Planning and designing your dream kitchen extension
CategoriesGeneral News Planning

Planning and designing your dream kitchen extension

Planning and designing your dream kitchen extensionModern family life means kitchens need to be multi-functional – they’re a place for cooking, dining, entertaining, (and doing homework at the table) – usually all at the same time! And for this reason, they’re often referred to as the ‘heart of the home’ because they’re generally a hive of activity throughout the day. It is therefore little wonder that having a spacious, well-appointed kitchen is top of so many homeowner’s wishlist.

A clever redesign of the layout is sometimes all it takes to make better use of the space. But in some cases, extending the kitchen can make a world of difference to the look, feel and functionality of the room. The property experts at Revere Contracts have therefore put together a list of top tips to consider when planning and designing your dream kitchen extension.

Sort your budget

Before you get carried away searching Pinterest and flicking through interiors magazines, it’s sensible to set your budget. The cost of a kitchen extension will vary depending on a number of factors such as how complex the build will be, whether it’s a single or double-storey extension to the side or rear of the property, and the quality of the finish for example.

In addition, you’ll have to factor in architects’ fees, insurance, Building Regulations and planning fees, and possibly Party Wall Agreements. Then of course there is the cost of the units and appliances, as well as the installation fees. Plus, it’s always a good idea to factor in a contingency fund to cover anything unforeseen.

How you choose to fund the project is entirely up to you – re-mortgage your home, use savings, a credit card, a loan, or a combination of these options.

Planning and designing your dream kitchen extension

Make sure the figures add up

In some cases, a small 1m extension could provide just enough room to reconfigure the layout of your existing kitchen and enable you to make better use of the space. For those with bigger ideas, you could opt for a large expansion that spans the full width of the house. The important thing, however, is to think carefully about what will give you the best usability as well as the best return on investment.

Get permission

It is vital that any work carried out meets all legal standards and it is therefore essential to obtain the necessary permission. Some building and alterations are acceptable under Permitted Development rights but they must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • A single-storey extension.
  • A maximum height of 4m.
  • Not extend beyond the original rear wall of the house by more than 6m if it is an attached house (eg. a semi-detached or terrace house), or 8m if it is a detached house.
  • A single-storey with a width of no more than half that of the house.

It is always best to check with your local planning department if you require planning permission. The work will also require Building Regulations approval to ensure design and construction standards are met.

In addition, any building work that affects the boundary walls between your house and your neighbour’s house will need to comply with the Party Wall Act and you will need to serve a Party Wall Notice to adjoining neighbours at least two months before work commences.

Finally, a kitchen extension will also need to meet particular technical standards such as:

  • Structural integrity
  • Protection against falls and unsafe walls
  • Electric and gas safety
  • Fire protection
  • Energy performance

Plan the lay-out

Think carefully about what you’d like and what you need. Is it open-plan living you crave? Or do you desperately need a separate WC, utility room and boot room? Speak to an architect or expert kitchen designer for ideas of what’s possible.

At this stage, think about where the sunlight falls throughout the day and how you can potentially maximise the natural light with a carefully considered choice of glazing, rooflights, or bi-fold doors to connect to the garden, for example.

Next, think about the additions that will elevate the room to fulfil your design dream – underfloor heating, a kitchen island, a breakfast bar, or integrated appliances for example. Then turn your attention to colour palettes and finishes as you shop for units and tiles.

Get the right company for the job

However big or small the project, it’s essential you employ a company you can trust. They could potentially be in your home for a number of months and you’ll be living with the results for years, so it pays to do some research beforehand.

Here at Revere Contracts, we’ve built a strong reputation for completing many beautiful and multi-functional kitchens to an exceptional standard over the years. You can read testimonials from our happy clients over on our website, or check out our 5-star reviews online such as Bark and Houzz.

To see examples of how Revere Contracts has transformed homes and created dream kitchens, follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. And if you’d like to embark upon your own kitchen extension project, call us on 0345 241 7010 to arrange a free, no-obligation appointment.

Top tips for converting your property into a rental
CategoriesGeneral News

Top tips for converting your property into a rental

Top tips for converting your property into a rental

Thinking of investing in the rental market? Converting a property into a rental and enjoying a regular monthly income from it is an obvious incentive, but there is a lot to consider. At the very least, the property needs to be habitable and provide enough space for all tenants to live comfortably. The interiors also need to be hardwearing and appeal to as wide a market as possible. And above all, it needs to be cost-effective if you want to ensure you get a good return on your investment. If you’re wondering how you can accomplish all of the above, read on for some top tips from the property experts at Revere Contracts.

Licenses and legalities

Check with your local authority to ensure you hold all the relevant licenses and you have had all the necessary checks completed. For example, you will be required to update your HMO licence every five years, and you will need to pass a Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) risk assessment.

Size matters

Before commencing any renovation work, consult your local authority to ensure you meet all guidelines for minimum HMO room sizes. These include:

  • Ensure the floor area of any room in the HMO used as sleeping accommodation by one person aged over 10 years is not less than 6.51m².
  • Ensure the floor area of any room in the HMO used as sleeping accommodation by two persons aged over 10 years is not less than 10.22m².
  • Ensure the floor area of any room in the HMO used as sleeping accommodation by one person aged under 10 years is not less than 4.64m².

Changing rooms

It is likely you’ll you will need to convert the use of some rooms. For example, a reception room may become an additional bedroom and a bedroom may become an additional bathroom. Spend time weighing up the best use of space before committing – some renters might be put off properties with no living room, for example. Consult a professional before knocking down or constructing walls, and seek planning permission if necessary before commencing any major work.

Safety first

The safety of your tenants should be your top priority, therefore it is essential that thorough checks are carried out regularly. Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors must be installed, as well as fire doors and emergency lighting at the exits. Any furniture and furnishings you provide must meet the current fire resistance regulations. Electrical tests should be carried out on all appliances and the boiler should be serviced annually. If installing a new boiler, ensure it is a sufficient size to cope with the size of the property, number of tenants and usage, and that it comes with a warranty. Make sure the pipes and workings are easily accessible – don’t be tempted to conceal them behind tiles for example. And send a valid gas safety certificate to your local authority each year.

Fixtures and fittings

When it comes to fixtures and fittings, it’s best to keep things simple – above all they need to be functional and easy to keep clean. But that’s not to say you should go for the cheapest option. You know what they say, ‘Buy cheap, buy twice!’ so it pays to invest in good quality materials, fixtures and fittings that will withstand wear and tear.

It is also vital you don’t scrimp when it comes to ventilation. Failure to fit a suitable cooker hood or bathroom and kitchen extractor fans could lead to condensation and costly damp and mould issues further down the line. Similarly, opt for double-glazed windows that have trickle vents to let the air circulate.

A clean sweep

When considering flooring, practicality should be top of the list. Laminate, vinyl, tiles, or engineered wood are sensible alternatives to carpets which are difficult to clean and less likely to withstand traffic.

Stay neutral

To appeal to as many potential renters as possible, and to keep the property looking fresher for longer, opt for neutral colours on the walls, such as white, off-white and soft grey for a light and airy feel. This will also effectively offer renters a blank canvas, enabling them to add their own touches to the property – injecting colour with their own choice of soft furnishings to make it feel more personal and homely.

It’s good to talk

When the renovation is complete and your tenants are settled, ensure you keep in contact with them so they can report any issues as and when they arise. Dealing with them with quickly is the best way to avoid potentially larger issues in the future.

Find out more

To see examples of how Revere Contracts has transformed rental properties, follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. And if you’d like to embark upon your own conversion project, call us on 0345 241 7010 to arrange a free, no-obligation appointment.

Top tips for renovating a period property
CategoriesGeneral News

Top tips for renovating a period property

Top tips for renovating a period propertyA period property, such as a Georgian townhouse or a Victorian villa, not only offers the potential to become a great family home, but also a sound investment too. Victorian houses, for example, typically feature steep pitched roofs that lend themselves well to loft conversions and are often built on good-sized plots, creating real potential to extend and add value.

However, it’s understandable that given the sheer size of some period properties, some homeowners may find the prospect of renovation an overwhelming one. But it doesn’t have to be. That’s why we’ve put together this blog – to share our top tips for a successful period property renovation.

 

Get permission

Before you get too carried away at the thought of knocking down walls and building extensions, first and foremost it is vital that you investigate any restrictions that may apply to making alterations to your property. If your home is located within a Conservation Area or it is listed, for example, there may be restrictions in addition to the usual Planning Permission and Permitted Development rules. It is a criminal offence to fail to apply for consent when it is required, so it pays to do your homework before planning your project.

 

Create more liveable space

One of the most common building projects we manage here at Revere Contracts is the reconfiguration of internal living spaces within period homes. Although period properties tend to have a larger floorprint, the internal spaces are typically divided up into lots of small rooms. The most common problems our clients come to us with are kitchens that are too small and a shortage of bathrooms. In many cases, these issues are easily solved by knocking down an internal wall to create a more open-plan kitchen-diner, and by adding an en-suite to a bedroom, or installing a wet room on the ground floor.

 

Keep the character

Many homebuyers find themselves drawn to a particular period property because of its original features, and all the charm and character that they add to the look and feel of the home. Original picture rails, ceiling roses, cornicing and coving, as well as traditional floorboards, parquet or tiles can add a unique sense of history and heritage to a home.

Sadly for some, these features fell out of fashion in the 1960s and ‘70s and many were ripped out. However, if this is the case with your home, all is not lost. You can pick up things such as antique fireplaces and vintage doors on online marketplaces or in local salvage yards. In addition, a few carefully chosen antiques or soft furnishings in a period style can help to recapture that original atmosphere.

 

Bring it up to date

As much as many people would like to retain a sense of history within their period home, it is also important to bring the look up to date. Add contrasting touches such as modern lighting or bold colour choices for the walls to give it a more contemporary edge. On a more practical level, modern appliances, fixtures and fittings can create much more functionality within the home.

 

Make it yours

However, you choose to renovate your period property, it’s essential you make it work for you. We understand how important it is to be sympathetic to the period, but it also needs to be as functional for modern life as possible. The home is for living, after all. Take this house we renovated in Edinburgh’s The Grange for example, where the owner asked us to make the most of high ceilings by creating bespoke bookshelves that took full advantage of the available space to create the perfect home office.

 

Unlock the potential within your period property

To see examples of how Revere Contracts has transformed period properties and unlocked their potential, follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. And if you’d like to embark upon your own renovation project, call us on 0345 241 7010 to arrange a free, no-obligation appointment.

How to maximise your return on investment with a loft conversion
CategoriesGeneral News

How to maximise your return on investment with a loft conversion

How to maximise your return on investment with a loft conversionWhether you need an extra bedroom for your growing family, you’re hoping to create additional space to accommodate visiting relatives, or you’re dreaming of a luxuriously indulgent penthouse-style suite where you can retreat from the world after a busy day – a loft conversion could be the answer. And the great news is that not only could a loft conversion add some much-needed usable space to your home, it can increase the value of your property too.

 

Number crunching

Many homeowners face a common conundrum – having outgrown their current home they must decide whether to move to a larger property or create extra space either through an extension or a loft conversion.

In many cases, a loft conversion is the most sensible choice. Firstly, moving house can involve a considerable amount of expense such as legal fees and stamp duty. Not only could a loft conversion save you money in this regard, it can actually make you money in the long run. Many studies have shown that carrying out home improvements, such as a loft conversion, can add as much as 20% to the value of the property.

Plus, a loft conversion that has been finished to a high standard will make your home more appealing to prospective buyers, should you decide to sell up in future.

 

Unlocking the full potential

In terms of maximising return on investment, the best loft conversion is one with a bedroom and an en-suite bathroom, as these tend to add the most value to a property. However, a loft conversion has got to work for you and your family, and it’s important that you get the most out of it. Therefore you can use the space in whatever way you choose – perhaps a home office, a gym, or a kid’s playroom for example.

 

Setting a budget

Loft conversions can vary widely in price range, depending on whether you’re simply creating one room with roof lights, or installing an additional bathroom with dormer windows, for example. It’s therefore a good idea to consider the ceiling height of property prices in your area, and how long you’re likely to remain in the property when weighing up how much you’d like to invest in the conversion.

 

A hassle-free way to add space and value

The average loft conversion takes just 5 weeks to complete and the great thing is that the majority of the work can be accessed from the roof, which minimises disruption, so you can remain living in your home throughout the whole process.

 

Key things to consider before embarking on a loft conversion

  • Is there ample head height? Building regulations specify that a standard loft should measure at least 180cm in height. However, for a comfortable conversion, we advise that your loft measures at least 230cm from the floor to the roof.
  • Do I need to inform my neighbours? Under the 1996 Party Wall Act, if your home is a semi-detached building or a terraced house, you will need to let your neighbour know about your loft conversion plans. In addition, should the exterior of the property be altered, with dormer windows for example, Planning and Building Warrant applications will need to be lodged.
  • What safety issues need to be considered? For two-storey buildings, extra fire protection is required so new plaster will need to be added to the ceilings below. Part of your electrical installation should include linked smoke alarms on each floor, which all sound the moment one is activated. In addition, the converted loft must be separated by a fire door at the new stairs, and the new room will need a window big enough to serve as an emergency exit.

 

A well thought-out loft conversion that is finished to a high standard can add considerable value to your property. In fact, it can generate the greatest return on investment of all home improvements. It can make your house more appealing to buyers in the future and, in the meantime, it can give you and your family more space to grow into. It’s a win – win from every angle!

To see examples of how Revere Contracts has transformed homes and unlocked their potential, follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. And if you’d like to discuss how a loft conversion could maximise your return on investment, call 0131 370 0446 to arrange a free, no-obligation appointment.

The impact of Brexit on the construction industry
CategoriesGeneral News

The impact of Brexit on the construction industry

The impact of Brexit on the construction industryWhether you were Team Leave or a firm Remainer, the fact is that Brexit is having a huge impact on the construction industry and the knock-on effects are being felt by all. Here, Revere Contracts CEO, Iain Martin, responds to the changes and challenges resulting from the UK’s decision to leave the EU and explains how he and the team are facing them head-on.

 

Shortage of labour

Prior to Brexit, the UK construction industry relied heavily on foreign migrant labour. In fact, recent figures from the Office of National Statistics showed that almost a third of workers on construction sites in London were from the EU. However, the end to the right to free movement and the introduction of a points-based immigration system is spelling an end to all this, therefore driving up the cost of labour, some predict by as much as 10 percent this year.

To make matters worse, there are fewer young people coming through to become tradespeople and the large infrastructure projects across the country are pulling in agencies offering workers high hourly rates, which again compounds the already small available trades pool.

Iain’s response: The loss of EU labour will be keenly felt so we’ll be working hard to maintain our workforce of loyal labour and recruit only those workers that can match the high standards we’re used to.

 

Supply issues with construction materials

The EU/UK post-Brexit trade agreement, the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), which came into effect on 1st January 2021, introduced measures to ease restrictions on the flow of goods between the EU and the UK. However, despite these measures, increased customs checks, assessments, duties, and restrictions on products from outside the UK and EU will potentially cause delays, shortages, and an increase in costs.

In fact, the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has warned that congestion at UK ports is already affecting the availability of construction materials. In addition, a recent survey by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has found many small and medium-sized construction firms are struggling with materials shortages, and that nine in ten builders are facing rising costs.

Material prices are up 20% on certain products and, with the amount of stimulus and quantitative easing, we can be sure to see further increases into the next tax year.

Iain’s response: We’re experiencing first-hand the frustrating delays and shortages in the supply chain but we’re doing everything we can to minimise the knock-on effects to ensure our projects are completed on schedule.

 

Uncertainty over changes to laws, regulations, and standards

Some confusion arose prior to Brexit about exactly what cutting ties with the EU would mean for UK law. However, despite the fact that the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (EU(W)A) repeals the European Communities Act 1972 which gives effect to the enforceability and supremacy of EU law, the EU(W)A also ensures that all EU law becomes part of UK law post-Brexit as ‘retained EU law’.

Take health and safety regulations, for example. The UK has led the way when it comes to health and safety within the construction industry – we were the driving force behind the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, for example, and we have one of the lowest rates of fatal injury across the EU. It is in everyone’s best interests to maintain these high standards.

Iain’s response: The UK is proud of its extremely high standards of health and safety and it is highly unlikely any of these will be relaxed at all. Here at Revere Contracts, the health and safety of our workers and our clients have always been our top priority and that won’t change.

 

Over to you…

What’s your take on it all? Do you have questions about how Brexit could impact your building project? Join the conversation over on our LinkedIn and Facebook pages, or speak to the construction experts at Revere Contracts directly by calling 0345 271 7010 or emailing info@revere-contracts.co.uk.

2020: A year in review
CategoriesCompany Statement

2020: A year in review

2020: A year in reviewAs we approach the end of 2020, we thought we would look back over everything this testing year has thrown at us. Considering we faced a global pandemic and months of Lockdown restrictions, we’re proud to say the Revere Contracts team pulled together and weathered the storm, and we’re now thankfully about to kickstart 2021 on a high.

We planned ahead

We knew we would go into Lockdown here in Scotland, based on what other countries were doing, so thankfully we were able to plan ahead. We used the weeks leading up to Lockdown to focus on our systems of operation; how we could operate without a physical office, how we could distribute our information effectively and efficiently to our contractors, clients, architects, and building control officers. Forewarned is forearmed, as they say!

We worked remotely

Like the rest of the nation, we quickly became very well acquainted with Zoom and moved everything to video meetings and remote site surveys for example, and this saved us a colossal amount of time. We also moved everything to cloud-based systems and invested in a number of different kinds of software to get us ahead of the competition.

We restructured

One of our biggest moves in 2020 was to change from one business to a group structure to protect all the different areas of trading we have – separating commercial and domestic work for example. As bad as Lockdown was, it actually proved to be a valuable time in that it gave us an opportunity to really look at our business model objectively and see how we could improve.

We weren’t afraid to ask for help

There were worrying times, of course – we had a few shop fits booked in and sadly the companies ceased trading. There was a lot of anxiety around how we could sustain the staff wages with literally zero income. However, the government stimulus packages such as the furlough scheme and bounce back loans were a great aid to us.

We bounced back

As soon as Lockdown ended, we were back in business. In fact, we were in higher demand than ever before! Clearly being stuck at home for such an extended amount of time had a big effect on a lot of homeowners, and we were literally inundated with enquiries about renovations, extensions, and conversions.

We adapted to the changes

We’re grateful that, on the whole, the construction industry hasn’t been as adversely affected by the pandemic as other areas. We are of course following the strict guidelines relating to how many people can be on-site at one time and ensuring everyone has the correct PPE for example. These are common-sense measures and we’re happy to continue to stick to them for as long as is necessary to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our team and our clients.

We expanded

Despite the uncertainty of 2020, we had confidence we could make it through. We’ve worked hard over the past few years to make a name for ourselves as a building company with integrity, and for this reason we’re continuing to grow throughout Glasgow and central Scotland. It has also given us the confidence to take the leap and start operations in Manchester, with our first batch of contracts due to commence there in January 2021. The city is going through serious regeneration and it’s an exciting prospect that we’re going to be a part of it.

We made it through

We’d like to say a huge thank you to all our team for their hard work this year – you’ve faced every challenge and done us proud! We would also like to thank each and every one of our clients who have entrusted us with their home improvement projects. Lockdown 2020 served to reinforce to us all just how much homes matter and that’s why we’re looking ahead to 2021 with optimism.

Why 2021 will be the year of home renovations
CategoriesGeneral News

Why 2021 will be the year of home renovations

Why 2021 will be the year of home renovations

2020 will be remembered as the year we all stayed at home. And with schools, offices, restaurants, and gyms closed, it was the year many of us realised our homes needed to adapt to accommodate our new way of living. Lockdown saw families working, playing, eating, exercising, and resting all under one roof for weeks on end, so it’s little wonder that so many of us are now desperate to create more living space!

The 2020 Renovation Nation Report, by mortgage comparison site money.co.uk, found that UK homeowners invested an average of £4,035.70 each on home renovations between March and August 2020. Money that would otherwise have been spent on holidays, eating out, or entertainment was instead used for interior redecoration and garden makeovers, as summer 2020 saw the nation roll up their sleeves and get stuck in! However, as time has passed, many people have realised that bigger changes may be required.

Here at Revere Contracts, we’ve seen a marked increase in the number of homeowners wanting to renovate or extend their homes as a direct response to Lockdown. The top three most popular projects we’re currently taking on are:

Why 2021 will be the year of home renovations

The home office to inspire remote workers

Lockdown saw thousands of people hastily set up a makeshift home office area in their bedroom or kitchen. And whilst working on a laptop at the kitchen table may have been a necessary short-term solution during Lockdown, having other family members cooking, playing, and doing homework in the same room is unsustainable, especially as more businesses have now decided to make a permanent switch to remote working. Couple this with the ‘Zoom-barrassment’ that comes with making video calls with the chaos of family life playing out in the background, many have decided that it’s time to invest in a proper home office.

We’re already seeing clients achieve this with a relatively simple garage conversion. Others are planning to create a garden studio or a single-storey extension at the back of their property.

The kitchen that brings the restaurant experience home

With bars and restaurants closed, and likely to be restricted for a long time, people are spending more time cooking and dining at home. It has also made many people realise just how important it is to come together and enjoy a meal, so many are planning ahead for when they can eventually welcome friends and family to join them around the table.

With that in mind, we’ve seen many clients plan to knock through to create an open-plan kitchen-diner, whilst others have decided to extend their kitchen out into their garden to create more space.

The guest bedroom to welcome back friends and family

When the current restrictions are finally lifted, we know many people will be wanting their extended family to come and stay on a regular basis to make up for the lost time.

Therefore, we have seen a big increase in the number of people enquiring about attic conversions to create an extra bedroom to accommodate future guests.

How we’re keeping our team and our clients safe

Thankfully for those raring to crack on with an extension or renovation project, you can rest assured that home improvement work involving tradespeople – such as builders, plumbers, electricians, roofers, landscapers, decorators etc – can still go ahead, as long as safety measures are in place.

Indeed, the safety of our team and our clients is a top priority at Revere Contracts, so we are implementing the following measures during all home renovations:

  • We will contact you before commencing the job to check that no member of your household is displaying symptoms of coronavirus or self-isolating. If you are, we will delay the work.
  • No work will be carried out by a member of our team if they are displaying coronavirus symptoms, however mild.
  • Our team will sanitise their hands before entering your property and throughout the work.
  • Our team will aim to minimise contact with customers as much as possible and remain 2 metres apart from all members of the household.

 

If the current restrictions and increased time spent at home have got you thinking about adapting your property, call us on 0345 241 7010 or drop us a message via the website at www.revere-contracts.co.uk/contact. We’ll be happy to talk you through the full range of options and provide a free quote.

Make 2021 the year you fall back in love with your home.

 

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