Getting extension built - advice needed

I am getting an extension built (kitchen, garage,bedroom) which is
estimated to cost me around 37k.
Can anyone let me know what to watch out with the builders. What to
watch out for and what tricks to expect. How to handle the payments.
Reply to
why do you assume there will be 'tricks'? - although this can be expected by such programmes as builders/plumbers from hell, but these people are rare,m so much so, that I've never met one in thirty years in the trade....although customers from hell are common, IE, 2 or 3 in ten. people refusing to pay. adding a ton of work on at the end. being a general pain the arse. Trying to charge at the end of the job for electricity used / tea drunk / water used and so on, the list is endless.
if stage payments have been agreed, then agree further WRT when these are due, the usual way is:
1) when the brickwork reaches DPC level 2)when the roof timbers are in place 3) when the roofs on, windows in and plastering underway. 4 final p[ayment
Reply to
Phil L
On Fri, 25 Jan 2008 05:53:34 -0800 (PST) Nick wrote :
You need to be clear as to exactly what is and isn't included in the quote. Some unscrupulous builders quote low with the aim of cleaning up on the extras. Get the builder to tell you the names of clients for whom he has done similar work in the recent past, and ask them about this, quality of work, cooperation on site (noise, tidiness etc) and anything else that may be a concern.
I don't think it unreasonable for a builder to ask for a sensible deposit and stage payments, but you need to make sure that there is a financial incentive for him to finish off the job properly.
Phil is right about dodgy clients - I came across a good few in my BCO days who wanted me to take their side in finding reasons not to pay. And although such things are rare, any sensible builder wants to protect himself somewhat against unexpected events, e.g. client drops dead and he's left with a claim against the estate that won't be settled for months. We had a pair of brothers in Worcester Park who were excellent, and their ethos was that they would not dream of taking a penny off clients until the job was completed to their satisfaction - a hugely risky strategy.
Reply to
Tony Bryer
You can hire people to handle this bit for you. Depending on how good you are at management (project and people) it could be a worthwhile investment.
cheers, clive
Reply to
Clive George
In an earlier contribution to this discussion,
Get yourself a copy of this excellent book, which will tell you all you need to know:
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in case the long reference doesn't work]
Chances are that your local library will have a copy which you can borrow.
Reply to
Roger Mills
On Fri, 25 Jan 2008 05:53:34 -0800 (PST), Nick wrote:
Don't change anything. Watch out for everything. Agree qualities for everything - you may need to re-estimate. get everything in writing. Change nothing once you've estimated costs.
Detail who is responsible for organising any service changes and who pays (eg: gas meter moving)
Ensure they don't dump stuff where they shouldn't - put CCTV up if you're worried.
Don't get anyone who likes cash in hand. Ensure they'll accept cheques for evey stage of payment.
There's some very in depth contracts you can get to deal with everything but I think they're expensive - JCT contracts
Ask your local trading standards if they have a list of good traders - and see what warranty they offer - if you get a guarantee.
Reply to
On Fri, 25 Jan 2008 05:53:34 -0800 (PST), Nick wrote:
As others have suggested, check if their previous projects have been okay.
If you need to choose bricks to match existing work, make sure you do this in daylight. We chose some in the dark because they had the correct texture but they turned out to have the wrong colour.
Reply to
=46rom my experience, trading standads don't issue lists of good companies, as may be accused of discrimination or advertising, some such excuse. I think it is also best to get 'Full Plans' approval from Building Control beore works start, rather than building notice; under Full Plans, there should not be need for any significant changes. Do get the final certificate from Building Control before making your final payment.
Reply to
The other important of the above is *how much* money to part with each of the above stages. In particular (assuming you're paying to have a 'finished' extension, not just a shell), bear in mind that a hell of a large chunk of the overall budget is spent at stage 4 above - a common trap for the customer is to be under the false impression that once the roof is on and the 'shell' is in place, there's not an awful lot more to be spent - WRONG!
I fell into that trap myself, and when our builder went bust on us quite late on, having already collected the lion's share of the cash for the job, there was a hugely disproportionate amount left to do for what was left in our budget.
It's too long ago for me to remember details or to recommend what % to pay when, but just be aware.
Reply to
Get one that YOU like. Dont bother too much about the cost (well, OK, if one is £20k more than others, discount him), generally, the cost from a number of builders will be in the same area. A friend had a house refurb, which was expected to take 3 months. It took 6, and the finishing was a mess when handed back. She was not pleased. Delays were never the builders fault (he said) - waiting for plumber/chippy/plasterer etc. they wrecked half of the family photos which were left in the spare bedroom that wasnt being touched(and they didnt have any reason to go in there). Instead of using the bathroom hooks, they hammered a 6" nail in the wall, then didnt fill it after. they poured concrete down the toilet, and caused a blockage the week after. the list goes on. And this one wasnt the cheapest quote either - though do not go on prices only for evaluation.
So the only advice, find a good bloke, who you can talk to, and have him round a number of times to guage whether he can do the work in the required time. A decent sort will not mind if you ask him round 2 or 3 times - £40k is at least a months work, probably more, and work is not as easy to find as is rumoured. Alan.
Reply to
On Fri, 25 Jan 2008 05:53:34 -0800 (PST), Nick wrote:
As others have stated in this thread go and look at previous work done by the builder, preferably something of a similar size. Go and see what he/she is currently working on to see how tidy the site is.
You can hire a project manager to oversee the work. That should save you a little hassle, but may cost more in the end. Similarly you can draw up a legal contract with the builder, but they may charge more as a result.
Make sure you make all the decisions before a price is agreed. For example, if you don't specify exact number and placement of lights and electrical sockets, then the builder will assume you want the minimum number. Any more will cost extra.
Make sure you agree a formula for extra costs that could result in making the foundations deeper if something unexpected is discovered. (Allow at least 20% extra as contingency.)
Agree stage payments to coincide when certain tasks are completed, rather than after certain time periods, in case things get behind schedule. The builder may require a deposit before he/she starts.
Get copies of all receipts for expensive items (e.g. Bathroom/kitchen units) in case you need to claim under a warranty.
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