Posted in Blog post

To project manage or not to?…

Vision ✅

Architect ✅

Drawings ✅

Steel calculations ✅

Planning approval ✅

Approximate budget ✅

With a fair few jobs ticked off the list towards completing the ground works for the extension, we needed to get serious.

We needed to find an all important builder. This is of course the person/team of people we are handing over probably the heftiest amount of money we’ve ever paid anyone. Ever. We’re not lucky enough to be a total cash buyer for this project.

The amount of TV programmes I’ve seen where the home owners hand over the whole amount of money or there about upfront before a jot of work has been done, sometimes in actual, hard cash too, is unreal. Not a trap to fall into for sure!

Any good builder will ask for the total quote to be paid in chunks. It helps their cash flow and also helps home owners to keep tabs on costs.

Any job we ever get done, small or large, we tend to get three quotes as a minimum. For this, our biggest project yet, we got seven builders to quote.

We only got building firms to quote who had done work for people we knew well, family and friends. Firms that came highly recommended and their work had recently been done in the last 12-18 months.

Each builder we asked round to the house to get a feel of who they are, what their remits are and whether they were interested. We used the opportunity to explain in great detail what we wanted to achieve in the house. We then emailed through our drawings and calculations for a detailed quote. We asked for the quote to be itemised rather than one figure so that we could see where our major costs were and where savings could be made.

Once the quotes came in, we obviously combed through them carefully. We then realised that if we handed over the whole job we would go seriously over budget. The whole job being listed below…

  • Getting the shell up to be watertight: Digging out the foundations, ground works and foundations up to damp course, the shell ie blockwork/brickwork with ground and first floor joists, installation of steels, roof work, insulation, exterior render, windows, doors and knock through to the existing house 🔨
  • Install stud walls
  • Plasterboard and plastering
  • First fix: electrics and plumbing 🔨
  • Underfloor heating preparation
  • Floor screed 🔨
  • Kitchen purchase and installation
  • Laying choice of floor
  • Wall painting or papering
  • Second fix: electrics and plumbing 🔨

So, having done up two houses previously, third time a charm. We’d be doing it again, and like I said in my bio, never again. This is our forever home. We went through the quotes and focused carefully on the itemised list. We decided to get best price quotes from the same seven builders on just the jobs above highlighted with a 🔨. This helped change the quotes to make it manageable to get the shell up in the first instance.

The builder that came out as ‘the chosen one’ is the one that has come over as and when we’ve wanted to chat through the build more than once, came in reasonably on the quote and talked through parts of the build that could help us save.

Doing this though, one thing is now clear. We are project managing this build. Every contractor that we employ after the water tight shell is up will be managed by us.

We’ll have to make sure that we have the contractors ready to be called in to minimise delays. So all the contractors will have to be vetted and a range of quotes sought prior to hiring. Essentially the same process we’ve gone through to choose our builder.

Updates on this will be posted on my Instagram page as the build goes on.

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