Choosing the right builder
Builders come in all shapes and sizes (quite literally) so it is important that you employ the right size contractor for the works in question. Many of you reading this will be embarking on projects and are about to go looking for your builder, and builders come in one size fits all don’t they?..... well no they don’t! Over the past nine months, I have been called in to assist issues on two occasions where a builder had been employed by the clients (and in one of the instance
Project Diary #3 - October 2016
Oct 2016 The barn/cookery school structural steelwork was erected in three days and fitted perfectly. Considering that the roof portal steels are curved to very specific radius, the installation was a testament to everyone’s efforts, from architect through engineers and steel fabricators. Timber frame structure arrived the following week and was also erected without drama. The design is for the timber frame to wrap around the steel structure so leaving it (steel) exposed on t
What is a Project Manager in Construction?
What is a construction project manager? Can you do this yourself or do you need to outsource it? This is a task easily underestimated, requiring at least a basic understanding of construction methods. But equally important is having the sense to realise that the majority of aspects involve professionals with many years of experience. The clever ones of you will know which professionals are needed and which are not. The Project Manager "Project management is the application of
Finding the right tradesmen
What has happened to all the good tradesmen? Since a great deal of my time involves the finding and vetting of tradesmen on behalf of my clients, it goes without saying that the dwindling numbers of quality craftsmen (and sometimes women) are of concern to me. Many formally trained and qualified people are reaching a certain age and therefore looking towards throttling back. However, they are not, unfortunately, being replaced at the same rate as their decline. Whilst there a
Project Diary - July 2016
Project: Renovation of a Grade II Listed Farmhouse and New Build Barn. Main Challenges: Combination of ‘old’ and ‘new’, appropriate use of materials, airtightness. Location: Oxfordshire I am currently working on a site in Oxfordshire which comprises of the total renovation to an imposing Grade II listed Georgian Farmhouse which had been uninhabited for many years and was virtually derelict. The farmhouse is also having two large extensions that the architects have designed in
4 recent client questions
Is VAT refundable on extensions and home improvements? Unfortunately, in most cases the answer is no. But if a home has been unoccupied for at least three years, VAT is charged at the lesser rate of five percent. If it is 10 years, then VAT is zero. Conversions such as a barn or commercial building to a home(s) will often attract VAT at 5% or zero. Main Contractor or Managed Sub-Contractors? The simple way forward is to obtain your project, then employ a builder as a main con
5 reasons why a Build Consultant could save your project.
This is a common question as most people have not even thought about the notion of a Build Consultant. These 5 reasons are by no means exclusive but have been chosen to give you an overall understanding of how a Build Consultant could help you. 1. To help select the right people to work on your project. Choosing the correct professional, architect or builder is a difficult task that required experience and knowledge. 2. To make sense of all the information being created by an
Vendor Vs Builder - Which installation option do you use?
It is a difficult decision, which do you use? Now anyone who has read my books will know; I feel very strongly about the subject of responsibility when deciding whether a builder/trade should supply and fix an item, fix only an item provided by you, or even you fix a particular item that you have bought from a third party. Most often, when employing a builder as a main contractor, his scope would be to supply and fix all elements, and that is by far the safest way to ensure t
The consequences of getting it wrong - A little knowledge is a dangerous thing
My dad had a saying – “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing” and he was not wrong. Part of my job is working to avoid problems, hence me writing my two books aimed mainly at self-builder who are embarking on their project. The other part is advising people when they find themselves in a situation where they have a problem and feel lost. What most elements fundamentally boil down to is; do you have enough knowledge and experience for the job in hand, and equally important d
The Architect, The Builder & The Client - Managing your expectations
Are your expectations of each one correct or are you setting yourself up for disappointment? The root cause of disputes between many of these aspects is often a misunderstanding of the roles and responsibilities each one is to be held accountable for. An architect has a role to play and is a commodity to be employed in just the same way as say a carpenter. One area of particular confusion is what actually constitutes an architect, with the term often used generically to descr