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How To Make Home Renovations Easy

Are you planning to breathe new life into your home? Do you feel the need to modernise your living spaces or add a touch of elegance to your interiors? You’re not alone. Many homeowners are looking to revamp their homes, but the thought of home renovation can be daunting. The good news is that Sigma Homes is here to make this process easy and exciting for you.

Making Renovation Easy

The first step in making home renovation easy is to understand your needs and desires. What do you want to achieve with your project? Is it to create more space, improve functionality, increase energy efficiency or simply to update the aesthetic appeal? 

At Sigma Homes, we believe in a collaborative approach. Our team of experts works closely with you, listening to your ideas and frustrations with your current home. This ensures that the end result is not only beautiful but also practical and tailored to your needs.

Leveraging Technology

One of the ways Sigma Homes makes home renovation exciting is by leveraging technology. We use innovative design software that allows you to visualise your renovated home before the work begins. This gives you the opportunity to explore different design options, make changes, and see the impact of these changes in real-time. The result? No unpleasant surprises, just satisfaction and excitement as you watch your dream home take shape.

Quality and Sustainability

Quality and sustainability are at the heart of Sigma Homes’ approach to home renovation. We use high-quality materials and sustainable building practices to ensure that your home is not only beautiful but also environmentally friendly. In addition, our commitment to quality means that we pay attention to every detail, ensuring that the finished product exceeds your expectations.

Revamping your home doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. With Sigma Homes, home renovation becomes an exciting journey of transformation, where your dreams become reality. Contact us today and let’s start the conversation about your home renovation project.

 

 

The Benefits Of Open Plan Kitchen and Living Spaces

If you’re considering redesigning your home, you will have come across the concept of open plan kitchen and living spaces. But what exactly are they, and why have they become so popular in recent years? Let’s delve into this modern trend and explore the benefits it offers.

What Is An Open Plan Kitchen And Living Space?

In traditional homes, the kitchen, dining room, and living room are typically separate, enclosed spaces. However, the open plan design breaks down these walls (quite literally) to create a unified, spacious area where all these functions can coexist.

Why Choose Open Plan Designs?

1. Enhances Social Interaction

One of the most significant advantages of open plan designs is that they encourage social interaction. Whether you’re cooking in the kitchen, relaxing in the living area, or having dinner, you’re always part of the action. This setup allows for continuous conversation and shared experiences, making your home a more social, enjoyable place.

2. Creates an Illusion of More Space

By removing walls, open plan designs make rooms appear larger than they actually are. This is especially beneficial for homes with limited space for extending, as it can help create a sense of spaciousness.

3. Increased Natural Light

Without walls blocking their path, natural light can flow freely throughout the open space, creating a brighter, more inviting environment. Plus, it can even save on energy costs by reducing the need for artificial lighting during the day.

4. Increases Resale Value

Open plan designs are a sought-after feature in modern real estate. By investing in such a layout, you could potentially increase the value of your home should you decide to sell it in the future.

Conclusion

In conclusion, open plan kitchen and living spaces offer numerous benefits, from enhancing social interaction to creating a sense of soace. They represent a modern, practical approach to home design that can significantly improve your living experience.

Are you ready to break down the walls and embrace the open plan lifestyle? At Sigma Homes, we are experts in designing and building homes tailored to your unique lifestyle needs. Contact us today to start your journey towards a more open, inviting home.

Could Prefab and Modular Construction Help the Housing Crisis?

It’s been reported that the ongoing housing crisis has driven rental property prices in Cork up by over 40% and made it more difficult than ever for young Irish families to buy their first home. For years now, Ireland’s building industry has faced challenges to keep abreast of growing demand leading to a massive deficit in housing.

Part of the issue is that the building industry has a massive labour shortage. What compounds this problem is that the industry, and planning authorities, are lagging behind the state of the art in modern construction processes and technologies. The traditional way of building a house requires more labour and longer construction time. The overall result is a greater cost for homebuyers and less output; Fewer houses can be built in the old way – and they cost a lot more. Brick and mortar walls take longer to build. And additional steps are required to insulate, install plumbing, and wire the interior.

How Modular Construction Could Help the Housing Crisis

Ireland could benefit from a move towards greater use of modular construction in homebuilding. Everything from structural steel frames, prefabricated walls and factory-finished flooring could all play a part in producing more affordable, comfortable and beautiful homes faster. Since mofastertion is partly done off-site in a factory, which means that construction of the building itself can take place in parallel with groundwork. This can greatly accelerate building times. Factory-built walls, windows, doors and roofs can all be built more sustainably, with reduced waste materials. The result could be more affordable, better-insulated living spaces with greater quality control under the tighter overwatch of a factory environment.

Are Prefab Homes ‘In Keeping with the Surroundings’?

Many prefab and modular home designs have a different aesthetic from traditional Irish brick-and-mortar homes. Most Irish houses were quickly built in the early to mid-20th century to provide affordable housing. Many were not built to be attractive. However, today, planning authorities are faced with a fresh challenge of maintaining certain design standards with modular homes whilst not hindering their rapid development to aid the housing crisis. 

Interior Design Vs Interior Architecture

There’s a big difference between interior design and interior architecture. Both are fascinating areas to work in as they combine creative design and practical planning that can be stimulating and rewarding. But what is the difference exactly?

Interior Design Vs Interior Architecture

Interior Design is about building an atmosphere and tone in an already-built space. This is achieved through colour choices and selecting appropriate fixtures and decorations to create a space based on a theme. The theme will depend on the designer and the occupant’s wishes and can range from historic design concepts such as art deco, or modern ideas such as minimalism or other methods.

Interior architecture is more about the structure and redesigning an interior space. This is about creating concepts incorporating sustainable materials to remodel the space around the occupant’s behaviours and needs. It starts with listening to the homeowners’ needs. What do they want? How do they use their space? The interior architect creates an idea that utilises the space around the occupant’s needs. There can be lots of back and forth in this phase as the occupant is presented with ideas and has time to consider them, come back with their own thoughts and finalise an idea that best fits their lives. The final design will also incorporate specific materials to maximise light and passive heating.

What We Provide

We are both house designers and builders, a one-stop shop providing you with everything you need to remodel or extend your home. Our interior architects can re-imagine your space around your needs. We have interior designers who can assist you in choosing quality fixtures, fittings and centrepieces. We can help you create a space with the right colours and finishes to inspire specific feelings. For example, to create a sense of open space in the kitchen or bringing a greater feeling of calm and quiet in the bedroom. We work with our clients to help them build their dream home. Even older buildings can be re-imagined in surprising and innovative ways. We help you break traditional Irish homes’ confines, opening them up for new possibilities—all while using the latest materials to maximise natural light and reduce your energy bills.

Join Our Team

Our team is growing. We’re always on the lookout for the best talent. If you are an architect or designer and care deeply about providing quality work, we’d love to meet you.

Labour Shortages are a Massive Opportunity for New Apprentices

In recent years, the shortage of apprentices has been well documented. With 63% of construction companies struggling to find skilled workers to help build homes. Ireland is currently suffering from a growing housing crisis. People are crying out for affordable housing and places to rent. Third-level qualifications are rightly considered an achievement worthy of respect. On the other hand, becoming an expert tradesman has traditionally been seen as an ‘unskilled’ profession. The irony is that the drop-off in the availability of skilled manual workers has shown just how skilled – and essential – they are in the community. 

Working in the Modern Construction Industry

The old stigma around manual work is fading fast. Forward-thinking companies such as Sigma Homes are at the forefront of dispelling the old-school approach. Sigma Homes, and other innovative companies, have rapidly modernised the construction industry. We look at new technologies, materials, systems and approaches. We engage in R&D and use highly effective management systems borrowed from the worlds of software development and mechanical engineering.

There are many reasons to take pride in what we do. It’s satisfying to work with an interdisciplinary team of intelligent,  highly skilled professionals who get great satisfaction from their work. We’re constantly looking at innovative new ways to design and implement homes. We constantly examine our processes and find more efficient and effective ways of delivering the best quality results.

Low Supply + High Demand = Great Opportunity for New Apprentices

Ireland is crying out for skilled manual workers. With high demand and a shortage of workers, there is an opportunity to earn more. In the past, third-level education almost always equated to higher pay. Today, many manual professionals are highly paid. If you’re a young person and you are looking to decide what to do with your future, from our own experience, we’d say to take everyone’s thoughts and opinions on board. And most importantly of all, listen to yourself. What interests you? We know that many people are best-suited to more academic roles, such as in biosciences. But there are also many brilliant, considerate people who love to work with their hands. To solve problems. To fix broken things.  Or to imagine something great and see it become a reality.

Tackling the Housing Crisis With Technology

With the Housing For All plan stating that we require 33,000 new homes per year. Could an increased focus on modern, efficient building practices help the Irish government and private construction companies tackle the housing crisis? Based on our own experience and results, we believe the answer to this is a resounding yes. 

Increasing Efficiency

Delays and miscommunications are not fun for anyone. Re-works cost organisations money and bad processes frustrate clients and employees. At Sigma Homes, we have spent years researching and refining our approach in order to increase building speed and quality. We have treated our processes like organic machines, where each of us composes a part. Every aspect of the work was explored. We sought out bottlenecks. What prevented us from delivering the best quality work faster? We looked at how our teams interacted and use technology to help with our processes and increase efficiency. 

Treat Construction Like Information Technology

We believe the Irish building industry can benefit massively from adopting modern design thinking approaches. Methodologies such as Six Sigma enable organisations to constantly improve their communication and construction methods, just as silicon valley companies like SpaceX and Tesla. Applying these principles across your business empowers every professional in your team to work more smoothly and efficiently. By coordinating more effectively with one another, you reduce delays and errors. This reduces frustrations both for your team and your client and results in much faster building times with far superior quality.

Should the CAO Online System be Revamped to Allow Apprenticeships?

During Ireland’s most prosperous years, it was not plain to see, but now as we find ourselves knee-deep in a housing crisis, the enormous value of the construction industry is laid bare. Every individual in Ireland needs a place to call home. The construction industry is the backbone of our community and economy. It is what enables us to live fulfilling lives. Without basic living standards in place, we cannot progress.

The government’s Housing For All plan estimates that an average of 33,000 new homes must be provided annually until 2030 to support affordability for renters and buyers. However, the plan could fail to reach targets due to a shortage of skilled workers. SIPU’s Adrian Kane stated that Ireland needs a “serious and targeted recruitment campaign to attract skilled tradespeople and apprentices into local authorities without delay”.

Should the CAO Online System be Revamped to Allow Apprenticeships?

While over 83,000 individuals applied for placement through the CAO system in 2022, Core Research’s report, ‘Construction in Ireland 2022: Building a Workforce for the Future’, found that among 300 construction firms in Ireland, 189 had difficulty recruiting skilled workers. The three leading causes were a lack of career options, a negative perception of the construction industry and a large percentage of young people emigrating. The study reveals an enormous deficit of new workers in the construction industry.

Perhaps what is needed is a long-term plan to communicate the value of a career in construction. Construction expertise is becoming more scarce, with half of the firms in the report finding it difficult to find brick layers and plasterers and over a third finding it challenging to find carpenters.

Addressing the Image Problem

By putting apprenticeships in the CAO Online System, it helps it gain legitimacy and value in the hearts and minds of individuals considering a career path.

As countries became, more affluent and third-level education moved from a rare privilege to something accessible to all, professions in the construction industry fell out of favour. For example, a study by the National Association of Homebuilders in the US found that out of 2,000 young adults interviewed between 18-25, only 3% considered construction as a potential career path.

Perhaps to help communicate the importance of the building industry to our lives, construction firms can reach out to local school administrators. To explain the importance and need for skilled construction workers. To show what is exciting and rewarding about designing, creating and delivering homes to people in your community. By raising awareness of the industry’s real importance, we can change the hearts and minds of young people.

Sustainability in Construction

As an industry we are becoming increasingly aware of our environmental responsibility. Sigma Homes recognise the expectations placed upon us. In recent years, the bar has been raised of where sustainability should be in the building sector.

What is sustainability in construction?

In simple terms, sustainable construction means employing building methods that reduce the industry’s environmental impact. 

In Ireland, building is responsible for 50% of the country’s produced waste. This is due to us being a linear construction economy i.e. we make, use, dispose of our materials. Therefore the very nature of Irish construction is unsustainable and needs to be re-imagined. 

Thankfully, the IGBC (Irish Green Building Council) is leading us in moving away from a linear economy and towards a sustainable circular model. Circularity keeps extracted materials, re-using them to the highest possible level. A sustainable circular system has zero waste. It copies the regenerative cycle of nature, reducing fossil fuel use and avoids extracting the earth’s finite resources. As a result, there is significantly less carbon emissions and impact on the environment.

The impact of these changes

It is also important to consider the sustainability of the finished building. The retrofit grant scheme has made great strides in improving the energy efficiency of many Irish homes. By powering homes with renewables, updating windows and doors and properly insulating houses, thousands of homes around the country are burning far less oil and gas. Similar sustainability targets should be set for all new builds.

Ireland has a wealth of biodiversity with wildlife and habitats unique to our country. Construction is necessary and essential for the growth of the economy but we must also take great care when developing and disturbing the land. Site activities such as clearance, setup, groundworks and construction all have implications for natural habitats and wildlife. It is the contractor’s responsibility to adhere to guidelines set out for each phase of a build in order to limit the amount of disturbance caused by the project. By doing so our wild flora, fauna and marine life will be protected.

Our clients and partners are becoming more environmentally conscious and demand for sustainable homes is rising. Sigma Homes are waiting to help you with your sustainable build. Call us today to get started on your project.

The Benefits of Improved BER

Your Building Energy Rating (BER) signifies the energy efficiency of your home and we should all strive to have the highest BER possible. Doing so will bring value to you and your home while also positively impacting the environment.

A home’s BER must be updated every 10 years. An up to date BER allows you to best understand your energy usage and cut out unnecessary waste. Sigma Homes are happy to help with your BER assessment and we will improve your current rating.

Here are some ways to increase your BER and the benefits it will bring to you and the environment.

Use Renewable Energy

Solar panels are becoming an increasingly popular method of improving a home’s BER while reducing its carbon footprint. The un-sustainability of fossil fuels has never been more apparent and renewables are a great way to future-proof your home. Solar energy produces zero greenhouse gas, automatically increasing your BER and saving you money in the process.

Insulation

With energy costs rising, the value of an efficient BER is higher than ever. It is estimated that due to rising energy costs, a BER of grade A or B can add up to €60,000 to the value of a home. Insulating the external and cavity walls of your home can significantly increase the amount of heat retained within your house. You will be burning less gas or oil to keep your house warm and your BER will improve as a result. You can also insulate your attic to prevent heat loss through the roof and internal walls for even more heat retention.

Upgrade Windows and Doors

Outdated windows and doors are another cause of heat leaving your home and money leaving your pocket. Old windows with inefficient glazing allow heat to escape causing you to burn more oil and gas to heat your home. Very often, windows and doors are not properly sealed and need to be upgraded. The most cost effective method of improving your BER is by changing to double or triple glazed windows and upgrading to composite doors. Composite doors with steel frames and insulated cores are the most efficient and add security to your home. Installing improved window and door systems will increase your BER and the value of your property.

Sigma Homes can help you achieve any of the above upgrades. Contact us today if you are curious about how much your BER can improve.

Construction Trends for 2023

Construction Trends for 2023

 

At Sigma Homes team feels it’s our duty to keep up to speed with current industry trends. By doing so we can pass the latest knowledge, innovation and savings onto our clients and partners. This constantly changing industry requires us to adapt to developments in the sector both at home and abroad. Here, we will look at some of the most significant trends we spotted over the last year and why we will continue to pay close attention.

 

Cost of Labour and Materials

One of the biggest concerns for construction companies this year has been the recent increase in the cost of labour and materials. The latest 10% government levy imposed on concrete has the industry as a whole more aware of tightening budgets and resources. Unpredictable fuel prices and a rising cost of living makes it difficult for industry members to accurately forecast material and labour requirements. 

Despite rising costs, construction companies are remaining resilient and even confident of increasing staff and turnover for the coming year. This will prove crucial if targets for infrastructure and housing are to be met.

 

Green Building

The Irish Green Building Council (ICBC) has revealed its road map to decarbonise Ireland’s construction and built environment sector. The report shows the construction industry makes up 14% of the country’s carbon emissions, mostly through embodied carbon. Embodied carbon is produced by the manufacturing of construction materials, quarrying and transport.

It is vital that we endeavour to regulate embodied carbon emissions just as many other European countries have done. Most importantly we must continue to develop innovative ways of producing low carbon construction processes and materials. Expect to see biobased materials such as timber being more widely used in the construction of new builds. 

Carbon emissions have been reduced significantly due to the success of Ireland’s current retrofit program. As Ireland targets 400,000 new homes over the next decade, it’s vital that we turn to green building processes so as not to negate these sustainability gains.

 

Increase in Prefab and Modular Builds

Modular and prefabrication builds have increased in popularity this year as the industry experiences continuous growth. The benefits of modular building include savings in time, money and labour of which the sector has in finite supply. Construction elements are designed and built off-site and are assembled in much much less time than traditional builds.

Prefabrication may play a key role in Ireland’s National Development Plan which along with ambitious residential targets, has set out a number of public and private infrastructure projects to be completed in the near future.

Interest in modular construction is expected to grow in popularity due to increased awareness of sustainability needs and emphasis placed on efficiency. Modular construction employs more environmentally friendly materials than traditional construction methods and reduces build times significantly.

Although the last year has presented many challenges and uncertainty, the excitement and satisfaction of overcoming has kept us motivated throughout. If you have a dream or even just an idea, give us a call today to make it a reality.

Visit Us at

Unit A4, Donnybrook Commercial Centre
Douglas, Cork

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