Q : Can you design our new house?
A:In short, yes we can. We have designers in house and we also work with a number of independent architectural practices. We have found that architects like artists have their own style and we help understand what style you like and choose an architect we feel will deliver the best results.
Q: Can you work with our architect?
A: Generally we are happy to work with the architect you have appointed although we do really prefer to prepare our own building regulation and construction drawings. We can talk to your architect about completing these drawings for us too but is imperative that the architect buys into the process to work with us to produce information to our timescales.
Q: What type of quotation will we receive?
A: We prepare very detailed quotations broken down into the various components that form your new home. We also highlight area’s that are not included or area’s where we have included Provisional or PC Sums. We meet to talk you through the quotation so that you fully understand it as we like our quotations to be transparent.
Q: What are PC and Provisional Sums?
A:A PC Sum is an amount of money allowed for the purchase of a particular item to be installed but where a final choice has not yet being made. For example a PC Sum of £40/m2 might be allowed for the supply of wall tiles for quoting purposes. If the tiles cost less than the sum allowed the money is credited back to the customer. If they cost more the customer pays the difference.
A Provisional Sum is very similar but is where it is for the supply and installation of an item that again has not being decided upon. For example a Provisional Sum of£5,000.00 may be allowed for the supply and installation of a staircase. Once the final design has been agreed and quotations sought this figure will be adjusted up or down in the same way a PC Sum is.
Q: Can a quotation be amended if it exceeds my budget?
A: Yes it can. We will sometimes prepare two or three quotations to enable the customer to fine tune the price to suit their budget. We feel it is important to make sure that you are happy with both the design and price before works start as it is much cheaper to change things on paper than on site.
Q: Do we need a contract?
A: We would always recommend a contract for the protection of both parties. We are members of the Federation of Master Builders and they do a range of contracts which are fairly simple,written in ‘plain English’ and are legally binding. We can get you a copy if you like.
Q: How long will the works take?
A Each project is different so we prepare a full programme of works for the house using a ‘Gantt Chart’. This is a basic bar chart that shows the amount of time allocated to each element which then gives you an overall contract period.
Q: Can the contract length change?
A: The contract length can be affected by the weather or by the delay of certain items chosen during the works. We try to make our programmes realistic with scope for minor delays and generally we complete works on time as it costs us more the longer we are on site.
Q: How do we know if the project is on track?
A: We will arrange regular (usually fortnightly) review meetings where we go through with our customer the choices to be made, prepare progress reports and discuss finance. We believe that doing this regularly keeps everything on track, avoids delays and makes sure that budgets are kept to.
Q: Can you arrange Self Build Mortgages?
A: We work with a number of companies who arrange self build mortgages and can give you their details and prepare any information they need.
Q: How do we pay you?
A We prepare valuations based on the original quotation and in the same format every two weeks which we go through at the review meeting. We highlight any variations to the quote and make sure that you understand them. Once the valuation is agreed you pay it to us by bank transfer within 7 days.
Q: How do you manage the quality of the works from a distance?
A: Each of our projects has a full time experienced working site manager on it. It is his job to manage the project on a day to day basis, supervise the men, schedule materials and to make sure that the works are done to our very high standards and in a safe manner. In addition to that we attend site at least once a week to monitor progress, quality, advise on changes and make sure that everything is proceeding in the correct manner.
Q: What about guarantees?
A: We work with a number of providers of ten year insurance backed guarantees and will introduce you to them before we start. The price of the guarantee is extra to the build cost but is usually relatively small.
Q: Who insures the works?
A: If your house is a new build or a demolition and new build we insure the site, house and works entirely. If it is a conversion, extension and/or renovation you must continue to pay buildings insurance throughout the build phase and advise your insurers of the work being carried out.
Q: Can we go on site whenever we like?
A: Building sites are dangerous places. Once we start work on site we take over responsibility for the site under health and safety law. This means that you should not enter the site without us being there to warn you of potential dangers and without us ensuring that you are wearing the correct protective equipment.
Outside working hours we always secure the site as well as we possibly can which prevents access either to you or others for health and safety reasons. However we understand that people are keen to see the progress being made so we are always happy to meet you on site at pre arranged times and show you around.
When We Move In
Q: How do we know when to move in?
A:Towards the end of the project we will choose a date to work to as your move in date. We will work to that date and ensure that all works are completed and that the building is professionally cleaned.
Q: How do we know how to operate everything?
A: When we officially handover the keys to you we will spend time showing you where everything is and also showing you how to operate everything. We will also give you a manual with instructions, guarantees and sign off certificates for gas, electric and other relevant documents.
Q: What about defects?
A: We snag the house before you move in to ensure that everything is working and all the little things are done.There will however be some things that will need attention later and the contract will advise that we undertake an inspection six months after you move in. This will be undertaken by our maintenance team and will be inspected and approved by you when completed to make sure that we are all happy.
If you have any emergencies in the first six months (such as a leak) we shall of course attend to them immediately.