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Creating a programme for the works – be realistic!

So you know what you are building, how much it will cost, and to a large extent how you are going to build it. What about “how long will it take”?

The next logical task is to create a programme of works, and if you are employing a main contractor, whether under contract or not, such a document is imperative.

If going down the main contractor route, by and large it is the responsibility of the builder to submit an agreeable programme, which forms part of the contract documents and is what the contract works period is based on.

But what about if you are employing individual contractors that you are managing yourself?

You need a programme for numerous reasons including forward ordering lead times, cash-flow, and generally to know key dates such as when to have the kitchen fitted and book the removal company to bring your furniture in, both of which probably need months of notice and confirmation.

A lot of self-builders have a sort of “back of a fag packet” approach to a programme, not realising that to not have at least a realistic “map” of the timings, will actually cause delays.

Windows for example would often have an 8 – 10 week lead time, so if you do not programme in the confirmation times, the job could be sitting around waiting for them and so holding up the follow on trades.

All trades will have other works on the go, so do you book them in with the correct timings or end up waiting your turn and delaying the job.

So how do you go about creating a realistic programme that can be worked to effectively and efficiently? In a nutshell this requires experience.

Experience to know when only one trade can be on site at once, and also when more than one trade can be working simultaneously. Experience to know how long each element will actually take, as opposed to how long the contractor tells you. Experience to know when to build in slippage buffers, and experience to know whether the overall computed time sounds right.

Without the above experience, you need to think very carefully indeed.

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