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Changing Our Surroundings

Professional Shopfitting Service and Retail Store Fit Out Contractors, Project Management Specialists

 

cafeIt’s been a rocky time for cafés, bars and restaurants thanks to the Coronavirus, as places where people meet each other and relax are out of bounds during lockdown. The latest measures are in place until at least mid February, but there is some optimism due to the arrival of vaccines. The latest rules say that people can only leave home for certain reasons permitted in law. These include shopping for essentials or getting to work if it’s absolutely impossible to work from home. Other acceptable reasons are for exercise, to seek medical assistance like getting a Covid test, or to escape domestic abuse.

Cases of the disease are on the rise everywhere, and the new variant is not only more transmissible, but now they believe, more deadly. In fact, if the situation continues, there is a real risk of the NHS becoming overwhelmed in many areas. The hospitality sector has suffered significantly in the last year, and closures have been widespread. Essential shops are allowed to open during lockdown, and there is some confusion about what this means.

The guidelines say that food shops, pharmacies, supermarkets and garden centres are among those that may stay open. Those that must remain closed are the likes of homeware and clothing stores, tobacconists, vape shops, card shops, betting shops and car showrooms [unless for rental]. This is just part of a long list. People can still order takeaway food, and several establishments have been able to adjust. Cafés, pubs, restaurants and other venues may provide food and non alcoholic drinks for takeaway before 11pm. Although alcoholic drinks are a no no for these services.

Many businesses are taking this opportunity to upgrade or make changes to their premises, using specialists such as our associate business TK Retail Design. Some of these modifications may be as a result of the pandemic, with companies thinking ahead. TK Retail Design have a vast expertise in transforming spaces for a stunning and highly functional outcome.

 

National Contracts for Major Retail Developments, Store Design, New Build, Refurbishment.

The Endless Versatility of Steel

 

Professional Shopfitting Service and Retail Store Fit Out Contractors, Project Management Specialists

 

steelYou would be hard pushed to find a material as useful and versatile as steel, used widely in all industries. It is the material behind the toughest, most colossal steel bridge as well as the finest precision designed surgeons scalpel. Endlessly manipulable steel can be fashioned into practical and necessary components or spectacular and beautiful artworks. We use steel in our everyday lives in an infinite number of ways, shaped, polished and moulded into cars, refrigerators, saucepans, locks, lamps, furniture, tin cans etc. The list goes on as steel makes our lives easier, whatever the item or appliance there is usually some part of it that contains a form of steel.

Around 70% of steel is produced by reducing iron ores to iron, also called hot metal or pig iron. Then the iron is converted to steel, cast and rolled finally ending up as coil, bars or plate sections. As most produced steel remains in use for decades, there is always a demand for recycled steel. Once steel structures are no longer wanted, they are generally dismantled, melted down and recycled. This is typically the way things have been done in the past, but there is now a definite push towards reusing steel.

Recycling steel can be a costly process as well as not all that environmentally friendly, which is why reusing the material is an excellent option. Of the thousands of construction projects carried out within the UK, many are cancelled for one reason or another. This surplus steel would at one time have been melted down as a matter of course. However, there has been a rethink, and where possible, sections are reclaimed, bolts removed and girders etc are primed ready for their new function.

The change will benefit forward thinking companies within the industry such as Salford Engineering. There are still a few issues around re-using steel, such as the quality of the existing steel, which has to be up to standard. According to the Steel Construction Institute (SCI), the steel must have been produced after 1970. There can also be no evidence of fire or impact damage, which could affect the material’s integrity.

 

National Contracts for Major Retail Developments, Store Design, New Build, Refurbishment

Hatfield Transformation

Professional Shopfitting Service and Retail Store Fit Out Contractors, Project Management Specialists

 

Mini Digger HireThere is a bit of a ‘new normal’ these days in so many aspects of our lives, and where we live is a major one! We have had to rethink our priorities a little, and one of the ways in which people are starting to adjust, is in the type of places we live. City centres have always been appealing to many, thanks to offices, cafés, bars, gyms, museums, cinemas and shops. With the current health crisis, these areas are now less desirable, that’s when they are even open for business.

Those seeking new homes are increasingly seeking a more spacious location, although the countryside can have it’s disadvantages too. Public transport can be patchy, internet connections may be hit and miss and amenities can be few and far between. A popular solution to this issue is the regeneration of places like Hatfield, combining high quality homes with plenty of green space.

There are exciting plans to transform the High View area of Hatfield, by creating 150 homes and 19 retail units. As well as the homes and outlets, the proposal includes a doctor’s surgery and children’s play area. The locale in question has experienced significant problems due to things like old deteriorated buildings, unused abandoned public spaces, and badly designed servicing areas.

The 45m program is hoped to stop the decline in it’s tracks and create a more ‘des res’ environment by 2031. Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council wish to achieve a ‘social heart’ for the borough’s residents and students. They want to deliver a strong community feel supported by excellent facilities and spaces with work carried out by contractors Lovell. One of the changes features the creation of a new street with carefully designed landscaping, and the whole site will benefit from the planting of many trees.

Many professional and private building companies in Hatfield use the services of leading specialists Rhinos Plant Hire. This means reliable, highly maintained state of the art machinery, tools and equipment for excellent results.

 

National Contracts for Major Retail Developments, Store Design, New Build, Refurbishment.

 

What are the Latest Home Improvement Trends for 2020?

Professional Shopfitting Service and Retail Store Fit Out Contractors, Project Management Specialists

There has been a lot of activity around professional home improvements and DIY in the last little while, for obvious reasons! But do you ever wonder what the most popular ways are that people are changing their homes? We know that extensions and conservatories have always been major favourites for those wishing to change or upgrade their humble abodes. So the recent Rated People Home Improvement Trends report seems like required reading. They carried out some pretty extensive research which included talking to tradespeople, home-owners, and also analysing a million jobs throughout the UK.

What did they discover?

These findings aren’t just interesting from an idle curiosity perspective, they offer important information for those wishing to sell their homes in the not too distant future. Giving potential sellers a heads up about what buyers are looking for, and consequently an advantage. It’s also good news for specialists in the industry such as SJP Building Services.

  • Open plan becoming less requested

The research revealed evidence that open plan living is decreasing, as people seem to want separate living spaces. Work that involves replacing a previously removed wall has increased 350% in 2020.

  • Tone it down

Toning down the décor and making the home less ‘individual’ or unusual has been top of the list for many this year, as more generic surroundings will sell a home faster.

  • Renovation

Apparently millennials are the most likely group to carry out major renovations in 2020, thought partly due to the lack of housing. This forces people to buy a less desirable property with a view to renovating.

  • Eco Friendly Home Improvements

This type of home upgrade is becoming incredibly widespread as awareness about sustainability and carbon footprints grows. It was a priority for 14% of home owners in 2019 and that figure is expected to double by the end of 2020

  • Secure and safe environments

Protecting our homes has been an ongoing concern, with the biggest popularity spike being installation of fire alarms, up by 178%. Installation of CCTV is up 134% and security gate installation has risen by 72%.

 

National Contracts for Major Retail Developments, Store Design, New Build, Refurbishment.

Hiring your Plant Machinery in Barnet

Professional Shopfitting Service and Retail Store Fit Out Contractors, Project Management Specialists

Plant HireThe UK construction equipment hire market was estimated to be worth around £5m in 2018, and is forecast to grow by approximately 11% by 2023. All sorts of businesses hire plant machinery, tools and equipment including building contractors, local authorities, civil engineers, industrial companies and home owners. Earth moving equipment like excavators, dumpers and skid steers, represent some of the most popular machines. Lifting and access equipment are also key, such as powered access, scaffolding and ladders.

The need for increased numbers of new dwellings is a significant focus within Government policy, the original desired target being 300,000 new homes a year by 2020. Many experts correctly felt that this target was unrealistic and further so after the Coronavirus crisis. House building is expected to continue growing at a healthy pace, and housing and apartment developments call for a variety of construction equipment.

Many companies opt to hire plant machinery and tools rather than purchase for a number of reasons, the main one being the price. Heavy plant machinery features state of the art design technology, and represents a substantial investment. Even where construction companies plan to eventually buy their own machinery, it pays to hire first and ‘try out’ certain makes and models. Hiring also means no maintenance or storage hassles, as with owning machinery, tools and equipment. There are no worries about depreciation either with hire vehicles, and you can benefit from constantly updated models.

Companies such as Rhinos Plant Hire have seen a surge in demand recently for their plant machinery and tools. Some of this may be attributed to more work getting done on homes due to many people being furloughed. The expected uptake of housing developments in places like Barnet will be another contributing factor to increased need for plant hire.

National Shopfitting Contracts for Major Retail Developments, Store Design, New Build, Refurbishment

4 Stages of a Building Project

Professional Shopfitting Service and Retail Store Fit Out Contractors, Project Management Specialists

As most experts within the design and build industry know, the worst thing you can do is jump into your home improvement project without thinking it through. While we can all be guilty of sitting around procrastinating, there are stages that must not be skipped if you are to be successful. A home or business premises can be transformed by a professionally carried out renovation or refurbishment, as long as some all important steps are observed.

Whatever the size of the project, it’s a good idea to find designers and construction specialists who will work together, this avoids a host of problems. Pre-construction is not a waste of time as some think, but a perquisite for a smooth operation and desired outcome. Also failure to put proper planning in place is more likely to cost time and money, and as the foundations of a building need to be rock solid, so does this aspect.

Here are a few tips to take on board, for the best possible results for your project:-

1. Find a Reputable Professional

Professional, reliable and experienced builders are of course what we mean, experts who are willing to work closely with their customers and listen carefully. There are companies that offer a vast range of services, covering every need within your build from A to Z. Reputable companies like Multi Building Services Ltd offer new builds, renovations, refurbishments, extensions, conversions, project management, local authority liaison and interior design.

2. Come Up With a Plan

Working together, all involved can propose and discuss ideas, and decide on aspects such as budget, extent of work, each separate job and desired outcome, design. style and time scale of the work. The concept will be drawn up by architects, and the project manager will complete spreadsheets concerning budget goals etc.

3. Permissions and Permits

Specific permits and planning permissions are required for each construction project, and this can take a little time, but some construction companies offer to liaise with local authorities on your behalf, which simplifies things and alleviates much of the stress.

4. Contract Signing

Once everything is agreed and organised and permits are issued contracts can be written up and signed and you are on your way to an exciting new home.

National Shopfitting Contracts for Major Retail Developments, Store Design, New Build, Refurbishment

Making Big Changes

Professional Shopfitting Service & Retail Store Fit Out Contractors, Project Management Specialists

Starting up your own business can be a daunting prospect, yet a very rewarding one if done in the right way. Many people have the desire to start their own company but often dismiss the idea as a daydream. This doesn’t have to be the case though, as lots of people make a go of their new business start up, and are reaping the rewards. According to a variety of recent surveys, one in ten people who were asked in 2017 intended to start their own business within a year, that’s around 3.2 million who aimed to be their own boss. That’s a huge percentage of aspiring entrepreneurs throughout the UK.

The freedom to work for oneself, and have the power to make your own decisions is very tempting, as employees sometimes feel that they have no control over their work life. According to statistics, some of the main reasons for wanting to start a business include:-

  • 52% said they wanted an improved work-life balance
  • 51% sought to change their type of work
  • 37% said they want to earn more
  • 36% want to follow their passion
  • 35% desire a greater sense of achievement

There were more women than men who wanted to work for themselves too [11% as opposed to 8%], and women were more likely to want to do this in order to fulfil family commitments. A higher rate of men sight increased earnings as a motivating factor. There is also a trend for younger working people to want to be their own boss, in fact 67% of 18 – 24 year olds.

It isn’t something that should be rushed into though, as careful planning and persistence are keys to success here. Maintaining a healthy cash flow can be tricky and it’s a good idea to get professional advice, from specialists like John S Culwick. He is highly experienced in assisting those wishing to embark on being a business owner, call him on 01268 680702.

National Contracts for Major Retail Developments, Store Design, New Build, Refurbishment.

Terrazzo for Commercial Applications

Shopfitting & Retail Store Fit-Out Contractors, Store Design, Planning Consent, Building Regs

When it comes to floors in places like airports, shops, hospitals, factories and schools you need a product that not only looks good, but that can withstand any amount of traffic. This includes feet and also heavy trolley’s, machinery and other mobile equipment being continually pushed or pulled across the surface.

The right flooring choice in these environments is crucial if you wish to avoid frequent repair and replacement troubles. Terrazzo flooring is practical, functional and visually pleasing, with its interesting details and glossy finish. Its scratch and stain resistant nature makes it perfect for coping with the punishment doled out to these floors on a daily basis.

Tarrazzo floor is a composite consisting of chips of quartz, marble, granite, glass, or other materials including metal which are poured with a cement binder. It originated in 16th century Italy, and was it’s purpose was to reuse stone offcuts. Smooth and tactile, this type of flooring is an investment, and is also available as tiles for walls and floors. Its longevity has been noted by stone specialists who are often called out to restore 100 year old Terrazzo flooring.

This flooring system is appearing in some of the most prestigious establishments such as Leicester Square Kitchen, a restaurant in the centre of London’s iconic square. Home and business owners are frequently spoilt for choice when buying Terrazzo flooring, as colour and design options are numerous. It’s great for use with underfloor heating, and if treated for water resistance is ideal for kitchens and bathrooms. As it can be moulded, it is even being used to make furniture and other items.

If installed and maintained by experts, well looked after Terrazzo floor is a joy to behold, fits into any decorating scheme, and will raise the profile of any property.

Health & Safety Assessments. New Build, Re-Design, Refurbishment or Extension Project Management

The Beauty of Wood

Nationwide Shop Fitting & Retail Store Fit-Out Contractors Planning Consent, Building Regs, Health & Safety Assessments

Wood has special qualities that appeal to a variety of different senses and is used extensively throughout the commercial and retail sectors. Restaurants, cafés and bistros are increasingly searching for a look and feel that is individual and attractive as well as practical. Highly polished and treated wood has a wonderfully smooth and tactile quality, yet is hard wearing and easy to clean. This natural material can be carefully crafted to provide unique and beautiful results which are either traditional or chic and futuristic in design. Wood can be used together with other natural or man made materials like metal or plastic, for a contemporary edge.

While wood harks back to times gone by, it is prepared and constructed to a much higher level than in the past, with no warping or splitting, and is also less expensive. Finishes and sealants are far advanced these days, comprising of space age polymers that give significant protection against moisture or damage. In a restaurant environment or similar, the wooden furniture of today needs a simple wipe over with a duster to retain glossy and pristine surfaces.

Those planning a new restaurant or wanting to refurbish their existing premises, should consider some of the stunning products available featuring wood, whether it’s furniture or fittings. Think about the overall look, and atmosphere you are trying to achieve, along with customer comfort. When it comes to a choice between plastic and wood, both have their advantages, although many feel that plastic can look garish and cheap, while wood takes your space up a notch.

Timber will always be around as it is one of the most versatile and strong materials we have, used for furniture, windows and doors, sheds and outdoor buildings, decking, garden fences and carports. It can be manipulated by craftsmen to provide a vast range of products both attractive and functional.

New Build, Re-Design, Store Design, Refurbishment or Extension Project Management

What Type of Flooring for your Shop?

Professional Shopfitting Service and Retail Store Fit Out Contractors, Project Management Specialists

When designing your retail business, you should consider the image you wish to portray, and what kind of customers you want to attract. The look and feel of your shop is just about as important as the goods or services you offer, and giving it that wow factor can have very positive results. Along with artistic displays, spectacular lighting, unique shelving and contemporary counters, the flooring you choose will affect the overall presentation.

The look and comfort of your flooring is one of the keys to success, did you know, that apparently when people enter a shop they look down to the floor seven more times than they look up! So flooring choices matter, but you need to pick wisely unless you can afford to replace it frequently when worn, damaged or stained.

What type of shop will you have, and what sort of traffic will it’s floors get?

Rural & Coastal

Rural businesses often cover the area from the entrance to the middle of the floor with rush matting, due to the frequency of wet, muddy feet. Shops near the coast also have to take into account the effect of salt water and strong sunshine, particularly if their flooring extends to an outdoor awning.

Bicycle Stores

Non slip flooring is a must for bike shops, due to the ease with which people can lose control of their bikes when walking with them, which can fall and become damaged or cause injury.

High End Jewellers

These shops like to ooze luxury and opulence, so floors are often cushioned or have lush [but hard wearing] carpets.

Discount Stores

Vinyl covering or concrete here gives the message that savings are passed on to the customer, while large shopping centres and walkways use polished stone to communicate upmarket appeal.

Cafés, Hotels & Restaurants

Customer safety is a priority for businesses, and slippery floors come with risks like slips and falls, especially if wet.

Engineered wood floor is a popular option, as it is tough and durable, carpets are also a favourite choice, as these days they can be lush and extremely hard wearing. For an excellent choice of carpets, flooring, and second to none customer service call Wood Street Carpets on 01245 358900

National Shopfitting Contracts for Major Retail Developments, Store Design, New Build, Refurbishment.