Opening Up in Lockdown

Helping our clients open up their homes during lockdown has been a truly positive experience. We’ve all struggled in one way or another over the past year. We’ve all had to find ways to occupy our minds, to connect with friends and family and, as much as we can, stay connected with the wider community. Some have been less fortunate than others. And all we can do is be thankful for the small blessings we have had. One of the genuinely nice things we’ve been able to experience is the chance to make our client’s lives better. Helping them to open up their home spaces, extending or customising to meet their needs.

Opening Up in Lockdown

For most of us, the lockdown has brought with it an unavoidable sense of cabin fever. The lockdown has also been worse for some of us; being stuck in your home can put you face to face with its architectural problems. When our spaces don’t serve us, with low ceilings and close walls, the world can feel that bit smaller and duller. We’ve all undeniably felt first-hand just how much our environment affects our mood, our health and even our relationships. And while nobody has it in their power to wipe away the world’s woes, in our own small way we have been happy to, at least, help some families and home-owners open out from their confines. It makes a world of a difference to step into a warm, fresh space, to stretch out your arms and soak in more sunlight. When your home space is built from the ground-up to support you, the effect overflows into other areas of your life.

We’ve seen the wider community following along in some of the incredible transformations we’ve been able to share. And some of our clients, too, have kindly shared their experience with the wider community, offering a little glimpse into their homes and their personal lives. 

Let’s Look Forward to the Future

One of the keys to a happy life is to always have something to look forward to. For many, this hasn’t been the easiest thing to do with many of our usual outlets and ways of expressing ourselves being cut off completely. But let’s look to the future, and start making 2021 something to enjoy.

Would You Like to Work With Us?

When you add an extension and remodel your home, you have a wonderful opportunity to make your home serve you better. To work with your psychology, your routine, and your lifestyle. And it’s also a chance for you to express your own personal style and taste. Before we begin a build, we’ll help focus your ideas through the lens of our understanding of architectural design. Share with us your ideas and we will help you turn them into something even better than you expected. Give us a call on 021 4365 866 and let’s discuss your plans.

Let The Light In

Most Irish homes were built in the last century, with low ceilings and close walls. Because these confined spaces with low ceilings and small windows are so ‘normal’ to us, we often don’t notice how they can affect us. A new build or renovation, if it’s carried out using modern design principles, can profoundly change your experience.  

Let the Light In

There have been many insights made in the last decade around how a building’s shape can shape our mood. If you are renovating your home today, you have an opportunity to experience something new. In the past, windows were a huge source of heat loss, and the technology wasn’t there to produce large glass panes. Today, glass can be produced with much larger dimensions and with excellent insulation. When these modern, large windows are well-placed, with consideration to sunlight at different times of the day and different seasons of the year, you can allow much more light and natural heat into your home and into your life. 

The visceral experience you feel when stepping into your newly renovated home, illuminated naturally through modern renovation principles. We check in with our clients after they’ve settled into their new home, and we often hear comments about how the sense of light, open space and the comfortable temperature has transformed their mood. The difference is like night and day.

Step Into a Happier, Healthier, Home

Architectural design and materials have progressed massively in recent decades. Today, there is far more understanding of the health impacts of different materials and designs. From heating and humidity to ventilation. For example, we know today that many buildings and materials render their occupants susceptible to all sorts of invisible health issues. Many older buildings having poor air quality, with high levels of carbon dioxide, moulds and toxins. These can aggravate or cause a range of health issues best expressed in the term, “sick building syndrome”.  Thankfully, today we have the understanding and the means to create living spaces that better support our health. 

Take a Breath Of Fresh Air

Draughts are a problem in a traditional home. We’ve all felt that finger of icy air that creeps into our muscles and bones, causing stiff necks and shoulders, tension and pain. We try to fend it off with thick layers in winter and heating at full blast. And because the heating takes a lot longer to reach a comfortable than it does to drop when we open a window, we often feel reluctant to open up our windows for too long. It’s because of this that a draughty home can hurt our health. Because we’re always fending off the cold, we don’t allow in enough fresh air. This means that the air tends to have a higher level of Co2, with elevated levels of trace toxins. In this way, many of us unwittingly live our lives in a sea of stale air that subdues our senses and hurts our health.

With an architect who takes these things into consideration, you can escape the dreaded draught. And with heat exchange technology, it’s possible to expel from your home all that stale air, all of those toxins, and pump in fresh, healthy air in its stead — all without loss of heat or the slightest draught. Just a cosy ambient temperature, allowing natural sunlight and optimal health.

Our Team Is Changing the Industry

At the end of each year, we think back and reflect on our successes. And as always, it’s down to our incredible team. There are no ifs or buts about it, our team is changing the industry. We are proud to work alongside some of Ireland’s most conscientious, diligent, and skilled industry professionals. They truly are a dream team who make all the struggles and hard work so rewarding. 

Dream Homes Built by a Dream Team

Every person on our team plays such a crucial part of our work. It starts with the first phone call and meeting. From there, our team creates great designs, builds a 3D model to allow our clients to experience their home and make adjustments before we get to work. Our quantity surveyor (thank you, Ian), builds a specification with precise costing. Our Planning Permission expert (thank you, Gráinne) handles the planning application and helps prevent unnecessary issues or delays.  David, our Contracts Manager, gathers the finalised plans and prepares with our site team (Edgar, Fergal, Kevin, Colin and their crews).

The Proof is in the Pudding

Nobody can fake excellence. The proof of our team’s work is in the pudding. They create beautiful, elegant, well-constructed architecture, executed on schedule, within budget, and all using modern remodelling principles and materials. Every. Single. Team member plays a crucial role — they know that small things are not small. It’s the small things that make or break a complicated process. Every member of our team understood this — that’s why we asked them to join us in the first place. And minute after minute, hour after hour, they work diligently to ensure that every fine detail goes smoothly and according to plan. 

Changing the Industry

One of the greatest stresses you can experience in your life is building or renovating a new home. We believed it didn’t have to be that way. Leading by example, we worked hard to create streamlined procedures and processes — and showed what is possible when you truly care about the client and the work. Our team took ownership of responsibility and lifted the burden of stress off the shoulders of our clients. Every year we have strived to improve; This year was no different. Looking back and observing the industry today, we believe that our team has succeeded in elevating the standard in every aspect of our work. We hope that our team’s success will inspire the competition to step up to the plate and help us change the industry for good.

Simplify the Complex

When you simplify a complex system you end up with something elegant. Think of a leaf, a cactus or a rose; It’s both simple and complex, and that makes it elegant. For us humans, it takes a lot of work to make things elegant. It’s what we do at Sigma Homes — and we do it well. From our designs to our building procedures, we make things work seamlessly. 

 The most elegant designs take a lot of work. The greatest renovation or remodel work, the one that makes everything look easy, is very, very hard to pull off. There is great complexity in creating a brand new home that exceeds expectations. It’s not just about quality and style, but also about the intelligent use of space and light, not to mention good sound-dampening and thermal insulation. Complications can arise when creating a home because you have multiple pieces in the puzzle. In any build, we work across multiple disciplines, with multiple individuals working on a multi-layered timeline where each piece of the puzzle depends on everything being set properly in place. We have worked hard to make this whole process as elegant as possible. By doing so, it’s possible for us to deliver results that radiate an indefinable sense of quality.

It’s the Small Things That Matter

We have spent years thinking about the small things because we know that it’s the small things that get you. Here is an example of your typical building situation: Say you were planning a kitchen renovation and decided to hire contractors yourself. You arrange a build date, and everything looks good to go. But something came up to halt the entire operation. Problems often start with a small thing. Say the pipework wasn’t laid correctly before the concrete got poured. A relatively small thing, but the delays cascade. It might take another week or more until the pipework is fixed in the correct place, and the concrete can’t be poured until that’s resolved. When you have complications added to an already-complex process, one error or oversight inevitably cascades. Before you know it, you’re delayed by months with no end in sight. This is the typical problem of the industry, and one of the reasons why we created Sigma Homes.

Simplify the Complex: Bringing Vertical Integration to Building

Some things are complex. We have no way to make creating a superb home into an easy process. But what we have succeeded in doing through years of study and research, is to identify and eliminate all unnecessary or avoidable complications. We take the fractured nature of a typical build and bring it all in-house using modern design principles such as Vertical Integration. Vertical Integration is a design concept that is all about bringing as much as you can under one roof. so that everyone is on the same page and communicating with one another effectively. Compare this to when you hire an architect on your own. They might produce an astounding design, but will they be thinking about the availability or workability of the materials he’s proposing for the build? When you hire an electrician or plumber or builder, how much thought will they give to the overall project? How much awareness will they have of the other tradespeople’s needs? The reality is, in these situations communication is almost always a factor that causes delays and expensive oversights. Contractors are more likely to be concerned about getting in new clients than they are about taking care of their existing ones. They probably have their own way of doing things which work fine when they do things alone. But often those ways are more habitual than well-considered, and they result in conflict with other individual tradespeople’s processes. What we have achieved with Sigma Homes is simplicity in the process of the build. Vertical integration. Everyone needed is on on the same team, singing from the same hymn sheet. 

What We Bring to the Table

The typical problems that plague the building industry are simply unlikely to happen with Sigma Homes. That plumber in the earlier example? We’re unlikely to have that issue. The whole team has worked together to create a clear process and system with the big picture in mind. We work to prevent the types of delays and mistakes that are typical in the building industry. We know that most quality issues are down to a lack of pre-planning or oversight. So we have processes that are founded on planning and supervision. When something causes a delay, we work on making sure that error never happens again. That takes effort. That takes work. Simplifying these processes is very very hard, and that’s why we’re the only ones doing it. Each team member checks over the previous team member’s work, and everyone is used to working with one another as a team. And honestly, that’s a big part of why we love our job. Together we strive for excellence. We hold each other accountable to the big picture so that we can all improve and grow. And at the end of each project, we have the privilege of seeing our client’s faces as they view the results of our efforts. A beautiful, quality home which we have delivered for them, on time and within budget.

If you’d like to know more about how we can help you, call us today on 021 4365 866

Considering a Remodel?

If you’re considering some remodel work, you might be startled by some of the possibilities available to you when you’re working with a builder who is using modern design principles and methodologies. This is our livelihood, so you’d think it’s normal for us. But it’s still a moment of excitement and anticipation for us on handover day. Remodelling the old confines into bright, open, warm spaces that make you feel like you’re stepping into a zen garden. On handover day, we get to present the finished space to the homeowners. The best is when some members of the family are seeing the space for the first time since work began; You get to witness their faces light up when they see the old building completely transformed.  

Feel the Design Come Alive From The Moment You Step Inside

Using modern remodelling principles, you’re no longer confined to what you’d expect from an Irish home. You have an opportunity to break beyond your expectations. Design is essential for us. We love to tie-in the great things about the old with the spectacular things about the new. Home extension and remodelling work are usually about adding another room — which is fantastic. Or adding more space — which is great…but it can be all that and much more.

When Considering a Remodel, It Can Be More Than Just Space…

Because it’s not just about having more space, it’s about being able to plan out that space so that its angles, contours and surfaces give you a visceral a sense of openness. A perfectly good, spacious house or bedroom can still end up feeling somewhat claustrophobic. With poor lighting, low ceilings, narrow hallways, spaces can seem to shrink. Once you start adding in gear, clothes, ornaments and toys, perhaps without well-thought-out storage, it can starts to look like an ‘object orphanage’ —  a place where things go when they don’t have a place to call their own. The solution isn’t just to add more space, though that will help tremendously. To truly break free of the dreaded clutter, it helps to bring modern design principles to bear on the problem. When you hire the right architect, you can have the exact same space but with a very different feeling. Rooms in your house can feel brighter, more open, more liberating. Everything in your home will have its place. With excellent design, it will feel like coming home.

Bedroom Remodelling

Bedroom remodelling is an essential aspect of a home renovation project. Your bedroom is your sanctuary. It’s where, and how, you wind down after a long day. It’s where you go to read, to repose, to recharge. We’ve seen it enough times to know that it’s no exaggeration to say that having a home designed around who you are will profoundly improve your life. That potential is there for the taking in every space in your home, from the utility room to the kitchen — and not least of all in your bedroom. Your bedroom is the environment you wake up to each morning. It sets the tone for the rest of your day, day after day, week after week. Your bedroom sets the tone for your life. As such, we treat it with the level of care it deserves. It’s important to us that your bedroom supports you, accommodating and encourages the things that give you energy, inspiration and joy. 

Bedroom Remodelling Is About You4 Bedroom Remodel Ideas To Incorporate Into Your Home

At Sigma Homes, when we think about remodelling and extending a home, we are constantly asking ourselves how this will improve our client’s quality of life. What we excel at (and are genuinely passionate about) is delivering the perfect space uniquely tailored for each of our clients. When we first sit down with you, we listen. We learn about what you’re looking for, what is going on with your space that you would like to be different, what is working for you, what is not. How would you like to feel in your new home? Listening to you, we learn about your style preferences. Sometimes after our clients describe their needs they add, “but I’m no expert”. That’s simply not true. Even if they don’t know the jargon or specific terms for a decor style or finish, they always know what they like and what they don’t.

Our Process Sets Us Apart

Before we begin any physical work, an important part of our process is to understand your style preferences and reflect those back to you in a complete concept. To refine the design, we listen to your feedback. What elements reflect your needs? What parts, if any, don’t quite hit the mark for what you’re after? By the end of this process, we will have helped you create a seamless, complete concept based borne from your preferences and lifestyle. A bespoke space created especially to let you relax, sink back, and sigh a deep breath of relief.

If you’re planning for a home or bedroom remodelling project, give us a call today on 021 436 5866

Build Management

Build management is a critical piece of the puzzle when it comes to efficiently and effectively building, extending or renovating your home. We started Sigma Homes because there were many problems in the industry that we wanted to solve. Looking critically at the industry, we sought to understand why builds so often went so wrong. Why exactly did the majority of construction and renovation projects end up having major mistakes, delays and disruptions? Why was construction typically so stressful for the customer? While there are many reasons, one of the critical aspects we identified was build management. On paper, a build seems deceptively straightforward. But the reality is far from it. It’s very easy to look at the plans and think, “we just need these traders and these suppliers, and then we’ll get the job done”.  Many experienced industry professionals have also made this assumption on their own home projects. But very often they discover the reality is a lot more complicated than that.

Cutting Costs

We all want to get the best quality work for the best price. For those managing their own build, this might mean sourcing different traders and suppliers for various tasks. A dozen quotes from different builders, another dozen from plumbers, electricians, plasterers, fitters for the kitchen, etc. Because you’re getting the best price by shopping around, it can feel like you’re saving money. But this unlikely to be the case. It’s easy to get a date from traders and suppliers in the planning stages. But each one is an individual operating in their own best interest. They may say they’ll be available today, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be available in six months when you need them. Attempts to cut costs by finding the best person for each job often results in added stress and unforeseen delays which end up costing far more time and money later down the line when one trader is waiting on another before they can proceed.

Good Build Management Is About Trust

Most builders and traders are overbooked. They know that even without delays on other projects, the project will likely run on longer than the customer would like or expect. While the reasons for this may be understandable from the perspective of a trader trying to make ends meet, for the customer, the result is delays, obfuscations, miscommunications and a breakdown of trust. A typical builder jumps between multiple projects. This often happens without clarity and focus. It often results in mistakes and miscommunications, adding to delays, and the feeling that this builder is not the trustworthy person you had met initially. And it’s stressful when you feel stuck in a relationship with someone you can’t trust.

Build Management: The One Stop Shopbuilding management

Sourcing different, independent experts to work on a single project means you’re almost guaranteed to have delays and miscommunications. At Sigma Homes, we are committed to putting our relationship with our clients first. We saw that effective build management was critical to exceeding their expectations. In order to orchestrate everything smoothly and remove the stress from our clients, we knew we had to be a unified team. Our architects, builders, plumbers, plasterers, electricians and fitters work together as one coordinated unit. We plan our activities as a team to ensure that you get the home of your dreams delivered to you, our client, on-time — and to the very highest quality. 

If you’d like to discuss your project with our team, feel free to call us today on 021 2348 095.

Building Project Management: Aiming for Excellence

Building project management can be one of the most stressful parts of a home renovation — especially when you’re doing it yourself. At Sigma Homes, we have examined the building industry in Ireland. We identified its most significant issues and used modern systems design principles to eliminate the cost, time-wasting and uglier aspects of the industry.

We aim for nothing but excellence. This is an easy thing to say, but we believe we have shown this is true through our results.  Our aim is to make everything easy. We will work closely with you throughout a redesign, new build, extension or renovation. Starting from planning, throughout the build, down to your experience after we leave and you’re enjoying your home, we aim to make everything about the experience pleasant and easy for you.

Building Project Management That Exceeds Expectations

It’s not enough to surpass expectations and get the job done on-time. We want to give you a lovely experience through and through. Everyone on our team showcases exceptional workmanship and professionalism. Our team of electricians, plumbers, plasterers, tilers, roofers and other building professionals each individually deliver quality work, delivered on-time while giving you a positive experience.  If you’re staying at home during the work, we’ll do our best to coordinate the project around your life. 

Building Project Management

You may have an existing space and looking to build an extension, or you may already have some ideas of what you’d like to do with it. We can call out to get a sense of the space and draw up plans based on your ideas. Our architect can ensure that whatever design you choose, it will maximise light and space to your specifications.

We’ll meet up with you regularly to follow-up on what has happened. We will provide a timeline so that you know what to expect – and we make every effort to ensure that dreams match reality. This is really important to us, especially when we know you have a busy life or kids. If we give you a timeline, we will hit it. We provide a 10-year warranty on a build or renovation. If you ever have a problem, you will always know that we’re only a phone call away. 

To find out more or to arrange a consultation, contact us today on 021 234 8095

Sigma Homes Wins The Best Of Houzz Award For Design

Sigma Homes of Cork

Awarded Best Of Houzz 2020

The Annual People’s Choice Award from the Houzz Community Highlights Home Renovation and Design Professionals with Most Popular Designs and Top Ratings

Cork, Ireland, 13 February, 2020 – Sigma Homes of Cork has won a “Best Of Houzz” award for Design on Houzz®, the leading platform for home renovation and design. The incredible Cork-based design and build team was chosen by the millions of homeowners that comprise the Houzz community from among more than 2.5 million active home building, renovation and design industry professionals.

The Best Of Houzz badge is awarded annually, in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design awards honour professionals whose work was the most popular among the Houzz community. Customer Service honours are based on several factors, including a pro’s overall rating on Houzz and client reviews submitted in 2019. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognised with the Photography award.

A “Best Of Houzz 2020” badge will appear on winners’ profiles as a sign of their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.

“We’re really happy here at Sigma Homes to receive this award, it’s really good feedback and it lets us know that we’re moving in the right direction. I want to thank Houzz but most importantly all of our customers and all of our staff. Stay tuned for an even bigger year” – Patrick Sigma Homes

“This year’s Best Of Houzz awards go to an incredibly talented and service-oriented group of home renovation and design professionals, and we’re proud to highlight the winners on the Houzz website and app,” said Inés Cid, Managing Director for Houzz UK. “This award is particularly meaningful as it reflects the sentiment of the millions of homeowners in the Houzz community who are hiring home professionals for their projects across the UK and around the world.”

Follow Sigma Homes on Houzz

About Sigma Homes

Sigma Homes’ design and build team has over 40 years experience completing one of a kind home extensions and renovations. They utilise this experience in every project to ensure they maximise the potential in your home and deliver a high-quality bespoke product. Their attention to every detail of your home ensures that they offer a high-quality complete project meeting all your requirements on time and on budget. Their high level of performance has earned them not only this award, but also the coveted Cork Construction Company Of The Year award for several years in a row. Whatever the project, Sigma Homes never fails to meet and exceed expectations.

About Houzz

Houzz is the leading platform for home renovation and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community empowered by technology, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, discover products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin, Sydney, Moscow, Tel Aviv and Tokyo. Houzz is a registered trademark of Houzz Inc. worldwide. For more information, visit houzz.co.uk.

Does Your Extension Need Planning Permission?

Will you need extension planning permission for your home? While all builds must stick to building regulations,  not every home extension will need planning permission. Be careful not to take planning lightly. Newly built extensions have been ordered demolished having failed to meet planning regulations. You do not want this to occur in your situation, so take your time to familiarise yourself with the requirements.

Home Extension Planning Permission

Most extensions smaller than forty square metres and under three metres in height are probably exempt from planning permission. But there are some situations where this is not the case. If for any reason you have doubt (and you should take special care if you do), you can get a Section 5 Declaration Form from Cork City Council.  In the Planning and Development Act, 2000,  Section 5 declaration states:

5.—(1) If any question arises as to what, in any particular case, is or is not development or is or is not exempted development within the meaning of this Act, any person may, on payment of the prescribed fee, request in writing from the relevant planning authority a declaration on that question, and that person shall provide to the planning authority any information necessary to enable the authority to make its decision on the matter.

In other words, if you’re unsure if your plan is within regulations you need to declare this. Otherwise, you may risk serious issues later on down the line. Here is the Section 5 Declaration Form available from Cork City Council. There is a fee of €80 for the processing of this form. If you’d rather avoid this fee, you can contact us today for some professional advice.

Extension Planning Permission: Ensure You Meet Fire Regulations

Once you are sure you’re compliant and you have planning permission (if required), you may need to go through the building control process by filing a commencement notice. Building  Control Regulations require that you file structural work (including insulation) for home extensions. There are a few exceptions, including whether or not you need a Fire Safety Certificate (FSC), or if the works are exempt from building regulations, or you do not require planning permission.

At Sigma Homes, we aim to simplify all aspects of building an extension. We can handle almost everything, including the planning application if needed — so that you can rest assured that you don’t run into any unwanted situations.  If you would like more information or advice on your own project, feel free to contact us today on 021 4365 866