Signature Blog – October 2020

So we are back! Thanks to all of you who have given feedback on the previous months post, we have taken your comments on board and will continue to make this blog about you. Within this blog we will be looking at the following:

Overview to the Industry
Subcontractor Section

Property Player
How to tackle the trade

Book Recommendation

Overview to the Industry

Economy – Since last months blog we have noticed the UK economy keeps taking a step back towards local lockdowns due to R Rates increasing in these localised areas. This is to try and reduce the strain on the NHS and stop people visiting in and out of areas. With potential further local lockdowns and what the government is aiming to impose, this is going to have an adverse affect on the economy. We area considering the effect this is going to have on cities and shoppers with the Christmas period coming up, reduction in people visiting these cities will have a major affect on jobs and these shops.
Furlough – The furlough scheme is due to end in October 2020, with knowing a number of people still on furlough we wonder what this will result in. will companies take these people back on or will they make them redundant? this may in turn have an affect on the property market. with more people out of work this is a high chance there may be more people needing to move to rental properties etc and be looking to sell. There has been discussions of new schemes being introduced from the government, however these do not seem to be on the same level of furlough.
Housing – House prices are currently up 20% for 2020 but with the uncertain times, we would predict a drop in these prices which will in turn change from a buyers market to a sellers market. The question which has been asked though is when? We are expecting to start seeing a turn early 2021.
Brexit – Whilst the news is occupied with Covid, Brexit has been the forgotten factor in the past year of the British economy. With no deal resolved yet and 12 months of ignorance to this this may also have affect on the economy and house prices.

We really are in uncertain times but never let that worry you. Take each step as it comes and keep moving forward!

Subcontractor Section

Name: Craig Spiller of Phoenix Sprinklers
Years active: 5 Years
Work type: Sprinkler Technician / Plumbing engineer
Insta: @247_heatingplumbing

Your questions for the trade:

  1. How do you become a Sprinkler Engineer? To become a fire/ sprinkler engineer you would need to get a certificate for installation and maintenance of fire suppression systems. It helps if you have a background in mechanical / pipe fitting background as many of the skills are transferable. If you wanted to go down the design of fire suppression systems then you would need to do a separate course and a good knowledge of AutoCAD and REVIT would help with this.
  2. Why do new homes need sprinklers and not existing properties? In Wales it has become mandatory to comply with new building regulations which require sprinkler systems ( Building regulations are often updated so its important to keep on top of this!) As for existing homes if you change the occupancy or internal structure layout building control may say you now require a fire suppression system.  As well as loft/basement conversions require them if there’s no means of escape and any fire protection in place.
  3. if I light a candle will this set off my sprinklers? Each pendant is different and rated at different temperatures. They can be categorises as quick response / concealed pendants or standard temperature pendants. The main pendants used in domestic/ residential properties are known as  concealed pendants. The white pattress plate that covers the pendant in ceiling will melt and fall down between a certain temperature (Approx. 55-58 degrees). Then pendant waits once fire reaches a certain temperature the pendant link breaks and activates and allows the water to flow, as well as  sending signal to smoke alarms.  As for use of a candle or burning toast it will not activate the pendant In property. If there is a fire in the property the sprinkler in that room will be contained or put out by pendant. 
    They do not all go off at once like on the movies!
  4. How much water is needed for a sprinkler system & will it flood my house if it goes off? There are initially things to consider to determine how much water is needed for a system: Risks to the area including fire loading, type of occupancy of property, Water supply within the area. This would help determine the amount of water required for the system. Depending on the home there are different categories of repression systems. Cat 1 being a single family dwelling running for approx. 10mins to Cat 3 for a residential care home which would run for approx. 30mins. The way in which modern sprinkler systems work is that the sprinkler head would target the location of the fire. This should in turn stop the fire but reduce damage to further areas within your house.

Property Player

zoe Conning – Director – Amplo Lettings

This months focus is on Zoe Conning Director of Amplo Lettings and also host of the Connect property network podcast (We recently featured on this podcast – go check it out!). Zoe has been in the property industry 7 years and based in Crewe.

How did you start off in property? I started off in property ‘accidently’ in 2013 when I moved down to Swindon as a student, my landlord asked me to test the fire alarm as well as other random responsibilities for the halls of accommodation, looking after 80 students. In my second year of studies, I actually decided that I enjoyed the property side a lot more than expected, and came onboard as their full times operations manager, managing 250 students at aged 20! The company had a bit of a rejig with regards to roles and responsibilities which resulted in me leaving and getting a few jobs just to get some cash! Fast forward a few years, a few more jobs trying to save, in 2019, I’d met my business partners Matthew Timms, along with old school friend, Scott Williams who had just set up Amplo Property, and noticed that there was a gap in the market for a hybrid HMO management agency.

What is your one tip for anyone looking to get into Property? Just one?! Education – never stop learning, there are so many pieces of legislation and compliance that are updated all the time and you just have to keep learning. Reading and networking events are a great way to do so, because you need to make sure you’re not just limiting yourself to learning about property but also business too. Networking events also help you learn from people who are a little bit further along on their journey, and create a group of property friends to share ideas / talk things through with.

How do you see your industry in Oct 2020 and the next 6 months? Although there are some great deals on in regards to purchasing property (stamp duty for first time buyers, the discount for key workers etc…) I don’t think the rental market is going anywhere; there is certainly a high demand in our main area of focus, Crewe. They have some great renovation going on in the town centre of Crewe which is guaranteed to attracted new tenants, as well as HS2 of course.

Your Biggest lesson since becoming a letting agent? Improvise, Adapt and Overcome. Not to dwell on the pandemic but as soon as lockdown hit, all of our goals completely went out of the window…how on earth did we get 10 landlords if we couldn’t even leave the house to meet each other, let alone landlords wanting to hand their properties over?! We found a mentor who helped systemise our business which meant we could work anywhere that had internet, we carried out virtual viewings, virtual inventories, video tours… and even managed to move tenants in via secure keybox and docusign – It’s really given us a kick up the butt to continue improving our systems to ensure we can easily adapt no matter what life throws at us!

where do you see yourself in 5 years? So in 5 years, I’ll be 30 (jheeze!) I hope to have a couple of BTL properties of my own that I’ll have invested in, as well as Amplo Lettings being the leading HMO management company in Cheshire. We’d have onboarded a few more members of staff and branched out into a few more towns in Cheshire.

what book would you recommend to someone starting out in property? This is going to sound so cliché but ‘four hour work week’ is a great one. I read so many books before this one: ‘how to be a landlord’, ‘property magic’, ‘rich dad poor dad’ etc… but as soon as I read this, it really helped me get my working week in order and work in the business, not on it. It has some great tips in there and helps you acknowledge when you’re wasting your own time checking emails for 2 hours a day! After reading this, we got two business mentors who helped systemise and automate our business.

To connect with zoe visit her at the following:

How to Tackle the Trade

This months focus is on an area which we all have, and probably the one thing which people give the least focus to, Your roof!

The typical pitched roof has been used within the UK for hundreds of years. From the original thatched roof and slating ( depending on which areas you lived). To the more modern concrete tiles which are the most popular roof type recently.

Fun Fact – Did you know the phrase raining cats and dogs come from Thatched roofs? As there was no central heating, many animals used to nest in the roof as it was normally the warmest part of the house. When the rain would come in the area would become slippery and many animals would slide out of the roof space and land on the floor which resulted in the phrase ” Raining cats and dogs”.

Disclaimer! – The aim of the following guide doesn’t make you a master roofer, but will give you the key specifics of what is involved in roofing.

Step 1. Preparation – The first step to consider with any works being undertake is:

Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance

This item will stay in each “tackle the trade” feature. you can never underestimate preparation! Preparation for the roofing would include:

  • Scaffolding
  • Skip delivery
  • Delivery of materials
  • Scaffold Hoist / Bumper
  • small tools
  • Gas engineer ( if chimneys and flues present)
  • Ladders / Platform access.
  • Radio ( Check for elderly neighbours first!)

Step 2. Scaffolding – Scaffolding is ESSENTIAL! There is nothing worse than seeing someone doing a roofing job working off ladders. Always pay for the professionals. nothing is worth doing so cheap to risk someone’s life! Make sure the scaffolding is set up correctly including Scaff tags and access shoots. ladders should be removed daily to ensure no unwanted visitors are using your scaffolding as a climbing frame. Scaffolding should be checked weekly and if there is any adverse weather, high winds could compromise the scaffolding.

Step 3. Strip the roof – Now its time to get your tiles / slates off the roof. Starting at the ridge you work your way down the roof to the eaves removing the tiles and disposing into skips.

TIP! Don’t forget to cover the roof overnight if you haven’t felt and battened the roof by the close of the day. You need to ensure that the roof is covered to limit any potential water damage which could leave you with upset clients.

Step 4. Relay the roof – Using a bumper or a hoist, get the materials your require up to the roof level. Don’t carry items up the ladder as this is not safe as you should always have 3 points of contact with a ladder. You would need to lay the felt first, secured down by the batten( normally 25 x 50mm or 2 by 1 as its also known) . the distance between the batten would be depending on the size and type of tile your using. You would then need to fix your tile to the roof, within the past 10 years it has come in that in order to correctly install a roof you need to nail and clip each tile. this adds more time onto the installation but ensures there is less chance of tiles blowing off the roof in extreme weather conditions. Ensure the correct laps on the tiles as driving rain can penetrate if not correct.

Step 5. Ridge, Eaves and Verges – Depending on the type of roof and system your installing you would need to have the ridge tiled with a system installed underneath (image) in the eaves you can also install a eraves vent system. Also to consider if you are an end plot you would need a verge system. photo shows

Overview of a typical ridge system

Step 6. Chimneys, flues, sky lights and leadwork – when there is any item coming through a roof you have to ensure these are secure and not going to pentrate water. in some cases there can be sdystems to prevent water pentration with these items however leadwork is oftenly used. depending on the amount and code of lead required you may also need soakers. these can add value to a roof

Step 7. Admire your lovely new roof!

Pricing – A question I am often asked is so how much does it cost? As with the previous months example there are 3 types of people who can undertake the work.

  • Gang 1 – The Man and his Van
Van Man High Resolution Stock Photography and Images - Alamy
  • Gang 2 – Cash in Hand “Jack” (Of all trades – Master of none)
What's Wrong With Being A Jack Of All Trades? | by Niklas Göke | Personal  Growth | Medium
  • Gang 3 – Roof- E-O ltd (Company name is made up – and I’ve recently introduced the kids to Hook! Great film!)

With the 3 companies above you would get three different levels of finish and probably three different prices to match. Always ask to see photos of their previous works and check for recommendations.

Also affecting price is the location in which you work. London prices are different compared to the rest of the UK. As a ball park in our local area you are looking at £3,600.00 to £4,200.00 for a full roof replacement ( depending on specification of product and type of roof). We would always recommend having a roof system undertaken by using Marley or Redland products as these can offer up to 25 year manufacturer guarantees.

Roofing – D.I.Y or Professionals? For me, I would always say to leave this job to the professionals. The last place you want to be “Habing a go” at something like this is on top of your roof where (in the rain – in wales) any accident could be lifre threatening. so we would always suggest leaivng it to the proffesionals.

If you got any further questions feel free to drop us a comment below and we will answer these as soon as possible!

Book Recommendation

Our book recommendation for the month is one which we have recently finished on audiobook 13hours 37 minutes went in the blink of an eye and that’s David Goggin’s “Cant Hurt Me”. This book had everything. From a F@#ked up childhood to some of the most unreal navy seal stories. If David’s life were put into a book, you wouldn’t believe half the things which have happened to him.

We would recommend listening to this Book on Audible, within the Audio version, it cuts between the book and interviews with David talking about his experiences outside of this. So much extra content!

David Goggins – Cant Hurt me

Thank you for reading our second monthly blog, we loved your feedback last month and want to keep improving our blog. If you would like to be featured please let us know!

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