Having major building work out carried can be quite an upheaval at the best of times so over the next few weeks we will show you what really goes on and how, if you choose a good builder, it needn’t be the nightmare scenario you sometimes hear about.
The project is basically a two storey extension on the rear of a Victorian semi. However, there is an existing single storey extension for the kitchen at the rear of the property. Not only is this not particularly well designed, but it lacks insulation and is a very cold part of the house.
Having been through all the processes to gain planning permission the job is ready to be started.
One of the first things to arrive on the site is a skip which is essential on any job as it means rubbish can be cleared from site as the job progresses rather than being left stacked up and possibly in the way. From the word go it’s obvious the Building Contractor is used to taking care of the owners property. The skip isn’t sat directly onto the driveway, but on a couple of timber bearers. This will avoid marking or damaging the existing paving. Also on site is a portaloo – a sure sign of consideration as there won’t be muddy boots trampling through the house.
Before the client leaves, the builders run through arrangements for security of the property making sure the client is happy and can be confident his home is being looked after. I’ve spent a fair bit of time getting to know the firm and how they work. It’s really been quite refreshing. These guys take great pride in their work and believe in doing a good job at a fair price. It’s true with many things that you get what you pay for, but it’s particularly important to bear that in mind when having building work done. Your home is usually the biggest investment you ever make so trying to cut corners and get things done cheap just isn’t worth it.
One of the biggest sources of disagreement between contractor and client can be over money. What was quoted for, extras that didn’t get agreed, unforeseen work and so on. Make sure both parties are completely clear on costs from the outset and as which means that as the job progresses there shouldn’t be any arguments later. As for extras, the builders have a proper system in place to manage these. If extra work is required for any reason, a price is worked out and the client signs to sanction the work before it gets done.
On this particular job, the owners have moved out while the work is done. It has meant a lot of packing up and organising but it is sure to make life easier for both parties. The downstairs room onto which the extension will open has been completely cleared ready for work to start and leaving the builders with plenty of space to work in safe in the knowledge nothing will get damaged.
The existing kitchen isn’t in too bad a shape and a new home for it has already been found. The first job is to dismantle this carefully and store it away so it can be collected. While one of the team starts removing the cabinet doors, a plumber arrives to disconnect the gas supply and hot and cold water to the kitchen. The electrician isolates the power supply in the kitchen from the rest of the house so that everyone can get started knowing that there are no live cables in there.
The rest of the day is spent carefully dismantling and storing all of the original kitchen – cabinets, worktops, appliances, plinths and pelmets. An old built in larder is ripped out and the wood stacked up to one side. By the end of the day the old kitchen is completely cleared and left tidy – a sure sign of good workmen.
Next stage: Off with the roof.