We are finally at the stage that we are preparing to send the technical drawings out to tender to Midlands building contractors. Our architect Mark, director at Lacey and Owen Architects, has been keen to finalise as many details as possible before submitting to potential builders to ensure the quotes we get can be as accurate as they can be at this stage. By doing it this way round, we are hopefully able to limit extra charges incurred by changing elements of the quote. It also means that all the background work is done and so we are ready for whenever the right builder has availability.

But who will be the right builder? We are still undecided as to what level of input we are going to go for…

Advantages of using local tradespeople

At one end of the spectrum we could source and hire each individual tradesman as and when we need them, and project manage it ourselves. This would require us to be fully on top of the logistics, lead times, ordering of necessary equipment/tiles/bricks etc and timetabling problems could arise if a particular tradesman was delayed on a previous job, or someone we hired took longer than they had anticipated. On the positives, though, we could use our local contacts and word-of-mouth recommendations and so could be significantly cheaper overall, especially as we would be project managing it ourselves (ok, I say we…) We are local business-people ourselves and think it’s really important to support other local businesses, so this will be a big factor when considering our options.

Advantages of using Building Contractors

At the other end of the spectrum, we could hire a large building contractor to complete the job. They would project manage it, and ensure that all the trades were scheduled and completed on time, or run the risk of breaking our agreement and so incur charges. This is, of course, the stress free option but comes at a cost: we are anticipating the quotes from companies like these to be higher compared to the quotes of smaller builders or individual tradesmen. And of course all that is dependent on them being as good as we hope that they are: whilst we may have ruled out Grand Designs, we have not now set our sights on appearing on Cowboy Builders! Having said that, it may be that in the long run they don’t actually work out as expensive as it initially may appear: they will be more experienced at large jobs such as this and so more able to anticipate exactly how much it is going to cost them. Also they are likely to have strong links with suppliers and so could pass on some of their savings on materials on to us. I also like the benefit of having one company to hold to account, one person to contact if there’s a problem and one team working towards a common goal, rather than working to their own agendas.

With regard to timescales, we are aware Winter is not the best time to start a build so are hoping to get going in the Spring. For this reason, we’ve taken our house off the market as moving into a caravan in the depths of Winter is far from ideal (thank goodness the babies have saved me from this!). The delay in getting the details out to tender, though, means that we may have missed out on the perfect option as they may have already booked up for 2017, but hopefully as we’re good to go the right one will have availability, even if we have to wait a little beyond Spring.

If your company is interested in quoting for our project, please feel free to comment on here or send us an email to naomi@dlzdesign.co.uk. Please share around!

::: A brief overview of the build: Permitted Development Q (change of use from Agricultural to Residential) – steel portal agricultural barn conversion near Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire (East Midlands). Roughly 3600m/sq comprising large open plan area, galleried landing, master suite plus 4 additional bedrooms and enough glass to glaze an observatory… :::


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