4 Ways A General Contractor Can Help You With Your Home Improvement Project

Sometimes, home improvement projects require an expert hand. For example, if you plan to redo your kitchen, add on a deck or even install new windows in your home, the measurements and the overall plan need to be very precise. Making mistakes in the beginning of the project can be very costly throughout the life of the project.

Also, it can be overwhelming for a homeowner to coordinate and manage a large project themselves, especially if the project requires work from different professionals. This is where a general contractor can help.

What Do They Do?

General contractors are helpful for large home improvement projects where the project requires you to manage, monitor and supervise multiple professionals. A general contractor’s role is to manage these and all aspects of a project.

General contractors are hired for a number of reasons:

+ They provide a great deal of experience in handling your specific project

+ They will have the ability to purchase materials for your home improvement project at lower prices than you can

+ Since most general contractors have working relationships with several specific contractors, they can secure the needed

individuals at a better price than if you were to search and vet them yourself. For example, depending on the size and

scope of your project, you many need experts in areas such as plumbing, electrical, gas lines, etc. A general contractor

most likely has working relationships with contractors that specialize in these areas.

+ A general contractor can handle the legal aspects of the project as well. Did you get the right building permits? Do

you have insurance to cover the cost of a worker that gets hurt at your home? These things may not be something you have

thought about, but they can play a significant role in your well being if they do go wrong.

Hiring a general contractor does not have to be difficult. You will find a number of different choices available to you throughout the web and in your local community. The end result is a contractor that will take your business under its wing and make it a true success.

Should You Extend Your Home or Move?

Speak to your local council

Although very minor extensions (up to 3 metres beyond your original wall) can usually be undertaken without obtaining planning permission, it is still always best to check with your local council before you commit to extending your property. You could be in a lot of hot water afterwards if your extension flouts the rules and permission is not in place – the council could insist that the extension is demolished, leaving you not only back where you started but also out of pocket, having paid for an extension you cannot enjoy.

Ensure your plans are properly drawn

You might think you know something about extension planning – maybe you were good at technical drawing at school, or you did a course in college. Do you really want to risk the value of your home, though, to save a few pounds on professional planning? Depending on the size and scale of your project, a structural engineer or architect can do a great job for you, offering their expertise. For smaller and more straightforward jobs, your builder should be able to help you with the plans. Don’t forget, there is technical knowledge needed which involves angles, weights and in-depth understanding of materials to ensure the structure is safe – things which you probably didn’t pick up in GCSE Graphics! More importantly, your extension needs to conform to safety regulations which industry professionals will be used to handling.

Look at the loft

You could expand backwards, forwards or sideways, but what if you don’t have the room? Consider building upwards, creating rooms in your loft area. The loft is often a wasted space which houses unneeded junk, and if your roof is high enough, you might not even need to do a lot of building work to turn that unused space into a lovely new bedroom or office.

As you probably won’t be changing the layout of the building significantly, you may not need planning permission – but again, always check to be on the safe side. Your loft conversion will need to meet Buildings Regulations, which take into account safety measures such as fire safety, and the finished work will be checked by a qualified inspector. Don’t let this put you off, though – your builder should be able to advise you of how to ensure that you can meet these regulations, and you can also speak to your local council for further advice. Particularly if your family is outgrowing your house, building into the loft can be a great solution to provide extra space.

Consider the potential to add value

One of the reasons that many people consider extending is to add value to the property. An extension often offers this potential, meaning that the initial cost of building the extension is not lost. You can often, in fact, gain money when you come to sell by having an extra bedroom upstairs or a conservatory on the back.

You need to be canny about your investment, though. Do a bit of research into similar properties on the sales market in your area; if they have had a loft conversion or a kitchen enlarged, for instance, are they being marketed at a higher price that those which haven’t had work done? If the extension isn’t going to add value, then you might want to think again about how you choose to extend; having four bedrooms instead of three is going to make more of a difference to a property’s value than enlarging one room slightly. You might also consider getting a professional opinion from a local estate agent who can give you a potential “before” and “after” valuation for your property, allowing you to determine whether it’s better for you to extend or to move.

It’s worth remembering that extending is usually a cheaper alternative than moving and saves you money on fees like stamp duty, furniture removals and legal costs – not to mention avoiding the stress of moving!

Combine work on your home to keep down costs

Although extending could be cheaper than moving, you are still going to have to find the money from somewhere. If you’re lucky enough to have some cash tucked away for a rainy day, that’s great. But if you haven’t, you might need to think about other options, like reviewing your mortgage, for example, to see if you can liquidate some funds.

Another good tip is to get your money’s worth; you should have as many minor alterations done alongside your extension as you foresee being necessary in the near future, so if you have had a few small jobs piling up, ask the builder for a quote for the whole lot. This way, you can haggle for the best price on both materials and labour, establishing a blanket fee for the works rather than having lots of little jobs done, which could prove costlier.

Find a reputable builder

We have all heard horror stories about disreputable builders who knock holes into your home and then fail to complete the job, or undertake shoddy work which requires repairs within a few months. There are plenty of builders who can be trusted, though – and the best advice to follow is to take a recommendation. Have any friends, family or colleagues had work done on their homes recently? Are there any builders in your extended family? If you don’t have any luck finding someone, then look into the government’s TrustMark scheme, which vets tradesmen before recommending them to consumers.

Potential changes

The government is currently in talks over whether to relax planning laws for a three-year period, allowing people to extend their homes by up to 8 metres without seeking planning permission. The idea is to ease housing shortages by making existing homes bigger and to help create more jobs for the industry. This plan has received significant opposition, however, from local councils who are worried about a “free-for-all” on extensions which could affect the appearance and function of local communities. If you’ve been thinking about extending but couldn’t face waiting for planning permission, though, it’s worth watching this space to see how this story develops!

Top 10 Reasons to Schedule House Cleaning Services

Many residents think that keeping a clean home is infeasible, especially when you work long hours and don’t have the time to clean it by yourself. Thus, it’s often a good idea to hire a house cleaning service to take care of your home for you. To determine if a maid service is a good choice for you, it can be helpful to know some of the main advantages when hiring one.

1) It’s perfect for a busy schedule. Hiring a house cleaner is the best solution when you have a busy schedule. Such a service will clean your home and you will not have to worry about it.

2) You have time to focus on other things. Booking a maid service will allow you to focus on other more important aspects of your life, instead of worrying about cleaning your home.3) You will always come home to a clean place. This can make your life much enjoyable and your house more relaxing and aesthetically pleasing.

4) Having a contract ensures regular cleaning. When you hire a house cleaning service and sign a contract, you get a regular home cleaning, usually at a specific rate. This will guarantee you will always come to a clean place.

5) Professional cleaning services are easy to find. Finding a home cleaner is quite easy as there are many cleaning contractors in the area (especially in large metro areas). Look online, read other customer’s reviews and choose the most appropriate for your cleaning needs.

6) Licensed cleaning contractors are reliable. One advantage of hiring a home cleaning professional is that the majority are extremely reliable and you can count on them to provide you with the highest quality of cleaning services.

7) Trust their experience. A pro house cleaner can offer a great deal of experience in the cleaning industry, which results in amazing services.

8) Trust their expertise. Most cleaning pros are experts at what they do, because of the extensive training on how to use cleaning equipment and solutions properly.9) They use quality cleaning equipment. Some of the professional-grade cleaning tools can’t be rented by you as a homeowner. Thus, you won’t be able to clean your home deeply and effectively.

10) You will get a custom cleaning plan. A house cleaning service can work directly with you to develop a custom cleaning plan that suits your specific needs and requirements. Such a plan can involve determining how deeply you want to house cleaner to work in your home, as well as which areas you want them to give the most attention.