Jump to content

Incipiens Mox

  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Personal Information

  • Location

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

Incipiens Mox's Achievements


Member (3/5)



  1. After a good deal of faffing around trying to find a suitable main contractor, I have finally found a project manager who appears to be a suitable fit. Rather than take on the whole build, he's initially going to manage the party wall agreements, demolition of the existing site, and excavation/ground-works. This is a reasonably major job as it involves constructing a basement and associated piling on a narrow plot. Ideally, if this works out, then we can move onto the main house build as a second stage. I've met with the guy a few times now and have a good feel for him. He has supplied evidence of recent similar (larger) jobs and references, which I've taken up (only slightly feedback there was that his availability was stretched on occasion due to other jobs - something I have quizzed him about and will monitor carefully although I don't expect him only to be working on our job for the duration) He's supplied rough costings and provided a schedule for the work and has now asked me to complete a Form of Appointment (from the Association of Project Safety) to formalise things. The rate he's charging seems fair (slightly less than 10%) and he wants to do this in monthly installments, which I'm not against, but I do feel as if there are things which I should be checking/ensuring. Has anyone been in this situation and can offer any tips from experience on things that I should insist on? I've been told generally not to pay unless the work is done. I feel as though I should insist on a rough schedule for completion of certain items and make payment partly dependent on these being met. Any other advice gratefully received.
  2. As far as the mortgage is concerned, I think you're right. They did actually offer for 2% of build - probably not a bad rate if I didn't severely doubt their capabilities.
  3. Sound advice although in our case, our relationship with the structural engineer is a bit strained given that it's taken him best part of two years to come up with building regs and still not finished.
  4. Thanks for the clarification. Given what's happened to me and my experiences of trying to find people who want to take on the overall build, I'm convinced that (a) I could do a lot worse than to give it a go myself and (b) even with a (very expensive) fully hands-off, turn-key approach, I would still be pulled into all sorts of nonsense anyway so might as well have done it myself. However, the mortgage that I have arranged (which will involve inspection at various stages) insists on a builder/project manager/main contractor running the build and my neighbours, who have still yet to complete the party wall agreement, and who have been quite negative and are unlikely to take kindly to an 'amateur' running the build. Besides which, the mortgage will be large and my salary is, luckily, able to cover it so all things considered, I think it's probably best for me to stay in my day job for the moment.
  5. A bit of a while since this post but it caught my attention as I'm in a similar situation: Obtained mortgage with a main contractor appointed to do the work using a mixture of his own guys and sub-contracted work. He then had to drop out as his (mainly Polish) guys got cold feet after Brexit and the drop in the pound and returned home. Scratched around and found a general builder but the costs were 40-50% higher so now looking for a PM in the East Herts area who's prepared to manage the work on the ground, overssee site access etc., with me sourcing materials as and where necessary and tendering for sub-contract roles. Despite the site being very active, I see very few recommendations either requested or given on Buildhub leading me to wonder if there's a rule that I've overlooked prohibiting them. If so, can anyone suggest other places to hunt down suitable site/project managers?
  6. I'm interested in this having just been through a questionnaire to get a quote for site insurance - needed for mortgage. Because we're doing a demolition and large basement very close to a neighbours boundary and house, I want to be sure I'm covered, though I was a little surprised to find that site insurance was down to me rather than the general builder that's going to do the work - he has full insurance - so I'm wondering whether it's him that has to have the JCT 21.2.1. cover or me, and whether it's needed - sounds like it probably is in my case.
  7. According to their website it's one of the services they offer and, having quoted me for it, I'd expect them to see it through. However, I'm starting to suspect that they tend to prefer working with private building inspectors who are happy to keep the machine working so long as the fee is right. Our builder and the inspector both believe the SE should provide this data, but I suspect that he often leaves details like this to the builder - knowing it will be signed off eventually - and genuinely thinks that builders who expect him to provide the details are lazy or not competent!
  8. Sorry in advance for the length of this. In August 2017, I commissioned a local firm of structural engineers to take some plans which had passed planning and created plans which would pass building regs. They actually quoted for structural diagrams, building regs and sap calcs. They wanted me to use their preferred building control contractor but at £2,200 inc VAT I thought that was a bit much and decided to use the local authority service for around £800, which the builder was more than happy with. Since then they have delayed and delayed. It took from August until early November before the plans were submitted. The plans failed over Christmas, as the building inspector was still waiting for over 36 different items of information. By April the inspector passed the plans conditionally but made it clear that he was still waiting for more info. I didn't push this as the SE had explained that a lot of the info would become clear as the build progressed and would be provided as and when. This generally seemed reasonable. Fast forward to the current time and the builder (different one this time - first one had to drop out as Polish workforce went home and did not come back) has started on the groundworks and was chasing some information from the BR submission only to find it was missing - confirmed by the inspector. I suggested we get a meeting together with the SE, but when I mentioned this to the SE, he wouldn't go for it unless he could charge. I've had a frustrating day trying to explain to the SE that the builder is only asking for data that should have been in the BR submission and that the inspector has confirmed this. SE seems to think that the builder should know all of the data he's asking for and says it costs him time/money to explain things when the builder should just 'get it'. I have explained to the SE that the inspector does not consider the BR complete and the builder is within his rights to ask for it. To try to resolve the impasse, I suggested that SE does not deal with builder but completes all outstanding work ASAP to the satisfaction of the inspector. If after that the builder still needs to speak to him, then I'm happy to pay if necessary. No response yet, but I'm not hopefully after waiting so long. Has anyone had a similar situation? The SE has already taken over a year to do this and the last request was sent to them eight months ago. I am tempted to write to them telling them that I will have to seek help elsewhere and claw back the overspend through the small claims court, though like most self builders, I've not really the time or money to be doing that.
  9. Thanks @jack and @PeterW. You've described it as I thought. I think the PM here was trying to pull a fast one - perhaps they had written it into the contract. Not sure.
  10. Sorry if this is a dumb question but does going down the main contractor / project manage route mean that VAT can't be reclaimed by the owner? I believe that's not the case but I heard of a case locallly where a PM expected to process and keep the reclaim as part of his fee.Is that normal practice?
  11. To be honest, it never even occurred to me that I could write my own method statement. Certainly something I'll look into. Thanks.
  12. I was surprised that they came back with so much work. My initial thought was to simply get the top 600mm removed by a specialist given that (a) a lot would have to come out anyway as the basement was dug, (b) that spoil which comes out outside of the footprint of the basement could be back-filled using the spoil from the basement dig, saving me the expense of getting (at least some of) it removed and (c) it would save the cost of further samples. I'm new to this (of course) but I see no point in constantly taking samples (especially as you point out when most previous ones found nothing) I'll push to speak to the EH officer in the hope that pragmatism prevails. Thanks.
  13. So I had a bit of a follow up to my original post. After the survey was done, I duly reported the findings to the local planning office who didn't respond and have yet to do so. Since, by this stage, we were in the process of applying for building control (BC) approval, the condition became a stipulation of BC approval. As I'd received nothing from the planning department, I contacted the BC officer, who turned out to be a very nice chap and suggested that I contact the local authority environmental health (EH) department to ask them to confirm whether drawing up a method statement on the basis of the report findings would be acceptable. After badgering EH for about two weeks I'm still no closer to getting a call from an officer to discuss this. However, in the meantime, I asked the original survey company if they could quote me for drawing up a method statement. I was surprised when they came back with the following: Project Management (Production of RAMS) £45.00 Site visit to attempt to zone areas of lead and asbestos, installation of 1 shallow monitoring well to rear of property £400.00 Monitoring of Wells for Ground Gas and Groundwater (5 No. Visit(s)) £1,350.00 Environmental Laboratory Testing Suites £300.00 Remediation Method Statement £950.00 Total excluding VAT £3,045.00 It's another £3,500 (I've already paid them over £2,500 for the original survey and this doesn't include the actual soil removal) and many of the tasks seen irrelevant since we plan to remove a substantial amount of the soil anyway as we are building a basement. I was going to just put the survey companies suggestion forward to the EH officer, but now I'm tempted to hold off and argue the toss with them. Could anyone with some experience comment on whether this quote seems reasonable and what you'd do in these circumstances?
  14. Can anyone recommend a contractor with ideally a specialism in or at very least a great amount of experience in basement construction? I'm looking for someone who can serve the East Herts area. I'm currently dealing with a structural engineer who has drawn up plans which I'd ideally like independently reviewed and potentially I'd also be interested in receiving quotes for excavating and constructing the basement. So even if you know of someone good who may not be local to the Herts area, if they are prepared to carry out the review remotely, that would still be a great help. Many thanks.
  15. The report goes into a large amount of detail (> 177 pages) hey found two areas with contamination: o Asbestos was detected within a sample from [area on the driveway]; and o An elevated lead concentration was detected within a sample from [area on the back lawn]. Three of the near-surface soil samples were analysed for asbestos. Amosite was detected within one sample, [area on the driveway], J1, taken at a depth of 0.15-0.65m. The lead I'm not so concerned about since it's on an are that won't be disturbed, but the asbestos will definitely need addressing as it's right on the footprint of the house/basement. They have put in a gas monitoring standpipe but have detected no significant issues with gases or issues with the water table. As regards the lead and asbestos (only found in two of the samples that they took) they have stated: it is recommended that additional shallow sampling of the made ground is undertaken to allow for a better assessment of the extent of the lead / Asbestos which should include quantification of the Asbestos to allow for a better assessment of the risk posed by the presence. Alternatively, if the Made Ground is to be removed as part of the construction works, this can be disposed to a licensed wastecentre (with appropriate waste acceptance testing) then hazard is removed. Consideration may be given to leaving areas with elevated Lead and presence of Asbestos in situ if these are to be left under permanent hardstanding such as permanent concrete driveways to the front of the property I'm not aware of any previous industrial use and am assuming that this most probably came from a previous asbestos walled garage (it's right next to the existing brick garage) though I've no evidence that one existed. The current building has stood there since 1930's Made Ground is from 0.01 – 0.20mbgl to 0.40 – 0.70mbgl
  • Create New...