Why London Homes Need Basement Construction And How To Choose A Basement Company

A basement is becoming more popular in homes, especially for UK homeowners, as there becomes less and less space for families to live in. On top of this, in large cities such as London and the south in general, that has one of the fastest growing populations throughout the whole of the UK, making the housing shortage crisis a very real and impending issue.

The Office of National Statistics released a report on population growth in 2016, which showed that the fastest growing areas are in London. More specifically, Tower Hamlets, which is predicted to grow by 25.1% by 2024.

Due to land and living space being less available to families in London, more homeowners and developers are looking for more innovative solutions to provide more space for growing families and working tenants without contributing to the unsustainable construction methods that have put us in this situation in the first place. This is where a basement conversion comes in handy.

Why Do Homes Need Basements?

Many years ago, a basement was seen as a dark, damp room at the bottom of your house for storage and utilities such as a place for your boiler, washing machine and dryer. As the years passed, basements have steered away from the stereotypical horror movie cliché and have become the new living space for crowded homes.

Since it is becoming more difficult for homes to build extensions outwards from their kitchens or living rooms and not every property has the requirements to hold a loft conversion, the nest best thing is to build downwards.

A basement eliminates the problem of taking up more land, and uses the land your house is already built on. It can also be multi-purpose, which means that it doesn’t have to be used as just a bedroom or bathroom, it can be a living room, entertainment room, office, cinema room, wine cellar, or even a car park for commercial properties.

The demands of modern lifestyles such as multi-generational homes and houses with teenagers and children growing up means that basement construction as become just as popular as a traditional house extension or loft conversion.

Some benefits of basement conversions include:

Many different purposes – A basement is close enough to the ground floor that it can be used as an additional living room space, kitchen, play room or bedroom. It is also great for rooms that don’t need much sunlight – for example a cinema room, wine cellar or games room. As well as this, there are semi-basements and lighting techniques that can bring natural light to your basement, making it ideal for an office room, gym or art studio.

Using less land for more space – A major benefit is that a basement doesn’t need additional land around your property. You can still make the most out of your home and get more living space for you and your family without taking up precious land

Great for big families – A growing family may not want to move to a new house or may find the expense of moving unaffordable. A basement conversion is cheaper than a mortgage and allows you to keep your family home if space is an issue.

Better site utilisation – A basement conversion may also be more flexible than a loft conversion. A loft conversion will depend on the height of your roof and the weight that your home can take, however a structurally sound basement can be built as deep or as wide as you can afford.

How To Find A trustworthy Basement Company

If you are thinking about getting a basement conversion from an existing cellar, from scratch, or even for a new build home, you need to choose a qualified basement company that has a great track record. This is because a good basement conversion company in London needs to follow certain regulations and standards to be considered safe.

Consider these tips when choosing a basement conversion company:

Choose a trained company – Any construction job needs to be done by a qualified and properly trained company for the best results. A trained basement company is very important because if the basement is not built and waterproofed properly, it could collapse and put everyone in the home in danger.

Ask for testimonials – A reputable basement construction company will have happy clients. So do not be afraid to ask for customer reviews because you need to know that they have a good track record before hiring them.

Discuss the possible risks – Any job will have risks, but with something as big as a basement conversion, a responsible contractor will need to go over the risks and how they will take precautions to prevent them. Contractors that hide details or fail to disclose are usually not trustworthy.


Basement conversion is becoming a more mainstream way of renovating a family home. There are many benefits to a basement conversion, but the key is to choose the right basement company to give you the results you want.

The Construction Industry is Predicted To Transform With A New Government Deal

The UK construction sector is worth billions and there has been a lot of changes in the more recent years as well as schemes put in place to improve the construction sector. This new deal could mean that there are more projects on building better UK homes and infrastructure which will result in billions more are added to the UK economy.

The UK government and the construction industry have been working together to develop a strategy for development of the housing and infrastructure throughout the country. Ever since the release of the Industrial Strategy green paper which agrees the sector deal, the industry plans include modernising the sector to efficiently reply to the challenges involved with the consequences of Brexit as well as the demographic changes.

The idea of the deal is to prepare the UK for the future which includes individual residents as well as businesses to build and construct at a quicker speed as well reduce the costs involved to make the sector more effective and efficient. The issue of skill shortage has also been addressed, and the deal hopes to work around that.


The Chair of the Construction Leadership Council, Andrew Wolstenholme, stated, “I am delighted that construction has been included in the first wave of sector deals. It presents a huge opportunity for one of the UK’s largest industries and the broader economy.” Over the next few decades, there has been plans for around £600 billion to be spent on infrastructure projects.

It is very important that over the next few years, the government and the construction industry work closely together to kickstart the delivery of these new projects to make sure that the changes are seen in the future.

As for the Construction Sector Deal, the plans are set to take place in the new year. The first steps for this deal is to develop an industry-wide definition of value to produce a strategy to reduce capital costs and improve efficiency. A major point of the strategy is the Procedure of Better Value, which means building a mass of clients and advisors who are trained to reach outcomes efficiently in both economic and lifestyle performance.


How A Reliable Construction Company Can Give You The Best Results

Many people are moving away from the DIY method when it comes to home improvements and renovations. This is because there are many new training, legal and safety requirements to ensure that the standard of construction projects is completed to a minimum level of quality. The UK has these laws and regulations to avoid any poor practice when it comes to health and safety of people as well as the environment.

A reliable construction company will be aware of these laws and safety measures and will have undergone the adequate training and gained the correct qualifications to legally work on your property.

It is important to note what makes a building company good and the benefits of choosing a good builder to avoid any costly consequences that a bad builder may put on your property.

When Would You Need A Construction Company?

There are many jobs that a builder can do. If you are looking for a specific job to be done such as bricklaying or plastering, you may find that a specialist company will be better for the job. However, if your job is more general such as a new build, a house extension or renovation, you may need a general building company that covers all these aspects. Using the same building company for the entire renovation can save you time and money. If you hire a separate contractor, bricklayer, joiner, plumber and painter/decorator then you could end up blowing your budget quite easily. You can also keep better track of the work that has been done if you hire a general construction company with an all-around knowledge.

You may need a construction company for:

  • General property repairs and maintenance
  • Loft conversions
  • Basement construction
  • Kitchen/bathroom renovations
  • House extensions
  • Flooring and joinery
  • Plastering, dry lining and brickwork
  • Roofing and ceilings

Some general building companies will also have a network of trusted tradespeople who can add the finishing touches to a construction job. This can include plumbers, electricians, central heating experts and property maintenance companies.

How To Choose A Qualified Builder

Doing your own research Is vital when picking a builder for the job. You can ask any family or friends if they know any skilled builders because they will be able to vouch for them from the results of their work. However, for more peace of mind you may want to follow these tips when choosing a qualified builder.

1. Check if they are part of a trade body

If the building company is part of a trade body such as The Federation of Master Builders (FMB), The Guild of Builders and Contractors (GBC), or The National Federation of Builders (NFB) they will have met the high standards set by these organisations. Companies have to be approved to be part of these trade bodies, so picking a company from there can be a trustworthy source.

2. Ask about their qualifications

A qualified builder will have qualifications – surprise! You should always ask them what qualifications and training they have, which will usually be displayed on their website.

3. Do the builders have insurance?

A reputable construction company will have insurance to cover any damages in the off chance something goes wrong.

4. Ask for a quote and references

You should ask for a detailed quote because a reliable construction company will be transparent with their pricing to avoid unhappy clients. You need to know that you are getting value for money, therefore you should ask for a detailed quote as well as some references or testimonials from other clients.

The Benefits Of Hiring A Good Construction Company

A good construction company will give you the best results for a great deal. It is not always about how much you spend, but how well the company will be able to work with your budget. A major benefit of hiring a good construction company is that the job will be done successfully, efficiently, and safely.

Another benefit of choosing a good construction company is that you will be able to avoid botched jobs done by builders who aren’t qualified or trained. Often a job done by a cheap builder seems to be satisfactory, until a few months down the line when it all falls apart. In these cases, the job is often more costly to repair than it was to do it in the first place.


With a good builder or general construction company, you can achieve the results you want. Whether it is a home extension or a bathroom renovation, you can avoid worrying about dodgy builders and unfinished jobs by taking the time to research a qualified builder. Remember to check their qualifications, insurance coverage and testimonials to ensure that you are making the right choice for your home or commercial property.

The UK Help To Buy Scheme Has Boosted The Construction Sector

In the month of November, the residential property market did very well due to an increase in house building across Britain. Ever since the UK EU membership referendum in 2016, there has been a lot of uncertainty in terms of Brexit surrounding plans for many aspects of the UK both socially and economically.

In particular, the construction sector has experienced a lot of ambiguity over other industries because of the nature of the industry. Many construction projects will take years to complete. As well as this, there has been an ongoing housing shortage in the UK due to the fast-growing population. On top of that, UK housing prices may be affected by the time Brexit has complete.

There are many precautions that the construction sector has to take because it is more sensitive to the UK referendum, but one of the main factors for builders, developers and investors to consider is that businesses need to forecast the value and demand of houses as well as commercial office buildings in a few years’ time when the building is finished rather than now.

A survey done by the IHS Markit on the construction purchasing managers’ index stated that figures rose from 50.8 in October to 53.1 in November. This is a very positive figure as economists had forecast a analysis of 51 and anything above 50 means that there has been an expansion.

The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) found that the sector is appearing to regain momentum and has grown during final quarter of 2017. This is a good improvement from the beginning of the year due to sector experiencing dips for two following quarters. This is because of the fact that some large commercial projects that took place in the UK completed without new projects replacing them.

The Help To Buy Scheme has also helped the residential property sector this year by supporting the demand and supply of new housing for UK residents. Although the residential sector is showing signs of improvement, the commercial sector is seeing dips due to less civil engineering and commercial construction work taking place.

Only time will tell how the Help To Buy scheme will improve the sector and if Brexit will have a detrimental effect on the construction industry.

How Important Is Proper Drainage For Your Property?

There are many aspects of a property, whether it is residential or commercial, that a property owner will need to look after. While we all focus on the gas and electricity, we should also pay attention to the drainage and plumbing.

Drainage is an important part of any property and it is a complex system which requires contractors and homeowners to be aware of how it works and why it is important. A property’s drainage system is integral in the efficiency of a property and if there is a problem with the system or a repair needs to be made, it could affect your entire home.

What is a Drainage System?

A drainage system removes excess water from the property either in the ground’s surface or the rootzone. Excess water can build up from rainwater or the use of too much irrigation water. This water needs to be drained in order to clear the system and pipes otherwise it could cause flooding, leaking, slow draining, bad smells and water damage.

Waste water from your appliances such as dishwashers, sinks and baths can flow into two areas – the main soil stack (which leads directly to an underground drain) or a trapped gully. A gully is fitted with a plastic grid, which you may have seen before, to prevent leaves and debris from entering the drain and blocking it.

Rainwater from gutters is drained differently. In the UK especially, there needs to be a separate system because rain can be heavy and prolonged. The rainwater flows from the gutter into a gridded or an open gully and then directly into an underground drain pipe. After this process, the water may flow into a storm drain beneath a road or a soakaway in your garden, where it will be percolated back into the soil.

Who Is Responsible For The Drainage System?

For a private residential property such as a house, the homeowner is responsible for the drainage system. This means that if there is a plumbing or more complicated drainage issue, it is the responsibility of the homeowner to contact a drainage repairs company to establish and resolve the issue.

For public commercial properties or apartment flats for example, it is the responsibility of the landlord. Depending on the unit, the property will have a certain drainage system that they will be responsible for. So if there is a repair needed for one area of the drain system, whoever owns that section of land it falls under is responsible for the repair. In this case a drainage company will need to be called as well.

The Expenses Of Water Damage Can Be Costly

If you do not look after your drainage system, the effects can be expensive to repair. Water damage is something that can be prevented, and it is better if it is spotted sooner than later. According to a study done by Direct Line Home Insurance, in the last 5 years, 1 in 4 people in the UK have experienced water damage from a neighbour’s property.

How To Prevent Damage To Your Drainage System

A drainage company will be able to make the repairs you need when it comes to plumbing and drains. Picking a drainage company is not easy and you should look into the company to avoid choosing drainage contractors who are not qualified or trained to do the job.

A reliable drainage company will have testimonials from clients as well as the training and qualifications legally required for them to work on your drains and pipes. Any drainage issue can be prevented by calling a drain expert as soon as you suspect that there is an issue. They will be able to respond to the call by detecting the problem, locating the source of the damage and repairing the system efficiently and safely.

Many issues such as leaks, water damage, flooding and bad smells that come from damaged drain systems can be prevented or repaired by a trained drainage company.


As a homeowner or landlord, you need to be aware of the damages that can occur to your drainage system and how it may affect the efficiency and safety of your home. Once you are aware of any defects or you spot any signs such as leaks, water marks or flooding, you should contact a drainage expert to stop the damage in it’s tracks, before you end up with a costly repair or worse, an angry neighbour. In emergency cases, a reputable drainage company in Essex will also be able to respond quickly and efficiently.

Off-Plan Property: Best Property Investments UK

Off-Plan And Turn-Key Buy To Lets


Property as an investment is one of the world’s most secure asset class, but it is important to understand the market and how different types of investment opportunities are governed by different factors. When you have the right investment type, location and demand, it can be highly profitable for the investor. Some investors enjoy property investing on a small scale, whilst other are full-time and go on to build a significant portfolio. Whatever your circumstances and goals, you need to be aware of all the different types of property investment and which will be the most beneficial for you.

Off-Plan Property Investments

One of the big shifts in property investment in the last 20 years has been the rise in popularity of off-plan property investments. Off-plan investments are developments that are purchased prior to the building being completed giving an instant rise in capital value of property – the purchase price of off-plan property is generally well below the eventual market value on completion.  Furthermore off-plan properties are generally fully-managed by the developers or a management company, making it a hassle-free and hands-free investment. The rental income is assured for 5 – 10 years and net yields can be as much as 10% depending on the property.

Student Property Investments

Student property investments have been one of the UK’s strongest performing asset classes for a few years and this type of investment is increasing in popularity all the time. This is because new purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) provide student tenants with a higher standard of living than the old HMOs and student houses. The ideal locations of PBSA and luxurious living spaces makes it appealing to UK and overseas students, who are willing to pay more rent for innovative, high-spec apartments and student ‘pods’.

With student numbers growing across the UK as universities accept more students per course. There has also been a surge in overseas students coming to study and live in the UK. Student accommodation investments are also recession-proof because people won’t stop getting an education just because of the economy’s status, which means that is it safe and risk free. For yields as high as 9%, look at areas in the north such as Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Huddersfield, Newcastle and Sheffield.

Care Home Investments

Care home investments are another newer type of property investment that have become more mainstream due to the fact that they too are increasingly lucrative for investors. Care home investments are in fact the fastest growing property asset class in the UK. This is all down to the growing demand. The UK’s population is ageing, which means there are more elderly people living in the country. Many of those over 65 are looking for a place to stay with health and social care assistance as well as a fuller, more independent life. Seniors can find these needs met in a luxury care home.

Care home units are popular with investors due to net yields of up to 10% per annum. The UK’s ageing population means that government reports show care home demand is so high that the number of care home places will need to double over the next 25 years. That means that now is the best time to invest in a care home unit. The long-term, low risk, high reward investment assures high net yields of up to 10% as well as buy-back options above purchase price after a set number of years.


Buy-to-let property investments cover a range of property investments, which can include commercial, but mostly refer to residential properties. Buy-to-lets are probably the most common type of property investment, and it is what most investors choose for their first property investment because it is fairly risk free.

At Sterling Woodrow, we offer off-plan buy-to-lets which offer good opportunities for instant capital appreciation upon completion, or existing buy-to-lets that are being renovated and relaunched. These existing buy-to-lets may even already be tenanted. All the property investments offered at Sterling Woodrow are thoroughly researched and focus on getting the best returns for our clients, so many of our buy-to-let investments focus on areas in the north, where properties are affordable and yields are high, compared to London and the south-east. The best locations at present are the Northern Powerhouse cities such as Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Middlesbrough and Sunderland.

Residential Property

This is a popular option for first-time buyers as well as a safe zone for experienced investors simply because the demand will always be there if there are people wanting to live in the area. The UK housing market has been known to go up as well down, but don’t let the overall fluctuating market put you off, as in some areas, such as the North of England, the rental yields are higher than ever. It is important that investors do their research to find promising locations that aren’t too over-saturated with expensive residential properties, because these are the areas that will provide the best returns as well as a bright future in the property market.

The UK population grows at a rate of 400,000 a year and all of these people need to be housed. For this reason alone, a residential property investment is a great choice. Many investors will think that residential properties are hard to sell because of the competition, however, we can sell a residential property in less than four weeks in the right area. For an easy and secure mid to long-term investment with a chance of high yields and capital appreciation, speak to us about residential investments.

Buy to Let Market 2017

Hotel Property Investments

Hotels property investments are in such high demand because global traveler numbers hit 1 billion each year. This essentially means that demand for hotel rooms equals a 6th of the world’s population. A hotel investment would be ideal for savvy investors who are looking to expand and diversify their portfolios.

Hotels offer great returns because of the high rates, which you won’t often find with other types of accommodation. For this reason, it has obviously become a popular investment for those looking for high yield returns.

As with all property investments the important factor for hotel investments is the location. You want to choose a place where you know people want to visit.

Hard Landscape: How To Improve Your Outdoor Living Areas


Do you want to create an outdoor living space that provides luxury, comfort and functionality? This article offers numerous paving and landscaping ideas to help you create an outdoor space you will love.

Hard landscaping, or hardscaping, is the placement of non plant materials in an outdoor area. These items include walkways, patios, lighting, fences and other structures. Simply put, hardscaping is any inanimate object in the landscape.


Using walkways in your landscape design can help separate different areas of your backyard. There are numerous materials that can be used for walkways, including flagstones, cement, bricks, mulch and pebbles. To help soften the area, try using curves rather than straight line.

Patios and Decks

Patios and decks are great ways to improve your outdoor areas. These hardscape features provide you and your guests a place to sit and socialize. The materials that can be used include concrete, rock and wood. A patio or deck allows you to place tables, chairs and other outdoor furniture in your landscape.


When planning your outdoor living space, you need to include plenty of seating options for everyone. Seating options can be tables and chairs, porch swings, hammocks or built in seating made with concrete edging or pavers.

Water Features

Water features, such as a small pond with a waterfall or a pool is a great way to enhance the landscape. In addition to adding interest to the landscape, a water feature can be used as an entertainment area. A pool can help you cool off on a hot summer day, while a Koi pond is a great way to unwind and relax.

Other Hardscape Ideas

There are many other hardscape ideas that can help improve the look of your yard. For example, fences can provide a gorgeous backdrop for your plants or it can be used to hide unsightly areas in the landscape.

Fire pits are another great feature that can enhance the landscape. Whether you decide to build your own fire pit or purchase one from your local home improvement store, a fire pit can be a gathering place. Set a few comfy chairs around the fire pit to maximize the usage of this space.

Creating an outdoor oasis is a breeze when you combine the aforementioned hard landscaping ideas with a variety of bushes, flowers and trees. Your yard will go from ho-hum to a landscape that makes your neighbors jealous.