The Homebuilding & Renovating Show in Somerset presents the latest trends in construction technology.
Radiant heating, under-floor heating, pre-insulated walls and solar energy the most prominent features on display
The Homebuilding & Renovating Show Somerset, primarily organised by the magazine of the same name, visited Shepton Mallet, Somerset on 19th and 20th November. The aim of the weekend was to showcase the latest technologies and concepts in housing design and building. There was opportunity to discuss housing issues with experts, as well as experience master-classes in everything from repairing a drain to project-managing an entire house-building project.
Heating a priority
Especially at this time of year, heating is on the forefront of peoples’ minds, and indeed the Homebuilding & Renovating Show Somerset didn’t disappoint in terms of presenting the most interesting and innovative ideas on how to heat your home in an efficient and cost-effective way. The two most prominent types of product on show were under-floor heating and radiant heating. Under-floor heating products, which are installed as the norm in Korea, have gone through a rapid shift in their performance, as new and more effective systems have been devised from the old-fashioned and inefficient simple heated pipe system. Radiant heating is a new and exciting concept which goes against the common wisdom that “heat rises”!
Simple, quick and effective ready-insulated walls?
SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels) were invented in the USA in the 1930s, and are very commonly used there, as well as in Northern parts of Europe where houses require top-quality protection against the cold. Acting as a prefabricated cavity wall of sorts, SIPs can potentially offer a very strong, energy-efficient and quick-to-build alternative to modern forms of wall construction. At the Homebuilding & Renovating Show Somerset, I was interested to hear that they have really caught on in the construction trade, and indeed there is now a large catalogue of different types of SIP to choose from.
Environmentally-friendly solutions’ dominance no surprise
As expected, environmentally-friendly energy was high on the list of priorities at the Homebuilding & Renovating Show Somerset. In particular, various stands presented solar products, and it was good to see that the market demand for such environmentally-friendly solutions has created a very strong and competitive market in which innovation is prominent.
Air Source Heat Pumps, which transform air from outside into heat for buildings’ water and heating systems, were also featured. It is clever ideas such as these that we will undoubtedly see dominate the construction market in the future. As demand grows in the more environmentally-aware modern market and prices become more affordable, these innovations will undoubtedly grace a much higher percentage of Britain’s homes.
The impact on Home Buyers Survey advice
With each new idea that is implemented into a house, a Surveyor needs to take a fresh look at the building as a whole. Building Surveys are a holistic study of how a building works and its state, and as the 'law of unintended consequences' suggests, changes to one aspect can impact negatively elsewhere.
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Home Buyers Surveys, in particular, give a detailed breakdown of the features of the house, in order to present a full picture of any repairs, replacements or improvements needed.
A Home Buyers Survey considers issues as wide-ranging as:
- maintenance required for different aspects of the building
- costs of repair and replacement and how often this will be necessary
- energy efficiency of the heating and lighting systems in the house
- how safe the property is to live in, and any health issues
All of these elements are important, and a Home Buyers Survey is the most efficient way to instruct a Surveyor to present you with a comprehensive and holistic report of the building which you intend to purchase.
If you intend to install any of the cutting-edge technologies and methods in the property you wish to buy, ask your surveyor to consider the cost and viability of these solutions. There's no point paying for the installation of a modern heating system if the particular construction of the home would render the benefit negligible.
Forthcoming features will take a closer look at each of the types of product discussed here.