Be safe when making DIY renovations

Thinking of renovating your family home? New research show thousands of Brits are extending or converting homes without checking planning or building regulations to accommodate extended family or create a home office space to work in.

Structural changes to a property need to be checked by the council and certificated as completed to a suitable standard. This could include knocking down internal walls and changes to usage of space. Homeowners also need to ensure they tell their insurer about any noteworthy changes in their home.

For example: Can I replace my Sash Windows with Casement Windows?

Insurers warn home changes could be illegal and also unsafe.

Checking building regulations before you convert your homeJohn O’Roarke, Managing Director of LV= Home Insurance, said “British families are feeling the squeeze as they are being forced to live in smaller homes than are suitable for their needs. High property prices have forced many families to remain in a house that they have outgrown and many are resorting to desperate measures to create extra space.”

A poll for LV= also found that the average UK family household has seen their living space shrink by around 11 sq ft since 2008 – while one in eight children live in overcrowded accommodation.

Self-employed and home worker numbers have risen by a fifth (20%) since 2008, with an estimated half million creating makeshift work-spaces in corridors, cupboards and under the stairs, in the absence of a spare room.

Builder Guide urges building projects to start now

Builder Guide – the online resource for homeowners and trade professionals regarding home improvement, renovation and building-related issues – is encouraging homeowners to start planning home improvement projects.

With the daylight hours in the UK beginning to get noticeably longer, starting home improvements and renovation works now will allow builders to take advantage of the longer hours of daylight during the spring and summer months.

By carrying out building and decorating projects around this period, homeowners will have the potential to complete works over a shorter number of days, allowing for more time to enjoy the finished result.

David Holmes, Founder of Builder Guide, said: “The advice by Builder Guide to plan home improvements now means that homeowners will be able to get any work done quickly and efficiently.”

“As well as the benefit of longer daylight hours, the spring/summer season is also warmer and dryer meaning work is less at risk from the weather.”

Homeowners warned to check builders’ credentials

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is warning homeowners to take care when choosing building contractors for repairs and home improvements.

With many households having to tighten their belts thanks to rising fuel costs and food prices, the option of selecting the cheapest builders to carry out maintenance or building work may be a tempting one.

But RCIS – which sets standards in the property and construction sectors – has highlighted the importance of ensuring all builders are properly qualified tradesmen and not cowboys in for a quick buck.

John Reyers, partner at Knight Frank and RICS London spokesperson, said: “We cannot stress enough the importance of using suitably qualified and experienced tradesmen.”

“Good builders are hard to find and are always busy, particularly as more people are extending or adapting their home as a cost effective alternative to moving. Good builders though are worth the wait and worth the extra expense.” you can find certified installers at

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Checking building regulations before you convert your home
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