So you’re planning an extension or new construction project. Lets talk about how to get you started in the most efficient way to avoid problems later down the line.
Once you’ve decided it’s time to get started you will be inviting a whole army of people into your life.
Your first guest is going to be a builder or an architectural consultant. A lot of people like to start with a builder, but this is putting the cart before the horse. A knowledgeable builder might be able to offer an estimate cost, but they will always shy away from giving a full quotation without a set of drawings to work to.
Estimate: An educated but still rough guess as to the costs
Quote: A calculated and accurate price
Now its time to invite an Architectural Consultant into play. A good architectural consultant will help you develop your ideas into a magnificent architectural monument, one that will increase the value of your property and any others within a 2 mile radius through the judicious use of steel and glass combined with so many balconies you’ll never have a cup of coffee on them all in one lifetime. Or…they will help you keep it modest and cost effective by bringing knowledge of design and materials to help keep you on the right path. They will also bring a working knowledge of local planning rules and Building Control issues to ensure you don’t fall foul of your local council.
Lets say you’ve got your Planning Permission in place and now you need a Building Control Application. There’s a few options here. Building Control can now be undertaken by a private company. Your Building Control Officer will be calling into site several times and liaising with your Builder and your Architectural Consultant. So it’s worth getting one they both know and trust.
A Structural Engineer is a handy trade to have around. If there’s anything involving steelwork these are the people to help. Lets say you’ve got to have a raft foundation, you’ll need an engineer. You’re having a roof lantern and bi-fold doors, you’ll need an engineer. You want to take out that kitchen wall…well you get the idea.
A great example of a Structural Engineers worth happened on one of our sites a couple of years ago. The clients needed a 6m steel beam with a plate welded to the underneath to go over some bi fold doors. You can buy these direct from a lintel manufacturer for £3200. Our Engineer did a set of calculations for £60 and the builder had the steel manufactured by the steel worker for £450. Engineers, that’s a good saving!
Now its time for the Builder to come around again. You’ve got all your drawings, permissions and calculations. So the builder can come home from 8 hours of manual labor in all weathers, sit down and go through everything with his scale rule and call all his suppliers to price materials night after night. Of course he isn’t going to do that. He’ll send the drawings off to a Quantity Surveyor or Estimator. These are the professionals who will provide the builder with a fully costed and detailed quotation. A bill of quantities allows a builder to know how many of each item he will need. Reducing waste and keeping the project running smoothly.
Most builders will work with other tradesmen, they could be bringing Electricians, Plumbers, Roofers, Tilers, Kitchen fitters, Bathroom Fitters, Plasterers, Decorators, Damp proofers and any other specialists you need for your project. But without a good set of working drawings it’s only ever going to be a best guess.
When they work well you’d never know how many people have been at your construction party. But like all good parties you have to plan for the appropriate number of guests or you’ll run out of cheese cubes on sticks.