2018 Guide to Groundworks and Foundations

What is the first thing you should think about when building a house?

Personally, with any project I take on I always reach for the phone and call my trusted groundworks friend, DT Groundwork Contractor, immediately after finalising the design. Why? you may ask. Well, the foundations of the house are the most important and I need to know if what I’m designing will be sufficiently supported. This process will almost always begin with groundworks and I wanted to share some advice to bear in mind before breaking ground on any project.

Starting off on the right foot

To begin with, you should know that having the right foundations is not only important to you but also to the local planning authority so they can assess that you have built it on the approved plans. Even when they have only been presented with a drawing with no dimensions they will scale the plan to determine whether proximity to boundaries and the levels of the plan have been met correctly. This is to reduce any issues of overlooking or overshading neighbouring buildings.

It is important to check the settings from the very start, so taking the time to sit with a contractor and get them spot on is worth the time. The best way to do this is drive pegs into where the corners of the building and rooms are and draw a line between them with chalk spray. The foundation trenches can then be dug so you have a good idea of where the building will sit and allow planning enforcement officers to accurately take measurements of where the property will lay,

Types of Foundation

Trench fill foundation

This type of foundation is preferred by self-builders and used by most large-scale operators in the groundworks businesses. Trench fill avoids the need to lay bricks below ground level. Concrete is poured to within 150mm of the surface ground level, which saves time and trouble. Additionally, the sides of the trench play just as important role in supporting the load as the basin of the trench. For this reason, trench fill foundation should only be used on stable ground where the trench sides are firm and fully capable of bearing loads. Clay and chalk soils are the ideal ground materials for trench fill foundations.

Strip foundations

Strip foundations are usually wider and use much less concrete than conventional foundations by being thinner. This being down to the fact that they are usually only 300mm thick. Although, the exact dimension will be determined by the masonry courses of the walls up to the damp-proof course. If you are building on a sloping site, the foundations will need to be stepped to keep them level. These steps should overlap at least the width of the trench when concreted and that will mean shuttering them across. Strip foundations are often necessary when softer surrounding materials are available, such as softer soils and sand, since they are able to spread the load of the building over a greater area.

Three Tips to Get into Interior Design

A lot of people ask me how to get into the interior design industry and I usually ramble on about such and such but the landscape has changed in the last decade. I need to adapt how I approach this question to how the modern world works, although, there are certain things that remain the same. I want to share with you two new ways to approach it and one old fashioned but still reliable way.

Behance

If you’re an aspiring interior designer, you probably have experience in 3d design software like Blender, C4D and Maya. Therefore, there is no doubt that you will have modelling projects laying around. You can put them to use and upload them to Behance, a website where digital artists can show off their work to peers and admirers alike. Try to post as often as you can but limit yourself to one project daily. You can then share your work on social media and even include links to it in your CV. This is the absolute best way to showcase your work in the digital age and is quite good to get into the routine of updating. If, however, you don’t use 3d design software and don’t want to pay a fortune for it, you can get Blender for free and there is an endless number of tutorials on YouTube to get you started.

Speak to People

Speaking to people can get you anywhere you want in life, as long as you are efficient, confident and charming. Of course, in the old days, this would mean doing it in person, but nowadays everything is done on social media. However, you have to know what you’re doing. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram are no good if you want to connect with professionals who are looking to take people on. LinkedIn should be your main goal, adding people you look up to in the design world and joining industry specific groups. From there, simply commenting on people’s post and posting your own regular content is enough to grab someone’s attention. Eventually, you will find yourself with many connections and place yourself at an advantage over the competition when new roles come up, as you will be the first person they think of.

Volunteering

Finally, we come to the old-fashioned way to get into interior design, volunteering! There is no easier way to demonstrate your skills to a potential employer than being sat in front of them. Many students do work placements as part of their university degrees and they potentially get offered a graduate place if they impress the business. For those that don’t get this opportunity, reaching out to businesses for work experience can be rewarding and get your foot in the door with a potential future employer. Research the company and its previous projects before you contact them, it gives you something lead your conversation with and shows you are interested in the company itself and not just the opportunity you want to be given.

Hopefully, these tips help you find your way into interior design and please feel free to contact me if you need assistance.

10 Clever Home Hacks

I’m a huge fan of YouTube and the power of visual learning, so I often find myself watching videos like this where someone shows you interior design tips in their very own home. Of course, not all of them are as professional as this one, which is why I thought it would be worth sharing.

Interior designer, Rebecca Robeson, walks us through her California home and shares 10 clever changes she has made over the last 15 years. She has turned an unassuming house into a luxury home with some interesting techniques that add elegance to your home on a budget.

I have summarised each hack below and be sure to watch the video below that.

  1. Improved lowered ceiling by adding mouldings to create an eye-grabbing feature.
  2. Added a 10-foot mirror to her focal wall so it’s what guests saw as soon as they walk in, also creating the illusion of more space.
  3. Utilise interesting architectural features like a hanging vintage window in the hallway.
  4. Replaced her old staircase with dark wood, a beautiful custom iron railing and swooping stairs which flow into the room.
  5. Fitted light wood flooring downstairs and dark wood flooring upstairs.
  6. Reduced the number of cabinets in the kitchen and painted them in a darker colour to match the rest of the room.
  7. Removed some doors to create walk-in spaces and hid some within the walls to create the illusion of fewer doors.
  8. Took an intrusive hearth piece and placed a vintage chest of drawers with their back legs cut off to utilise unusable space.
  9. Replaced linen cabinets doors with ones with a glass pane to display clean linen
  10. Installed wall length and height wardrobes with mirrored fronts and added custom mirror fronts to the drawers below.