you gather as much knowledge and advice about the property and its location from as many people in the local area as possible before making your final decision to proceed with a new build house!

Before instructing an architect to draft pre-application plans to your local council, speak to the council about your intentions and other projects in the area to get an indication as to what you will or will not be allowed to build in that location. I did not do this! Once you have this information it will be much easier to decide if what you want to proceed with the new build home or not, and for your architect to draft plans that are more likely to be accepted. Also, do not be scared to speak to a couple of ‘local’ builders and your architect for guidance on points you are unsure about before speaking to the council. They are pretty knowledgeable when it comes to local councils and their requirements. If your builder is providing you with an estimated quote make sure you make notes of everything they are including in the quote, and make sure they provide you with a detailed quote in writing before they start work!

Cost is always going to be the cornerstone of your decision to proceed so you should look at costs not only pertaining to the build but also to things like; storage of furniture, regular ongoing bills like council tax and water rates, rental property or hotel bills, these all need to be factored into your budget. Additional things to consider would include; the time it will take to complete the works, the impact it will have on your family (pets) and your lives – for example the school run could be a lot further everyday if you rented a house in a different area. Make sure you have a clear vision of all the ups and downs before moving forward to the next step.

So, if you have a realistic budget, are clued up about your local building requirements, and employ a reputable building company and architect to do the work you have more chance of a healthy and exciting building experience.

Happy New Home Building!

Modern New Build or Traditional Older Property?

A modern style home is all too familiar these days but before we talk more about these, I would like to acknowledge the beauty of the older more traditional properties. There’s a lot to be said for the pre-1950’s built homes. You may have heard your parents talk about how the older properties were “solid and built to last”, unlike the hordes of quick builds spewed out today to create the sprawling new housing estates. If you look carefully you will notice tons of original features in older properties whereas the new builds tend to have sharp clean lines and little of anything else. It does come down to personal preference but for me the traditional features of old can’t be beaten and I am often found rummaging around salvage yards looking for exciting new finds to use on my next project. For example, I had a local builder in Chigwell Essex stunned with how much amazing ‘stuff’ I came back with, after one of my ‘shopping sprees’. Amongst other bits, I found an amazing cast iron fireplace and a near perfect ceiling rose to adorn the hallway, sadly most of the traditional features had been ripped out of the property by the previous owners.

The modern new build properties also have their place on my scale but only those where the new home builder has used traditional standards to work to, that is, the house is “solid and built to last”! To reach the upper part of my scale, the walls would need to be solid and better insulated than the average new build property, in turn, providing greater sound proofing, and there would need to be some internal design features even if they bare a modern twist, for example, modern style coving around the tops of the walls rather than leaving it bare (to my mind this is unfinished). Essentially, the new build house would need to be a mix of the two, modern with a dash of traditional, the property must have some personal touches to create character.

So, which type of house would you go for? If we set aside the general upheaval involved in building a new home, it would seem we can have the best of both worlds if we build our new home. The overall look of the new property can be built in a way to reflect a contemporary modern style and by adding character enhancing details throughout the house it won’t appear clinical and unhomely. In addition, by using traditional standards of house building we can ensure the walls and foundations are solid structures. The other positive about building your own home is that you can divide and layout the internal rooms to your liking. If you have the resources and the patience to build your own home then I would advise you to go for it!

 

Contact Bishop Ltd – for professional and stress free building services!

www.bishopltd.com | 0208 926 2010 | info@bishopltd.com

Should I Sell or Extend My Property?

Buying or Extending your home is one of the most significant costs you will incur in your lifetime. It is therefore crucial to do your homework in order to spend wisely!

Buying or Selling Your Property. Our Home Development team often get the opportunity to interact with local Estate Agents, especially when selling our New Build properties. The word is, and has been for at least the past twelve months, that we are ‘in a buyer’s market’ and it looks to remain that way for a while yet, sadly not great news for those thinking of selling their homes.

This appears to be the reason why so many people are considering alternatives to selling and also explains why building companies have been extra busy of late. Would be sellers are deciding to stay put and instead invest their money in their current homes. For our company, we have noticed a steep rise in Extension and Home Improvement works.

Extensions. Increasingly, families both prefer and require larger living spaces and are no longer willing to ‘make do’ like our parents. Today we all have so much paraphernalia, toys – clothes – shoes – accessories etc., that we are in need of that extra storage space to fit it all in. Additionally, people want extra rooms in their homes for things like home cinemas or home gyms. Sadly, our fears also play a part in needing more space as we no longer feel comfortable allowing our children to ‘play out’. Instead we prefer to invite their friends to our home, which means the ‘little people’ also need their own space to enjoy their hobbies and time with friends. The easiest answer to a lack of space dilemma would be to build an extension to your property.

There are two main types of Home Extensions, attached and detached. Where a person wishes to increase the internal footage of their home by adding an extension, for example, to the kitchen and creating a beautiful open plan kitchen / lounge area, or by adding another room on top of an existing single storey extension and creating that great new master suite upstairs, these would be marked as attached extensions. Whereas, an outbuilding or room built in the grounds of the main property is considered a detached extension of the home.

What would it cost to build a new Extension or Outbuilding?

In order to answer this question, your builder would have to take many factors into consideration. The more obvious things to consider would be things like the size of the extension and how it is positioned in relation to the main property, or the depth of the footings required to prevent any chance of subsidence later. The not so obvious points to consider, amongst other things, would be the ground conditions upon which you intend to build, if there are any access restrictions to the area, the higher cost of materials if you are required to match, for example, old style sash windows or roof tiles, or moving of pipes or manholes.

Do your homework and spend your money wisely!

If a builder gives you a quote off the top of their head for X amount to complete Y job be cautious as they may just be saying that to secure the job, the work could cost you a lot more than first quoted. Do get a few quotes and use a reputable building company that can provide you with references of past work, and is willing to fully listen to your requirements before providing you with a detailed quote and payment terms in writing.

Contact Bishop Ltd – for professional and stress free building services!

www.bishopltd.com | 0208 926 2010 | info@bishopltd.com

Are you a first-time home builder or renovator? Need Help?? You should read this first.

Handling a building, or renovation, project on your own can make most people a little nervous, to say the least. The memories of extending and renovating my own home in Dartford Kent still makes me cringe to this day. Believe me when I say a lot of sleep was lost during that time! I was constantly swinging between excitement, frustration, anger and to even feeling sick at times with the worry of losing a large amount of money if things went wrong. The mental strain was exhausting. Like most people, I had put my life savings into this project and simply could not afford for it to fail.

My Home Renovation Story.

It really was an uphill struggle from the start!

After endless hours of searching I found the perfect property for me and my family. The property needed a complete overhaul as it hadn’t been touched in 30 years by the elderly sellers. This was just the kind of property I wanted as I could complete the renovations and instantly increase the value of the property when I moved in.

The Home Purchase. We exchanged contracts with the seller and then the first obstacle hit us…our confirmed mortgage offer from the Bank was suddenly pulled…eek! I contacted the Ombudsman for help but no reason was given as to why the Bank had decided this.  I couldn’t understand why this had happened as all my finances were in order. After rechecking my mortgage application form I noticed I had made a mistake, which I rectified (with evidence) but the bank stated once the mortgage was pulled that was the end – lesson learnt, be extra careful when filling out mortgage application forms as a little mistake could cost you dearly! I had no time to apply for another mortgage so frantically darted from one family member to another to raise the rest of the capital and complete the purchase, the alternative was to lose the £300,000 deposit I had paid on exchange! Like I said, not a good start…

Finding the Right Builder. Determined to get the next step right I employed a building company to help with the renovation and extension works. The company I chose sounded great and offered to complete the work for £5000 less than another company I was considering. Great! …Mistake number 2! I signed on the dotted line, put my furniture into storage and moved my family into a hotel for the predicted 2/3 months it would take to complete the project. However, I only met the builder (I use that term very loosely) twice in the 5 months his company was employed to carry out the work.

Project Management. To save on costs I decided to provide all materials for the project, friends and family had advised me that builders overcharge on materials to make their profit. Mistake 3… Rather than making a saving this arrangement increased my costs, as it appears bags of cement (amongst other building materials) can suddenly grow legs and walk off the site! This meant I had to replace materials a few times so work could continue, and copper piping is not cheap!

Three months into the project (although it should have been finished by then) I took a month’s leave from my job to be on site every day and make sure nothing went missing and the project was moved forward. Very bad move!! The main guy on the site knew I was eager to get the project finished and suggested I help out whilst there to move it along. Initially I was happy to be involved but then the penny dropped, I was now paying a building company to complete my project but had worked a month unpaid for them myself, not to mention the rising costs caused by the delay in completion, storage charges and hotel bills, but hey they did give me a cheaper quote! Mistake 4… are you seeing a pattern with this company yet??

The Crunch. Four months into the project the builder called to say the job had taken longer than anticipated and his team needed more money in order to complete the work. He reeled off a list of additional ‘unforeseen’ jobs they had completed, which could have been plausible, but in his absence, he had not known I was on site daily myself and knew exactly what the team had being doing. After a heated discussion, I agreed to pay an additional £5000 for the project, half to be paid straight away… Mistake 5! The guys on site worked to the end of that week and didn’t return. I called and left lots of messages on the builder’s phone and even went to his office to find out what was happening, the address on the contract was not correct so no joy there either.

The Drag. Five months after starting the project we were left with a half-finished house, no builders, a distressed family, extortionate bills, and no idea what to do next. We allowed three weeks to pass before it became obvious that the builders were not going to return. I knew I had to make a decision in order to get my family into our new home. The following week I decided to cut our losses with the original builder and employed a new building company. Thankfully they provided a Project Management service and completed the remainder of the works themselves and we were able to move in to our new home within a month.

Home Improvements Add Value. Did I add value to my property by undertaking the extension and renovation works? Yes, I did! However, due to my lack of knowledge (and trusting nature), a large chunk of the money was swallowed up by the expenses we incurred waiting to move in our new home, unfinished work by the first set of builders, storage and hotel bills piled up due to the delay in moving in to the house and the additional cost of employing the new builders to finish the project.

“Buy Cheap Pay Twice!” So, what have I learnt from this experience? Since speaking to many others about my misfortune I have come to realise my story is not exceptional. Unscrupulous builders have caused chaos in many people’s lives. If I was to advise someone now about building or renovating their property I would suggest they consider the following points:

  1. a)Make sure you do your due diligence!
  2. b)Speak to at least 2 or 3 building companies and ask for evidence of previous work.
  3. c)Make sure your contract is worth the paper it is written on! Check out the address and telephone number, make sure both parties have signed it, and it includes the following points:
  4. The payment terms
  5. The estimated finish date (give 2/3-week extension max unless you are given a good reason for the delay)
  6. What is and is not included in the cost
  7. d)Employ a company that is passionate about their work and pays attention to your needs throughout the project. Remember, they are working for you or you may find yourself in the same position I did.
  8. e)When employing a builder do NOT base your decision solely on the cheapest quote it can often become a lot more expensive in the long run, like me, you could be caught by the ‘Buy Cheap Pay Twice’ proverb!

Bishop Ltd provides complete Turnkey Management services, including the design and planning stage of your project. We will handle your project from start to finish so your free carry on with your everyday life. Sit back, relax and let us take the strain!

Call Bishop Ltd on 0208 926 2010 for a no obligation quote!

The Right Builder for YOU!

Building or Extending a home is quite possibly the most exciting and rewarding venture a person can undertake. However, if you instruct a building company with less than honourable scruples it can, sadly, also become a very painful and expensive experience! Let’s face it, most of us have heard the horror stories about clients being left in the lurch with half-finished and even dangerous projects, the television industry has spent hours of film reel on them. In my mind these types of builders are simply ‘handymen’ parading in builders clothing… or, for a better term, WOLVES in sheep’s clothing! These bandits are a little better qualified at getting the job done than your regular Joe (obviously not referring to our Joe at Bishop Ltd!), who may have decided to put up a shelf on a Sunday afternoon. They are not like the many hardworking honest tradesmen out there who take pride in their work and aim to provide the best service possible.

Beware, these wolves create so much misery and chaos in their wake that it has tarnished the reputation of the building trade as a whole. How many times have you heard the phrase ‘do you know of a good builder? He must be trustworthy!’ Why should a client have to question whether a builder is trustworthy? Should it not be the case anyway? People are scared of approaching new building companies, this can’t, and shouldn’t be right. Let’s face it, the reality is, one person is passing their hard-earnt money (sometimes life savings) into the hands of an unknown person in the HOPE they will fulfil their promise! Yes, that is scary. The service provider should appreciate they have a duty to their client and do all they can in order to fulfil that duty.

So, what should you do to best protect yourself?

The most obvious answer would be to ask family and friends for recommendations. But remember what has worked for them may not necessarily fit with you. It’s always wise to get at least two or three different quotes before making your selection, and don’t be fooled into basing your final decision on price alone – it could cost you a lot more in the long run. Be informed! Ask your prospective builder questions, LOTS of them. Any good builder will be happy to spend time explaining how he will approach and deliver your project. Request to see examples of past works, check out their website –  testimonials are always a good place to start, make sure you get a written quote showing what is, and what is not, included in the price and, very importantly, their payment terms. An unscrupulous builder would not want to entertain any of this!

Be wise, it will take a very long time to make all that money back if you mistakenly pick the cheaper ‘wolf’ over the slightly more expensive but highly qualified and experienced honest tradesman!

Beware, be informed and be wise!

Bishop Ltd – Construction Services

Architect Services at Bishop Ltd

With residential projects its often very difficult for the average person to know where to start, Architects, Planning Permissions, Building Regulations etc…, it can all seem a bit of a mine field. For this reason, we at Bishop Ltd decided to include a further service to our list, Architect Services.

Our Architect service is a stand-alone package that encompasses all the early stages of a project. These early stages relate mainly to the design, drawings and Planning Permission aspect of a project. If you are setting out as a ‘first time builder’ we would strongly advice that you consider using this service.

The aim is to help you achieve not only the best results for your project, but to also gain a clear vision of how you would like your property to serve you, and your family. It may be that you work from home so need to divide the internal space in such a way as to include a study, or would it be best to add that new office with a garage conversion. All design work for a new home, or extension, has to be thoroughly considered to make sure you get the optimum use out of your new space.

With our Architect service, after confirming your likes and dislikes, the Architect will start by helping you to focus on an actual design layout that works for your new property, or new space in the case of extensions. This could include helping you to decide what style or look you want to achieve, both internally and externally, what you will be using the new space(s) for, or it could be help with choosing the right doors, windows, kitchens or bathrooms.

Once you are clear on the design part of the build our architect will complete all your plans and drawings in preparation for submission to your local Planning Permissions Authority.

Whatever design and planning support you need we at Bishop Ltd are here to help you. Why not give us a call and put us to the test!