Latest building industry news from Open Space Ltd

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YOU love your home. It’s full of memories and it’s where you feel safe. But it just doesn’t have enough space for you anymore.

With June house sales reportedly at the highest level in the last three years, perhaps now is the time to extend your living space and add value at the same time.

Whether you go for a modern cantilever structure in cutting edge, new materials or a traditional two storey extension in the same brickwork as the existing property, the extra space will not only be a welcome addition to you and your family but when it comes to selling on, you’ll reap the financial rewards.

West London based Open Space Ltd have delivered numerous domestic extensions for homeowners who want to make the most of their property.

Eric Jusz, owner and director, said: “Extending is a far more cost effective solution than moving home, especially when you consider estate agents and legal fees and the hire of transport, and means that you don’t need to leave an area you still love, perhaps uprooting children from their schools or giving you a longer journey to work.

“There are so many options available to give you the space you want. A simple, traditional two storey extension could provide a new bedroom upstairs and a larger, more light and airy kitchen and family room downstairs, for example. Adding a set of folding doors that lead out on to a new decking area can also create a great flow between indoors and outdoors – something that is surely to be welcomed while we enjoy this beautiful sunshine.

“An extension can vastly improve the way you use your house and better your lifestyle. Plus, if you use a company that handles all aspects of the build, from architectural plans and planning permission to the finishing touches, such as Open Space Ltd, the process will be simple and easy.”

Choosing a building company to carry out your extension is a big decision, especially as any work will alter the flow of your property. For this reason, Open Space Ltd has put together this handy checklist to assist homeowners in selecting the right builder for them.

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Open Space Ltd has a wealth of experience in extending, converting and building homes in Central, West and South West London. We’ve made our clients’ dreams come true with our ability to offer a personal, friendly service with genuine project management and thorough communication at the forefront of everything we do.

Recently, we undertook our own research into how building companies are approaching homeowners and how they present themselves when estimating for a job. We were shocked.

So we’ve put together a checklist to help you avoid the pitfalls of working with some of the rogue tradesmen and dodgy builders we know are out there and ready to take your hard-earned cash.

  • Reputation: What do you know about the company’s background? Are they specialists in what they do? How long have they been operating and what kind of work have they done previously? Choose a company that has been around long enough to have completed numerous projects of what you’re looking for.  Do they belong to any trade associations? Do they provide guarantees of their work?
  • What do their previous customers have to say about them? Any company worth their salt will happily pass you the contact details of clients they have previously worked for and maybe even arrange a site visit so you can see the results at first hand. Also check for online reviews and recommendations. You want to hear about timescales being met, great workmanship and fantastic communication.
  • If you like the price, check the estimate. Again, again and again. There are some builders out there who are looking for quick and easy ways to make extra money whilst on a job. Although there are genuine issues that do crop up in any build or conversion, some unscrupulous companies purposely leave out essential work in their estimate knowing it will cost their customer more further down the line. Ask as many questions as you can think of, even if you think it may sound silly!
  • Can you imagine working with the project manager? The key to a successful build is good communication and being able to trust the project manager, not least because if issues arise, they should be able to present options based on your budget and show their adaptability and understanding of you as a client.

With space in London at a premium, basement conversions are becoming an increasingly popular way to get additional space without moving.  But the potential disruption building work poses to family life often puts people off from getting started.  It may be helpful to know that with the right project management you can easily remain in your home while the works are completed.

Whether it’s more living space, a bigger kitchen, a games room or even a swimming pool the underground of London is a hive of activity.  Families who have run out of space and do not have the funds to upscale, or those looking to add value to their home while adding comfort and lifestyle are all burrowing underground.

Yet all ask a similar question: “How can we live in our house whilst it’s being converted?”

Short Term Disruption = Long Term Gain
Any conversion – especially to a home residence – will impact normal everyday proceedings.  Yet with a little simple forethought along with advice from professionals, it is possible to achieve the conversion you want without going through the rigmarole of moving out.

Munna Patel, a local GP based in Chiswick underwent a loft conversion, house extension and refurbishment and employed ‘Open Space’, a South West London based specialist in home conversions. 

“Yes it was inconvenient for a few weeks but it was manageable and now we have a beautiful home with so much more space to enjoy.”
Munna Patel
GP, Chiswick, London

How was this achieved?  A look into how modern conversions are built in London provides the answers. 

Basements and lofts are often the least disruptive.  Whilst dust and noise are to be expected, the house remains inhabitable with little or no interruption to day-to-day services.  This is achieved by creating external access where possible for all materials and crew via a well or scaffolding in the case of a loft.  Household living continues as normal until the final stages when the internal staircase is fitted.

“House extensions do present disruption in the short-term but any good builder should install temporary services like hobs for cooking, washing machines and sinks so life can continue within the home.  Meticulous planning and weather proofing the site are essential to ensure the work is completed with minimal disruption and to deadline.”
Eric Jusz
Open Space Ltd.

While good builders would recommend their clients are close by for the majority of the project, it is becoming increasingly popular to take the family away for a short time during the most disruptive works.  With prior planning, the major structural works can coincide with your annual ski trip or summer break allowing you to be back in time for decisions to be taken on fittings and finish.
But what if you’re worried that the project isn’t being handled effectively whilst you’re gone?

A particular strength of Open Space Ltd is that the director is on site every day keeping communication open between yourself and the build team.  And before you go, you set the terms of how and when you would like to be contacted.  

“Video calling from mobile device allows our clients to see the project taking shape adding that extra level of reassurance.  Others have preferred daily email updates so they can check in on the day’s works at a time convenient for them,” Eric says. 

There are always solutions
The good news for anyone thinking of undertaking a conversion or renovation to their property is that there are a multitude of options available to minimise disruption to your life.  Planning is the key focus in all cases making it possible to live whilst a conversion is taking place.