As we brace ourselves for more rain and with parts of the country still on flood alert, others are dealing with the deluge of damage caused by the recent floods. Here are our tips on what to do if you live in an area at risk and find that flood water may be heading your way …
It is important to collect key documentation in a safe place upstairs. This includes insurance documents and helpline numbers, plus personal telephone book for relatives and friends, and a local directory for contacting tradesmen and the emergency services. You may also like to ensure passports and driving documents are safeguarded as well as bank, mortgage and credit card details.
Turn off gas, electricity and water supplies at the mains. Unplug all electrical items and store upstairs. If possible cover doors, windows and airbricks with plywood, metal sheeting or sandbags, which may be available from your local council. Take as many items of furniture and precious possessions as possible upstairs.
Where possible take photographs of your rooms. This will not only provide evidence to support any claim, but will remind you of what you have lost.
It is vital to keep abreast of the latest flood warnings and weather forecasts either via the Met Office website www.metoffice.gov.uk or television and radio broadcasts. The Environment Agency also operates a Floodline on 0845 988 1188 for up-to-date flood warnings.
The Department for Energy and Climate Change have reported since the December 12th deadline the number of solar pv installations dropped by a staggering 98% based on figures for the week prior to the 12th.
The figures released by the DECC illustrate the boom following the Government’s announcement to cut the FiT rate on 31st October and how in just 6 weeks the UK more than doubled its capacity, with 43% of 2011’s capacity being put in place after the announcement.
The deadline has no doubt been devastating for a considerable amount of our clients but the requirement for our desktop appraisals since the deadline shows that installations are still going ahead, albeit at a much slower pace.
Our figures for November showed that out of all desktop appraisals undertaken for that month, 83% passed successfully with no strengthening works being required.
To find out how we can help you and provide the MCS installer’s clients’ with complete peace of mind, check out our services for solar pv installers here or call to speak to one of our advisors on 0800 027 5130.
As the nights draw in it’s time to prepare our homes for the winter chill, sub-zero temperatures, wind and rain.
Storm, flood and escape of water from frozen pipes are the biggest risk to homes in the winter months.
Adequately winter-proofing your home will make sure you aren’t left counting the cost and can also have the added benefit of reducing both your fuel bill’s and your CO2 emissions.
Prevention is key; most cases are preventable, it’s all about locating the problem and fixing it before it’s made worse by the ravages of the winter season.
- Pipes – the first step is to check lagging on water pipes and cisterns in unheated areas.
- Stop Tap – make sure you know the location of your stop tap so that you can turn off in an emergency – make sure stop taps are in good working order.
- Dripping Taps – should be repaired,
- Central Heating – get your boiler serviced prior to the onset of winter. If you are going away for the weekend, it’s a good idea to leave your central heating on low to prevent pipes freezing.
- Roof Tiles – check for any loose or missing tiles as you don’t want any rain coming in.
- Guttering – clear the build up of leaves to prevent rainwater spilling over, check the ends of guttering for blockages. Icicles hanging from guttering in a cold spell are also an indication of where your gutters may be blocked or leaking.
- Creeper plants – these can cause cracks in exterior brickwork which can be exacerbated if moisture gets in and then freezes.
- Tree branches – overhanging branches should be pruned back to avoid potential damage to your property.
- Chimneys – if using a wood burning stove or real fire, remember to get your chimney swept regularly as a blocked chimney is a major fire risk.
- Loft insulation – fitting insulation and draft excluders will not only keep your house warm but also reduce your energy bills.
- Finally, remember to check your building and contents insurance policies are up to date!
The use of solar PV systems is not only hugely cost effective by savings on your energy bills, but can also offer a form of investment with the introduction of the feed in tariff.
The FiT scheme is available for people who have solar panels, wind turbines and other forms of electrical micro generation technology installed in their homes.
To qualify for the FiT system, the solar PV systems must be installed by an MCS accredited installer and supplier.
The key benefits of the FiT are:-
generation tariff – in which your energy supplier gives money for every unit of electricity produced
export tariff – a payment of approx 3p/Kwh for all excess generated electricity exported to the grid
energy bill savings – by using the power from the installed technology there is less dependence of the conventional electrical power supplied by the grid
To find out more, visit the Department of Energy & Climate Change & see Kevin McCloud speaking on DECC at EcoBuild.
A week of marketing has paid off at Brewsters, the launch of our new Desktop Appraisal for Solar PV installations has exceeded our expectations.
The product is aimed mainly at MCS accredited contractors and has proven a great hit. Not only does the homeowner get peace of mind that their roof has been professionally checked and structurally appraised but the installer also shows compliance with guidelines in the case of an MCS audit.
The key to the success has definitely been the low fee Brewsters are charging for the desk top appraisal. The installers provide us with the photographs, measurements and roof member sizes and our time is spent doing what we do best, calculating the suitability of roofs to accept the increased weight from PV panels rather than racing around country. We’ve also prepared a number of commercial products although a site visit is often required and a number of schools and factories have already been inspected.
For more information on our latest desktop products which start from £75.00 + VAT or commercial roof appraisals for PV systems, please contact the Brewsters Sales Team on 0800 027 5130.
Often we face the difficult task of having to find a tradesman, quite often in a hurry, whether it’s a plumber, electrician or builder that’s needed. Cowboy builders are people who carry out work without having the necessary know how, training or certification and can cause you much frustration and costly bills when work is done badly.
Here are some tips to consider when choosing your contractor:
Recommendation The most reassuring way to choose a tradesman is to go by recommendation. It’s important to take the time to ask someone you know who had similar work done for recommendation. If you don’t know anyone who has had similar work done, then be sure to ask your prospective builders who they worked for last and where and if you could contact them for a recommendation? Any reputable tradesman will gladly offer a selection of recommendations, remember, their past clients have the answers to your questions.
With the growing demand for solar panel installations, we’ve recently launched a range of products designed specifically to suit the needs of MCS accredited installers.
Our team of structural engineers and surveyors aim to handle your project swiftly and with minimum disruption to the homeowner and the sales process.
With desk-top appraisals starting from £75 + VAT and visits & reports from as little as £180 + VAT, call us today on 0800 027 5130 and find out how we can help you.
View our fact sheets for more information:
Brewster’s solar panel services for commercial buildings
Brewster’s solar panel desktop appraisals
Brewster’s solar panel services for domestic properties
Following an audit earlier this month in which Brewsters were reviewed against the Investors in People standard (having originally achieved the award in 2005) we are very pleased to announce that we have once again sucessfully met the requirements of the standard.
With very clear vision, strategy, objectives and staff engagement our committment to Investing in our People has enabled us to improve our business and keep our plans for expansion on track.
Our sister company ‘Auger’, site investigation and drainage specialists, featured in last night’s C4 Sarah Beeny show in which she helps a couple who fear their house is sinking. We proudly watched on as Iain took to the camera like a pro and assisted Sarah in investigating the cause of the subsidence and recommendations for repair.
For those who missed the show, see Iain in action here and learn how important it is to get a strucutural report done before you enter into any contractual arrangements when purchasing a property.
If you have cracks appearing or any other signs of movement give us a call now and find out how Brewsters team of structural engineers and surveyors can help you or find out more about our structural reports here.
Don’t miss the next show, Thursday at 8:00pm, C4!
Renewable energy sources such as solar energy are increasingly being favoured by homeowners over fossil fuels.
With so much emphasis on going green Brewsters surveying practice have launched 3 new products aimed at MCS accredited solar panel installers and have been busy surveying roof frame suitability for solar panel installation all over the UK.
In a conscious effort to reduce our carbon footprint and in working towards our ISO 14001 our very own ‘Green Committee’ have organised having solar panels installed here at our head office ‘Scotia House’ and we can’t wait to start creating our own power!
If you’re thinking of installing solar panels but don’t know where to start or are concerned if your roof is strong enough, give us a call to find out how we can help you.