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Cold Winter Months – How to Save on Your Energy Bills

Posted on 13 February 2017 by editor

One of the easiest and most simplest ways of saving money on your energy bills during the cold winter months is to make your home more efficient. You can easily reduce the heat loss through your roof by adding insulation in between the joists in your loft. Many older house typically only have 100mm of loft insulation. Today’s building control recommendations is for your home to have 300mm of suitable loft insulation. Local suppliers such as Wickes often have offers on loft insulation (3 for 2 deals) and you can buy 100mm and 200mm top up insulation in rolls. 3 rolls will be enough for the average home. So for about £40-45 you can significantly improve the roof insulation.

If you have loft insulation between your joists and you go into your loft during the winter months, your loft should be cold. If it’s warm, it’s because you don’t have sufficient insulation and you are losing heat through the ceiling. When installing loft insulation you need to make sure that you do NOT push the insulation as far as you can into the eaves. Air should be able to pass through your soffits and into your lost space by having an appropriate gap over the wall plate (this is the piece of timber the roof trusses sit on, on top of the blockwork). This will help prevent condensation. If you have condensation on the inside of your roof felt, then you have poor airflow.

The aim is to fully insulate the loft, but not at the expense of preventing airflow as this can cause other issues.

You can buy eaves vents, these are simple plastic corrugated sheets that sit in between the roof trusses and prevent the loft insulation from pushing up against the roofing felt and blocking the airflow. They are available in long rolls, and cost around £3.30 for 10m.

It would also be advisable to ensure that your loft trap is also insulated. Although timber has good thermal properties, most older house just have a plywood loft trap. This is not sufficient, and we de recommend improving the insulation of the trap. The alternate, but more expensive option is to replace the loft trap for a modern one. Building control now require loft traps to be made of metal, airtight, good thermal insulation and they are required to meet 30 mins of fire resistance.

Of course, keeping the warm air out of your loft, means that any water pipes and tanks are exposed to colder temperatures. You need to make sure that any pipes are cladded and water tanks are well insulated. This will help avoid burst water pipes in the loft.

Drafts are another problem in the winter months. One of the best draft excluders for your door is EPDM rubber. These can be purchased in long rolls, and you simply stick them around your door frames to create a really good seal when doors are closed.

This advice has been brought to you by RT Heating & Plumbing in Tamworth. They specialise in bathroom installations and central heating services / repairs.


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Birmingham unveil £4bn transport plan

Posted on 17 November 2014 by editor

Birmingham City Council has unveiled a £4bn transport plan including new tram lines, high speed bus network and building new train stations. The 20 year plan have yet to be completely financed, but further funding is expected to come from Government and European sources.

Some of the plans being considered are a new super tunnel and an upgraded ring road.

Birmingham is considered to have poor inner city transport systems, and is fraught with congestion. This is primarily caused by the 1 million car journeys made into Birmingham each day. In the next 20 years it is estimated there will be 80,000 more vehicles if alternative transport systems are not put in place.

Some of the plans feature:

  • Rapid Transit Bus routes include a further 9 routes, priority lanes, 20mph average speeds and cashless payments
  • New Metro lines including links to Birmingham Airport, NEC and the new HS2 station in Digbeth

John Peters, who travels into Birmingham each day by car describes the current system as “dire” and welcomes upgraded transport plans. “Changes are urgently required, the current road network is barely sufficient, so with further cars estimated in the future, the road network desperately need to be relieved by improvements in other transport areas.”

For the second year running the Queensway Tunnels have been upgraded during the summer months, with improvements to the lighting and ventilation system.

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LIchfield Estate Agents seeks to transform the market

Posted on 15 May 2014 by editor

The estate agency industry has long attracted an abundance of negative publicity due to unethical trading and poor customer service. Turner Sales and Lettings are a small independent estates and lettings agency based in Lichfield and are about to transform the local industry by offering unrivalled service and competitive fees. They don’t have a traditional bricks and mortar shop front like most agents, instead they have a heavy presence online. With 90% of buyers now using their smart phones and tablets to search for property, the need for a shop front and high newspaper advertising costs are a thing of the past.

Their unrivalled service includes the use of professional photography. You only have to trawl agency websites to see that most if not all photography is undertaken by individuals who have little or no training with the use of a camera. Out of focus, poor exposure, bad composition are just some of the most common errors you see with images taken by estate agents, and this means that your home is not being showcased to it’s full potential.  Because online websites allow multiple images to be displayed for each property, Turner Sales and Lettings believe that professional photography is a very important component when it comes to advertising your home because it’s first impressions that are going to get viewings. Another aspect of their service includes ethical advice, including recommendations to declutter and remove personal items from your home before viewings. This helps those viewing your property to picture themselves living at the address, and if you have a running machine in the living room, this will do very little to convince them your home is perfect for them.

“Viewings are part and parcel of the estate agency industry. What’s alarming is that many agencies don’t provide accompanied viewings, in other words they leave the seller to undertake the appointment and escort the potential buyers around the property.” said Mary Meacham. “We do not do this. In fact we appoint a dedicated property consultant when you instruct us. This individual will be present at all viewings and will be fully responsible for accompany the potential buyer around your home. Because we don’t have rigid opening hours like other agencies, we are available 24/7 and will undertake viewings at times that suit the seller and buyer rather than our own convenience.”

“Communication is an integral part of our business. We always provide continuous follow up and feedback throughout the selling process including the around the crucial completion date. It’s this level of customer service that our clients want. They don’t want to have to pick the phone up and call us because they are left in the dark.” Mary explained.

Lichfield was recently announced as the 17th least affordable city to reside in. One of only 3 cities outside the south east. You can read more in this story here.

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Chinese Firms invest in Birmingham and the Midlands

Posted on 14 October 2013 by editor

Birmingham and the Midlands has become a firm favourite with Chinese investors as more high profile takeovers have been announced. Since chinese firm Nanjing Automotive acquired MG Rover some 8 years ago, the midlands has seen a rise in takeovers.

Another more recent takeover has been at the Coventry based London Taxi Company (LTI) which was bought by Chinese car maker Geely.

NVC Lighting, one of the biggest manufacturers of its kind in China recently set up a large manufacturing warehouse in Rubery – drawn there because of the easy transport links to the M5, M6, M42 and M40.

LTI also recently brought the collapsed firm LDV vans.

Experts believe the West Midlands offers good investment opportunities for yet more Chinese firms.

According to Business Birmingham’s Regional Observatory, the Greater Birmingham and Solihull enterprise zone saw an 88% increase in foreign investment projects in 2012-13, creating more than 2,000 new jobs.

Business Birmingham has targeted China as potentially one of its largest sources of investment, employing someone there to sell the West Midlands to the Chinese as a place to do business.

According to the Department of Trade and Industry, the value of Chinese investments across the country rose last year, with an increase in the number of new or safeguarded jobs as a result.

LTI is further evidence that China has a large role to play in the West Midlands.

Its new Chinese owners are looking to expand production and move into a new factory somewhere in the Coventry area.

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Advertise Jobs for FREE

Posted on 08 October 2013 by editor

Do you have jobs you want to advertise? We will allow you to advertise jobs for free on birminghamnewsplus in return that you mention, share and promote your jobs on our website by pasting the following HTML code on your website:

<a href=””>Find our Jobs on Birmingham News Plus</a>

or, simply share this page on twitter, facebook or google+ using the share button below.

It really is that simple. All we ask is that you tell others about our website by using the above HTML code, plus you share on twitter, facebook and any other social media platform.

Posts will normally go live within 48 hours. We accept vacancies in microsoft word format, acrobat pdf, excel, rich text format, plain text format or on the body of an email. Please remember to include your closing date. In the event that this is not included, posts will be removed within 28 days.

Simply send your vacancies by email to:

Advertise Jobs for FREE is at the discretion of the editor and birminghamnewsplus reserves the right to reject adverts if they do not meet our diversity standards.

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Monarch Airlines plans to recruit 300

Posted on 21 November 2012 by editor

Monarch Airlines has announced plans to create up to 300 jobs at Birmingham Airport.

Mick Adams, Managing Director of Monarch Aircraft Engineering said the construction of a new hangar at Birmingham Airport would create 150 jobs initially, with the possibility of another 150 later including apprenticeships.

The hanger which is due to be completed by the end of 2013, will be larger than Wembley Stadium and large enough to accommodate two Boeing 777-300ER aircraft or 10 narrow-body aircraft.

Monarch Airport is based at six UK airports including Gatwick and Luton.

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Unemployment fails to fall in Birmingham

Posted on 17 October 2012 by editor

Recent figures released by the government reveals that the number of people out of work in the UK has declined for Sept 2012 from 8.1% to 7.9%. However, Ladywood, Hodgehill and Sparkbrook areas of Birmingham all failed to show progression. With over 10% in Ladywood and Hodgehill currently unemployed and figures for Sparkbrook are only marginly lower. All three areas have remained stagnant for the year.

The government said it was positive news, but Labour highlighted the growing numbers of people in temporary or part-time work because they could not get full-time, permanent jobs.

The ONS figures show that some 1.57 million people claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance in September, a fall of 4,000 on the previous month.

A combination of more jobs being created and more people entering the workforce pushed the absolute number of people in employment to 29.6 million, the highest since these records began in 1971.

The percentage of people in work rose to 71.3%, the best rate since April 2009. “It’s a real landmark to see more people in work than ever before,” Employment Minister Mark Hoban said.

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Birmingham Tops UK Cities in Latest Construction Survey

Posted on 16 October 2012 by editor

In a recent survey undertaken by The Drivers Jonas Deloitte 2012, measuring construction forecasts output for five major cities, Birmingham has been identified as the best performing city. The five UK cities included are Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Birmingham boasts 56% of all new construction output with 14 new starts scheduled, a rise in 6 from the previous year. The new starts include:  The Pallasades Shopping Centre and John Lewis store, the New Street Station re-development and various educational constructions at Aston University, UCB and BCU.

The survey, which takes place annually with data collected from July to August, monitors development activity across the office, retail, residential, student housing, education, leisure and hotel sectors.

Remarkably, out of the five cities, Birmingham was the only city to record an increase in new construction starts.

Overall, there is a 36% national decrease of activity (in comparison with the previous year) proving that overall economic difficulties in the UK and the construction industry as a whole, prevail. However, positively for Birmingham, 14 of the total 25 new starts are in the city (56%).

Philippa Pickavance, Head of Agency, Drivers Jonas Deloitte, said: “The results of the Crane Survey are always a good measure of the development activity in a region and the increase in activity across Birmingham is reflective of the attitude of the local business and economy in driving the city forward through investment, even in tough times.

Where other cities across the UK are seeing no new development in many sectors, with the exception of the thriving student housing sectors, Birmingham continues to move forwards with development across all sectors, albeit with the previously active residential and office sectors more muted.”

On a positive note the market is good for occupiers who are looking to move as there are some good deals to be had. In addition, we still have some good quality new stock already on site where Hines are the main developer at Two Snowhill, which will deliver Wragge’s new offices in early 2013 and will also see 120,678 sq. ft. available to let.

Hines/Moorfield have embarked on the substantial refurbishment of Five Brindleyplace, which includes providing additional space to provide a 134,000 sq. ft. building, along with creation of improved public domain area externally. This represents one of the two new commercial space starts in the city this year, the other being 16,000 sq. ft. of offices at the Mint scheme.”

Bruce Hartle, representing the Construction Industry Sub-contractors, said: “These results are very positive for the construction industry in Birmingham. The industry has suffered dramatically in the recession, but this report signals some very positive growth for contractors and sub-contractors looking for work in the city.”

The 2012 survey forecasts that student housing schemes and education projects are showing the most active construction sectors – it is thought to be because of universities trying to attract fee paying students.

Although activity in the commercial and residential sectors are low, Birmingham by comparison is the best performing region in the residential sector due to two new starts that represent the total residential new starts for all five cities in the survey.

Bruce Hartle, 265a Stratford Road, Shirley, Solihull, West Midlands, B90 3AL. Tel: 0121 733 8511


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