Phil Home Builders Share your affordable homebuilding designs & top quality workmanship both for residential and commercial buildings Fri, 13 Sep 2013 15:59:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 How Building Information Modelling Can Give You More Savings? Fri, 13 Sep 2013 15:53:12 +0000 Business Information Modelling (BIM) is a great way to turn any project from drab to fab, cutting costs, speeding up delivery times and enhancing the efficiency of your processes, whether you’re a designer, architect, engineer or construction worker. Not only can BIM save you money, it can also make the whole design and build of a project much easier and quicker, as the use of one computer model to design a building encourages collaboration between teams of architects and other professionals, who are all working from the same reliable pool of information.

Building Information Modelling

What Can BIM do for me?

Don’t ask what BIM can do for you, instead ask what it can bring to your project! BIM has a number of benefits, and we’ll look at each of these in more detail:

  • Cut project costs and shorten delivery times by around 7%
  • Provide quicker, more accurate cost estimates
  • Allow architects and designers to visualise what impact changes to a building will have
  • Assist in making better decisions when creating ‘green’ buildings
  • Reduce environmental impact

BIM and the Environment

Whether you’re dedicated to reducing your company’s carbon footprint or working for a client who is involved in the environmental sector, everyone stops and listens when you say you’re working with a system that can help to create ‘green’ buildings. But what does this mean, and how can BMI actually help you to create more environmentally friendly buildings? By facilitating a collaborative approach between construction workers, designers, architects and engineers, BIM enables ideas to be shared in an open environment – changes can be made to plans before construction begins and the same pool of information is shared across teams, which means information gathered is more reliable and consistent. This ultimately means that designers can come up with ‘green’ solutions to common building issues, such as improving ventilation, creating more natural light, considering whether alternative energy sources (such as solar panels) are a viable option and improving a building’s energy efficiency, which ultimately keeps costs down for your clients. Using BIM means that the whole design and construction process is smoother – you’re virtually constructing a building twice then building it once, giving you extra time to implement new environmentally friendly initiatives and ideas before the final construction process begins.

BIM and Project Costs

So, how much money could BIM actually save you? A significant amount, actually. Consider how much time is spent reworking design flaws and trying to fix errors and now imagine how much money could be saved if those errors were ironed out before the costly construction process began? Because you can estimate project costs more quickly and more accurately, you’ll spend less time waiting around for clients to approve work, so the design and planning process can begin more quickly. You can also cut unbudgeted change costs by up to 40%, which is a huge amount for any company to be saving!

As you can see, Building Information Modelling can transform your project from a slow-moving, expensive and time consuming affair into an efficient, well-oiled machine that is completed on time and on budget (or under budget), making life easier for you and providing your clients with the high quality service they expect!

Thanks to Mark of for sharing this article. Visit their site if you need some architecture and integrated design services.

Lighting Techniques for Your Home Fri, 05 Jul 2013 14:23:32 +0000 Indoor lights provide homeowners with the necessary illumination to enjoy the comforts of home and approach their daily routines without giving a second to visibility. In generations past, people carried candles and small lanterns. Today, we have not just the luxury of automatic lighting at our disposal, but an array of lighting styles and types from which we may choose to meet the needs and set the mood of any room in our home. The concept of lighting is a little more complex than the idea of merely flipping a switch on the wall. It can be that simple, but we have so many resources and new lighting technologies at our disposal that give us the power to make any room exponentially more interesting. Here are some useful suggestions toward improving the quality of time you spend in your home by improving the
quality of light.

Reading Lights
The best angle for reading light to fall from is from behind you, slightly over your left shoulder. One very common error that people make in setting reading lamps is putting them too far to the side, rather than behind. Rather than spreading useful reading light, lamps in this position create shadows and glare that cause your eyes to tire and strain. Primary reading light should come from behind, with a secondary source of illumination at a right angle to reduce the glare.

Dining Lights
Some people enjoy being able to see what they are eating! Dining room chandeliers are beautiful, but if your table is directly beneath it, some of its embellishments might interfere with where the lightfalls at mealtime. Consider accentuating your dining room with pendant lights that will illuminate the table when it is being used. Fit them with shades that are slightly opaque to eliminate glare, and use adjustable rods that give you the power to determine how high or low they descend from the ceiling.

TV Lighting
On evenings spent watching TV, many families turn out all the sources of light completely. This tends to cause eyestrain, and people fumble over furniture, shoes, etc. when scurrying to the kitchen at commercial breaks. Contemporary TV design technologies have helped to minimize the concern, but for complete freedom from glare and eyestrain, consider positioning a freestanding lamp on one side of the set. Keep it shaded with a cover that casts the light to the floor to eliminate casting a glare on the TV. This provides the visibility and the comfort you need on movie night.

Bathroom Lights
While many toiletry mirrors have a row of lighting above them, it tends to cast shadows below your eyes when you approach them. Consider using equally watted lamps on both sides of the mirror to give you a more accurate depiction of your face when you are putting yourself together or merely touching up.

Compact Fluorescent Bulbs
In-home fluorescent lighting is not the same as industrial fluorescent lighting found in offices and public work areas. The lighting from compact fluorescent bulbs for home use produces a crisp type of illumination that is very unlike conventional fluorescent wands that make people feel institutionalized rather than at home. Consider using full-spectrum compact bulbs if you intend to create a mood that is similar the light of warm white bulbs.


About The Author:

Ingo Schaer is the President and CEO of He has been in the lighting business for more than 20 years and is holding a bachelor degree in Electrical Engineering. He regularly blogs on a variety of Modern lighting and Interior Design topics, often focusing on practical solutions. You can find him on Google +.


Tips for Non-Slip Decking Wed, 26 Jun 2013 14:16:03 +0000 It’s getting to that time of year once again, where people want to sit outside on the decking, enjoying their drinks, meals or cakes in the warmth of the sun.

At least, that’s how it should be, but with our ‘turbulent’ climate; for each sunny day there seems to be an equally wet one. That makes keeping the outdoor areas clean and safe a full-time job in itself, but one that must be attended to regularly. After all, if a patron slips over, you could be issued with a rather nasty compensation claim.

That said, there are some steps you can take to minimise accidents and reduce the amount of maintenance your decking requires. Most decking is ridged and not a smooth surface, but in the wrong weather conditions, they can still be slippery. With that in mind, here are a few tips for non-slip and anti slip decking:

Apply a non-slip coating

One of the quickest and easiest ways to increase grip is to paint on a specially-formulated coating. This coating is much like a fancy varnish, as it improves the appearance of decking strips while providing a fine-textured finish that should minimise slips. This product can be applied by anyone and should be ready for ‘traffic’ within 16 hours maximum.

Non-slip panels/ strips

These are typically cut-to-fit, screw down strips which are placed on top of the decking to provide a non-slip surface. Many of the varieties available claim to be algae resistant, which is an added bonus. They don’t need to be placed over the entire decking area; it’s possible to simply make a ‘non-slip pathway’ that leads to and from the outside entrances, if needed. Those worried that black or yellow strips might alter the look of their decking might be relieved to discover that you can also buy a beige – and far more unobtrusive alternative.

Anti-slip inserts

For those that don’t want to cover their decking all together, inserts might be the perfect solution. These are aluminium strips which are filled with aggregates to provide a rough finish. They simply fit in the grooves between your decking panels to provide a slip-resistant finish. It’s also possible to buy pre-treated decking strips where aggregates have already been added.


Of course, none of the above will be at all efficient if you don’t keep the decking area clean and tidy at all times. Fallen branches could become a trip hazard, so need to be swept away regularly. While mud, leaves and mosses shouldn’t become so thick that they obscure and render the coating or panels redundant, you can never be too cautious when public health is at stake. Therefore, keep your decking clean at all times. Jet-washing is one thing, but using a special decking cleaner will ensure that the wood is both cleaned and protected – you wouldn’t want to use the wrong sort of cleaner and damage the decking.

Now that the sun has made its first, tentative appearances, you and your customers will want to use the external areas. Provide yourself with some extra peace of mind, safe in the knowledge that your decking is non-slip by adopting some of the tips above.

Thanks to Patrick Bell for sharing this article about anti-slip decking . Patrick started his career as a writer and currently he lives in Suffolk. At present he is working in a property management company. He is also a part-time blogger and loves to share his ideas on home improvement & decoration.

Why Switch to Led Lighting Tue, 25 Jun 2013 14:18:00 +0000 LED Lighting

LED lighting brings with it a multitude of benefits that are incredibly advantageous for the user, whether they are a personal or private property-owner. The two most well-known reasons are the monetary and environmental advantages that they bring with them. The increased energy efficiency of the LED bulb means that there are fewer carbon emissions, which is extremely beneficial to the environment. However there are a number of less well-known advantages of installing LED bulbs, as listed above.

Windows and Doors – How to Make Them Fit Your Home Fri, 21 Jun 2013 03:53:09 +0000 Choosing the right windows and doors for your home is important for many reasons. The quality of the doors and windows you choose, along with the quality of the installation, can affect their longevity and how well they fit. In addition, making the right choice is also important in terms of aesthetics, as your windows and doors play a big part in the overall appearance of your home, and are in fact amongst the first things that visitors to your property see, which means they need to make a good impression.

There are many different options available when it comes to finding the right windows and doors for your home, which means that you need to consider a number of factors in order to boost your chances of making the right choice.

Factors to consider when choosing windows and doors

There are various factors that you need to consider in order to ensure you choose the right windows and doors for your home. This includes:

  1. The cost of the windows and doors: It is important to ensure that the doors and windows you buy fit in with your budget as well as with your home. You should therefore work out your maximum budget before you start looking for suitable doors and windows, as this will enable you to determine what sort of price range you should be looking at.
  2. The style of your home: You should choose doors and windows that fit in with the theme of your home. For example, if your home is contemporary and modern in terms of design and decor, you might want to consider white UPVC doors and window frames with modern window styles. If you are going for the more traditional look, you could opt for wooden doors and frames, or for extra durability wood effect UPVC.
  3. The appearance of your building: It is important to take the overall appearance of the building or home that you live in into consideration before you make your choice. If you live in an older property that looks aged, having bright white UPVS might look a bit odd, so it may be best to look at alternatives to ensure the perfect fit in terms of style.
  4. Practicality: It is also vital that you take practicality into consideration when it comes to choosing doors and windows that fit in with your home. For instance, if you live in a home where noise pollution from outdoors or cold air is a problem, you should opt for double glazed doors and windows to ensure warmth is kept in and noise is kept out.
  5. The options available: You should make sure you look at all of the options available when it comes to materials, colours, and styles, as this will make it easier to pick out doors and windows that will suit the style and decor of your home perfectly.

By choosing the right doors and windows for your home, you can make a big difference to the overall appearance of your home both inside and out.

This article was written by the team at Fashion Blinds, a window blind company.

Why Move When You Can Get a Loft Conversion? Mon, 03 Jun 2013 12:34:02 +0000 Suddenly, the house you’re living in just doesn’t seem big enough.  Maybe you have a new baby on the way, a child who has come home unexpectedly from university or a friend staying with you on a long-term basis.  Whatever your reasons for feeling like you need to move, stop right there!  There’s no reason to move when you can simply extend the space you already have in your home with a loft conversion.

Do I need Planning Permission?

It’s best to contact your local authority planning department, who are best placed to advise you if planning permission is needed for your loft conversion.  Of course, if you live in a rental property, you can’t even consider doing this without permission from the landlord – and most landlords won’t grant it, after all, it’s not your property. However, if you are a long term tenant with a good relationship with your landlord, it may be worth your while approaching them to see if this is something they might consider investing in. The loft conversion will increase the value of their property; and will secure your rental income if the lack of space is making you consider moving home.  Whilst some conversions will require planning permission and others won’t, this will depend on a range of factors including whether or not your proposed loft conversion will have a window. It’s always best to check before spending a fortune on detailed plans and architect’s plans

Should I do it myself?

Whilst it can be tempting to think that it’s easy to convert your loft without any help, you would be mistaken.  Unless you’re a qualified tradesman or will have help from friends in the industry, you need to hire a team of experts to help, and it can even be beneficial to hire an architect at the planning stages.  You’re making changes to the structure of your home, and this is not an area where you want to be taking risks of any kind.

What will it Cost?

It is usually far cheaper to get a loft conversion than to move house – consider some of the costs that will be involved in your move:

  • Estate agency fees (for both selling and purchasing)
  • Stamp duty
  • Mortgage arrangement fees
  • Removal and packing equipment costs
  • Loans to cover a cash shortfall (such as a bridging loan)

As you can see, there are many expenses associated with moving, and this is just the start.  The property market in the UK is on the rise this year, with more people purchasing than in 2012 – mortgage rates are more reasonable than they have been since the recession, and so in theory it should be easy enough to sell your home.  However, depending on the location of your property, it could take anywhere from a few months to over a year to sell – do you really want to be waiting around for that to happen, and compromising on living space whilst you do so?  When you consider that the average loft conversion takes less than 8 weeks to complete from start to finish and could add more than 10% to the value of your home, it’s definitely worthwhile investing in a loft conversion rather than wasting time and money moving house.

Converting your loft into a living or sleeping space is a great way to make the most of space that’s already present in your home.  Cheaper than moving house and a great project to sink your teeth into this summer, a loft conversion is the perfect solution for those who are feeling short of space – no packing boxes and removal vans required!

This article was written by the team at Prolink, a removal company based in Ireland.

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Tile Shower Costing Thu, 30 May 2013 07:20:11 +0000 What is a New Tile Shower Going to Cost

Putting a new tile shower will defiantly add beauty to your bathroom. Tile showers are the things that would add value to your home. There are lots of factors that you need to consider when considering a tiled shower. The choice of tile depends on the placement and suitability. There are several reasons why homeowners decide to put a new tile shower. It may be due to mud resistance, aesthetics and any other reason. If you are thinking of doing some remodeling and to spend for new tile shower here are some things to keep in mind.

How much does it cost?

The cost of materials for a new tile shower depends on how big the area is. First you may need to calculate the area of the shower and then compute how much tiles you need.

On average, a basic tiling installation may have an average cost per square foot of $6 to $9. Ceramic tile, for instance, can cost $1 to $5 per tile depending on the materials used to make the tile. Home Depot has a tile calculator to determine how much it would cost for materials alone. Installation costs will depend on the area and could range from $275 to $600 for the most basic installation.

What will a professional do?

Depending on the kind of tiles you have it may include full mud installation, designer and elegant appearance, decorative patterns and accents. Installation work may include subfloor leveling. It may also include installation of backer board, thin set mortar, grout, grout sealer and structural modification.

What are the extra costs to think about?

Extra costs in installing tile showers may include other work needed to insure that the installation will last longer. One of the extra costs is an extensive structural modification or subfloor leveling. It is important to level the floor if it is seen as uneven. Homeowners may need to shell out more money just to spend on floors that are not structurally sound thus will impact the life and the quality of the installed tiles. It may become less expensive to have the structural defects fixed than to install the tiles removed because the structure is unstable.

Factors affecting the price

There are several factors that affecting the price which includes the location of the property. The price of the remodeler contractors’ contract may be lower in suburbs and towns compared to the big city. The prices of materials may be lower in big cities compared to small ones. The area of the shower will also impact the price. The larger showers may need to have more tiles thus increasing the amount to be spent on materials. The area also impacts the contract price of the installation.

If you‘re thinking about getting a tiled shower, always make sure that you get at least three to four quotes. When doing so, make sure that the contractor is licensed and insured. It also doesn’t hurt to get a few before and after pictures to see what kind of work they exactly do. By doing this you can be assured that you’re hiring one of the best professionals in your town.

Thanks to Inez Vaughn from for sharing these tips. Her website is able to tell you exactly what things are going to cost in life. Whether it’s that tile shower or a new remodeling project, you can browse through 3,000 cost helping guides.

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How Homeowners Can Improve the Value of Their Homes with Kitchen Renovations Wed, 29 May 2013 13:44:37 +0000 If you’re considering a home renovation, the number one question you need to ask yourself is this: will you see a return on the money you’re putting into your home? We’d like to think that all renovations will add value to a home, but the truth is that it’s not always the case. It’s crucial that you be wise with your renovations to that you get back what you put in—if not more.

One place that you’re nearly always going to see a return on investment is with the kitchen. In fact, did you know that you can expect to see anywhere between a 50-90 percent return on the money you put into your kitchen? Sounds like a pretty sweet deal, right? Well, it sure can be. And according to the Annual BMO Home Renovation Report for Canada in 2012, about half of all homeowners planned to renovate that year, with the vast majority focusing on projects they felt would generate the biggest returns…kitchens being a top priority.

DIY and Your Kitchen—Good Idea or Bad idea?

Some people will try to squeeze every dollar they can out of their investment. To do so, they’ll try to undertake their kitchen remodel on their own. In most cases, this simply isn’t recommended. Unless you have lots of experience, chances are the project is going to be a lot more work than you anticipated.

There’s a reason why contractors charge such high rates—the work is difficult. There are so many things that can go wrong. Take something as simple as joining two pipes together under a sink. If you don’t use the right sealants and align the pipes just so, you’re looking at a water leak that could cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars down the road. Your best bet is to bring in a construction company that knows what they’re doing. Pay a little extra up front now and save yourself a lot of time, money, and heartache in the future.

Things to Consider for Your Kitchen Remodel

Looking for some ideas of how to take your kitchen to the next level? Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Add a sink to that island. Many kitchen remodels open up the space and add an island. But imagine how convenient it would be to have an extra sink in that island. This will be a great benefit when it comes time to sell your home. But again, you don’t want to try this on your own, as the plumbing can prove tricky.
  • New countertops. From the tried and true granite to custom concrete or wood grain, new countertops will make potential buyers swoon.
  • More storage. You can never have too much storage. If you’re considering new cabinets, do it!
  • Go energy efficient. More and more homeowners in Canada who renovate are focusing on making everything energy efficient. For example, you can install an energy efficient, variable speed exhaust fan to clear fumes in the quickest, most eco-friendly manner possible. Check the Energy Star website for the newest, most efficient models.

 Get the Highest Return Possible

You’re going to make a nice return if you handle your kitchen remodel properly. Be wise, get good help, and remember to go energy efficient!

Thanks to Emily of Procraft Construction for sharing these tips.
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Furnishing a Small Master Bedroom Tue, 28 May 2013 14:32:01 +0000 Okay, so where are my dedicated readers? If you’re a fan of my posts, perhaps you remember the bathroom article written for those of us with very small vanities. The main solution to that issue, as my fans will recall, was to only set out the bare necessities, and store all the rest behind closed doors. When space is scarce, we need to pare down the amount of objects… or furniture… we’re thinking about for a space. Small bedrooms are no different in this aspect of the situation. Think about the absolute necessities you need in a bedroom. Clothes storage, a nightstand, chair or bench, and your bed. The rest would be extras on an -if you can fit them- basis only.

Remember that function is the most important aspect of interior design, especially in space planning, or laying out your floor plan. It seems that when space is limited, homeowners have an awful habit of pushing the bed into the corner of the room. The only thing that achieves is making it near impossible to make the bed without crawling on top of it, wrinkling the once crisp sheets. Place a small 18”x18” nightstand in the corner instead, and push the bed next to it. This allows for some breathing room, and just enough space to get behind the bed to fix the bedding. Pulling furniture away from the wall will create a floating layout, which tends to feel more open. With the nightstand in the corner, you’ve created a place for a reading lamp within your reach too! Place a proportionate piece of art above the table and lamp, or even a small decorative wall mirror, to reflect the light.

This bedroom is small in size, but doesn’t lack anything in style!   This is a rather minimalist approach to the master bedroom, however it looks airy, energetic and clean.  Nothing cramped here!  Keeping a simple color palette is great advice for small rooms, but that does not mean you have to stick to beige and white.  This homeowner does it right with calm olive greens and browns.  The lively orange adds punch and character in just the right dosage.

Jacque Link is a featured writer for Unique Online Furniture, where you can find the widest selection of bathroom glass vessel sinks and corresponding bath and shower sets to match!

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Practical and Stylish Tips for Furnishing Your Nursery Tue, 28 May 2013 14:22:17 +0000 Furnishing a nursery should be an exciting time in your life. It signifies a new baby and a new beginning. The choice of nursery furniture is vast; luckily there is furniture to suit all tastes and budgets. But what do we really need?

A newborn baby needs to eat, sleep and have his or her nappy changed. For the first few weeks or months he or she may well sleep in a Moses basket, or a cot in your room, which is helpful if the nursery is not quite ready!

Moses baskets are practical as the baby can be carried from room to room and they take up little space. Also, the newborn baby may feel more snug and secure inside one.

Once your baby has outgrown the Moses Basket you need to decide whether to opt for a cot or a cot bed. The latter transforms into a bed by taking down the sides, it therefore has a longer life span. The logistics depend on further babies you may have and what their sleeping needs will be.

Other essential nursery furniture you need is a changing area. There are several options, from a changing table, which is a chest of drawers with a changing area on the top, to cot top changers, which fit on top of the bed and are ideal if you are short of space. You may opt for an open dresser, which has open shelving to store changing items. Keep all those changing essentials together in one place: in drawers, on shelves or in storage baskets.

Ideally you will have a chair in the nursery to give you a little comfort when seeing to your baby’s needs during the night. It is hard enough getting up several times in the night, at least give yourself a little luxury!

Good storage can hide a mountain of clutter! Your baby will quickly amass vast quantities of stuff; clothes, blankets, toys, books, and lots of beautiful and noisy presents from friends and family.
Shelving may be good for displaying decorative gifts and is somewhere to put useful items like a baby monitor or nursery temperature gauge. Toys can be stored in baskets or storage boxes and those items that are not required immediately can be kept elsewhere. A wardrobe may contain a good shelving unit inside it; else you may just choose a chest of drawers.

Nursery Furniture
Buying a good quality set of nursery furniture is an investment. You may have more than one child and it will last for years. If it is well maintained it can be kept for your children to use in years to come or it can be sold.

If you are on a budget consider buying second hand items, painting existing furniture and customising it to suit your tastes.

Finally, decorating a nursery is your chance to indulge. You may or may not know the sex of your baby, which could influence your colour scheme. It is advisable not to go overboard on a fairy or teddy bear theme. Babies grow up and tastes change. It is more practical to keep the walls simple and personalise the décor with accessories such as pictures, cushions, stickers and bedding. These are easier to change as tastes change.

Nurture your creative passion, enjoy choosing your nursery furniture and try and find some time to relax in there with your new baby.

Written by Rachel Bradbury at Custard and Crumble who sells a range of stylish nursery furniture for equipping your baby’s nursery.