Extension Diary

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

History - Getting ready to start

So the next step was to get building regs. approval. The guy who'd drawn up my original plans was still not replying to my calls or emails (it later turned out his wife was very ill, so he wasn't just being rude!) so I had to find someone else to do all the necessary work to get my BR. With a little trepidation, I got someone who was advertising their services on an Internet forum to do the drawings and calculations for us. MacPlans are based in Gateshead - but managed to do all my drawings and calculations based on the original plans and various other bits of information that they asked for. I was generally quite happy with their service, and their prices were reasonable. After a couple of months we got our BR approval, and we were ready to find a builder.

I spent a few weeks drawing up a Construction Brief and a General Conditions (contract) document, ready to send to builders interested in tendering for the work.

I sent an email round at work asking for recommendations, and together with a a few other recommendations from some of my neighbours, sent letters with plans, construction brief and general conditions to seven different builders. I got replies from five of these, who visited the site to have a look round. From these, three came back with quotes.

The first quote to come back was from a Polish Builder (this was a guy who'd appeared on a C4 documentary last year - Bobski the Builder, where he'd done a much better job than the British builder the documentary also followed). The quote was surprisingly high, and didn't include a lot of the work/materials I'd asked to be included. So I was rather worried now, as I thought he was going to give me the cheapest quote!
The next quote came in from a builder recommended by a number of neighbours and local friends. His quote was about 15K more than we'd budgeted for, so again, didn't look good.
And finally a quote came in from a builder recommended by someone at work. His quote came in just under the first quote, which was around our budget - but included all the work and materials we'd asked for. Now we felt much happier! I went and visited a couple of sites he was working on, and was impressed by the quality of work, cleanliness of site and friendliness of the staff. So after having a chat with my work colleagues who'd recommended him, I decided to go with this guy, Martin Clayton.
Work was originally meant to start in February. But the start was delayed a couple of times due to delays on previous jobs. Finally, towards the end of April, the builders finally turned up and work started.


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