Author Archives: Optic_Control

Assessing Environmental Regulations in Housing Developments

Home Automation Systems including Controllable, Energy Saving Mood Lighting

Eco BuildingConstruction is not the most eco-friendly industry, although there have been attempts to change this over the last several years. It doesn’t help that developers are under pressure to build where possible and provide much needed homes throughout the UK. There are nowadays all kinds of environmental requirements which have to be met before projects can receive permission to go ahead. Developers have to adhere to rules around biodiversity net gain, habitats, nutrient neutrality and air quality. The House of Lords built environment committee is now investigating the impact on development that these regulations are having.

The Lords committee is looking at governance and the associated costs for developers along with the delivery of projects. The committee want to know which specific regulations should be considered, and at what stage of the development. They are seeking solid evidence on many points such as:

  • What is the main challenge for promoters and developers in fulfilling environmental requirements, and is there a solution?
  • Is there clear communication regarding changes in environmental regulations governing development, and is there sufficient support available for developers to fulfil their responsibilities?
  • What expense is involved in meeting environmental regulations? In what way does this vary for different types of developers in various locations.
  • Is there adequate coherence between different environmental regulations, and could this be improved?
  • Do Government bodies such as the Environment Agency and Natural England have a significant impact on planning and development decisions and do they work well together?
  • How does the Environment Agency interact with development as regulator and owner of land and other assets?
  • Does Natural England monitor and implement these regulations, and do they affect the delivery of new development?
  • Are the information needs of the planning system proportionate?
  • Are there sufficient resources for key actors to implement environmental regulations and carry out their responsibilities?
  • Are there any significant changes that could improve this system?

The committee is not looking to evaluate the merits of particular environmental regulations, but wishes to learn about how these are implemented through the planning system.


Total Light Management, Dimmers, Automated Lights, Curtains, Projectors & Audio Systems



Volvo Uses Fossil-Free Steel

Roller Hire Essex, Plant Machinery, Mini Diggers, Dumpers, Skidsteers, Construction, Essex

Fossil-Free SteelManufacturers Volvo are really pushing the boat out when it comes to sustainability, making definite attempts to incorporate green technology into what they do. This is clearly demonstrated by their electric diggers, tippers and autonomous rollers. One of their latest innovations involves the introduction of the first vehicle in the world made from fossil-free steel. The load carrier will be used in mining and quarrying, and was produced using Swedish SSAB steel in the Volvo facility in Sweden. The process utilises fossil-free electricity, and we are set to see many more similar vehicles coming onto the market.

The technology is seen as a crucial landmark in the effort to create completely fossil-free steel from start to finish. President of Volvo Construction Equipment Melker Jernberg, said: “Our ambition is to have fossil-free steel used across all our products, with a step-by-step approach. This machine is proof that we really can make fast progress, when we work together in strong partnerships, when we are determined to act and we enable our skilled people to contribute to building the world we want to live in.”

Martin Lindqvist, president and chief executive of SSAB, said “Having the world´s first actual vehicle made using SSAB´s fossil-free steel is a true milestone. Our collaboration with Volvo Group shows that green transition is possible and brings results”.

The future is looking optimistic for sustainable technology, as success stories like this continue. SSAB intends to supply the market with this fossil-free steel on a significant commercial scale by 2026. Blast furnaces will be converted to electric arc furnaces using HYBRIT technology, replacing traditional coking coal with fossil-free electricity and hydrogen.

These advances are great news for all in the plant and plant hire industries, making the products they offer environmentally friendly. Rhinos Plant Hire, are interested in sustainability within the design of their fleet machinery. They also practice ongoing recycling, by selling their second hand plant machinery, as opposed to simply scrapping it. This includes rollers, diggers and dumpers.


High Quality Range Plant Machinery for Rent, Pedestrian, Tandem Rollers, Trench Compactors, Essex

4 Basic ‘Must Have’ Tools

Home Automation Systems including Controllable, Energy Saving Mood Lighting



Tool HireEven if your not to fussed about DIY, you should have at least a basic set of tools in case you need to put a picture up etc. You will need some tools, whether it’s for assembling that Ikea bedroom furniture, or embarking on a remodelling project. If you don’t have a few tools, even the easiest task could be a bit of a problem! You can plan a trip to your local DIY store, or browse online for tools, but remember the wise old saying, ‘you get what you pay for’. Make a list of what you think you’ll need, and if you’re scratching your head, here are 4 tools your most likely to need.

1. Tape Measure

The humble tape measure is essential for any toolbox, as precise measurements can make or break a job. These little gadgets come in handy in numerous ways from discovering how many rolls of wallpaper you’ll need to visualising a few millimetres difference.

2. Screwdriver

Many power drills can also be used as a screwdriver, but it’s good to have a nice manual one to grab. Take a look around the room you are in right now, and check how many things are secured by screws. This is why you need at least one screwdriver, and a range of changeable bits too.

3. Hammer

Hammers are a great tool and are effective for a variety of tasks, the bigger the hammer the more powerful. The obvious use of course is to hammer in a nail when hanging that picture we talked about earlier. Even a medium sized hammer has an impressive crushing force with its solid metal head, and a claw hammer can wrench out old or crooked nails.

4. A Power Drill

This tool is crucial and a high quality drill will last for years and be well used. Making holes fast and accurately is the key to all kinds of tasks in Barking. These tools can be expensive so why not try hiring a drill, before deciding to purchase one. When hiring from Rhinos Plant Hire you can choose from a vast range of high performance tools.


Total Light Management, Dimmers, Automated Lights, Curtains, Projectors & Audio Systems



7 Reasons to Choose Wood Flooring


Home Automation Systems, Everyday Home Lighting Systems, Multi-room Audio, Video


woodpeckerHardwood flooring is an incredibly sustainable choice to make, as the home’s carbon footprint is reduced when using natural materials like wood. Some man made products are not particularly environmentally friendly. The production of one tonne of cement for instance takes five times more energy than wood flooring. But most people choose real wood floors for their beauty and appeal, raising the profile of any home. There are good reasons to go with wood and here are just a few : –

1. Natural Charm

Wood floors add character to any room, there are a variety of finishes available, so whatever your décor there will be wood flooring to match.

2. Tough & Long Lasting

Wood flooring from specialists like Harley Carpets, is highly durable and can cope with the heaviest foot traffic. Damage is not really a problem with wood flooring, as it can be deep cleaned, sanded and treated.

3. Warmth Underfoot

Wood is a natural, versatile insulator, It will retain heat when the weather is cold, and stay cool in the warmer months.

4. Less Noise

Wood flooring is also a fibrous material meaning it absorbs sound, resulting in a quieter flooring option.

5. Added Value

Hardwood flooring is extremely attractive to prospective buyers, and will add value to your home. Ensure that you use a reputable stockist like Harley Carpets though, to guarantee high quality.

6. Low maintenance

Contrary to popular belief, wood flooring is surprisingly low maintenance, simply vacuum and mop with an appropriate wood cleaning product and Bob’s your Uncle!

7. Allergies

Wooden flooring does not attract pests like dust mites or any other allergy causing organisms.


Harley Carpets have a vast range of flooring choices, including the spectacular Woodpecker collection. Woodpecker are a family business dedicated to providing high quality, versatile wood flooring. This flooring can be found in homes, hotels, department stores and offices thanks to its beauty and practicality.




Home Cinema Installations, Security Systems, Aerial & Satellite Installation, Home Entertainment

Health of the Construction Industry

Home Automation Systems including Controllable, Energy Saving Mood Lighting


BuildingThe UK construction sector has a lot to feel optimistic about as a survey in December 2020 indicated an uptake in business activity. A monthly survey of purchasing managers revealed that increased orders are driving the recovery. Construction projects that had to be delayed early in 2020 are now beginning to continue. With extra demand due to a sharp rise in house building, more jobs within the industry were available in December too. By December, client demand had improved for the seventh month in a row. Purchasing prices however escalated due to supply shortages and an increase in the cost of steel and timber.

Economics director at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey, Tim Moore said: “December data illustrated a positive end to the year for the UK construction sector, mostly fuelled by a sharp rebound in house building. Overall output growth has slowed in comparison to the catch-up phase last summer, but now it is encouraging to see the recovery driven by new projects and stronger underlying demand.

“A sustained improvement in construction order books resulted in a rise in employment numbers for the first time in nearly two years and the most optimistic growth expectations since April 2017. Construction companies are hopeful that higher demand will broaden out beyond residential projects in the next 12 months, led by infrastructure spending and a potential rebound in new commercial work from the depressed levels seen during the pandemic. “Transport delays and a lack of stock among suppliers were the main difficulties reported by UK construction firms at the end of 2020, which contributed to the fastest rise in purchasing prices for nearly two years.”

The increased activity is also good news for plant hire companies such as Rhinos Plant Hire, as using their services will keep costs down for builders in places like Hertford.


Total Light Management, Dimmers, Automated Lights, Curtains, Projectors & Audio Systems



The Changing Face of Domestic Windows

Home Automation Systems, Everyday Home Lighting Systems, Multi-room Audio, Video

Market research over the last few years has revealed that, as suspected, aluminium windows and doors are becoming more popular than other glazing products. This preference is even extending to the domestic market, with home owners throughout the UK discovering the beauty of aluminium.

In the past, aluminium has dominated the commercial sector, being the favourite option for all kinds of applications including shops, offices, hospitals and car showrooms. Whether it’s unobtrusive shop fronts or impressive curtain walling, it features in most of the awe inspiring buildings that appear in our towns and cities. The reasons for it’s growth in popularity are manifold when you consider its strength, durability, flexibility and recyclable nature. Aluminium frames offer a highly tailored solution, as this material’s strength is retained even when extremely slim. This means that large expanses of glass can be held in place securely, while maximum daylight and unhindered views are enjoyed. Bespoke designs are also possible, handy where awkwardly shaped windows exist.

Powder coating means a vast choice of RAL colours from smoky anthracite grey to vibrant red, again catering to individual needs. Whatever your taste or style of home, be it contemporary or traditional, aluminium ticks all the boxes. Aluminium looks fab with only a minimum of maintenance, and has a 40+ year life expectancy. Once finished with, aluminium can be recycled indefinitely too, making it highly eco-friendly.

The housing market has seen a significant role reversal where aluminium is concerned, with aluminium being requested more often. UPVC has in the past been the material of choice due to affordability and thermal efficiency. Advances in technology have started to give aluminium a competitive edge for windows and doors. Improved energy ratings for aluminium glazing products along with their imposing aesthetics have caused the tide to turn in their favour.

First Choice Aluminium H&P are specialists in high quality aluminium window and door products, and are happy to advise on all aspects of professional installation. Give them a call on 0161 678 9144


Home Cinema Installations, Security Systems, Aerial & Satellite Installation, Home Entertainment

Tool Hire South Ockendon

Home Automation Systems including Controllable, Energy Saving Mood Lighting

Some jobs are best done with power tools for speed efficiency and accuracy, they also take a lot less effort to use than hand tools. The most common type of electric tool, and one which you will find in most households, is a drill. This versatile tool enables many actions that just could not be easily done by hand such as making a perfectly round hole in brick or wood. This task is boosted by the ‘hammer action’ available in most modern drills, and many also double as a screwdriver.

A good quality cordless drill will give years of great service, and as long as it’s battery gets topped up, it is much handier than the corded version. A keyless chuck is preferable too, then you don’t have to search for the key each time you come to do a job.

A high performance drill and a variety of hand tools should see you through most DIY tasks, but you may also sometimes require certain other power tools for specific jobs.

Sawing wood, is one of the most tiring jobs, and one that demands constant repetition, so power saws are ideal for fast results, and with a nice sharp blade will go through wood like a knife through butter. Another job that gets an award for tediousness, is sanding which can’t really be skipped if a nice finish is desired.

A decent palm sander will scuff up a surface ready for painting, and they are good for tricky small areas or those with lots of detail. More substantial jobs such as floor stripping, will need a larger heavy duty sander. Bear in mind that these bigger jobs are best carried out with pro floor sanding equipment, which are much better at dust extraction and can be hired.

You can hire a wide range of well maintained, affordable power tools for your project in South Ockendon from Rhino Plant Hire.

Total Light Management, Dimmers, Automated Lights, Curtains, Projectors & Audio Systems

Tool Hire for Preparing Your Garden in Bishop’s Stortford

Home Automation Systems, Everyday Home Lighting Systems, Multiroom Audio & Video

This is the perfect time of year to start thinking about giving your garden in Bishop’s Stortford an overhaul, and also a great time for the unavoidable preparation! This stage is often dreaded, but those who skip it or skate over it very often end up regretting their haste. As we all know, certain aspects of gardening can be a little back breaking, but there are easier ways of doing things. A rotavator for instance is a very handy piece of machinery, ideal for making tedious jobs almost a walk in the park.

Used to break up, churn and aerate soil in gardens allotments and fields, these powerful pieces of equipment achieve fast results. Robust blades or rotors spin to break through soil, levelling the area, improving drainage and preparing the ground for growing crops, vegetables or plants.

A range of sizes are available as smaller jobs in gardens and smaller allotments require tillers, while fields, large plots of land and vegetable patches need a more heavy duty option like a hydraulic rotavator or cultivator. Before tilling ground that has never been tilled, water it well for a few days, then check that the soil has drained. If it is too damp, it will not produce the best results, also remember to get rid of any weeds before tilling. Take a ball of the soil and if it dents when pushed with your finger as opposed to breaking apart easily, it is still too moist, and you should wait.

Always take care when using this type of equipment, and use safety precautions like wearing padded gloves and ear defenders. Stay in control of the machine at all times and don’t let your mind wander. Let the rotavator do the work, this will stop you from becoming quickly tired and save sore muscles. The outcome should be perfectly flattened ground ready to transform into a vegetable plot or beautiful lawn.

You can hire a rotavator to save money, but ensure the company you use are reputable, and that they maintain their hire equipment regularly.

Home Cinema Installations, Security Systems, Aerial & Satellite Installation, Home Entertainment


Renewable Energy in the UK

Audio & Visual Systems Products & Services. Home Entertainment, Aerials & Satellite Systems

 A recent announcement relating to renewable energy has caused quite a stir within the UK, as for the first time, more electricity has been generated by renewable sources, than by coal and gas. A report from the National Grid Tweeted that in June of this year, 50.7% of power in the UK was produced by wind, solar, hydro and wood pellet burning. Weather conditions where perfect being both sunny and windy, and if nuclear power was added into the equation the figure jumped to 72.1%.

Offshore wind farms have also given impressive results, at one point creating a tenth of the UK’s energy, and easily justifying their cost. There are definite goals which the British government are working to attain, which include widespread use of renewable or green energy sources. It was estimated that energy produced in this way would save consumers £500,000 over the summer. Wind power was the clear winner here, with other forms of clean energy close behind. These include systems like air source heat pumps, solar panels, biomass fuel, and there is some interest in harnessing untapped geothermal resources.

Renewable energy sources are a positive and vital alternative to fossil fuels, supplies of which are being rapidly depleted. The world will require 60% more energy by the year 2030 and green energy could potentially balance demand and supply.

As awareness is raised about looking after the environment in a responsible way, we have seen positive developments such as promotion of clean, renewable energy, widespread LED lighting installations and low carbon emissions replacement technology. Schemes like the Renewable Heat Incentive and Feed-in Tariff have also played their part. There are more choices in energy supply too these days, with the emergence of renewable energy tariffs.


Multi Room Audio & Visual Installations. Multiple Rooms, Mood Programmes, Zone Lighting, Home Automation

The Important Role of Interior Design

Interior Design, Design & Build, Refurbishment, Renovation, Project Management, Concept to Completion Service

mbsintWhether at home or in the office, dynamic and cutting edge surroundings can be extremely inspiring. The trend these days leans increasingly towards features which are not only aesthetically pleasing, but have some sort of function. The days when an item could proudly take centre stage in a room whilst having no discernible use at all, are swiftly disappearing. As downsizing is a necessity for many, space is also often an issue, meaning everything which occupies an area of the home must justify itself.

Interior design can be likened in importance to architecture, as it deals with structural harmony and practical solutions. Collaboration between professionals offers more productive results, where a new build or refurbishment are under way. Architects, builders and interior designers who are able to communicate during the crucial planning stage will have an added comprehensive understanding of all requirements, leading to a streamlined outcome. Interior designers are frequently able to carry on where planners have left off, and can bring a specifically bespoke solution for the customer.

This happy alliance can lead to the home owner receiving the home of their dreams, as an experienced interior designer will identify areas that could be improved or suggest alternative options. This helps enormously, as it is often difficult to decide which design aspects will adequately meet your needs and lifestyle, and these points are many times only discovered once they are in everyday use. This can mean being stuck with a less than satisfactory and disappointing outcome, which would incur extra cost to put right. An interior designer is focused on the needs of the client, and armed with a good idea of what they desire they will also advise on aspects of décor, like lighting, colour and theme. These design specialists will also take into consideration the available budget and time restraints.

Multi Building Services Ltd, offer the services of a highly qualified interior designer, who is knowledgeable about their unique design and build service. Providing this service ensures an exceptional rate of customer satisfaction, and allows Multi Building Services Ltd, to deliver a fully rounded concept to completion service. Call them on 01245 861 351 for advice about your home improvement project.

New Build Homes, Extensions, Conversions, Kitchen & Bathroom Installation, Wrap Around Construction Service