Planning Permission

Building in Manchester is much more difficult than you may think. The local council in many of the areas around the city make it difficult as they often like to either delay the planning application process for many property owners, but they are very hesitant to accept the planning permission of extensions, loft conversions and other services around residential properties.

There are a few reasons that the local council make it so difficult to complete a few of the jobs that we need to do, but some of the reasoning is entirely valid in a way. There are more than a few which are ridiculous (maximum extension space until you must apply for permission, etc) which makes it unfeasible in a way. If you go a millimetre above the maximum allotted without asking for permission, you are required to go through the entire process until the council decides to allow it or not.

Small things such as this make a massive impact on the total amount of time it takes to complete a project and can raise the cost of a project by more than is necessary. When you start to factor in a few issues such as needing to hire an architect to draw council approved plans which will of course match your own, and then the additional waiting time of 4 weeks, this begins a process that becomes tedious at best.

There is one company that I know who have campaigned against this, and their website is here:

That is why many building and construction companies that work locally prefer to do works such as renovations. It is very rare that planning permission is necessary, but when it is it will be a massive job that is worth a lot of money. The additional profits are always more enticing to a business owner than sitting through a tedious process at the hope to get the job approved.

Loft Conversions

We love doing Loft Conversions, but before we start on projects, we usually require clients to
take in several important steps. Although Loft conversions are regarded as a Permitted
Development (PD) the plans may still need to be approved by the local council.
You need to ensure that you are not extending beyond the boundaries of a PD, the property
has a grade listing or is located within a conservation area, then you will need to apply for
planning permission from your planning office located within the local council, before work
has started.

A building control surveyor will then inspect your plans and the building works at various
stages and will issue a completion certificate when they are fully satisfied with the inspection.
Another thing that you need to be aware of is the Party wall act, with stipulates that if work is
carried out in a semi-detached or terraced house, you will need to notify your neighbours of
the work to be carried out.

When you start planning the architectural design, it will require Building Regulations
approval. You can choose to have an Architect or Designer to take on the design, but this
can be quite expensive, the positive thing here, is that you will have a greater control of the
design process and they will have extensive experience of designing home improvements.
You may also need to have a structural engineer approve the works for safety standards and
requirements. Alternatively, you may want us to do a standard design instead, but you may
have less creative flexibility.

We are frequently asked how much a loft conversion will cost, but it depends on numerous
factors such as, your existing roof structure, the space available and whether you need
alterations in order to accommodate the staircase, for example a basic room will cost around
£15,000. This usually involves:

 Reinforcing the floor
 Skylights
 Insulation
 Utility installation
 Access to the loft, i.e Staircase, Roof ladder etc.
 Fire doors and smoke alarms.

Whereas a double bedroom Dormer Loft Extension with an en-suite will cost about
£35,000–£45,000. As you can see a Loft Conversion is personal and each project is
different, reflecting the cost. One such company who provide loft conversions Leeds home owners love helped
pave the way for us!

Manchester construction companies

Today, I just want to make it clear that I do think that more businesses need to be as innovative and new as I tried to be with my construction company. While it wasn’t the best and while we couldn’t complete everything to the standard that I wish I had when I first started, I do think that many companies will eventually become innovative and skilled in their own ways. I think if you are an aspiring business owner who wants the best for their company, then you should take the steps to make your own business and form a new way of doing things for yourself. This is especially true for construction companies, as there is a lack of innovation.

I have worked with some of the best construction companies Manchester crews around, and there are so many people that could benefit from being innovative. Not just because being innovative and creative is better, but also because people need to constantly improve and be better than they are. This isn’t an insult or a negative thing, because I think everyone needs to become better in some way, shape or form.

I don’t think it’s fair to say that anyone is the best they can be or better than anyone else. Part of life is about constantly improving and learning, and more often or not becoming better than you are or were. That’s a key part of life that anyone needs to understand. Always growing and always becoming better is so good for anyone, as you’ll never see ambitious or successful people that thinks they are already the best. It’s just not how life works nor should work.

If you want to be the best version of yourself in work and in your personal life, when you need to consistently grow. Just as any hobby that you love, if you want to be the best you have to keep learning.

Losing your finances

You would be surprised how easy it is as a business owner to lose track of your own finances. When you are paying out for so many things and you are seeing very few sources of income, it’s so natural to focus on the biggest expenses and weigh that up against the profits you make. You start to consider or at least reason with yourself that if you can pay for the big ones, you are breaking even. This is so common in the first few months of starting up. But eventually, you’ll come to realise that this isn’t entirely how it works.

People always say that when you are a business owner you should always look at the smaller victories, but unfortunately this wasn’t true for me. I kept looking at the victories that I was making and used it to justify my approach even when it was failing. But I became so obsessed with the victories even when they were not accurate I was still convinced things were working.

After a while, I started to realise that my techniques were not working. And you may have noticed that I have been intentionally vague about the many techniques and innovations that I started to learn over time, which is because I do not want to accept that I made so many mistakes. I still think that the many plans and ideas that I had come up with were going to work. But eventually I began to realise that they weren’t going to. But I know that some companies out there could learn to innovate and copy the same structure and ideas that I had begun to pick up, and I know they will benefit from the hard work that I had picked up throughout the years. These are things that I need to learn.

How to set up a business correctly

A key part of business that I wish I understood earlier was how to properly set up a business within the first 2 years of it opening. As you may well know, most businesses close within their first 2 years of operation because they either try to do too much too quickly, or they fail to plan and spend too much on investments that they can’t possibly break even on month after month. Unfortunately for us, I had made both mistakes. I had failed to plan correctly and spent too much money on the first few months of activity, and I tried to expand and do too much too quickly.

One of the most important lessons that I try to tell start up business owners and even business owners that wish to expand their own company is that they should never overextend, as they will be looking at the main killer of their business. Small steps are difficult to take if you are an ambitious person, but they are necessary if you do not know for sure that things will go the way you think they will.

I was a ambitious person with my business, and the problem with ambition is that it can cloud judgement when it comes to responsibility. It’s such a major sticking point for business owners because no one wants to accept that they are too ambitious or that their ambition would be the weight that drags them down rather than the thing that makes them succeed. That’s something that can’t be learnt and must be told to you time after time until you either understand it, or you make your own mistakes and you are the one telling other people like me.

Looking back, I wish I listened to the people who told me that I was doing too much too soon, but I didn’t believe it.


I think one of the most obvious mistakes that many can sympathize with me over is trying to do too much too quickly. I tried to implement too many new techniques and ways of doing things before I even knew that the people I was working with and were working for me understood. The fact is they clearly didn’t understand, and after a while I was asking my employees to do the impossible. So many mistakes were being made because I never showed them the correct way of doing things. I should have expected as much, but maybe it was down to my arrogance that I assumed they would understand.

Painting is a pretty obvious thing, but when you decide to ask painters to paint in a different style that they have never done before, you are basically asking the average person to become Picasso. For obvious reasons, you cannot just show a builder the way he “should” paint or ask him to look at a few videos on YouTube and expect him to be able to pick it all up instantly. You can’t expect that of anyone for anything, so I don’t know why I assumed it would work the same in this circumstance.

Another key thing that I failed to understand as a business owner is how many different “little things” there were to learn. A painter can only paint in a different stroke if he is either used to doing it, or he is taught by someone who can do it themselves. It’s the adage of fearing someone who has mastered one kick 1,000 times. You can’t just expect someone to be amazing at anything.

Unfortunately, so far, I have only spoke about my arrogance and failure to properly train my employees, while the bigger worry was learning how a business works.

The Dylan Mears Blog

Dylan Mears was a construction company that I used to own that was based around only using
experimental and innovative building techniques that I had learnt over the years from working
abroad in several different countries. I don’t know if it counts as innovative or experimental just
because there were a few different things that I learnt in different countries, but because they
weren’t being done in England I like to think that it counts.

Thing is, looking back at it all, I am aware that using this different method were exactly why my
construction company failed. We tried to do too much at once. We tried to make as much of an
impact as possible with various projects, including renovations and new builds around Manchester
and various locations. It’s weird, because I wanted to find out and do as much as possible that was
different from what everyone else was doing. It’s entirely possible that this was the mistake that
caused the company to fail to begin with, but I’m not entirely sure.

Either way, I am glad that I tried to come up with a unique and new approach to tackling building
and construction projects throughout the United Kingdom. If I was to say I am upset or unhappy
about anything, it would be that things didn’t pan out the way that I thought they would. But I learnt
some important lessons along the way that I hope I can impart on some of the readers of this blog.
At the very least, I hope that I can tell my story and some people will be interested to hear what I
have to say.

I hope you guys stick around to hear and find out more about some of the experience I went
through, but more importantly not to make the same mistakes I did.