The free diy home improvement guide with answers to your questions on a wide range of do it yourself projects.

Camden to Lead the Way with Eco Friendly Building

Camden to Lead the Way with Eco Friendly Building

The London borough of Camden is to have the largest development of Passivehaus properties built in the UK, in an effort to lead the way when it comes to eco-friendly building techniques.

The Passivehaus is a German engineered home which leads the way when it comes to energy efficiency in the construction and is increasingly being used around the world. The houses include high levels of insulation and air tightness.

Willmott Dixon Capital Works has been contracted to build the 53 houses and John Frankiewicz from the company has commented that systems like the Passivehaus make it possible to deliver affordable energy housing, especially bearing in mind the rises in fuel costs associated with building.

He goes on to say that the Camden council is making a statement on the delivery of carbon housing and that what happens will be watched closely.

The houses are being built as part of the Community Investment programme for the area and will be made available to social housing tenants.

Carbon Monoxide Awareness at All Time Low

Carbon Monoxide Awareness at All Time Low

A recent study by nPower Hometeam has found that carbon monoxide awareness in the UK is now at an all time low with more than two thirds of homeowners failing to have their boilers, cookers and gas fires checked on a regular basis.

The survey of 2000 people discovered that 83% of homeowners do not have their gas appliances serviced regularly and one in five gas cookers has never been checked. Just half of those questioned had their boiler serviced annually and one in six have never given the idea any thought. This is despite a third of UK boilers being more than ten years old.

In the UK there are around 50 deaths each year due to carbon monoxide poisoning and 40% of homes do not have a carbon monoxide alarm. One third of those people without an alarm said that they did not think they needed one. In fact one in five men questioned did not even know what a carbon monoxide alarm was.

Joan Coe from nPower has commented that poisoning often occurs when there is damage to a gas appliance and the fuel does not burn properly. She points out that leaks can be difficult to spot. Older appliances are most at risk. She says that attitudes towards the dangers and carbon monoxide alarms need to be changed in the same way that fire alarms have become commonplace.

Celebrity Gardeners Criticised over Peat

A survey by the RSPB wildlife charity has shown that only half of the celebrity gardeners questioned use peat free compost exclusively. This is despite clear evidence that extracting peat from the soil leads to carbon dioxide emissions and damages the environment which it comes from. It can also be harmful to wildlife.

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Cheapest Homes in the UK

The latest research on the price of houses from Mouseprice.com has discovered that the cheapest place to buy a home in England and Wales is Burnley. In fact four of the top five cheapest houses are in the town and sell for as low as £30,000.

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Check Your Home Policy

Check Your Home Policy

With winter fast approaching, the insurance industry is warning home owners that they need to consider the damage which could be caused to their home by small animals such as rats, squirrels, mice and even foxes.

The types of damage which these small animals can inflict on a home can be severe and might include chewed electrical cables or water pipes. This could cause fires and flooding. There has even been a case of death after a pest chewed through a gas pipe and caused an explosion.

Steve Foulsham from the British Insurance Brokers Association has warned home owners this week that their normal house insurance may not cover them for this type of damage. Most insurance may only cover these incidents under “accidental damage” which is often an optional extra on most policies.

In some cases a policy may pay out if the damage has occurred outside of the house, for instance if a bird has flown into a window, but if the creatures gets inside the cover may not be there.

Lee Mooney from the Co-operative has commented that householders should take steps to prevent animals getting into their homes. Measures such as sealing gaps in skirting boards and ensuring that household waste is dealt with properly should cut down such incidents. But having the right insurance is a wise step.

Chief Executive at Builders Merchant Comments on Spending Cuts

The chief executive of Travis Perkins, Geoff Cooper, has commented this week that the upcoming spending cuts about to be announced by the government could actually be a positive thing for the retail sector. Travis Perkins, which also owns Wickes, has experienced flat growth for the Wickes part of the business and 7% growth across the Travis Perkins side of the business.

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Christmas Safety Advice From 0800 Handyman

The countdown to Christmas has begun and while it’s the season to be jolly, ‘accidents do happen.’ With around 80,000* people attending Accident and Emergency departments across the country during the 12 days of Christmas, 0800 Handyman is urging festive Britons wanting to turn their homes into winter wonderlands to avoid becoming a statistic.

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Confidence in Housing Market Remains Low

Confidence in Housing Market Remains Low

A recent survey by Halifax has shown that just 14% of people in the UK think that now is a good time to sell a property, while 50% think that the coming three months would be a good time to buy. Only 15% were positive about both buying and selling during the next quarter.

In addition it was discovered that one in three people expect house prices to rise over the next year and just 23% expect a fall. However more than half expect any changes to be very small at less that 5% in either direction.

When questioned on the reasons for their concerns, more than half commented that their own job security was their main worry when it came to buying a new home and 31% felt that they simply could not afford it. 22% felt that the chances of interest rates rising was putting them off.

Suren Thiru from Halifax has commented that confidence in the housing market is likely to remain fairly low over the next few months and this is reflected in the general attitude towards the economy as a whole.

Construction Industry Boosts Travis Perkins

The country's largest builders merchant, Travis Perkins is expecting a good year following a pick up in the construction industry. The retailer also includes Wickes, which has seen a slight downturn in the last year.

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Construction Industry Criticise New Guidelines

New guidelines issued by the Scottish government have been criticised by the construction industry after it was reported that they may cause an increase of £8,000 on construction costs.

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Consumers Increasingly Buying Gardening Products

The latest research from Verdict has shown that consumers are increasingly spending their hard earned cash on gardening products, rather than DIY.

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Converting Empty Offices into Homes

Converting Empty Offices into Homes

The City of London Corporation has warned the government that relaxing planning laws may have a detrimental effect on London as a global financial centre.

The government has suggested that empty office space in the UK should be converted to residential to ease the lack of good housing in some areas. It is thought that doing this could create 250,000 homes.

House building in the UK is currently at its lowest level since 1923 and the government has brought in a number of planning changes which are aimed at making it easier for developers and self-builders.

The City planning officer Peter Rees has commented that this policy could limit the amount of office space available for businesses in the centre of London. He says that this policy could affect businesses all over the country.

Rees points out that when things start to improve, this idea could have left parts of the city without adequate office space. He feels this means that new firms may not be attracted to some city centres.