No longer a DIYer manque

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I am on the verge of buying myself a house. The Natural Philosopher will be horrified because it is a 16th century timber framed hovel and so an everlasting series of problems.
He could be right because I have come up with my first problem which is "How much should I insure it for?"
Generally, rebuild costs are much less than purchase price but this one would be much more labour intensive than usual.
Where can I find a rebuilding cost guide for timber framed houses?
Anna
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I take it you've no mortgage as the lender usually makes sure the insurance is adequate. ;-)
Just a wee tale - I've had this house since the mid '70s. The BS made the rebuilding cost more than double the actual price I paid. Its been index linked ever since, and is now considerably less than half the going price...
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Sounds like a total renovation. Pack it with insulation.

Anna,
The Housbuilder Bible by Mark Brinkley is not bad on this. He covers all forms of construction. His costings are up to date.
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I have the millennium edition and I think there has been one more since that came out so I might be out of date, but in my copy he doesn't deal in my sort of house. All he says is "Green oak building is not quick and it is not cheap but it produced superb houses in the past and it continues to do so today".
Are there any hard numbers in the latest edition?
Anna -- ~~ Anna Kettle, Suffolk, England |""""| ~ Lime plasterwork, plaster conservation / ^^ \ // Freehand modelling and pargeting |____| www.kettlenet.co.uk 07976 649862
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Anna
His claim to fame is that he updates about every two years, so building and material costs are pretty well current. before engaging on a project you can get a reasonable accurate cost of what you are to do. It is a good overall book. There are useful tips in purchasing and project managing, and highlights the pitfalls to avoid.
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The latest is the 5th edition, 2002), which I've just bought on your recommendation in another thread - many thanks, John - it's really excellent. (sorry Anna, I don't have it front of me)
David
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It's not the only book on cost though. The Building Centre in Store St, London W1, has a load of these types of books.
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Check out the insurance section on www.periodproperty.co.uk there are companies that specialise in period property and their (higher) rebuild costs. I see from you signature that you have some of the skills you may need for this project (lime plasterwork etc). Also look at the discussion forum on this website there are a lot of knowlegable people on there who have done the work you may have to take on. They will not advise you to turn it into a hermetically sealed scandinavian designed modern tripled glazed superinsulated monstrousity.
Andy
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About double the purchase price, possibly more.
Don't buy it. Listed buildings are a PITA.
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The first sentence sounds like a really specific answer, but the second proves that we are on different wavelengths so yes a message on www.periodproperty.co.uk is a good idea
What a horrible time it is in limbo while the solicitors snooze
Anna -- ~~ Anna Kettle, Suffolk, England |""""| ~ Lime plasterwork, plaster conservation / ^^ \ // Freehand modelling and pargeting |____| www.kettlenet.co.uk 07976 649862
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Anna Kettle wrote:

go for 110 quid a square foot.
That should be comfortably over..

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wrote:

Thats the most precise figure I have been given. Can I ask you a couple of questions about it please?
Am I right that you have built your own new oak timber framed house? If so, I guess that the number came from your own experience. Is that so? How long ago did you build it?
Does the "square foot" describe the footprint of the building, or should I be counting each floor separately?
Thanks for your help Anna -- ~~ Anna Kettle, Suffolk, England |""""| ~ Lime plasterwork, plaster conservation / ^^ \ // Freehand modelling and pargeting |____| www.kettlenet.co.uk 07976 649862
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snipped-for-privacy@kettlenet.co.uk (Anna Kettle) wrote in message

Hi
I would have thought you could a good starting idae by looking at prices for new oak buildings on the net. Then adding on for the numerous things that are excluded.
Regards, NT
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N. Thornton wrote:

That is also a good way to go: I costed that out, and it came to very little differemnt to the way I ended up going actually. Although it would have been faster to get a 'kit' in to build.
As I said in the last post though, the actual constructional shell is barely half the battle, it is the 'little things you left out' that are too numerous to mention that get you. That is why I plumped for that figure: I could, with better management, have done 15% better than that. I could, for an even better finish, have spent almost double....
In London. a luxury flat makeover was quited at 100-120 a square foot. That is with no major structural work at all. Just finish to a decent standard. A friend I know with an end of terrace architect designed 4 floor 'conversion' in Hampstead/Camden has spent nearly double that. All solid oak floors, lots of glass, remote controlled lighting and a kitchen that looks empty till you press the buttons and the cooker appears...not that I have had more than a cup of instant coffee in it tho :-)
That's long way from a square blockwork house with UPVC windows, cheapo radiators everywhere, vinyl and carpet flooring finished in white plastic with machine tile roof. And furnished from B & Q or Ikea...
That a 60 a square house. Up the road here the sheik somebody or other has a gold plated mahogany clad palace. Gold leaf on teh plaster mouldings. No one knows what it cost.
Just up the road someone bought a listed cottage for half a million, and spent two more on turning it into some designers idea of suburban delight, complete with supermarket car park, fishpond, enough lights to illuminate a football pitch, ghastly 'modern' scultures and so on. At a guess he has spent around 500 a square in toto to completely makeover a listed house and 3 acres of garden. He just got in the top local firm, and they poured men and materials and equipment into it.
It looks, to my taste, expensive, vulgar, totally inappropiate, and oozes money, from the security fence round the outside, complete with doorphone and electronic lock on the driveway gate, to the rather obscene Mercedes (unlike Di, would you be seen dead in one) that never seems to ocupy the terribly modern (looks like to containers stuck side by side with two more on top) extension garage cum office block....
But, if thats what he wants...?
500 a square it is!

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Talk about jealousy!
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IMM wrote:

No..why should I?
I quite like the sheikhs place. Odd taste, but interesting. This however is just some poor dude out of the suburbs whose made a shitload of dosh and had it ripped off him by a bunch of poncey architects and 'interior designers' and 'landsacpe engineers' and a building firm.
Probably chums of yours are they?

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Anna Kettle wrote:

Its not totally oak, but is all timber. The ghouse it replaced was an old cottage with a naff mdern extension, the planners made me put up somthing that looked like an old house with a not so naff modern extension.

It does, roughly, and it was built/is being finished right now.

Each floor separately.
The actual materials used are a function of that, as are the number of expensive items (windows, doors, electrical sockets radiators, wood etc etc.)and the labour.
Getting to a watertight structure un-fitted out was about 50% of the cost. Beware, because that is probably what a builder will think of when he quotes you.
You still have the kitchens bathrooms electrical finishing, decoration, flooring and all the little bits to go - lighting and curtain rails alone to a decent standard cost in excess of 8 grand for me. Flooring is up around 12 grand. I just spent 600 quid on industrial shelving to go iun the attic and in the garden shed..to store all the boixes ofstuff that are cluttering upo the place. You don't think of how MUCH there is in an established house that needs to be put in a new one to turn it into a functioning home.
This is why the figure I quoted is MUCH higher than you can build a 'standard' house for. I believe that is around 60-70 quid a square foot.
Things that radically increased costs beyond that are listed, because you may want to make decisions early to save money later.
(i) Labour intensive construction techniques. In my case lots of dormer windows in the 'under the eaves' top floor, plus a hipped roof and traditional rafters. If you sling up a box with gable ends and use pre-fab W braced roof trusses, its MUCH quicker. Also the oak working was quite labour intensive, but on balance I didn't think any worse than e.g. hand laying block works.
(ii) Style and quality of finish. This is really where you can spend...and spend. Example: I got some very decent caprpet laid upstairs at around 28 per square meter. It all happened in one day including two stiars.
I spent a whole summer laying slates in the kitchen and passage: Cost of slate was 28/m^2 but the cost of the cement, grout and finishing products brought that up to 50, near enough, and if my labour had been included, I would say that would have taken it to nearer 100 per square meter.
You can put up a ready made curtain a plastic rail for what - maybe 100 quid a window? We mad iron poles, and fully interlined curtains, and it was nearer 500 a window.
You can have a coule of ceiling rises in a room, and a white plastic switch...and what? 30 quid parts and labour? Now go for three way switched dimmed wall lamps in brass or iron, and its more like 300 quid a room...
If I had just 'gone with the catalogues' I could have easily spent 25k on a kitchen. As it was installation of Aga and a decent suite of whie goods in half decent stuff was well over 10k, and yet a small kitchen at the back in the extension, was done with normal cheap units, an old wshing machine, cheap fridge, and second hand coooker for less than 2.5k.
(iii) cleaning up the mess the builder left. And Doing The Garden. I have spent most of this summer and some of last clearing, shifting soild, buying plants, laying down driveways and paths, building little walls etc etc. I'd say about 15k in all so far, and still not grvavelled and slabbed, and many more things to do yet. Never underetsimate what it will cost in time effort and money to turn a building site back into a garden.
I think the key is to spend the money on things that cannot be easily upgraded later. Hence we didn't go for superb floor finishes everywhere. And there are white plastic switches in the extension. But underfloor heating in the screed was only a little extra, and freed the whole ground floor from radiators. Well worth it, and impossible to retrofit. Likewise miles and miles of cat5, TV coax and alarm cable everywhere, just in case its ever needed...and a very big hot water tank, and a very big oil tank..
Likewise windows are doors are all oak framed, look fantastic, and cost (with some net searching) only about 30% more than UPVC or custom made painted pine would have. You don't want to have to redo those later if possible.
Most valuable thigs I did? Find this group, have a halfway decent architect, make friends with the building inspector, use the internet, and buy an A1 colour printer. And be lucky enough to have two honest and utterly competent carpenters...and now enough about cost accounting and projevct management to see when and where materials were vanishing, and cost and time estimates going put the windows.
Biggest mistakes? Not having the courage to fire the builder, and most of the subbies he was using, long before I did. And believing his cost, and time estimates. Not designing every last detail first, so that there was no holdup when it came to 'where is this toilet supposed to go, cos there is not drain where you said'
As it turned out, I have (almost) got a fabulous house, totally unique,
that looks like its been here for years, and on the most conservative estimate,
I will break even if I take its value as was, current value, and cost to get it there.
The location is first class tho - it would not have been worth spending what I did on a less well located property.
I see you are not so very far away..indeed, I found you on the web when we were building and considering pargetting.
If you would like to drop in some time and see what has been done, it would be a pleasure. Just drop a disguised e-mail address here, and I will get in touch.

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But you didn't take much notice. :-(

So. What would you do again properly? Use a large spreadsheet or a PM management software? Were your estimates of cost? or did you build on the fly? Sounds like on the fly.
I recall a very "large" house being converted to flats. Usually in these cases, the man in charge has papers stuffed in his pockets and was usually doing something. On asking who is in charge, it would take 15 minutes to find him. This one was different. An office was set out in the corner complete with filing cabinets and a large take-no-crap assertive but polite man was sitting there. His first words were to everyone were "what's your name and who do you work for", and times and names went in the large diary everytime "anyone" entered and left the site. He had a full schedule, milestones and stock sheets.
We sent contractors to do the pipework system I designed. He logged all their hours (they were turning up a 9:30 and leaving at 4:30). He had the bill heavily adjusted.
The moral of the story? He knew how to project manage and kept above labour, material, stocks and costs. I later found it came in under budget and on time.
When doing a new build or renovating, it is best to know what you want up front. Do not design on the fly. I have heard many people say, "what heating system shall we put in", this is when the shell is up and weather tight. That is ridiculous. If a forced air & ventilation system is needed then this can be designed into the structure, before any works takes place.
1. Know what you want up front 2. Research new cheap methods. e.g, SIP panels, Masonite TJI "I" beams, warm roofs, etc. These can give great benefits and reduce costs if used to their advantage. 3. Cost it well beforehand, including all the small details 4. Design the house or renovation to suit. 5. Stick to the design. 6. Identify risks and have a float for them (foundations can be expensive if they find problems further down. 7. Project manage well and keep a handle on costs. 8. Emphasis (nicely) to subbies that you will not tolerate poor quality or hypes in prices before you take them on. 9. Do not pay by the hour, only set prices on finish work. 10. Do not pay anything up front (you are not a bank for subbies and builders) 11. 12. Keep a handle on quality. 13. Don't be scared to sack subbies that fall short on quality. 14. Don't be scared to say no to subbies who miraculously find that more work is required that they never envisaged and up the price.
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IMM wrote:

Of the group? yes.
Of you? Scarcely any. You are merely a source of idle amusement. As a clown or court jester you have a certain naive charm, as an expert on plumbing? frankly my dog is more useful.

Used a speradsheet.
I trusted others estimates. Once I started my own, they were nearer reality than the builders. HE built on the fly. I tried to stop that.

Yup. Thats good practice.

yup. However on a smaller project there is a fine line between spending the hours on pre-designing every detail and saving a few hours labourt, and saving the hours of labour in doing the pre-desing amd management. What works on a small site doesn't work on a big, and vice versa.

Indeed. Thats why I had the major bits worked out well in advance. All the ones I could think of. I assumed the builder would do the same, but of course, he didn't.
Drains went a bit wrong, when we had to insatll a Klargester,
which required a revamp of some flows, entirely the builders fault
'we can get away with existing tank' 'Not on a new build' sez inspector.
Flues wnet a bit wrong, because no one admitted they didn';t knwo the correct dimesnions to build em, and I had to look it all up later. Likewise 'we can use flexible liners' 'not on a new build mate' sez inspector...
Plumbers were even more incompetent than you are, so I finished most myself...:-)

But don't ignore traditional methods, or indeed assume that just because its made on a machine it will be cheaper or better than a pair of decent carpenters can make it.

Almost impossible with a real life situation, because there are too many imonderables, not the least is stepping inside it and realising that THERE is where th tolet 'looks right'. Not where its been drawn..
However, go as far as you CAN, because the furher you go, the less deviation the trades will have an excuise to wander off into. Partuicularly fixed price work. You need 5 times as much detail desighn for a perice job, otherwise it goes up the cheap way, not the way YOU want it.,

Again, not always practical. Or possible. Ther are always unknowns and these may cause re-evaluation.

Have double the money the project has been estimated at, and double the time, and tell no one except the bank manager.

Yes. IF you know how. I was lucky. I learnt that putinng in very large and expensive computer systems and running small companies. If not get someone who is defintytely well recommended by someone you trust, AND -as i found out - that may not be enough either.

But be nice to them, keep them supplied with coffee, and materials if its your respobnsibility, and as many detailed plans as they need. Otherwise they will turn sour on ou.
keep all beer off the site, and discourage cannabis smoking unless you want a 'rustic' look.

Again, not always practical. Wherever possible chunk the project up to fixed price work, but a certain amount of it will always be left over that falls through the cracks. Here you have to just use the best and most honest guys, and let them get on with it.
Very few project managers who are of the quality to manage the project to that level of detail, are going to be available - or affordable - on a single house build. I have a dear old friend who runs a cionstructuion company, and he set me right by saying that the sort of project management skills that would have reduced the house price to what it should have cost, would have cost me as much as I saved. In the real world (not that you are ever in it IMM) a balance has to be struck between what you would like, and what is practical and available.

Thats a very deep statement for you, is number 11....

Indeed. However subbies are well up to that trick, and will front load the job, so they are in profit when you tell them to naff off, and the cost of finishing exceeds the jam left in the pot. They will let you know this by failing to turn up anyway.
Most have a times span of discretion of less than a fortnight anyway, so its wise to pay small but regular payments on attainment of strategic targets, and hold at least 15% back for completion to quilaity and snagging, and make sure that they clear their mess up before the next lot arrive.

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Yes, you didn't take much notice.

Ooooooo, that snotty uniness is really coming out. You came on the group too late. Your heating system is Heath Robinson by your own admission. BTW, I'm not a plumber. You obviously have not seen this afte all this time.

I'm not a plumber. But, my skill levels are the upmost in life.

Heat Robinson without doubt. Even used Polyplumb to boot! Very sad!
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