Federation of Master BuildersThis article was written and distributed by the Federation of Master Builders, the building industry's largest trade organisation, representing over 13,000 small and medium-sized companies throughout the UK.

Updating your Kitchen

The kitchen is increasingly becoming the cooking, dining and living space with many people restructuring the huddle of rooms which were once kitchen, utility and dining room into one large, light living space. Some are going even further by opening the room up into the garden and using glass walls and roof lights to maximise the light.

Those who like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen or have families will be keen to have a practical and functional kitchen, which may require a large area for dining and entertaining.

Even with a small space the kitchen is still the hub of the house so it's worth thinking about comfort as well as utility - consider creating a different area at one end for relaxing in - use book shelves, comfortable chairs, rugs different lighting and flooring to create the right mood.

Most of us are working to a budget and may want to save money by doing much of the updating ourselves but there are some jobs where you will need the professionals:

Supporting walls

Don't attempt to knock down walls yourself. If it is a supporting wall it will need to be replaced with an RSJ (reinforced steel joist). Even if it is not a supporting wall you will need to ensure that the work complies with building regulations. Use an experienced builder to get the job done. He can help you with planning and building regulations and can work with a structural engineer and/or an architect to make sure the job is completed safely.


If you need any plastering work done don't skimp on this - It's worth spending on a professional to achieve an excellent finish.


This is a tricky job and although makeover programmes make it look easy it can look terrible if it is done badly. If you are redoing the flooring consider asking your builder to put in under floor heating for you. This has the advantage of not taking up valuable wall space, it is inexpensive to install, economical to run, there is no maintenance and the heat distribution is total. It can be installed under almost every floor type, wood, tile and laminate making it ideal for refurbishment projects.


Tiling is difficult and time consuming. It is one of the most visible areas of the kitchen and done badly it can ruin your new look.

Gas and electrics

Moving or changing utility points (water, gas and electrical) will add to the cost of the project, but it is well worth making sure you have a good supply of well placed electrical points. Make sure you use an approved electrical contractor. To find an approved electrician in your area visit containing details of approved electrical contractors. If you are moving or installing a gas boiler or cooker, make sure the installer is Gas Safe registered.

There are 45,000 Gas Safe installers in the UK and many of the FMB's 13,000 members are also Gas Safe registered.

© 2003 Federation of Master Builders.

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