If you are planning a build but you don't know any reputable builder or contractors you could easily end up employing a cowboy firm.
The wrong builder can be a very costly mistake you need to avoid.
To find the builder for you start by asking friends and family if they would recommend anyone, who did they use and would they use them again? Look for similar builds in your area and don't be afraid to know on doors and ask for recommendations and gain references.
If this is not successful there are many local directories, rated builder and national certified builder schemes to lead you in the right direction. These can be used but ensure you ask for and chase up references and if possible go and see completed builds and ask questions of the customer.
How was their house keeping?
Did they turn up on time?
Where they helpful when problems arose?
Did they include all asked of them in their quotes or did they try to add extras as the build progressed?
Would they use them gain or recommend them?
These are just a few questions to ask.
Do your research and ensure you get at least three quotes, these can then be compared and contrasted and importantly the cheapest may not be the one to go with, there may be may have some small print, if you are lucky, stating what is not included or specifications may have been altered to reduce their costs.
If in doubt ask questions and ensure you are getting what you are paying for.
As a design and build principle, if you take weight out of buildings then you will reduce cost. That is a broad principle and lots more factors play into it, but essentially that is a rule that should be adopted from the outset right from the design stage. At yourBuildPlans we will introduce this concept as an option for any relevant Home Extension.
For example, using a lightweight block system with a brick slip cladding system will look exactly like a traditional brick and block build but as the weight of the materials used is reduced the build is much, much quicker. This saves on build time and labour costs. Using such systems can also save additional costs on machinery and lifting gear.
There are many ways you can commit to keeping your build budget as low as possible whether for a new build or extension.
Make a list of all the building materials which could be recycled or up-cycled materials. Then keep scanning sites such as eBay, Gumtree, Free-cycle and the selling pages on Facebook for example.
As people complete building projects they may be selling exactly what you are after. Keep an open mind and have alternatives which would work too to increase the chance of finding the right materials for your project. Of course once you have completed you too can sell any surplus materials too.
Which ever building project you may be undertaking it is always a good investment to get sound advice and guidance from the right professionals from the very start.
An architectural practice can offer advice on the type of building or extension you would gain permission for, they can design in the features you require and they can also help you through the planning process.
Experience can help you to avoid costly mistakes and planning delays.
When shopping around for quotes ask trades if they are VAT registered, if not they will not be adding 20% to their invoices which gives you a saving straight away.
Look for Government grants or services which attract VAT discounts, a good example is insulation.
If you are self building you will be able to claim the VAT on materials you have bought and you have been charged VAT on, back - but only once! Keep an organised filing system and don't claim until the very end of the build. Once you have claimed you can not claim again if you find a wedge of invoices you didn't include. Also remember you must have the original receipt, you can not use photocopies and the receipt must be legible, if its faded, ripped to obscure the details etc you can not use it. Look after your receipts!
Make sure you check your receipts at the time of purchase and ensure they clearly identify the VAT, if they don't ask for a VAT receipt.
You can claim the VAT back on anything that forms part of the structure of the building but not for those items which don't - i.e. fitted furniture, electrical appliances, carpets, tools, equipment and the land itself.
If you don't have a magical money tree you will have a budget you would like to keep to.
Always have some contingency, usually around 10%, in your build budget as there most probably will be unforeseen costs. No matter how much you plan and organise there will be a cost that you didn't plan for. Getting out of the ground is generally the time where something will crop up that you couldn't have planned for.
The design and shape of your build will play a large part in keeping to your budget. The simpler the shape - i.e. a box or rectangle - the better. Once you start adding curved walls, non standard measurements and complex geometric roof shapes the cost of materials and labour will shoot straight up.
Simple doesn't have to second best and can be the most impressive option in many cases.
Many Architects can spend hours designed and redesigning that next award winning building. Their fees will of course reflect this and may be way over the top for a simple home extension.
If you choose a service, such as YourBuildPlans, all requirements and costs will be clearly set out. Help with the planning process will also be available at a reasonable cost.
The design of your extension will still be designed to suit your needs, your family and your budget but you will not be paying for services you are not using.
Build costs can easily and quickly spiral out of control if a tight grip is not kept on them.
You need to be questioning every cost you are quoted. Once your design is finalised ensure you arm yourself with a detailed, and we mean detailed, build take off, in essence a list of every single item and it's quantity - number of, square meter of etc, you need. Work your way through the list getting at least three quotes for each item and then question the cost. Ensure the best price includes for all elements of that item. Does it include delivery, is it the correct size and specification. Watch out for the small print stating what is not included. The cheapest price may not be the best price when the exclusions are calculated.
It's always worth the time to make call and see if there is any movement on cost. If you don't ask you will pay the highest price.
This is time consuming and can seem never ending but is well worth the effort in the end. Keep a spreadsheet of savings as you make them, as the saving goes up use this as your inspiration to get a discount on the next material.
The cost can be reduced but you also need to consider if the material can be changed in any way to ensure the same quality and spec is achieved but in an alternative way. Again hours of research will pay off and at the end of the build it will all be worth it.
If you are trying to manage as much of your build as possible you will also be wanting to save as many pennies and pounds as possible.
One way to save is through your materials. Don't let your builder, for example, add the materials to their quote, they will also be adding their own percentage of profit on top of the actual material costs. Go direct to builders merchants and suppliers armed with quantities and a programme. Get quotes and then ask for discounts, especially if you can bulk order different materials. The supplier wants your business and should be willing to do all they can to get you to order.
If you can go direct to the supplier, ask questions and find out prices. Even if they wont supply directly to you, you will be armed with vital information to ensure you get the best possible price from their agents.
Remember to ask about delivery costs and times, you may not know exactly what you will need but you may now when you will want it delivered. Book a delivery slot as soon as possible and confirm your order at a later date.
When considering materials for your build look beyond the traditional built techniques and materials. Of course for some builds traditional methods and materials will be the way forward but there will be many where new and innovative approaches can be used.
The building industry has been and is still moving with the times. it's always good to make contact your local builders merchant but they may not be able to help you with the more energy efficient, sustainable and innovative products now available.
Visit such places as the National Self Build & Renovation Centre, ask your architect, ask your builder, research online, grab ideas from TV programmes. Bricks can be replaced with brick slips, blocks replaced with recycled fast track, build in any weather products, it goes on and on.
SIP, ICF and Arkpro are just a few materials which can save you time, money and ensure your build is as energy efficient as possible.
Whether you are thinking about undertaking a Self Build Project, a Home Renovation or Home Extension, yourHomeBuild provides you with expert advice and guidance.