- Published on Wednesday, 30 January 2013 11:30
UK households could be saving a huge 90% on their lighting bills, the 2nd biggest contributor to your electrical power consumption, simply by replacing their traditional light bulbs with eco-friendly LED alternatives.
By making the switch, people will not only make staggering savings, they will also cut their energy use and carbon emissions - all whilst enjoying long-lasting, quality lighting in their homes.
In light of soaring energy prices, a home replacing just 12 standard 50W halogen bulbs with LED equivalents, could be making monthly savings of £9.15 - a total of almost £2550 over the lifespan of the bulbs2, lasting 50 times longer and providing an impressive 50,000 hours of consistent, quality light3 (that's the equivalent of around 25-30 years, dependent on use).
- Published on Monday, 21 January 2013 12:53
Rightmove’s January House Price Index reports that sellers coming to market this month increased their average asking prices by 0.2% (+£440) to now stand at £229,429. With new seller prices up by 2.4% (+£5,369) year-on-year, more sellers coming to market, and a new year jump in Rightmove traffic, early indicators offer reasons to be confident that both prices and transaction numbers will see a modest rise in 2013.
Miles Shipside, director and housing market analyst at Rightmove comments: “Those coming to market this month have taken a pragmatic pricing approach and kept their asking prices pretty much the same as sellers in December, up by just 0.2%. Sensible pricing will help buyer affordability, one of the factors needed to help warm up the market and encourage a recovery from the credit-crunch freeze in transaction volumes. The thaw will also be helped by growing confidence that prices are more likely to go up than down. There is an increasing body of evidence suggesting genuine ‘green shoots’ of recovery after a prolonged period of the housing market bumping along the bottom.”
The jump in the number of sellers coming to the market this month is a clear indication of improving confidence. The weekly run-rate of new property listings is 11,153 this month, up 22% on the 9,108 recorded over the same period a year ago. While still down 37% on five years ago, before the full impact of the credit-crunch, this is the highest level recorded at the beginning of a new year since 2008. Rightmove’s traffic in the first two weeks of 2013 was also up by 27% compared to the same period a year ago. Rightmove also finds that seven in ten of those looking to sell in 2013 are motivated by discretionary factors rather than forced sale drivers such as the ‘three Ds’ of death, debt and divorce.
Shipside observes: “While the number of sellers financially fit enough to come to market is still well down on pre-credit- crunch levels, there appears to be an increased willingness among those that can to ‘give it a go’. With Rightmove breaking traffic records, the chances of selling are on the up for sellers whose properties match the price, location and finish requirements of the greater numbers who are searching for a property to buy.”
For further statistics and historical data please visit - http://www.rightmove.co.uk/news/house-price-index or search for local house prices.
- Published on Friday, 09 November 2012 10:00
Sound is measured in decibels (Db)
... the scale of audible sound from one extreme to the next might be pictorially represented below
Sound Reduction Explained
It should be made clear that the scale that is used is not linear it is logarithmic. In simplified terms this means that one sound that is 10db louder than another is in fact TWICE as loud. Similarly a difference of 15db is THREE times as loud.
When dealing with sound reduction achieving over 10 db in sound reduction will have a very material affect on the sound one hears. So that if a sound reduction of 10db is achieved then the sound will appear half as loud as before.
Sound Reduction Index ( SRI )
In practice trying to describe soundproofing and what the difference between the sound you hear pre and post soundproofing is difficult to describe so it can be thought of using a different scale this is known as the sound reduction index scale. So looking at the table below you might determine where you are now on the scale. For example you might be able to distinguish loud speech from next door in your living room this would equate to possibly -35db on the scale. Then by adding wall solution 1 to this you might improve the situation by 13db taking you to nearer 50db privacy level, now loud speech or shouting could be heard with great difficulty.
Throughout the site we talk in terms of decibel improvement . Which is not to be confused with a figure which is often quoted as the total overall soundproofing of the entire structure post soundproofing. In the soundproofing world a new term SRI is used to describe the quality of sound proofing materials. The greater the SRI, the greater the acoustic privacy that is achieved.
The chart below demonstrates how this acoustic privacy works in layman's terms.
So Soundstop wall solutions aim to increase the SRI number by 13db+ ( depending on the thickness of the board) on top of the original level of insulation (40-50 db).
While Soundstop floor and ceiling solutions aim to increase SRI by around 17-20db on top of the original level of insulation (35 db).
When one talks about SRI values there are a couple of other factors to bear in mind:
Sound is made up of a whole range of frequencies. Different frequencies travel through different transmission barriers with different degrees of ease. So any SRI figure given is known as the weighted or average figure (also known as Rw). Low frequency sounds are of a longer wavelength and tougher to soundproof against.
The Rw quoted in most literature is obtained in sound testing laboratories. In practice different buildings have different sound insulation properties. This is due to the different materials used in construction and the different styles of construction. So when adding sound insulation the exact results will vary. This variance is mainly due to flanking transmission
Flanking transmission - Particularly Breeze Block Constructions
Flanking sound transmission is the term used to describe the movement of sound through the structures that flank the barrier that your trying to sound proof. In the case of wall insulation the flanking structures are the floors and ceilings. In the case of soundproofing floors and ceilings, its the walls.
In designing for sound insulation care should be taken to ensure that flanking transmission via the associated structure does not downgrade the performance of the partition or wall to a level below that required in use. In practice we know that breeze block partitions and breeze block structures that are attached to the party walls will carry sound very easily. Where breeze block exists soundproofing of all breeze block surfaces must be considered as simply blocking the offending wall may not block the passage of sound. Brick structures do not typically suffer from this problem.
Attention to the detail
When applying any soundproofing solution think of the analogy that sounds flows like water. It is absolutely imperative that you remember to fill any hole that sound can flow through. It will leak through tiny holes just the same way water would. Think airtight! Even a hole 1% of the area you are trying to soundproof can reduce the efficiency of the soundproofing by up to 10%. For this reason sunken spotlights can completely degrade any soundproofing work within a ceiling. Acoustic hoods should then be considered.
Impact sound and Airborne sound
To make life complicated the measurement of airborne and impact sound is measured in different ways:
Airborne sound - when we talk about airborne sound the higher the Rw figure achieved the better the sound insulation. In the wall example we are trying to achieve a figure over 50db.
Impact Sound - when we talk about impact sound the lower the Lw figure achieved the better the sound insulation
- Published on Monday, 05 November 2012 10:13
Resulting in probably the best equipped luxury bathroom showroom in Europe, the Mayfair showroom now displays a mixture of classic and contemporary collections in luxurious settings.
Principle features in the new area include:
• Lalique Architecture and Home Decoration - West One Bathrooms Ltd are now an authorised dealer for the complete range of Lalique Home products. They are currently showing their illuminated “Laurel” glass wall panels and “ Champs Elysees Chandeliers”. These items are shown in a striking window display with our glass sided bath, metal undercounter basins in chrome with THG waterfall tap fittings and Toto Neorest Washlet WC all set in sumptuous Chinchilla marble surroundings.
• Solid Bronze bath set in a luxurious Porto Oro marble setting mixed with glass mosaics. Co- ordinating marble and Reeded Gold plated brassware and accessories are shown along with our new Gold Plated on ceramic ‘Greenwich’ sanitary ware and baroque style Gold basin console assembly –all exclusive to West One Bathrooms.
• Illuminated Onyx display featuring back lit wall and solid onyx free standing basin.
• New and also exclusive "Nero Prestige" furniture, complemented by Leather Crocodile print covered WC, and beautiful Crystal fittings.
• Illuminated rock crystal basin with Laura Kirar Kallista brassware in Bronze and leather tiled walls.
• Our Exclusive hand crafted Gold Plated” Falcon spout” will be displayed in an ornate Calacatta Oro marble setting complemented with D Cut Crystal fittings.
• The Town Collection by” Kallista” is displayed in a timeless Carrara Marble set with Polished Nickel fitments.
Other prominent displays include a Platinum Glass surface mounted basin and exclusive Lady Statue sanitary ware and much more all complimented by the worlds finest selection of bathroom accessories and artefacts
An adjacent Accessory boutique is also fully open following refurbishment showing our entire accessory collection - the most comprehensive collection of bathroom accessories to be found anywhere.
- Published on Friday, 19 October 2012 10:56
The Mosaic Bath concept was created and developed by a team of leading experts and accredited in-house artists within a workshop in rural Wales. They combined their fine application of handmade products with their artistic flair to create these stunning and unique masterpieces.
Every mosaic bath is a product of weeks of handcrafted precision work, made to order using the finest mosaics.
The mosaic baths are decorated and finished to your personal taste, resulting in stunningly beautiful and original pieces of bathroom furniture that will be a marvellous centrepiece for years to come.
Your own mosaic bath can be designed using a range of luxury baths and exquisitely beautiful mother or pearl, stone or glass tiles. If you do not find the specific colour, style or finish of mosaic bath you require, then please contact us as we may be able to fulfil your requirements using our bespoke service.
Your own mosaic bath will be the ultimate statement of elegance and luxury, and make a stunning addition to any bathroom.
- Published on Monday, 30 July 2012 14:57
- New sellers drop average asking prices for the third consecutive month, down by 0.6% (-£1,402) on the month and 4.6% (-£11,377) on the quarter
- The fifth anniversary of the run on Northern Rock provides an opportunity to reflect on the pre and post credit-crunch property market landscape:
- Prices this month also unchanged on five years ago (Sep 2007) at £235,176 – down just 0.1%
- In contrast average asking prices in previous five years (Sep 2002 to Sep 2007) saw a 55% rise
- Average price ‘standstill’ in the last five years masks credit-crunch winners and losers:
- Losers: ‘trapped renters’, ‘mortgage prisoners’, ‘downtrodden down-traders’, and sellers in the ‘cash-strapped north’
- Read the full report here: http://www.rightmove.co.uk/news/files/2012/09/september-2012.pdf
- Published on Friday, 13 July 2012 10:06
For the builder or general contractor, scaffolding is a tool of the trade that makes the work easier by allowing builders access to areas where there are no stairs or entrances on the ground floor. This is the only way to access some higher level building windows and roofing frames. The scaffolding you choose should be sturdy and follow HSE safety requirements to prevent employees from being injured on the job. Here are some facts about the different types of scaffolds and the best safety practices.
The Scaffold Tower
The scaffold tower is one of the most popular choices for scaffolding. The tower is made of galvanized steel framing with wood or heavy-duty aluminium decking. It is free standing and can be put right up to the area where you will be working without using the building for support.
The Hanging Scaffold
The hanging scaffold is similar to those used by window cleaners. They are suspended to a certain height and can be adjusted up or down and are user controlled. These are great for getting in and out of places without blocking walkways and high traffic areas.
The Rolling Scaffold
The rolling scaffold is just as the name implies a scaffold tower on wheels. These towers come in varying heights from 6, 12 and 18 ft. tall with locking castors. The height can be adjusted up or down by two feet. The galvanized cross bars give the scaffold added support and stability.
Safety is a big issue due to the fact that many construction accidents occur with workers using improperly placed scaffolding. The first recommendation is to make sure the scaffolding your company uses is constructed properly and in good condition. Second, you must be sure to place scaffold towers on a flat, level surface.
Non-rolling scaffold are best used on dirt and sod, while rolling towers are better for hard surfaces like concrete. Statistics show that workers spend over 50% of their time working on scaffolds.
Scaffolding should meet HSE standards for safety and workers should wear hard hats and other protective gear. When moving the tower from one place to another, securely lock the wheels and make sure the tower is at least 14 inches from the building surface. Workers should be trained in scaffold safety such as not leaving any tools or objects on scaffolding while moving. Many accidents can be avoided with the proper training and safety implementation.
Extra safety precautions must be used when working at heights above 6 feet tall and by anyone working in a ditch or trench. Insurance companies pay huge amounts of money in Scaffold Compensation claims and worker's accident claims due to improperly used equipment and worker error.
To maintain the safety of your team, always use equipment the way it is intended and according to the directions. Never use equipment or tools missing parts or guards. Safety is the responsibility of everyone on the team so workers should look out for each other and report safety violations to the supervisor immediately. By purchasing only high quality materials and tools, you are ensuring the safety of every member of the team.
- Published on Wednesday, 20 June 2012 10:23
Below you will find a comprehensive list of the different types, which details the windows various benefits and flaws.
Awning windows open only slightly from below and are designed to provide light and breeze. They're great for bedrooms and other areas that need to maintain privacy but still let some light in. The way that they let air in from the bottom, means that you can open them when it is raining without the fear of letting water in. They can be positioned in a variety of places: next to other windows, arranged in columns, or placed above large patio doors to create a wall of light and fresh air.
If you’re installing an awning high up, consider self-cleaning glass for the exterior surface. Otherwise, cleaning is a tougher task.
These are windows that are positioned together to create multiple views. Their multiple views allow light to stream in from different angles, presenting a light and airy effect. Bay windows come in 30-degree and 45-degree combinations.
The windows can typically be opened slightly at the sides for air circulation. Replacing a flat window with a bay can completely change the amount of light that room receives.
These windows are excellent for creating the illusion of a larger room, and will give you extra window sill space as they go outwards from your house. To create the desired effect they should only really be introduced to a relatively large wall. This type of window can deliver a very traditional or Victorian look.
These outward opening windows are excellent for introducing fresh air into your home. They are easy to insulate as they can be tightly sealed, and are one of the best windows for an eco-conscious home. The windows push open, which increases their ease of use.
If you're moving into an older home, check on the stability of your casement hinges and hardware. Though casements are usually tough to break into, faulty or rusty hardware increases your risk factor.
Double Hung Windows
These windows are excellent for ventilating your home and are easy to maintenance. They can be made to have only half of the window open at one time. If you are worried about your children around windows, you can just open the top windows that are out of their reach instead.
They are absolutely perfect for a child's bedroom, but they can be placed in whichever room of the house that you like them to go in. They are really adaptable. The problem with their great features is that they aren't the best insulating windows. Double hung windows tend to leak more air than other windows. Only half of this window opens up, whereas different types can open completely.
- Published on Sunday, 20 May 2012 19:57
- New seller asking prices fail to rise in May for the first time since the inception of Rightmove’s House Price Index as spring price bounce hits the buffers with prices at a standstill (+0%)
- Market takes a ‘breather’ as both demand and new supply reduce:
1. Demand lessens through combination of end of first-time buyer stamp duty assistance, some upward mortgage rate movements and renewed Eurozone jitters
2. Spring supply numbers stall too, with properties coming to market down 10% on April
3. Will summer sporting and Jubilee distractions continue to dampen activity like rainy May?
- Growing market mismatch as two in five sellers state they are looking to trade down, drawn from the equity-rich baby-boomer generation, outweighing the one in four intending to trade up
- ‘Downtrading’ the main reason to sell in nine regions, London the affluent exception
- Knock-on ‘trader-upper’ volumes dented by end of stamp duty incentives to first-time buyers
- Read the full report here: http://www.rightmove.co.uk/news/files/2012/05/may-2012.pdf
- Published on Monday, 14 November 2011 10:39
A well-fitted floor of any kind provides not only a basic function, but can help increase the value of your property. During home remodeling or renovation work it is common for property owners to consider new flooring. A popular option and the subject of this blog post is wood flooring, which is also one of the more complicated flooring to choose. So having decided that wood flooring is a possibility for your build, here are your options and valid points to take into account.
Point One – Not All Wood Flooring Are The Same:
There are two types of flooring that are made from real wood and each is suitable for commercial and residential properties. Both types look the same. Both cost the same. However, each is better than the other in one or two aspects. Your first decision is the type of flooring technology most suitable for your room. The options are:
Solid Wood Flooring – Made from complete natural wood, solid wood flooring are immensely popular due to their reputation. They are considered the stronger of the two with an expected service life of 50 to 100 years. However, their natural construction comes with a few drawbacks. The most obvious drawback is the size of each floorboard that is limited in size and the natural reaction of wood when the temperature changes. In cold conditions wood tends to contract and in hot conditions wood tends to expand. Solid wood flooring having been made from complete wood may react in such manner. For most property owners, the limited size of the floorboards will be the real drawback to bear in mind.
Strong Points – Durability of 50 to 100 years of service life. Will react well to many attempts of sanding and recoating (a process that can breath life into an old floor). Overall, solid wood is a very safe option for most properties.
Engineered Wood Flooring – These look precisely like solid wood flooring because the top layer (hardwood veneer layer) is made from real wood that varies in thickness. However, below the hardwood veneer layer lie three or four layers of MDF, Plywood and Softwood. Engineered wood floors are not as durable as solid, but still durable enough for most properties (around 25 years of service). Their varied construction means that the wood won’t contract or expand, to such an extent that engineered floors are fitting areas that might experience damp, moist or even wet conditions such as the bathroom areas or entire properties that are situated next to a water source.
Strong Points – Better suited for damp areas that may damage solid woods. It is easier to install using a number of new fitting methods such as ‘floating installation’. Engineered floors will not contract or expand during even the most significant temperature changes.
Point Two – Coating Plays A Huge Part In The Floor’s Longevity: