Archives August 2018

Is a Fixed or Variable Mortgage Best for You?

Every homebuyer faces a tough decision before they purchase property, and that question is about choosing the right type of mortgage.

There are two main types of mortgage, and these relate to the type of rate that is charged. The rates are known as fixed rates and variable rates.  Read this guide from Curchod & Co for more information.

Fixed Rate Mortgages

The selling point of a fixed rate mortgage is that no matter what the Bank of England decides to do with its base rate, the fixed rate does not change within a specified period. The specified period will vary depending on what you negotiate with your mortgage lender, but some companies will lock in a fixed rate for up to a decade.

A borrower who signs up for a fixed rate knows precisely the amount their mortgage will cost during this period. There is no need to stress about an increase in mortgage payments if the interest rates around you rise while your rate is locked in, and this means there will be no impact on your budget.

However, there is a negative, and that is that fixed rate mortgages normally have repayment fees attached if you want to pay out early. So, if you did come into some money that you would like to use to repay your mortgage, it would cost a lot to do so. Ask your prospective lender how much extra you can put against your mortgage before a penalty is charged. There may still be some small flexibility of overpaying up to 10% of the amount owed.

Variable Rate Mortgages

A variable rate mortgage is one that can constantly change. This means that yes it can rise, but it can also fall too.

A discounted deal is when you are offered a rate that is lower than the standard variable rate being offered by the lender. A discounted deal can be offered because the lender chooses what their variable rate will be and has complete autonomy to do so.

However, a tracker mortgage is a mortgage that has a variable rate that changes in line with the base rate advertised by the Bank of England. Therefore, every time there is a change in the base rate, this variable rate will change too.

The positive of a variable rate is that it may start out lower than what is being offered for a fixed rate mortgage. However, there is no certainty that it will remain lower in the future.

So, who benefits most from a fixed rate mortgage?

If you need the certainty of knowing what your mortgage is going to be during a set period, then a fixed rate mortgage is for you. However, you must be aware that if the interest rates go down, you are still going to be locked into paying your set amount.

Buyers who are purchasing their first home often find a fixed rate suits them best while they get used to paying a regular home mortgage payment.…


The 3 Stages of Operator Training

The Health and Safety Executive Guidance on Lift Truck Operator Training clearly states the requirement for a 3-Stage approach to training, however, many employers are unaware of this. Many operators, therefore, are allowed to work in a “live” environment with nothing but Basic Operator Training. As is often the case, the combination of machine operators in control of vehicles they are not fully trained to operate and a fast-paced work environment can lead to catastrophic results. Contrary to popular belief by employers that operators are qualified after passing Basic Operator Training, the fact is it must be followed up by Specific Job and Familiarisation Training before an employer is allowed to authorise an individual to operate machinery in their workplace.

L117 is the UK’s Approved Code of Practice that outlines the standards required to comply with the three stages of operator training and that employers must satisfy. These three stages of operator training are:

1. Basic Training

Basic training imparts the foundation level knowledge, skills, and hazard awareness required to operate any type of machinery and attachments. This training should be delivered by a qualified operator instructor at an accredited training facility to ensure that all legal obligations are met.

In basic operator training, an individual learns the practical skills of operating machinery such as how to use hydraulic controls and simple manoeuvring of pallet trucks. They also gain a basic understanding of the safety principles involved in operating equipment, including the hazards and risks associated with heavy machinery operation.
Other important skills such as basic routine maintenance and refuelling, as well as pre-use inspection are also covered in basic training.

2. Specific Job Training

In stage 2 context is added to the basic skills training, where the operator is introduced to the specific operating principles related to the equipment they will be using with particular focus on the attachments that may be used. Like basic training, specific job training should take place off-site away from production and any work related pressures. The training will be tailored to an employer’s specific needs and may include:

  • Instruction on site rules;
  • Use of the equipment in the same conditions the operator will experience at work;
  • Operating principles and use of the machine’s controls;
  • Routine inspection and servicing
  • Training in the specific work that will be carried out;
  • Instruction on site rules
  • Safety systems of operating specific machinery.

This training is vital to give an operator an understanding and working knowledge of the specific equipment that will be used on a daily basis as well as how it should be operated in the workplace.

3. Familiarisation Training

This training should be delivered at the workplace under the close supervision of a person with appropriate experience and knowledge of the equipment that will be used by the operator. Familiarisation training allows the operator to put into practice what has been learnt off-site and includes:

  • Applying the skills learned in stages 1 and 2;
  • Becoming familiar with operating the equipment in the normal