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Grosvenor http://www.grosvenor-lt.co.uk Wed, 23 May 2018 08:35:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.18 We have been very busy in 2014 http://www.grosvenor-lt.co.uk/news/we-have-been-very-busy-in-2014/ Tue, 11 Nov 2014 17:34:22 +0000 http://www.grosvenor-lt.co.uk/?p=1484

I know it has been a long time since I last found the time to update the website with all the projects Grosvenor has been working on in 2014. Over the next few weeks it is my intention to put that right! The various project I will cover include a new welcome centre building, constructing paths and reinstating a river bank for the National Trust, a full refurbishment of a basement in a grade 2 listed building in Hove, a beautiful conservatory on a wonderful country cottage in West Sussex, bespoke trellis fencing and a reconstruction of the Japanese pergola at Nymans gardens.

But for my first report, I am going to focus on the construction of a stunning contempoOrangery - April 2014 (3)rary Orangery for a client in West Clandon.

This first image is of the site at the planning stage.

Grosvenor was engaged by the client to carry out all of the construction and landscaping works in order to build an Orangery to the rear of his home. Alitex (manufacturers of exceptional conservatories and greenhouses) had introduced us to the client as a contractor with whom they have successfully worked with in the past and who could trusted to deliver a product reflecting the quality of the roof lantern, patio doors and windows they were supplying and installing.

The site was to prove a difficult one in terms of the ground-works required to meet building control approval, being both on a slope, having a sub-soil of London clay and to cap it all being in close proximity to a mature willow tree. As a result the structural engineers design required the construction of a reinforced raft style foundation slab supported on 4 concrete piles to a depth of 9m. To achieve this our team of ground-workers initially reduced the levels of what is called the oversite (the footprint of the new building) to the required depth This is always calculated from the finished floor level required and in this case consisted of the following: 20mm floor cover (tile and adhesive),15mm electric under floor heating mat and latex seld levelling compound, 75mm floor screed,a damp-proof membrane, 100mm foil backed insulation, 250mm reinforced concrete slab thickened to the perimeter (outside 500mm) to 500mm in which a reinforced steel edge beam was constructed, a damp-proof membrane and finally 150mm of a polstyrene type expansion/ contraction board (Cellcore HX). A total oversite dig of 860mm!Wilcockson - Raft  (3)

Our piling contractors were then able to excavate the piles as per the structural requirements. essentially a pile is a load bearing column that transfers the load attached to it down to a point whereby that load can readily be supported. Concrete piles are the norm which consist of a drilling a hole in the ground (mini or needle piles are typically 150mm in diameter) and back filling with concrete complete with steel reinforcing bars.

Following this and after some works to alter the arrangements for storm water drainage, the ground surface of the oversite was laid over with the Cellcore boards – different specifications for under the edge beams and for under the floor slab. The function of the Cellcore boards (offcuts can be seen behind the reinforcing mesh in the image) is to isolate the entire raft foundation from the expansion (when wet) and the contraction (when dry) of the sub-soil. Sandy soils are relatively unaffected in volume from when they are waterlogged to when they are dry and therefore do impose varying conditions onto foundations, however clay soils do (note the cracks appearing during the summer months if your lawn is on a clay soil) and London clay is considered as one which is affected more than most! This problem is accentuated by trees which draw moisture out of the soils at a rapid rate and are therefore very much a part of the calculations when a foundation is designed.

Wilcockson - Raft  (1)

Once the Cellcore boards were in position, the shuttering was constructed to create the exact sizing of the orangery and the whole area was then lined with the first of the damp-proof membranes. The steel edge beams were then made and attached to the top of the piles and two layers of steel mesh were located at the correct depth with in the concrete slab and interconnecting into the edge beam reinforcing steel. The concrete was then poured, vibrated to remove any trapped air bubbles and tamped off to a smooth finish. This image shows the second layer of reinforcing mesh just about to be covered with concrete.

The masonry structure thereafter was relatively straight forward being a 100mm fully filled cavity with with both internal and external skins in blockwork to the top of the parapet where the cavity was closed with an insulated closer. Steels and lintels had been accurately set on appropriate padstones in order to support the roof lantern and carry the masonry and roof loads over the patio doors and window apertures. The roof structure was then installed in a format known as a ‘warm’ roof (the structural timbers are all to the inside of the insulation), firrings (under the insulation but over the roof joists) are used to create a fall on a flat roof to ensure the rainwater runs off in the direction required. The deck is then installed consisting of 12mm OSB and very long screws, the boards are extended up the inner side of the parapet wall above the roof line and across the wall cavity finishing just short of the outer edge of external block. A bonded rubber membrane was then installed to the entire roof and parapet not only weather-proofing the roof but also the parapet wall and the access to the cavity. Lead flashing were the made to wOrangery Complete - Nov 14 (2)eather the joint between the roof lantern and the rubber membrane. The parapet was finished with a stone capping.

Alitex were able at this point to install the roof lantern, the patio doors and the window. First fix electrical works were carried out and then the exterior was rendered, the floor insulation, second damp-proof membrane, the floor screed laid and the interior plasterboarded (ceilings) and plastered to a smooth finish. After a short drying out period, the decorations were then applied internally to match the extended kitchen and externally to match the house. Finally internally the second fix electrical works were carried out including the under-floor heating mat, the latex self-leveling compound to secure the mat and then the floor tiles laid. Outside, a close-board fence was constructed to the boundary line and a raised patio stepping down to lawn level was also constructed using black bricks to match those on show to the house and Indian sandstone. Other touches included the making of two planted borders.

Orangery Complete - Nov 14 (3)Reflecting on, and viewing the finished product my thoughts are inclined towards the fact that so much of this project cannot be seen and to remind all who intend to carry out building works that groundworks are so often the great unknown and should be tackled by a skilled and competent team.

If any of the above article  coincides with a similar project you maybe considering then please call Martin Blake for a discussion and a no obligation quotation.



Storm damage to garden fences – what you need to know! http://www.grosvenor-lt.co.uk/news/storm-damage-to-garden-fences-what-you-need-to-know/ Sat, 04 Jan 2014 17:51:53 +0000 http://www.grosvenor-lt.co.uk/?p=1461

I believe most of us now consider the recent storms to be more common than we have been used to. I extend my sympathies to those suffering the effects of flooding from the recent poor weather but thought it may prove useful to offer some thoughts as to solving a common problem caused by the strong winds – namely the broken fence.

Broken Closeboard Fence - Feb 2013

When considering whether to repair or replace it is wise to note not just the current damage, but the remaining life expectancy of the fence. It may well make sense to replace the fence, rather than spend money now on repairs to only have to replace the fence in the next year.

Common Repairs to Lap panel and Close board fences…

Lap Panel - June 2013                          Finished Sept 12 (3)

Firstly let us look at what can be done with a broken post. Installing replacement posts is not straight forward as the remainder of the post in the ground will be encased in a concrete anchor which will need to be removed prior to the new post being fitted. Whereas this will offer the most visually pleasing solution it is also the most expensive. So let us look at other options. The weakness that has allowed the post to fail is caused by wood rot located in the region where the post enters the ground and significantly where it joins the concrete anchor. Invariably the remaining post will be in good condition and if this the case then a concrete repair spur can offer an alternative to replacement. The spur requires anchoring in a concrete foundation securing it adjacent to the face of the post. Once the concrete has set the broken post is then coach bolted / screwed to the spur – job done! The down side of this approach is that there is now a concrete post on show – albeit only 400mm high – it may look a little ‘industrial’.

Secondly let us consider broken or loosened panels. If the posts are in good order but the panels have been damaged then almost certainly it is advisable to replace the panel. Often this will be the scenario if your fence has been constructed with concrete posts but is also often the case with timber posts. Please do check the integrity of the posts to be sure that money spent replacing panels is not going to be a waste of money as the post proceed to snap with the pressures of the next high wind! Another bit of advice when buying panels – check that they are pressure treated (will resist rotting much longer) and not just dip treated.

Thirdly let us look at what can be done to repair a broken bay in a close board fence. Close board fences are usually considerably more robust than lap panel type fences. As such the more likely cause of damage will be that of falling trees which will inevitably break the feather edge boards and the triangular cross rails (Arris Rails). To replace the bay once the damaged section has been removed will require the rails to be fitted at one end into the mortice socket of one post but then the tennon at the opposite end will need removing and a repair bracket used to secure the rail at the other end. It is unlikely that you will be able to re-use any of the original items and therefore expect to have to purchase a new gravel board, 2 or 3 arris rails and the same number of repair brackets, a centre peg and then 13 of appropriately sized feather edge boards per meter of fencing.

What if the need is to replace?

Factors that influence your decision will include:-

The level privacy you wish to preserve – Generally people enjoy more privacy in their back gardens than in the front. In a front garden it may be appropriate to specify a post and rail type fence or one that does not completely obscure sight – choices include split chestnut or Park railings,  palisade / picket style fencing as well as low height solid fences. Where greater privacy is required a solid fence at a greater height is normally used. Note that you will require planning consent if you wish to install a fence higher than 2m. The common choice is for Lap panels or close board, but there are a considerable range of decorative panels with either straight or curved tops.

Where the location is particularly exposed to the elements but privacy is still a requirement a fence such as a hit and miss boarded fence may be most appropriate. The style allows for the wind to pass through but at the same time prevents any sight lines compromising your privacy.

Where the requirement is to screen off unsightly elements various decorative screens can be specified. These usually consist horizontal or vertical or diagonal slats with greater or smaller gaps between according to the level of screening required.

Other factors which will influence your choice may include security – metal fences such as chain-link as well as reinforced timber fences are available and of course the most significant point – your budget!!

A final thought with regards costs. At Grosvenor Landscape Technologies we are always pleased to offer our clients options at the quotation stage for their consideration. With this in mind it may surprise you how little extra it costs to specify ‘better’ quality – so do make sure you have the information required for you to make the right decision.

For more information about garden fences and boundaries such as walling and hedges please visit the  appropriate pages in our hard landscaping section of this website.

Should you require a quotation for repairs of replacement fences the please contact Martin Blake for a no obligation quotation.

As snug as a bug in a brand new bug house! http://www.grosvenor-lt.co.uk/news/as-snug-as-a-bug-in-a-brand-new-bug-house/ Mon, 09 Dec 2013 09:59:48 +0000 http://www.grosvenor-lt.co.uk/?p=1448

Whilst viewing a number of proposed projects for the National Trust  I took this photo of the new bug house and thought I would share it with you!  Whether the size is appropriate for every garden the sentiment must be right. We endeavour to keep our gardens trimmed and neat often at the expense of habitats that all those friendly good for the gardens bugs would have over-wintered. Here is a have your cake and eat it solution!

Bug House - November 2013 (1)

As a company that suffers more than most due to weather conditions, I have to report – at risk of tempting fate – the weather has been rather kind to us of late and as such projects have progressed with unexpected ease compared to some previous years!

One small project Grosvenor Landscape Technologies have recently completed was on behalf of Nymans gardens – a National Trust site in Handcross West Sussex. Our landscaping services were engaged to extend the paving in a courtyard to the rear of the ruins which would allow visitors to access a small tower in one corner without having to walk accross the grass.

At first glance this may appear relatively straight forward, however, the location dictates that the new work must blend in closely to the existing. Unusually for Yorkstone the existing work incorporated smaller size slabs with grey / buff colours. Additionally the original pointed joints were almost completely disintergrated and have over years of footfall slowly filled with a mixture of soil and shingle from which grows dwarf grasses all adding to the timeworn look of the courtyard.

Yorkstone - December 2013 (2)               Yorkstone - December 2013 (3)

Yorkstone is the name given to a variety of Sandstone that was originally from Yorkshire quarries and has been the used in the construction and landscaping industries since medieval times. It is not only aesthetically pleasing with colours ranging from dark greys to lighter buffs but is also hard wearing and extremely durable. It is still being quarried and is available new  prices often cheaper than that of good quality reclaimed stones! At the cheaper end is Yorkstone crazy paving whilst the highest prices are paid for reclaimed slabs of consistent thickness with a smooth surface. Another feature of reclaimed stone is that unlike all its’ modern look-a-likes the slabs are completely random in size.

To meet the requirements required much searching beyond our usual suppliers but bore fruit when a supplier in Chiddingfold appeared to have the best matching sample. Viewing confirmed this and work commenced. Because of the extra footfall compared to that of a domestic patio, we decided to increase the depth of sub-base by 25mm and to also incresed the depth of the concrete mortar bed similarly. Also due to the nature of the pointing being porous the fear is that water can creep under the slabs collect in small voids. If this were to freeze, this could loosen the slab from its’ bed. The landscaping team therefore pointed the bootom 10mm of the slabs to seal them against this water ingress. Finally a little trial and error with mixes of soil and shingle was carried out before finally filling the joints. Once a little vegetation established in the joints, the straightness of the joint lines

The photographs show the finished work which I think you will agree matches in very well!

If you are considering a landscaping project for 2014 please view our website www.grosvenor-lt.co.uk or please contact Martin Blake on 07932 081889 / 01444 400139.


From Tree to Timber Wall…. http://www.grosvenor-lt.co.uk/news/from-tree-to-timber-wall/ Tue, 05 Nov 2013 08:14:54 +0000 http://www.grosvenor-lt.co.uk/?p=1442

One of the Grosvenor landscaping teams has recently completed a project for a client near Haywards Heath, West Sussex. Grosvenor Landscape Technologies had been recommended to the client by a friend whilst discussing the restricted access to his front door.

Walker - July 2013 (3)

The solution to the problem was to alter the embankment that sloped down to the paving by installing a dwarf retaining wall so as to extend the entire area. A number of options were considered that included constructions in masonry (brickwork, concrete blocks with a painted render face or Wealden sandstone with brick quoins) or in timber. It was clear that timber would be the prefferred choice. When a timber retaining wall the method of construction is dependant on the desired shape being created. Angular shapes suit laying the timbers horizontally and curved shapes can be achieved by installing the timbers vertically (see photograph which shows a Chestnut retaining wall with an integrated bench seating – the wall is capped with a decorative lead flashing to protect the exposed end grain).

Chestnut Retaining Wall and Seat - April 2013

Due to the nature of the site an angular design was settled upon which just left the decision on what timber should be used. Pressure treated softwood was one alternative but was discarded as available timber could not sourced locally. This left either Chestnut or Oak. Oak was the choice made and you can see from the photographs it fulfills all the requirements of both form and function. Much of course is written about the virtues of English Oak, however I would just make a short comment to anyone who may be looking for a hardwood that performs exceptionally well but also offers an ecconomic advantage. The point I feel should be bourne in mind is that the traditional material that farmers have used when putting timber in contact with soil is Chestnut – just consider all those miles of post and rail fences (see photograph) and stake and wire fences!!!

The Oak timbers were machined by a sawmill in the Horsham area and we were even able to choose the butt (see photograph) that would eventually become our wall. All the joints along the wall line are mitred to create the perfect fit and the timbers are fixed to steel reinforced concrete posts set in deep concrete anchors behind the wall. This method of construction eliminates future concerns of posts failing.

Oak Butts - August 2013 (1)

Once the embankment had been dug back and the wall constructed this left the brick paved area to be extended to meet the new wall line. You may well be familiar with block pavers which are a decorative concrete product, however, traditionally bricks or brick pavers were used. Brick pavers differ from a standard brick in that they not only have a finish to there edges but also to the top face. This also makes them very useful as a wall capping although few brick yards produce pavers to match their brick range – luckily our closest brick manufacture offers this service.

Oak Wall & Brick Patio - Sept 2013 (1)

The final job was to back fill behind the wall with a free draining sandy loam topsoil ready for planting.

Should any of the services we provide be of relevance to a project you are considering please do contact Martin Blake.


Can you spot the difference!! http://www.grosvenor-lt.co.uk/news/can-you-spot-the-difference/ Wed, 16 Oct 2013 16:06:45 +0000 http://www.grosvenor-lt.co.uk/?p=1437

I am pleased to report that our refurbishment project is complete – all bar a couple of small items that the client has asked for us to do in addition to the contracted works. The photographs below are taken from very nearly the same viewing point, the first was taken in April the other at the end of September.

building services renovation refurbishment sussex grosvenor       Roof terrace - Sept 2013 (3)

A brief outline of the works carried out includes the removal of the old collapsing roof structure, the rebuilding of a new lowered floor and the addition of a Mansard roof which allows for an extra bedroom and bathroom suite on the upper floor. The refurbishment works consisted of an original contract which has been added to by the client significantly. Despite the additional work, the project has been completed within the required timescale and the client moved in on time. The finshes have all been specified to a very high standard and the client is reporting how pleased he is with the standard of workmanship.

The house now consists of garage parking for upto 4 cars with a 2 bedroom 2 bathroom flat above. A galley kitchen and a living room complete the living space. The large bi-folding doors lead out onto a roof terrace on which has been laid a composite decking. The use of this system allows for a floating deck design; something standard timber decking does not do well due to its tendancy to want to ‘warp’ as the weather changes. The design means that the deck frame attachment does not penetrate the GRP roof cover of the garage below.

Other than fitting the roof terrace balustrade our work is now done.

For further information as to the services Grosvenor can offer please do look at the appropriate pages of the website or if you would like to discuss a project you may have in mind please call Martin Blake on 01444 400139 or 07932 081889

Good news for homes with Heat Pumps …… RHI rates are finally settled! http://www.grosvenor-lt.co.uk/news/good-news-for-homes-with-heat-pumps-rhi-rates-are-finally-settled/ Tue, 30 Jul 2013 13:17:40 +0000 http://www.grosvenor-lt.co.uk/?p=1433

After a protracted period of consultation, deliberation, exasperation, perspiration, frustration etc at last exhaltation the rates for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) have finally been agreed.

Up until now it has required an apptitude for clairvoyance to best guess the financial implications of installing a ground or an air source heat pump. Although the high levels of efficiency make a compelling case against oil and LPG boilers the RHI was always the unknown quantity. But no longer and here indeed are the rates to be applied:

For Air source heat pumps (air to water only) 7.3p/kW

heat pumps surrey grosvenor

and for Ground source heat pumps 18.8p/kWh!

heat pumps ground source component function sussex grosvenor

What this means for homes already equipped with heat pumps is that they now know the money they will recieve as of spring 2014 whilst for those considering the idea of installing a heat pump you now have all the numbers available to you to calculate the finances associated with installing a Ground Source or an Air Source Heat Pump.

At Grosvenor Landscape Technologies Ltd we are experts installing heat pumps into either an existing property or into a newly built home. The process is straight forward and the proposals made have no obligation on your part. We believe in providing our potential clients with all the information they require for them to make an informed choice; indeed not all properties can benefit from such a system.

A proposal can only be made after a series of steps have been followed. The first is for an interested home owner to contact Martin Blake at Grosvenor and to arrange a site visit. At this meeting Martin will explain for you the general working principles behind a heat pump, explain the practical implications of installing a system – if appropriate – in your home and finally carry out a basic house survey. All this takes about 1 hour. The results of the survey will tell us the spatial heating demands as well as the hot water heating demands of your home. This allows a correctly sized heat pump to be specified. Martin will produce a fully costed proposal which includes not only the installation of the heat pump but any groundworks required as part of the project, any works required to upgrade the internal heat distribution system (additional / oversize radiators are often required) and will even include the landscaping required to professionally reinstate the garden if appropriate!

With returns on investment being as low as they are how many choices do you have where you can see typical returns of 12% and more!

Please contact Martin Blake to arrange your site visit.

The weather really does make a difference! http://www.grosvenor-lt.co.uk/news/the-weather-really-does-make-a-difference/ Tue, 09 Jul 2013 16:13:16 +0000 http://www.grosvenor-lt.co.uk/?p=1424

Does it not make everyone feel great when the weather is this good – I know it does me! In our line of business the weather plays such an important role in being able to progress our landscaping projests as efficiently as we would like. When the weather is bad – wet is always the one I am most disappointed to see on the forecast – we often have to accept that any attempt at progress will be at the cost of extra work to make good to the ground being ruined by paddling about in the mud! Also in many circumstances we have to consider the integrity and the standard of the work being carried out whilst conditions are poor. However, when the sun shines everyone appears full of energy and the progress is almost enough to make management smile.

This week is the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show – an event that I strongly recommend a visit to. I shall be going on Friday this year and  am looking forward to seeing the show gardens which I always feel promote the very best in British Horticulture. If you are considering a revamp of the garden a visit can always inspire ideas and themes which you may wish to introduce at home.

I was invited to revisit a garden that we recently completed for a client in the Horsham area and thought I would share a few photographs with you. The paving is a Bradstone product in Autumn Gold with the brick walling being a Freshfield Lane Multi capped with a Warham Red. The half brick edging and circle detail is also in the Warnham Red. The screening panels to the rear of the garden are called Venetian screens and are made by Jacksons Fencing and have been used to disguise a garden wall that although structurally good was not visually appealing.

Little - July 2013 (1)          Little - July 2013 (3)









At present Grosvenor Landscape Technologies are busy with projects in Hassocks, Patcham and Brighton. If you think we could be of assistance to you with a similar project you may be considering then please do make contact with Martin using the contact details shown.

Contemporary Garden in Lindfield http://www.grosvenor-lt.co.uk/news/contemporary-garden-in-lindfield/ Fri, 14 Jun 2013 14:15:35 +0000 http://www.grosvenor-lt.co.uk/?p=1413

Grosvenor have just completed a hard landscaping project for a client in West Sussex and I thought I would share the finished results with you. The garden is a small back garden on the northern side of the house which is situated in the village of Lindfield. Our customer requested that Grosvenor design the hard landscaping so as to create a modern feel in which she could entertain guests. As is often the case the client wass very keen to create and carry out her own planting. Other factors which were taken into consideration included the garden having a reasonable slope and the wish being to loose as much of this as possible, also a new fence had already been installed by another contractor

A number of meetings which involved looking at material samples allowed the plan to be finalised and agreed upon. The paving chosen is sawn black granite with a flamed and brushed surface which is slip resistant. The dwarf retaining wall and the step risers chosen were to be constructed using Grisham Grey bricks with a lime mortar.

Black Granite Patio - June 2013 (1)

Despite the weather and thanks to one of our experienced landscaping teams the results have exceeded the clients expectation. Details which are always crucial to achieving good results include dealing with items such as rainwater downspouts, foul drain covers and kitchen waste pipes. The use of recessed covers for the foul drain and the careful cutting of the paving has allowed us to manufacture fully serviceable gullies whilst maintaining what I hope you will agree is a pleasing finish to these difficult issues. With sawn cut paving it is essential that they are laid precisely to ensure there are no lips to any edge of any slab – any that are slightly out will show prominently when the pointing is done. A tip which you may wish to consider should you choose a similar paving is to keep the joints narrow – here we have set them to 5mm. Also specified here is the use of a resin based jointing compound which is colour matched to the slabs. The reason we are fans of this jointing compound is because sand mortars are very rigid and expand and contract at a different rate to that of the paving either side. This inevitably results in a crack appearing between slab edge and mortar into which water seeps and frost action as they say does the rest! The resin compound we use ‘bonds to the slab edge and retains just enough flexibility to allow for the natural movements associated with temperature change.

Black Granite Patio - June 2013 (8)

Other technical points which Grosvenor are always keen to promote is that paving is always laid on a full bed of concrete mortar – not the 5 spot system favoured by those offering a ‘cheap’ job – remember there can be no support to the joint if the paving is laid this way and each individual slab is effectively isolated from its neighbours – no wonder the paving fails in a very short period!

Black Granite Patio - June 2013 (2)

Driveways and Sustainable Drainage Systems. http://www.grosvenor-lt.co.uk/news/driveways-and-sustainable-drainage-systems/ Mon, 27 May 2013 09:57:42 +0000 http://www.grosvenor-lt.co.uk/?p=1396

My report this week is concentrating on driveways and in particular our obligations under the Sustainable Drainage legislation and how does this legislation affect those who wish to install a new driveway on their property.

In brief the Sustainable Drainage legislation was introduced as a necessity to deal with the overloading of the public sewar caused by increased levels of storm water run off due in significant part to front gardens being made into driveways. Although a problem mainly associated with urban areas, the legislation applies to us all.

I essence the legislation now dictates that it is the property owners responsibility to cater for the storm water that falls on his / her ground. Therefore when considering a new driveway, even if you are replacing an existing one, your thoughts should include the what can we do with the rainwater that falls on it. It is also worth noting that in theory all new driveways will need planning consent – this is generally a paper exercise that will be signed off by planning officials but permits your plan for storm water control.

Many of the more popular driveways such as tarmac and block paving are not permeable and therefore create run off. In this instance there will need to be drainage channels installed to catch that water and feed it into an appropriately sized soak-away. the size will be determined by factors such as the permeability (how quickly water soaks in) to the soil and the quantity of the water to be catered for – affected by the area of collection. If you are on clay soils this can be quite a large item which as with all soak-aways will need to be sited 5m or more from the dwelling. In reality the practical solution may even be impossible to achieve in which case you will be seeking permission to allow water to enter the public sewar. If this is to be the case do remember to ensure you fit a water trap in the drain that feeds the sewar – you may create a wonderful drive but the smell will very much restrict your appreciation of it!!

Another approach which you may wish to consider is to not disturb the natural ability of your land to absorb the moisture which falls on it. This can be achieved using permeable paving solutions of which there are probably more than you think. The principle by which they all work is to make the driveway base material act as a giant soak-away by using materials that create natura voids within it means that rainwater fills those voids and slowly discharges the water into the soil over a longer period when the rain stops. The first on the list and certainly the most ecconomical solution is to specify a loose aggregate driveway. The old problem of loose shingle migrating just about everywhere other than on the drive surface remains but is really only a problem on smaller drives and ones where vehicles need to perform tight turns, so for the larger area with relatively straight access a shingle driveway should not be instantly dismissed. The migration issue is not helped by the fact that shingle by nature is a rounded stone which due to its shape naturally wants to roll. This is excentuated by the general mistake of putting too much on – allowing 15mm depth of 10mm shingle is about right; you can always add more! This can be overcome to a large extent by the use of grits and of great popularity now the decorative aggregate (be careful to choose one that is suitable for driveways). We at Grosvenor are finding that Granite chippings are the perfect answer to many clients driveway problems. Available in a variety of colours the 14mm stone is very angular which means it locks together to form an attractive, stable but fully permeable surface. The pictures below show driveways that Grosvenor have recenty constructed for clients in Haywards Heath and Horsham using silver grey granite chippings over a MOT type 1 base. The driveway shown in the right hand picture is on a particularly wet site. With the previous wet months really testing its integrity I am pleased to report it has performed exceptionally well.

Steer - May 2013  (2)                Gate Closed - May 2013

Other permeable driveway options include permeable block paving which by the way the sub-bases are constructed and by the use of speciall blocks create the permeability required.

Another option that we at Grosvenor particularly like is the recent development of a fully permeable resin bound driveway. The product consists of a 20mm layer of decorative grits (available in a number of colours) bonded to the surface of a base layer of bonded recyled car tyre chippings! The system provides all the practical benefits of a hard surface driveway, is aesthetically pleasing, is eco-friendly and fully SUDS compliant as well being virtually maintenance free. See our colleagues at www.sudscape.co.uk for examples of this product.

If you are considering a new or replacement driveway please visit our website www.grosvenor-lt.co.uk or please do contact me on 07932 081889 (Martin Blake).

Heat Pumps the way forward to heat your home http://www.grosvenor-lt.co.uk/news/heat-pumps-the-way-forward-to-heat-your-home/ Mon, 13 May 2013 11:05:31 +0000 http://www.grosvenor-lt.co.uk/?p=1385

Although the weather is on the up and you may be thinking of resetting the heating system timer to your summer preferences, I am going to base my report this week on the benefits of Heat Pumps as the way forward to heat your home as I believe this is the ideal time for switching from your conventional fossil fuel boiler to a highly efficient renewable system.

In the briefest of detail, heat pumps operate by harvesting large volumes of low temperature heat that is endlessly available in the ground or in the air and converting it into much smaller volumes of high temperature heat with which to heat the home and provide all of your hot water. Because they are energy converters, this makes them very efficient and although your electricity bill will rise, you will eliminate completely the need for gas, LPG or oil other than for cooking. It is normal to expect the running costs when compared to Oil and LPG to be reduced by up to 70% with a ground source heat pump! They are also maintenance free and unlike fossil fuel boilers the efficiency does not diminish over time.

As with the feed-in tarrif which has been used to encourage investors to place solar PV panels on their roofs, there are incentives in place and others soon to be introduced that make the financial case an even more popular proposal. Look out for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

For more information visit the Heat pump pages of our website www.grosvenor-lt.co.uk or please do contact me on 07932 081889 (Martin Blake).

groundworks garden landscaping alitex greenhouses grosvenor sussex

Under this superb Alitex Greenhouse is part of a ground source heat pump supplied and installed by Grosvenor – as was the greenhouse! It replaces an oil fired system. The final deciding factor for this client was running out of oil with ice and snow preventing an oil supply being delivered to his home at the bottom of a hill near Bletchingley, Surrey.

heat pumps surrey grosvenor

A recently installed Air source heat pump at a cottage near Horsham has replaced a gas fired boiler.

Work continues on dilapidated flat in Brighton http://www.grosvenor-lt.co.uk/news/work-continues-on-dilapidated-flat-in-brighton/ Thu, 25 Apr 2013 11:07:33 +0000 http://www.grosvenor-lt.co.uk/?p=1376

Grosvenor were instructed by a client to carry out a full conversion and refurbishment of a first floor flat at a property he owned in a popular area of Brighton. The project involves removing the flat entirely and reconstructing a 2 storey structure complete with a mansard roof and roof terrace to the rear.

Work has been progressing well despite some harsh conditions to the point that this week will see the first stages of the roof being installed.

This last week has seen our carpentry team working hard to prepare the flat roofs and parapet walls in readiness for a team of specialists to install a GRP (Glass Reinforced Plastic often referred to as fibreglass) cover to the large rear roof terrace and to the front parapet wall. The advantage of using this system is in that it provides the whole area with a continuous weatherproof layer with no joints despite the intricate shapes it is required to follow. The GRP will be finished in a lead grey colour and will be indistinguishable from the real material right up until close inspection is carried out. Once the GRP is set – hopefully by the middle of the week we will welcome the roofing team and in a short period of time the property will be weatherproof and work can commence on the fitting out process.

The pictures show a view from the rear garden 1 month ago and again on 19th April 2013. We hope to maintain the progress over the coming month.

building services renovation refurbishment sussex grosvenor

building services renovation refurbishment brighton sussex grosvenor

In addition to this project, today should see the final touches being put to a landscaping project near Pulborough, West Sussex – I look forward to reporting back next week complete with photographs that do justice to the end result!

Grosvenor are the approved contractors for groundworks and landscaping for Alitex greenhouses in the South East. Alitex manufacture and install a range of the very best greenhouses and conservatories and we are pleased to have been chosen to carry out this exacting work. Today one of our teams will start a project to create a brick built base for one of their clients near Midhurst, West Sussex. The base is required to be constructed to very tight tolerances in order for the Alitex team to be able to fit the greenhouse frame precisely. The model the client has chosen is from the National Trust range and is known as ‘The Tatton’.

In very best Blue Peter fashion – here is a similar model that Grosvenor constructed last summer for a customer in Bletchingley, Surrey.

groundworks garden landscaping alitex greenhouses grosvenor sussex

As a final note for jobs to get done this month in the garden do include feeding the shrubs and roses as well as sowing hardy annuals and planting summer flowering bulbs.

Project completed in Pulborough, West Sussex http://www.grosvenor-lt.co.uk/news/project-completed-in-pulborough-west-sussex/ Fri, 22 Mar 2013 16:23:48 +0000 http://www.grosvenor-lt.co.uk/?p=1112

timber framed porch pulborough west sussex grosvenor
Customer is delighted with his fully glazed, oak framed, porch. His property is listed and he required a porch constructed to his design. What you see is very close to what he had drawn before our initial visit. The original house door is now the outside door and in the old doorway is a new fully glazed oak door, complying with current building regulations, which is about 100% warmer than the original. He also wanted no visible metal work whilst trying to achieve a waterproof roof and elevations within the oak. The final construction is glass and oak ( and a bit of silicone), oh and it is standing on a concrete base with a damp-proof membrane within it, which has been tiled with a Turkish marble tile.

If you would like something similar, why not give us a call to discuss how we can achieve this.

Work continues with the National Trust, Handcross http://www.grosvenor-lt.co.uk/news/work-continues-with-national-trust-at-their-nymans-garden-site-handcross/ Sun, 03 Mar 2013 11:04:37 +0000 http://www.grosvenor-lt.co.uk/?p=30

landscaping hard landscaping fencing sussex grosvenor

One of our Landscaping services teams is currently carrying out various tasks for the National Trust, at their stunning Nymans Gardens site in Handcross, West Sussex.

As a client for a number of years, Grosvenor offer Nymans Gardens the benefits of a comprehensive service, covering works in the gardens, the woodlands, the nursery, the buildings, the car-parks and the boundaries amongst many others.

The current work is varied but includes:

  • Replacing agricultural field fences with post and rail.
  • Installing traditional estate railings with matching gates to the boundaries of a number of the estate cottages.
  • Removing a traditional pole style Pergola with new timber that matches the old. The trick is, to do so, without disturbing the aged and beautiful Wysteria which covers the majority of the frame!
  • Constructing a hard standing area onto which the garden compost is to be stored.
  • Improving the security into the estate by digging a ditch and creating a bank as well as installing timber field gates that are lined with a steel trim. The aim is not to compromise the overall look whilst at the same time adding security to a vulnerable area of the estate.

The next task will find our groundwork team carrying out works to extend the concrete aprons on which the green waste from the estate is stored and turned into compost. The original sleeper wall bunkers are collapsing due to the steel posts moving in their concrete ground anchors. The solution is to empty the bays, remove the sleeper walling, winch the steels back upright and then secure in place, by means of a series of steel bars welded into the framework. The sleepers will be re-installed and finally the compost loaded back into the reconditioned bays.

A tip for anyone building a sleeper walled storage bunker on a concrete base. Always cast the concrete slab to extend at least 150mm beyond the steel posts. This will greatly reduce the risk of the posts moving under the pressure created.

Refurbishment of dilapidated flat in Brighton http://www.grosvenor-lt.co.uk/news/refurbishment-of-dilapidated-flat-in-brighton/ Sat, 02 Feb 2013 11:04:08 +0000 http://www.grosvenor-lt.co.uk/?p=28

building services renovation refurbishment sussex grosvenor

Our building services team started work on a refurbishment of a dilapidated flat in one of Brighton’s most popular areas.

This project is being carried out for a client for whom we have carried out many building projects over the previous 3 years.

Situated over a disused garage in a terrace, the planning consent is to convert the current single storey 1 bedroom 1st floor flat into a 2 storey 2 bed 2 bath apartment with a roof terrace over the garage below.

The work is planned for completion mid-July, by which time the existing roof will have been completely removed, a series of steel beams installed and an additional Mansard style roof added. Being situated in the conservation area means that details such as window styles must meet with the approval of the conservation officer.

The works carried out so far have been associated with demolition and site clearance with a view that, the main steels will be installed by the time the carpentry and joinery team arrive on site – due 20th March 2013.

As is often the case with construction projects, a number of issues that were identified as cause for concern have indeed materialised. The most significant item being the connection into the main sewer. An existing drain was viewed and plans drawn accordingly, however when we attempted to expose the old drain into which the connection was to be made, it was found to be significantlly deeper than the estimated 600mm. It is in fact 2.4m deep! As a result, we have gained the approval of the Building Control Officer to modify the plan and by installing an extra manhole we are able to access the drain at a point much earlier in its run and therefore at a depth similar to that planned for.

We will look to maintain a progress report on a regular basis.

If you have a project that you feel our building services team may be able to assist with then please do contact us.

Air Source Heat Pump for a Cottage in Handcross http://www.grosvenor-lt.co.uk/news/air-source-heat-pump-for-a-cottage-in-handcross/ Tue, 01 Jan 2013 11:03:23 +0000 http://www.grosvenor-lt.co.uk/?p=23

air source heat pump handcross grosvenor

Today we have taken delivery of a 14kW Mitsubishi Ecodan Air Source Heat pump, together with the ancillary components including a 250lt Powerflow unvented hot water tank. The system has been designed and the hardware supplied by Ice Energy for who Grosvenor are approved installers in Sussex and Surrey.

Work will commence on the installation on Monday 18th and the project will need to be ready for commission on Wed 3rd April 2013.

Due to a change in the plan of where to site the unit, there will be a short delay in completing the switch over from the current gas fired boiler, however at no time will the client be without heating and hot water!

Because the new location is approximately 8m from the house, we need to provide extremely effective insulation to the main feed and return pipe. Although this won’t be with us until the end of next week the specification of the Uponor manufactured pipe will mean none of the heat produced by the pump will be lost on its journey to the hot water tank and the central heating system.

We look forward to updating you with progress on this project.

If you are considering ways by which you can significantly reduce your energy costs then please do give us a call – we will be pleased to provide guidance and advice as to the options available to you.