We were challenged by Nick Knowles, presenter of DIY SOS, to share our knowledge when we disagreed with his comments that only very rich people can afford to insulate and make their homes warmer and more energy efficient. This is first in a series of blog posts where we will share effective DIY tips that you can use to improve the comfort and energy efficiency of your home or property for free or very cheaply.
If you would like us to help you make your home or property feel warmer and more comfortable and reduce your energy bills contact us. We specialise in eco refurbishing - making existing buildings work better and more efficiently for you. We also design extensions and new builds following passive house principles and a fabric first approach.
The beginning of a New Year is always busy with new projects and resolutions. Starting the year afresh and make it better than the year before.
After a fortnight at home with the family, many homeowners decide that they need to make changes or add more space. Space to host large dinners for a growing family, a spare room for visitors or somewhere to work on all those new years resolutions - perhaps a home gym or project room.
There are lots of things to consider when improving your home. You need to think strategically when deciding what work to have done to make sure you get what you want and need and it's within your budget.
To help you with your decision making here are some tips to consider when deciding how to improve your home.
1. Decide what you need
I often find that through carefully questioning my clients during our first meetings, to understand the bigger picture, I find solutions that they hadn't imagined and that can be much better value for money.
Sometimes a big extension is not the answer to giving you the home you need. Ask yourself the following questions to help identify what you need and how your home can meet this:
2. Set a Budget
It's best to be realistic about money. Once the budget is set make sure that the works are chosen carefully to fit within this budget. Be aware that sometimes spending a little extra in some areas can save you money in the long run. It's not always necessary to carry out all the work at once but it is usually best to have it all designed together so that the final result is a harmonious whole.
When considering how much to spend make sure you include costs for the following:
I recommend getting cost estimates based on sketch designs early on to ensure that the works carried out are in budget and give you the best value. The Home Design Workshop gives you sketch designs that meet your needs and are a good basis to check out practicalities like cost.
To give a finger in the air idea of how much the extra space might cost to build I use a rate of £2k per m2. Although nowhere near as accurate as a quantity surveyors estimate, this calculation helps guide initial decisions on how much space is worked on to suit the budget.
3. Consider build options
How you choose to have your project built can have a huge impact on the cost and speed of the construction and the quality of the end result. Consider how much time you have to devote to the project yourself and what skills you have. Do you want to get hands on and self-build or do you want to hand over the keys and come back to a completed project?
These are some of your build options with pros and cons:
To give you more help with your early decision making I have created the Design Your Home Vision Checklist.
This helps you address key decisions from the start so that you can take your project forward with confidence. You can get that like-new home you've dreamed of!
Click on the button below to get your copy of the checklist.
Last night was a really well organised event as part of the student led series of Before You're 30 talks. I was very privileged to be invited to talk and share my experiences of becoming an architect with the choices and lessons learned on my journey. I also touched on the contradictions between architectural heritage conservation and energy conservation - getting the balance right is going to be a huge challenge for our future built environment.
The other speakers were CJ Lim, author of Food City and architecture lecturer at the Bartlett, and Michelle Martin, who worked on some fantastic community projects in Malaysia with Arkitrek. It was a really inspirational series as I understand they always are. These events are definitely the place to be if you want architectural inspiration and a new way of looking at the world around you in Manchester.
i-architect has launched this new website to showcase more of our work and make it clear what we can deliver. Please get in touch, we'd love to know what you think.
Design Your Home Vision
The Design Your Home Vision Checklist will help you kickstart your home improvements.
Download yours with the button below to get your home project off to a great start:
Get started with the free Design Your Home Vision checklist.
Jane Leach, principal architect at i-architect