Technology is becoming an essential feature of our daily lives. Most of us have experienced that familiar – but not always rational – sense of panic that strikes when we step out the door and realise we’ve left our phones on the kitchen worktop, for instance. And over the past couple of years, the market for smart technology has boomed, underlined by the fact big hitters like Amazon and Apple are entering the market with affordable, accessible options for controlling music, TVS, lighting and more. ese gadgets can genuinely improve the way you interact with your living space, even saving you money off energy bills. But in the age of Facebook data scandals, it’s a good time to take a step back and assess how secure our home tech environments really are. If you’re still using passwords like ‘qwerty’ or ‘letmein’ for your network-enabled devices, then you should probably skip the rest of this welcome and head straight to page 84!
If you’re just starting out on the path to creating your dream home, then we’ve got plenty of advice and inspiration for you to sink your teeth into this issue. On page 62, Mike Hardwick looks at why the design and build package route makes sense for first-time self-builders. And on page 103, our resident planning expert Mike Dade has compiled an essential checklist you should stick to when assessing a plot’s potential to accommodate a new house. If you want to add space and value to a heritage home, don’t miss Opinder Liddar’s design masterclass on page 106.
We’ve also got you covered when it comes to specifying products; from Nigel Griffiths’ expert tips on selecting sustainable, healthy building materials (page 88) through to guides on modern staircases (page 66), bathroom wall tiles (page 74) choosing the right structural system (page 78) and the benefits of easy-to-install, ultra-solid beam and block floor structures (page 111). Plus, this issue comes with our in-depth guide to wow-factor glazing – and a 2-for-1 ticket offer (page 72) for the next Build It Live event, where you can get free expert advice for your project.