And we're off

Simon R

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The firework instruction phrase "light the blue touch paper and retire to a safe distance" comes to mind.  It's been a real baptism of fire, however our builder says it's the worst time and it should settle down now.  All in all it's been a productive week and almost all work has moved us forward.

 

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The digger arrived to dig out the raft area at 8am as requested and work got under way. We had muck lorries scheduled for Tuesday and it quickly became apparent that we did not have enough space on site to build a significant spoil heap. After a bit of phoning around found a local company who could supply vehicles. Our builder had asked us to take care of paying for the muck lorries which was fine by us, getting the lorry company to accept that it should be a zero rated VAT service was more difficult. Contacted HMRC and had a discussion and they were adamant that it should be zero rated and that if VAT was charged I could not reclaim it as it would have been at the wrong rate... Managed to resolve the problem in the end. Now we had lorries arriving and clearing the soil we were able to make real progress.

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Tuesday the rainwater harvesting tank arrived, we knew it was big and boy was it big! The tank needed to get dug in just 2.5M deep and 4M long, a very big hole. Fortunately the ground conditions were good and a nice clean hole was achieved without the need to grade the sides.

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By Wednesday we were ready for site setting out. An interesting  activity and an example of technology being used because it's there rather than essential. Making sure the house position is millimetre perfect seems a bit over the top when string and triangulation would get it positioned within 10mm. Where it really does help is  positioning services and getting drainage levels set. A second visit on Thursday had all the levels set and perimeters marked, by the time the guy left the site I had changed my opinion and consider it money well spent.

 

More and more lorries to take muck away, the tally now sits at twelve loads and we are mostly done thank goodness as at £240 a 12 ton load for the clay it was making a bit of a whole in the budget, a quick calculation of the volumes validated the figures, so it really should not have been a surprise. In hindsight I'm surprised our builder didn't ask me to organise in more lories in the first place. If I do this again I'll order the lorries in advance rather than madly phoning round for spare capacity so that work can continue.

 

The foul water pump arrived on Wednesday, having the levels all sorted from the site setting out I was able to cut the input to the tank, so it's all ready to get dropped into a hole once it's been dug and a concrete base is in place. The next task was to get all the drainage runs under the raft in place. With the raft due Monday and the builder having to go to another job on Friday to supervise another ICF concrete pour we were running out of time. Hopefully resolved the problem by getting a crew in on Saturday to get the drainage done.  Stone for the raft substrate should star arriving first thing Monday, so fingers crossed we should have the raft ready for concrete which is booked for Thursday...we shall see.

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Access seems pretty good. Was it garages on the plot before? Well done on the VAT. It is easy just to let these thing go and regret it later. Hopefully the weather will stay good for you.

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Pity your not local to me, I’d have taken your muck away as cover for my site.

Edited by Triassic

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Can you tell me more about the muckaway being zero rated, please?  I've been under the impression that it wasn't and have paid full whack - it would save me a tidy packet if I can reclaim it.

 

Muckaway is a horrible expense - ours is clay, too, and even if you have a large site, it's hard to lose as you still need to cover it with decent topsoil.  That would cost more than muckaway - a lose/lose situation!

Edited by vivienz

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7 hours ago, vivienz said:

Can you tell me more about the muckaway being zero rated, please?  I've been under the impression that it wasn't and have paid full whack - it would save me a tidy packet if I can reclaim it.

 

Muckaway is a horrible expense - ours is clay, too, and even if you have a large site, it's hard to lose as you still need to cover it with decent topsoil.  That would cost more than muckaway - a lose/lose situation!

 

Usually P&M hire is standard rated, if the builder just hired the lorry it would be standard rate and no VAT would ever be reclaimable. However usually the muckway service is for both use of the lorry and driver as a single service therefore it should always be zero rated.

 

It would be worth going back to the contractor and asking for them to change the invoice as you won't get it back on the VAT reclaim at the end.

 

Edited by Thedreamer

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9 minutes ago, Thedreamer said:

 

 

It would be worth going back to the contractor and asking for them to change the invoice as you won't get it back on the VAT reclaim at the end.

 

 

Absolutely! I shall get onto this first thing on Monday morning.

 

I love Buildhub.

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@vivienz

 

Was thinking a bit more about this.

 

I see that the HMRC mention this as being a service that you can't get zero rated. 🙁

 

I guess this is kind of the reverse of getting stuff delivered to site which you also can't claim. So I can understand the HMRC's logic. 

 

Strangely if you hired a lorry to provide a muckaway without a crane this would be standard rated but if you paid for a separate digger and operator to be on site and fill the lorry it would be zero rated. 

 

This was not an area I had too much experience in as on our site we dug hardcore out of the ground to make the access and spread around the site, the hole dug was then filled with the clay so we didn't have a muck away just paid for plant hire and an operate to shift material around, so it was all zero rated.

 

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Well, I did have a separate digger and operator on site but not from the same firm that provided the muckaway service. Do they need to be from the same provider to be zero rated?

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No I think the VAT should be zero rated for the digger and operator but the muckaway is standard rated. I've edited my earlier post above.

 

To get the muck away zero rated you probably need the whole groundworks or the build to a single contractor. 

 

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Thedreamer said:

No I think the VAT should be zero rated for the digger and operator but the muckaway is standard rated. I've edited my earlier post above.

 

To get the muck away zero rated you probably need the whole groundworks or the build to a single contractor. 

 

 

 

 

That would be my assessment too. As it happens there is another thread discussing the same thing:
 

 

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Just now, newhome said:

 

That would be my assessment too. As it happens there is another thread discussing the same thing:
 

 

 

To be honest when it comes to the HMRC it will just be somebody in call centre. As in this case it's going to be muckaway company's liability  @Simon R checked with the HMRC what more can he do. I would just document the call time and if possible have a reference to have some kind of a trail to the HMRC opinion.

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1 minute ago, Thedreamer said:

 

To be honest when it comes to the HMRC it will just be somebody in call centre. As in this case it's going to be muckaway company's liability  @Simon R checked with the HMRC what more can he do. I would just document the call time and if possible have a reference to have some kind of a trail to the HMRC opinion.

 

Yep! If the company in question zero rates something even if not eligible then happy days. It'll only be an issue if HMRC don't like it in the muckaway company's next VAT return and come after them for the VAT in which case they could come after the self builder. It makes no odds what the call centre says though as @HerbJ was told that he could claim for a safe by the call centre and then at the reclaim stage he was told that it wasn't eligible. I guess if it's really important you need to write to them rather than ring them. They have the position of power sadly. 

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9 hours ago, vivienz said:

Can you tell me more about the muckaway being zero rated, please?  I've been under the impression that it wasn't and have paid full whack - it would save me a tidy packet if I can reclaim it.

It's site clearance on a new build. There is a good section on VAT on the build hub

 

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1 hour ago, Simon R said:

It's site clearance on a new build. There is a good section on VAT on the build hub

 

Hmm, well I wrote that post but I didn't know you could claim for muckaway using the method you have, ie engaged the muckaway contractor and paid them directly. It's good news if this does qualify for zero rating however because TBH it's hard to see how you can clear a site without removing things from it so surely muckaway should all be part and parcel of clearing the site. It begs the question as to why skips are alway standard rated however as they can be used for site clearance too. 

 

Moral of the story, it's always worth a punt in terms of getting site work zero rated. 

 

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9 hours ago, newhome said:

 

Hmm, well I wrote that post but I didn't know you could claim for muckaway using the method you have, ie engaged the muckaway contractor and paid them directly. It's good news if this does qualify for zero rating however because TBH it's hard to see how you can clear a site without removing things from it so surely muckaway should all be part and parcel of clearing the site. It begs the question as to why skips are alway standard rated however as they can be used for site clearance too. 

 

Moral of the story, it's always worth a punt in terms of getting site work zero rated. 

 

Well, I'm new to all this so at this and can't provide any authoritative advice and found your post very useful, thank you for a good piece of work.

The soil  was removed in preparation for the raft so is in effect footings rather than site clearance. I had an online chat session with HMRC which I've saved. Our muckaway got split down two routes, one using our builder, so through their accounts and the residual with a local grab lorry firm. I must say I find the whole VAT business rather intimidating and am trying to make sure I keep good records and don't fall foul of any rules.

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