Signature Blog – November 2020

Blog number 3! Glad to be back for this one with some really special guests. Hopefully your still enjoying and getting through this. If you ever have any more questions feel free to contact us:

Overview to the Industry
Subcontractor Section

Property Player
How to tackle the trade

Book Recommendation

Overview to the Industry

Economy – So we are back to where we were seven months ago, back in Lockdown to try and reduce the spread of Covid-19. A subject which has had the majority of the United Kingdom split with how this should be dealt with. The government have seen to be damned if they do and damned if they don’t with everyone having a different opinion on how to deal with the matter. At Signature we do however see that with what the government are imposing, they are managing to pull money from somewhere to fund Furlough and support the businesses, which they are forcing to temporarily close. We agree these businesses need the help as it is the government who are forcing them close, however this will also have an affect on the economy with the widescale printing of money. As many of you may know this is called Quantitative easing, which can lead to inflation, and push interest rates down as some side affects but can hold some long lasting effects for the economy. A mention also has to go to the potential Covid Vaccine, Since the announcement of this potential vaccine the stock markets have seen a positive impact with majority of stocks taking a positive step forward. The stock markets still aren’t at the position of pre-Covid however it is nice to see it rising for the first time in months.
Furlough – With the government announcement to put England into a month long lockdown from the 9th November this has lead furlough to be extended. This has caused some controversy as Wales entered a “Firebreak lockdown” on the 23rd October until 9th November, yet furlough scheme was not extended until England announced the lockdown to some concern of the Welsh government. Either way we see it as a great scheme as it allows to protect peoples jobs for a bit longer.
Housing – Housing market has taken a slight dip in the past month due to the end of the stamp duty deadline. This is people trying to push the final properties over the line and nocking discount on their properties to get them gone. However within our investment area we have noticed house prices taking nearly a 20% rise! The majority of investment properties are only staying on the market for a number of weeks which is making it a very competitive and interesting time around South Wales! Hopefully this will continue into 2021.
Brexit – With Brexit still not reaching any main conclusion and fallen into the shadows of Covid in the current media, we are still no clearer to goal in which it is trying to achieve. In what feels like groundhog day, with past episodes of Deal or No Deal on repeat we still unsure as to if we are leaving with a deal without a deal or still waiting for a phone call from the Banker. Hopefully within the next 12 months we will have some clarity on what Brexit actually is and its affects once its happened!

Subcontractor Section

Name: Dale Phillips
Years active: 16 Years
Work type: Electrical
FB:  @SurgeElectricalEngineeringLTD
Insta: @surge_electrical

Your questions for the trade:

  1. How do you become an Electrical Engineer?  There are a few options, some start a traditional apprenticeship where they usually have an employer like ourselves and then attend college one day a week until they achieve their qualifications.  There is also night courses available for those who are employed full time already in a different type of role, you can then pay for the courses and sit exams yourself. The course takes two to four years depending on which type you do.
  2. Do you work in any specialist areas of electrics? As a business we like to cover as many types of installations as we can, but we are a specialist with renewables – some electrical vehicle charger companies such as the Myenergi Zappi use us as a recommended installer, we also have solar PV accreditations so work with installs removals and metering in that area.
  3. How often should you get your electrics inspected? This is one of those ‘how long is a piece of string’ questions that pops up quite a bit.  To be honest it is dependant on the situation, if there is a previous certificate in place then use the recommended date to renew it, the new inspector will then advise a time period based upon the findings and general condition of the installation.  It is basically down to the discretion of the tester to advise a time period.  If not then assess the rough age of the installation and also check for any obvious signs of deterioration or known issues, a common sense approach is best and if in doubt get it tested.
  4. How often do the building regulations regarding electrics change? Again, no set time period on this – We are now on the 18th edition of BS7671 (electrical regulations) this is amended as the industry as a whole and technology moves forward.  Usually when there is an improvement of safety regarding equipment used, this prompts the regulations to make it mandatory to do so – e.g. the use of RCD protection throughout.
  5. What advice would you give to anyone undertaking property development regarding electrics? Our advice would be to get the opinion of a few electrical companies registered with the NICEIC to come out and take a look.  They should advise the extent of what is required based on the type of property development you are looking to do.  Be mindful to get a few opinions as unfortunately some may look to advise excessive work if they feel they can profit from it.

Property Player

This months focus is on young Sourcing Agents Guy & Harley from “Premium Property ltd” and also host of Premium Property Podcast (We recently featured on this podcast – episode 11 go check it out!). They have been in the industry for the past 2 years and based in the East Midlands.

How did you start off in property? We were both interested massively in business and entrepreneurship and were researching different avenues and we came across Samuel Leeds on YouTube (obviously bad reputation now) but this is what opened our eyes and then we set up our Instagram and started networking as much as we could.

What is your one tip for anyone looking to get into Property? Figure out exactly what you want from property, and tailor your strategy around that. It is very tough but keep going.

How do you see your industry in Nov 2020 and the next 6 months?  In November, We think the market will still be strong and there will be a lot of new buyers and investors entering the market with the stamp duty holiday. However towards the end of Q1 and the beginning of Q2 next year is when we think there will be a dip in the market due to buyers pulling and lenders not lending on agents crazy valuations. We believe there will be a lot of opportunities.

Your Biggest lesson since becoming a sourcing agent?  It’s incredibly hard. No business that you set up will be easy and there will be obstacles to overcome everyday. But if you have a strong network and support network you will be successful.

where do you see yourself in 5 years?  Our goal within 5 years is to own our own investment properties and be taking our first steps into property development. We also hope to own a marketing agency to help other sourcers build their instagram brand.

what has been your biggest influence since starting? So many amazing people that have helped us along the way. We can’t choose one but we will shout out the whole Instagram community!

To connect with Guy & Harley:

How to Tackle the Trade

This months focus is foundations. “Sings – Starting from the bottom now were here”.

Fun Fact – The majority of buildings built pre 1900 did not have foundations, the majority including valleys terraced housing! Up until the 1970s the majority of foundations were until 800mm, it wasn’t however until pre 1970s that it was introduced that all foundations would need to be at least 1m deep.

There are three main types of foundations used in the UK with regards to foundations. Strip foundations, Slab foundations and Pile foundations. For this article we will concentrate on strip foundations.

Disclaimer! – The aim of the following guide doesn’t make you a groundworker but hopefully give you an insight in to how to undertake the works.

Step 1. Preparation – The first step to consider with any works being undertake as always is preparation! You cant turn up on site day one and be able to start. You will also need the following:

  • Skip delivery
  • Plant ( Either machine or by hand depending on the type of dig).
  • Ground report (Need to ensure the soil is not contaminated)
  • Delivery of materials
  • Wheel barrow.
  • CATscanner
  • small tools
  • Radio ( Check for elderly neighbours first!)
  • Concrete ( Grade depending on build)
  • Timber shuttering
Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance

Step 2. Things to consider prior to development – There are a number of constraints which you would need to consider before any foundations are laid these are:

  • Topography
  • Soil Type
  • Trees / Shrubs
  • Services ( Gas / Electric / Water)

Step 3 – Measurement/ Setting out – This is an important part of the works. Within this you would need to measure out the area to be dug, including using string lines to mark out the area and spray painting the expected dig location ( ensure to mark the corners correctly – no one wants a round corner!) You should also calculate the amount of soil being removed so that there is adequate waste disposal for what is removed.

Step 4.  Excavation – Once you have prepared the site, have a location for the waste removal, checked for services and marked up where your foundations are going in the way you are good to go! Normally using a machine or by hand, you will dig out the marked up area and dispose waste accordingly ( note – a soil investigation should always be undertaken to ensure no contaminated land).

Step 5. Pour the foundations Pouring the foundations, seems like the easy part, however importance is placed on ensuring the correct mix is used to give the right strength for the foundations. This would be determined by the specification. Importance would be placed on ensuring there are no air bubbles within the foundations. Any bubbles will compromise the foundation and this could result in a weak spot.

TIP! Ensure you leave enough drying time prior to undertaking the next phase of works. If you add too much weight onto a foundation that isnt correctly cured this could cause cracking.

Step 6. Remove the formwork – Once this has dried you can now remove your formwork and backfill up to the foundations. 

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 – The Professionals

Choosing the right groundworker

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. The problem with any groundwork is you cant see what has been done after the work is complete. So its easy to hide things and cover over if not done correctly.

Foundations – 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 “Having a go” at something like this which your new extension has got to sit on, which could end up failing and causing your thousands of pounds in damage.

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 finished a few months back and that’s Curtis Jackson ” Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter” on audiobook. Having grown up in the generation of 50 Cent knowing his songs from “In da Club” to “Window Shopper” it was great to hear more about his personal life and business. On first sight you see the rapper and gangster personality but great to see how much of a business sense he has. From how Curtis Jackson would rebuild his professional career if he lost it all to how he is constantly looking to achieve the next big win. It is great to see the other side to someone who you would not expect to be a business guru. Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter (9780062953803): Jackson, Curtis  "50 Cent": Books

Thank you for reading our third 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! Our next installment will be a 2020 special edition being released before christmas!

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