Editor’s Choice awards 2012: A recap

Showhome take a look back at the winners of our Editor’s Choice awards from the last year

Our Editor’s Choice awards are given to the best and most interesting companies in each issue of Showhome magazine. Over the course of 2012 we handed out awards to everyone from a marketing agency (White Space Design, February/March issue), to window fitters (Idealcombi, June/July issue).

Often, the award winners are chosen for their innovative solutions to problems within the industry. For instance, Swiss company ComofoSystems, who we featured in the February/March issue, have revolutionised the ventilation market with their ComfoBox Apart system, which uses a clever heat recovery system to reduce carbon emissions. The system is able to provide heating, cooling, heat recovery ventilation and hot water from one compact box. It claims to be able to recover 90% of heat that would otherwise have been wasted into the atmosphere. As soon as we heard about the innovative solution, we knew it would be a perfect candidate for an Editor’s Choice award.

Sometimes, we choose an award not for a particular product, but for a company’s advice on a particular issue. For instance, in our August/September issue, security company CCTVDirect told us how to pick the most effective anti-burglar deterrents for new homes. They pointed out the importance of choosing an appropriate security solution for the task at hand – often an alarm isn’t enough, as over half of all burglaries take place when people are in the house. They suggested installing a CCTV system on top of alarms to both catch intruders, and deter them from entering the house in the first place.

All Editor’s Choice winners have the opportunity to receive a certificate, reprint of their editorial from the magazine and a mock cover featuring their company. These can be displayed by the company, and they are also able to use our Editor’s Choice logo on all their marketing. A Showhome Editor’s Choice award is an impressive accolade for any company to be able to say they have; using our logo on future marketing strategies is guaranteed to work in the company’s favour.

United Trust Bank maintain their presence as a lender for residential developments
Editor’s Choice: Showhome October/November 2012

In our October/November issue, Noel Meredith, Director of United Trust Bank, explained why the bank has remained a ‘reassuring constant’ as a lender for residential developments in spite of the economic troubles.
“Throughout the current financial crisis, United Trust Bank (UTB) has maintained its presence as a lender for good quality residential developments and although some lenders have come and gone UTB has been a reassuring constant in the development finance sector. We continue to see high levels of enquiries and are completing increasing numbers of substantial development loans. However, we don’t lend on every proposal we receive, so why do we fund some projects and not others?
Before 2008, some banks offered development finance to just about anyone who could acquire a site and the services of a builder. The folly of this approach has been well evidenced. Banks now want assurance that their customer is a highly experienced and professional developer. It is not enough to secure the services of a project manager, architect or contractor because, as good as these might be, one of the key drivers of success in the development world is the knowledge and experience of a developer who can conceive the right product and then manage an increasingly complicated delivery process.
Pre credit crunch money was in plentiful supply and some banks were lending ever-increasing proportions of cost. Often, few questions were asked about the borrower’s finances and many banks didn’t seek personal guarantees. Nowadays lenders want to make sure that if anything goes wrong they are not the ones left holding the baby. Lenders expect to get their money back including the interest and fees therefore borrowers should expect to be asked to give personal guarantees. Lenders will also want proof that the guarantors are good for the obligation. This calculation will ignore any investment in the development because if the guarantee gets called the project will already be in trouble.
‘Location, location, location’ is the popular catchphrase of those who believe you can build and sell almost anything if the plot is in the right place. And whilst location is still a key consideration, these days we believe that developers need to be far more focused on what they’re building and who they’re hoping to sell it to rather than just where it is. In short, there needs to be a much greater emphasis on the sector they’re building in.
The developers bringing the most attractive proposals at the moment demonstrate a very high level of local knowledge and expertise at matching the right product with the right buyers in the right locations. In today’s market, where cash and the availability of mortgages are more restricted the most important thing is to establish not just who wants a property but who can afford it.
When seeking development finance remember that lenders will be interested in three key factors. Does the developer have a successful track record and experience of delivering products suitable for the market? Do they have a good financial standing with a willingness to and ability to provide personal guarantees if required? And is the development well located and aimed at a suitable sector of the market for type and price? If you can answer yes to these three questions a specialist development finance lender will be very happy to talk to you.

– A ‘reassuring constant’ in the industry, even through difficult recent times
– Efficient and quick service
– Years of experience
– In-depth industry understanding
– Extensive and comprehensive support network

Amina Invisible Loudspeakers are the perfect fit for prestigious apartments
Editor’s Choice: Showhome April/May 2012

In our April/May issue, we looked at how a prestigious new development in Mayfair had installed Amina’s revolutionary Invisible Loudspeakers as part of a control system designed to coordinate everything from climate control, lighting and audio distribution within the showhome.
Minimalist design and decor were foremost in the clients’ mind, providing occupants with a dream home that looked stunning, was full of hidden technology and did everything they could dream of from the touch of a simple icon driven screen. Customers investing in such prestigious apartments seek individuality and each apartment had a different structure and room layout. The technology selected was common to all but needed the flexibility to adapt to the differing requirements.
The company chosen for this prestigious development was Living – The Home Technology People, because of their proven track record in delivering, simple to use, minimalist Audio/Visual, Lighting and Automation solutions. Living’s Owner and Director Wes Crutcher worked closely with the developers to turn the dream into a reality and to ensure the eventual homeowners had a reliable and flexible system to fit their individual lifestyles. Wes commented: “Amina Invisible Loudspeakers were the perfect fit for this project. The customer did not want conventional loudspeakers intruding into the space at all, so an invisible sound source which filled the room with high clarity sound was just right”.
Amina’s invisible speaker technology was utilised to generate highly diffuse room filling sound to a truly exceptional integrated high technology, visually stunning solution. Each apartment has five Amina Loudspeakers installed providing a hidden 5.1 surround sound system for the main living area. This allows the rooms to perfectly combine the desire for an aesthetically pleasing room to relax or entertain in as well as providing a full surround sound home theatre experience for family and friends.
The stylishly decorated master bedrooms, accessed via a bespoke staircase in the penthouse suite, feature a stereo pair of Amina Invisible Loudspeakers. These are complemented by an Amina dual channel speaker in the ensuites ensuring a seamless enjoyment of music throughout the bedroom suites.
One delighted owner commented: “The AV system delivers everything you could expect to want or need with the speakers being discretely hidden yet capable of meeting the varied musical tastes of my family. The system is intuitive to use giving easy access to all connected equipment making listening to music, watching TV or accessing the internet a real pleasure.”
Perfect for such a stunningly simple, yet effective, minimalist interior design, Amina loudspeakers are installed directly into walls or ceilings, the speakers are plastered over with a standard 2mm skim coat then covered with everyday finishing materials such as paint or wallpaper. Working on the principle of a vibrational soundboard, analogous to a musical instrument much like a violin or acoustic guitar, the speakers propagate sound through tiny vibrations which are invisible to the human eye. The speakers provide high clarity room filling sound with zero visual impact. The speakers can also be used behind wood, wood veneer, high pressure laminates or even a thin layer of acrylic stone providing interior designers with a sound source of their dreams.
With an eye on the future each apartment was installed with a flexible infrastructure of cables. The idea being to be able to offer end users a simple upgrade path as technology advances permit, as well as offering unrivalled flexibility with extra locations for screens, speakers and data points throughout.
All security systems including, CCTV, video door access and intruder alerts, have been seamlessly woven into the fabric of the automation and controls package, making operation simple, reliable and remotely accessible
The effort in creating an integrated minimalist high technology home was rewarded by truly satisfied customers commenting how delighted they are with the result, an easy to use and flexible system that is visually unobtrusive yet powerful.

For further information visit www.amina.co.uk

– All-in-one control
– Minimalist design
– Future-proof design
– Unrivalled flexibility
– Visually unobtrusive, yet powerful sound



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