News

Winter is the season when we experience more condensation in our homes, for most people it’s not a big issue and the problem is only temporary. However if condensation occurs regularly on the windows and walls it can lead to mould accumulating on the surfaces.

Crown Paints have developed a new mould inhibiting paint designed to reduce the growth of mould on the paintwork. The paint comes in matt and eggshell finish and is washable, making it ideal for kitchens and bathrooms. The paint also includes an anti bacterial element which makes it very useful for areas where a hygienic environment is required.

Black and White Handyman are professional decorators based in West Harrow and have an excellent reputation for painting and decorating in Harrow for commercial and domestic properties throughout London.


The City of London looks set to have a new skyscraper built within the square mile. The project has been approved and construction will commence later this year with completion sometime in 2019.

The building is planned to be 37 storeys and will be sited overlooking one of London's oldest markets, Leadenhall. It will contain 538,000 sq ft of office space and the first three floors will house 51,500 sq ft of retail space which is will add to the existing shopping facilities in the area..

The building will be built on the site of an existing 7 storey building which is presently occupied by Amazon the online retailer. At 183m tall it will be small compared to the Shard which is almost 310m high and contains 95 storeys!

With development land at a premium, particularly in London the need to make the best of available space is forcing architects and engineers to think more creatively and design taller and taller structures. It is easy to forget that it is only 125 years ago that the first 16 storey building was built in Chicago. This was only possible by making the walls 6ft thick at the base in order to support the height. As technology and greater understanding of building techniques improved there was a huge leap forward in 1913 when the Woolworth Building was built in New York City, at 242m it was the world's first skyscraper. This could only be achieved by the use of a steel skeleton which revolutionised the way these tall buildings were created. 18 years later the Empire State building was built, also in New York City, at 381m high, it is still 91m taller than the UK's Shard. For 41 years the Empire State building was the highest office building in the world. In 2000 there were only 6 other buildings taller worldwide.

Advances in technology and technical computer modelling over the last twenty years', has resulted in taller buildings becoming more common. As each building is completed the knowledge and skills needed to safely build these structures is increased and improved. For your local Builder in North London,call 0800 999 2473.

Planning regulations to be relaxed

Further changes to the planning laws in the UK are taking place to try and encourage more new homes to be built. Despite the need for at least 250,000 new homes only 141,000 were built last year, a fall of 5.8%.

The Government has announced more measures to try to speed up the process. One of the changes is the granting of automatic planning permission for building on brown field, disused industrial sites planning rules for extensions are also to be more lenient, especially in the London area. If you require a good quality
Builder in North London then please call us today on 0800 999 2473.

Spring is on the way! Does your property need some TLC?

As the winter comes to a close and signs of spring tentatively fill the air, many homeowners begin to think about sprucing up their homes. Of course Spring is a peak time for home maintenance. It's a time to check out your exterior drainage, clean out the gutters, give your roof the once over and inspect the exterior of your home.

Perhaps cracks have started to appear in your external render. Maybe your woodwork needs painting. Perhaps you're having thoughts about extending your property to accommodate your ever increasing family. With the cold weather nearly at an end, it's sensible to take stock of the damage caused to your property over the winter months and make a list of any maintenance jobs that need attending to before the summer comes.

While it's possible to do most of the work yourself, sometimes a little professional intervention is required, especially if it's a more specialised job, such as fixing damaged guttering or building that extension. If you need help with maintaining your property, you'll find that there's a plethora of building companies throughout the London area, so wherever you are in the capital you'll be able to call on some expert help. However, it's always worth checking with Checkatrade , where you'll find all the details you need to find the best property maintenance North West London companies have on offer, the best builders recommended by Hackney residents, or the best builders of house extensions London has available.

So whether the exterior of your property needs painting or you simply need handyman services to fix some damaged fencing in your garden, why not give Black and White Property Maintenance a call? No job is too big or too small, and all our building and maintenance services come highly recommended; although we'll let you be the judge of that, by checking out our testimonials and gallery for some examples of our work.

Business for Tradesmen rises as Britain goes off DIY

A recent report provides sufficient evidence that the British public are less keen to get involved with repairs and improvements around their homes. As a result the tradesmen and professionals are experiencing business growth around the Country.

Upon inspection it seems the lack of enthusiasm is mostly due to busy working lives and inexperience with DIY around the house. A declining number of people feel enthusiastic about servicing or repairing their garage doors in Exeter and surrounding areas. At the same time many tradesmen in the industry have confirmed a significant increase in workflow. The report was complied by a major market player IronmongeryDirect, ironmongery supplier for countless trade professionals.

The survey involved more than 10,000 individuals who are currently employed across a variety of trades. A clear trend was identified proving we are experiencing a higher demand for professional workers all over Britain. A staggering 16% of the people surveyed said their business was doing better than ever. 77% expressed that their current workloads were simply good. Finally, a mere 7% of professionals reported that their businesses were not currently doing too well.

There has been a strong correlation spotted between these surges in repair and service professionals and homeowners attitudes to performing maintenance tasks on their own.

The head of IronmongeryDirect, Wayne Lysaght-Mason, made some comments: "Of course it is sad to hear that Britain is losing interest in DIY, but still this leads to a positive effect on the sector as many hard workers receive more business."

"By deciding to opt for a trained professional clients will receive a number of benefits. For a start, each job will be assessed and carried out meticulously on their behalf. As a result people can free up more of their time and money and invest in other areas of their lives."

Help to Buy allows Barratt's Profits to Double

The house-builder Barratt Developments has reported that recent spikes in profit can be largely attributed to the government backed Help to Buy scheme. As annual profits hit £390 million, the government initiative has helped them to once again reach normality within the market.

Initially launched in April 2013, the mortgage relief programme provided support to both new property buyers and the property market as a whole. Barratt's average selling price for private properties has risen by 12.9%, equating to £241,600. After the downturn, Barratt began to shift their focus from smaller flats to the large family houses. This even includes housing extensions in Exeter and surrounding areas. Since taking this step they have finished 14,838 houses, totally at 8.6% higher than seen in the previous year.

Many other companies have also reported similar experiences of positive growth. For example, David Wilson Homes has predicted the construction of 15,700 by the end of the current year. Mark Clare, chief executive of the company commented: "This is good, stable, extended expansion". The Help to Buy scheme was scheduled to finish in 2016 but now the government has seen fit to extend it until 2016. Mark also added, "In the beginning the Help to Buy initiative had a very positive impact on sales rates during last year's summer. During the current year we have observed a return to normal seasonal trends".

Steve Morgan, head of Redrow, made similar remarks, "We are experiencing a simmer down to a more sustainable rate of sales". During the summer time the market is usually much quieter as many will be focusing on travel and holidays. Evidently, the scheme has raised the overall demand for new housing even during this usually quiet period. Help to Buy is predicted to account for 30% of last year's sales for Barratt, then 35% for Redrow. However, since the recent surge the market has began cooling back down to similar levels although 'House Extensions in London' are continuing at a very fast pace.

Road Improvement Scheme announced for London

Boris Johnson has just announced a huge £4bn road improvement programme to improve traffic flow around London's' roads, there will be 50 projects in all, some of which are already underway. The improvements are in response to the recommendations made in the Mayor's Roads Taskforce done last summer and will include work to make many junctions better for cyclists, the redevelopment of the large roundabout at Waterloo, a reduction in traffic congestion around five ways junction in Croydon, and better pedestrian access at Victoria Circus.

Mayfair Project An Indian developer has bought Canada's embassy building in London's prime Mayfair district for $530 million, It is a seven-storey high building formerly used by the Canadian High Commission in Grosvenor Square. It is due to be converted into luxury residences for the super-rich, who require private apartments in this up market suburb of London. The Lodha group was chosen as the buyer of the property by the Canadian government after a competitive bidding involving global developers and sovereign wealth funds, and apparently do not need to borrow in order to fund the purchase. The Lodha group are no strangers to these type of purchases having purchased the US Consulate's Washington House property in Mumbai for $54 million last yearand is currently building what it claims is the world's tallest purely residential tower in Mumbai, called "World One", dueto be completed in 2014.

Canary Wharf Skyscraper announced

An Irish investor has acquired land in Canary Wharf on which he seeks to build Europe's tallest residential building, in a sign that London's prime property market is shifting east of the city. The Irish property investor is Tom Ryan who plans to build the £1billion, 74-storey skyscraper on the site he bought for £100m. It is planned to be 20 feet taller than Canary Wharf's tallest office building, One Canada Square, which is 235m tall.

Due to be named 'The Hertsmere Tower', it will be a luxury development, with 714 apartments priced at more than half a million pounds each. Savills estate agents say that it signals a shift away from west London areas which have traditionally been favoured by the super-rich, towards the Docklands, where there was room to build larger luxury developments. The new scheme follows a number of other high-rise development across the capital, including the Heron in the City of London and One The Tower at St George's Wharf in Vauxhall. Tom Ryan has planning permission for a 242-metre mixed-use scheme containing offices, a hotel and shops.
Our Showrooms are now open in Watford and Hemel Hempstead, please call to arrange a convenient time to design and plan your new kitchen. July 2013

New building standards announced yesterday (30 July) will hinder the supply of new housing, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has said. Reforms to Part L of the Building Regulations, to be implemented in 2014, will involve a new target for fabric energy efficiency and a 6% improvement on 2010 standards.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, warned the new standards will hit smaller developers harder and faster than the rest of the industry: "FMB surveys of housebuilders indicate the cost implications for smaller developments will be significantly above those estimated by the government's impact assessments.

"In a still fragile housing market, in which homebuyers are not prepared to pay the extra for energy efficiency, these extra costs will continue to come off the bottom line of builders, threatening the viability of many developments and further hindering hopes of a boost in housing supply. Smaller housebuilders without large banks of prior planning consents will be hit first by these changes."

Mr Berry added: "As well as increased costs, the new fabric energy-efficiency standard will involve complex calculations and a steep learning curve. For those small housebuilders who have not been building recently, the barriers to re-entry will be raised again.

"The new standards will kick in next year, with a further change in standards already being planned for 2016. Yet very few homes in Britain have been built to the 2010 standards as it is. There is simply too little evidence of how current standards are working on which to base decisions about a further uplift in standards at this point.

"We support the idea that 'zero carbon' should be the end destination, but the timetable for achieving it must be realistic and deliverable. The overwhelming feeling in the industry is that policy is running well ahead of the industry’s ability to deliver on these commitments. There was some hope that the long delay in an announcement meant that the government had seen sense and realism had prevailed. Instead we seem to have ended up back where we started, with potentially serious consequences for capacity and supply within the housebuilding industry."