Building DIY Gardening


Green Vertical Garden Wall Fulham London

Vertical garden or green wall spotted in Fulham, near Chelsea Football Club Stamford Bridge stadium – for sale if you interested!

How is this watered? It looks expensive, as befits the area (Fulham). Not sure how much oxygen and pollution cleansing this wall might do but it looks very nice amongst the urban sprawl.

Close up Green Vertical Garden Wall Fulham London

We have a big green building section here so why not check it out? See the menu for navigation.

Perhaps you could build a green wall at your home or workplace? Many offices are adding green areas to the flat tops of their buildings, which is a lot easier and less expensive, and can promote well-being for the staff who get involved, as well as helping the environment. It might seem small, but if many do it, it can add up in the same way normal gardens in cities provide a very varied habitat for many animals and plants, more so that the country side which is often farming monocultures e.g. wheat, soy etc. Could grow salads for lunch, it doesn’t have to be anything major, or just pretty flowers for rest and recuperation.
Check out our many sections on green building. We are about to update the legal, financial and grant situation as it changes all the time here in the UK.

There has been a lot happening since I last blogged. See below for a link to Mayor of London‘s postcode checker for Licensing Schemes.

London together Covid

London Together against Covid

Many Councils have licensing schemes for landlords, which seems like a good idea at first, but it usually a way for Councils to raise large amounts of money with out doing anything.

The schemes around are primarily to raise money for cash-strapped Councils. They raise million pounds from law-abiding normal landlords, the ones who register, but do nothing about bad or exploitative landlords, who usually rent to people that are under the radar, vulnerable in various ways such as no or poor credit, illegal, HMOs, etc. Apparently during the five years of the recently-ended Croydon scheme, the only (hardly any) prosecutions were for not paying the fee (license is £750, and has fines up to £20,000 for not paying).


Councils also don’t have enough inspection staff, and don’t bother to find any. This is why Councils like to set Licenses up for the money, then don’t run them properly.

The other basic observation is that the rental sector is legislated for bad landlords, energy ratings, health & safety, etc. anyway, so why do the Council want the landlords money, when they never investigate anything? If Landlords object they fear they might be persecuted, even if running a professional service.

If you want to see if your landlord should be paying a License fee to the Council check here:

Enter your postcode below to find out whether your privately rented home should have a property licence. Make sure:

  • you are not a council or housing association tenant
  • at least one person in the property pays rent
  • the property is not occupied entirely by the owner and/or members of their family
  • the property is not solely occupied by a resident landlord and up to two lodgers

Incidentally in my housing management role, one of the worst freeholders are in fact local Councils, who have poor tenant relations, unreliable and slow repairs teams, either over-staffed in-house or usually expensive outsourced (or sometimes a combination of both). I have too many examples of this to bore you all to death here, but a big one is water ingress, which seems to take them by surprise every time, and is usually mis-identified, and very slowly fixed, causing a lot of unnecessary damage.

So good luck.

Samantha P.

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A shocking case of sacking whistleblowers, John Bromilow and Harry Wildman, repair staff working in Liverpool Prison.

Amey, a building contractor, had just got the contract for prison repairs, and decided to reduce staff by having one man teams (ie, an individual) doing repairs, instead of two men, as had always been the case prior.

This is extremely dangerous in a prison, where tools are used as weapons.

Sacked by Amey for raising safety issues in Prison job

Sacked by Amey for raising safety issues in Prison job

Two repair men with 45 years’ unblemished experience behind them working in prisons, took this through Amey’s internal procedure, got nowhere, so discussed it with the prison governor – so Amey sacked them, claiming they were bringing the firm into disrepute.

Jon Heath, their solicitor at their unfair dismissal case, said, “To dismiss them for having explicitly raised those concerns is one of the more startling examples of an unfair dismissal that I have come across.”

Amey’s response was to say the men should have used their internal processes to pursue the issue – but they’d sacked them, so that sounds hard.

Besides, this is the usual way of not dealing with a problem. But if you are working in a prison, or any other dangerous situation, these issues have to be solved before further action, not ignored whole some office process takes place very slowly (if at all).

There are endless examples of disasters that could have been prevented by proper health and safety – from Space Shuttles exploding on take-off to Croydon tram trains crashing going around corners.

See the full Amey sacking shame story on the BBC

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Green wall system

Turn London into an urban park? What a great idea. This is not really some crowd concept, it has to come from legislation on:

  • green aspects of new developments (mostly, green features in the initial artist’s impression stage, all removed when built)
  • front gardens and conversion to drives and mini car parks (use grass-crete, or grass paving, or just ban drives now, since a road parking space is removed by having a drive)
  • build links and pathways between green areas to make wildlife corridors
  • ban toxic pesticides on green principles
  • ban plastic artificial grass (which is appearing everywhere, and was even in The Times gardening section)
  • use more green walls, green roof technology (yes we know is expensive for return)
  • practical steps rather than nice websites and magazine articles.

Promote green building to increase biodiversity and reduce carbon by absorption.

Check out our GREEN BUILDING section >

Here is the website for London Urban Park >

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I was in Central London recently and had a walk around the new development next to Victoria Station SW1. Very impressive. They blend in well with the old buildings by contrasting rather than emulating. Some nice touches in the street furniture and smaller details.
See our section on Steel Buildings here >

Here are some Nova SW1 photos (click to enlarge):

Nova SW1 London

Nova SW1 London

Nova SW1 London mystery object

Nova SW1 London mystery object

Nova SW1

Nova SW1

Nova SW1 Victoria London

Nova SW1 Victoria London

Nova SW1 Victoria London

Nova SW1 Victoria London

Nova SW1 London

Nova SW1 London

Nova SW1

Nova SW1

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03 Mar, 2017

Construction toys – vehicles and plant

Posted by: Geoff Davis In: Education|Toys

Toy tipper truck or crane

Toy tipper truck or crane

Found this toy in the kid’s toy box – a rather nice chunky tipper truck at about 1/72 scale or a bit smaller.

Interesting graphics, placed in a factory in China presumably.

We have a great section on educational toys with construction themes such as Lego, Betta Bilda, SimCity, and more. Have a look at
Building DIY Construction toys here >

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We have a large green building section in this website. There have been a lot of stories about plastics ending up in the oceans, polluting and killing birds and animals. See our green building section here >

Plastic recycling

Plastic recycling

One issue is that plastic is itself a recycled byproduct of the oil industry. This means it is very cheap, almost free, so gets used everywhere, and more and more. For instance, individual pears and fruits are now routinely packed in clear plastic. All this waste ends up somewhere.
Another issue is the plastic nodules that are the start point for injection moulding (I once worked in a plastics factory, a very unhealthy place!). These are tiny and get lost all over the supply chain, and they are so tiny (1-2mm) they are impossible to clean up. They just get in the water system and end up in the seas.

Finally a way has been made to recycle two of the most used plastics which do not blend together, so have currenlty to be sorted and recycled separately. A new chemical can be added to the materials so they will mix, so don’t need sorting out, saving a lot of effort.
Of course this has yet to happen, and is only for new plastic, when they get aroind to it.
Read more about the new plastic additions here (new page) >

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Building DIY app screen1

Building DIY app screen1


I have made some useful files for my free white board app ‘Notes Story Board v 2.2’.
Get this for free here now >
Special summer offer, usual cost £1.99.
What is it?
Easy to use zooming ‘any size’ whiteboard app for Windows and Apple Mac*

Load text files, images, write new files, notes, ideas etc. Then arrange in order to suit. Use color to mark items or organise.

  • Gardens and Landscaping Monthly Year Planner
  • Year Planner (general use)
  • DIY and Building small project
  • Storage Locations (many uses!)
  • Building project (larger scale with BIM Building Information Modelling notes)

Be imaginative – many other uses too.
These files are useful for many projects. They can be fully edited for your own job, or something unrelated.
If you are using a larger system such as BIM, you can export from these as Word Processor, HTML Web, and image.

Many different blank templates are included, such as 4 boxes, 6 boxes, one large box, blank etc.

Please download this Building DIY white board app and many files from here >

Building DIY year planner screen

Building DIY year planner screen

HELP to use the app is on the Notes Story Board site here >
Most commands will be familiar as it uses a conventional interface.
In the download Zip file, the installer is called

This should start automatically.
There are some files to open once you are running the app – they are in the same folder. There is also a pdf of a writing ebook.

There are other offers, including a bundle with how to write fiction and scripts, clipart library, etc, from website, on this link >

*Apple Mac version is available but is for older Macs, please email me to get a copy using info AT notesstoryboard DOT com


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Mapleton Crescent London SW18 affordable housing new build

Mapleton Crescent London SW18 affordable housing new build

Wandsworth Council, a large borough in South London, has exceeded targets for affordable housing new builds. This means low cost, market cost, social rent and starter homes with shared ownership, where the tenants pay a part of the mortgage towards part-ownership, which can be traded.

There were 501 low cost homes newly built in Wandsworth 2015/16. This is over twice the previous year’s total. Wandsworth Council say there are 1742 more affordable homes on the way.

There is a huge amount of new build in the London area, and also conversions of office blocks allowed via relaxing of change of use, from office to residential, laws. There is a glut of so-called luxury 2 bed flats, all much the same, for the overseas market so it is good to see more affordable housing getting built.

Wandsworth Council housing news >

Pocket Living site for the Mapleton Crescent development >

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estate agents signs banned

Estate agents signs banned

Estate agents use branded boards to advertise their sales or lets at the actual property. This is quite useful if you are moving to a new area, as you can walk around and collect up the various agents’ details.
Nowadays it is all done on the internet so this physical process is less important.

Boards are unpopular, especially on estates, where there can be many boards put up. They are an eyesore and Wandsworth Council in South Lindon has made a stand.

Boards are not banned as such, but now need planning permission in four areas – Putney, Clapham, Balham and Lavender Hill. There is also an online breach of rules form so you can report any naughty agents.

See Wandsworth Council planning for more details on estate agent boards >

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