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About Me


Found 9 results

  1. Would be great if I could have some feedback on the costing. To me it seems a bit on higher side and I think at that price it should include windows/steel/underfloor heating/rads as well but keen to get your feedback. Tender.pdf
  2. I'm nearing the end of my build, and I have come across a hitch. I asked my builder to provide a price based on the drawings, snippet attached. In your view, (1) should the last item have been included in the price, and (2) if not, should it have prompted a clarification from the builder. - The builder feels it is clearly a note that informs the builder that the 18mm ply should be ready "to receive interior coating / sealant (finishing)" - I feel different, he is pricing to build something as described Clearly, I have to consider whether his interpretation is right, and if it is clear (i.e. should it have prompted a clarification), or if he simply is incorrect. Tricky!
  3. Hi there, looking for some advice on rough costs of block and render for a 1.5 storey self build, approx 13m x 6.5m. We’d originally planned to to timber cladding but I understand that getting mortgages for entirely timber clad houses can be tricky. We’re after a crisp, clean finish so might want to go with a silicone-based render, but happy to be advised otherwise! Thanks
  4. Just a quick sanity check. I've been told by a glazing company that fitting solar control glazing instead of clear will triple the cost of the glass (window frame cost excluded). Does this sound correct? This is for 2 large south facing full height windows in a loft that I don't want to turn into an oven. The specced glass is this:
  5. Hello. Apologies for this far-from-novel question - I can’t find it directly answered anywhere. I’m aware costs have shot up lately due to covid/brexit, but I’m seeing (in self-build groups) people asking if £1200 per metre is possible for total build costs, and others shutting down the idea as ridiculous, saying it’s more likely £2k-3k. This is disheartening to me with aspirations of beginning a build in the next year or so - but also baffling - so these people are spending ~£300k on a 100m2 house, plus land costs?! Who are these people? I struggle to understand how this would even make financial sense, as in many places a house of that size would not be worth the ~£400k it would presumably have cost with land, and that’s leaving aside the fact people say self-building is supposed to save (30%?) on equivalent pre-built house cost. I’m looking to build a well-insulated rectangular 1.5 storey of max 120m2 (I had planned for basement, but heard this can be expensive in Scotland), no marble bathrooms, designer kitchens or massive glazed entrances, no dormer windows or other sticky out bits, but using natural plasters and reclaimed things where possible without compromising on u values. I am not a builder and will need to pay tradespeople, but do have a builder in the family who may be able to help a bit. Based in in rural central belt of Scotland. If anyone could shed any light on what I might need to do to get the costs down, it’d be much appreciated. Thanks very much!
  6. We're at SE plans stage with our 242 sq m "box with basement" (c.180 sq m without basement). A recommended main contractor issued a preliminary (pretty ballpark) costings budget. We are combing through it but definitely need experienced pair(s) of eyes to see where it gets ridiculous. We'd love to have a basement but may be forced to drop it if it proves prohibitive. Any comments on the budget would be much appreciated. (NB: we'll have a PM to manage this, minimal own labour, and we're within M25 in Greater London (woe!). An existing old bungalow to be demolished. The plot is flat, service connected, no crested newts / sandy ground / major rivers etc).
  7. Making a sensible guess at what it might cost We already know from the previous Blog Post that , at the moment, Stone Columns is the preferred method. So, it's straight to SPONS for a look-see. Here's a link to the book, it's expensive, but it's saved me more money than I care to count - and here's the twist - it's increased my level of confidence no end. Because I know what a reasonable price is likely to be. Here's the link to a post I made about it recently - goes into more detail than I do here (I don't want to repeat myself, people get bored so I'm told). This blog post will illustrate how useful the book can be: or how useful it is to me. SPONS - the hardback book has a few pages on piling (Chapter 7 p.238 et seq), and when you buy it you also get the licence for an online version - and that allows you to search for 'piling' across the whole book. Suddenly you are aware of all sorts of things to do with piling, as well as the charges directly attributable to piling. So, for example I find that a CFA team consists of 3 blokes (sorry 'people'), their rates of pay and so on. Very absorbing. And that's useful because it begins to redress the 'expert' , 'customer' imbalance. Fuller information promotes partnership and engagement. I accept that some may not want that, but I do. Many piling methods need a piling mat. Some don't (Surefoot for example) See also my previous blog post So the key for me at the moment is how to sort out the piling mat. The Basics There are two elements to piling: the piles themselves and the piling and the area which needs to be prepared for the rig. It's called a ' Piling Mat' A piling mat is simple: its a level area about 2 meters wider than the plot so that the piling rig can strut its stuff. (I'll post the exact specification later) So in our case that's about 14 meters by 14 meters. That needs to be costed. Here goes: area affected - (10 by 10 plus two meters each side for wriggle room , that makes 14 by 14), say 200 sq m, lets keep it easy for those of us who only just passed maths O Level. The SI report makes it clear that we have at least 2m of made ground everywhere. What's the spec for a Piling Mat? Well, if you pay £45:00 you can find out. BRE (2004) Working Platforms for Tracked Plant: good practice guide to the design, (etc.) For costing purposes we can have a look at SPONS now (page 163) '...excavate to form piling mat; supply and lay imported hardcore – recycled brick and similar to form piling mat...' Spon's Architect's and Builders' Price Book 2016. CRC Press Assuming the site needs to be dug over to a depth of 1 m and then compacted, I need a price for 200m cubed . That translates to a price of £1600 to £2000. First quote £11,000. Yeah, right. The piling itself: The SE will tell the piling company what they need to support, and the SE needs the Soil Investigation and the Topographical survey To Be Continued
  8. Why Piles? Because we are on a spoil heap. Our house will be built on the spoil heap of what was a clay and sandstone quarry. We are here The ridge of trees 50m to the south stand on the top of what was the old quarry face. We had a soil survey done (have a look at it here) The bore hole location map is on page 47 and the profiles are detailed on the next pages. Here's how much it cost to get this done. (Feb 2015; desk study and geophysics). Our house will stand on the site of the old chicken shack. Debbie (SWMBO and @MrsRA), bless her heart, had the foresight to buy this piece of land in 1985. And I had to mow it. Win some, lose some. Sold the mower the other day - paid for the survey. Won that one. The desk study and and ground investigation report were supported by a proper site survey (see page 47 here - the bore holes are the green smudges) The full site survey is an A1 sheet which I've had printed and attached to the wall of the kitchen for reference. There'll also be a copy in the container office. It is a key bit of paper (vinyl). Our Structural Engineers are simply brilliant (PM me for details if you like). They took the details above and turned them into a plan for our piling. They needed all the above details - cost of all the above about £3500 if you take everything into account. Result of that expenditure is reasonable confidence that we aren't making a significant error in design. Here's a copy of the piling design, together with a table of the loads for each pile PilingCalculationsInsulatedFoundation.pdf I prepared a simple zipped briefing pack for each piling contractor: contents: Soil Survey, SE's Piling design and plan, Architects Plans, Photos of the site, Site surveyor's report, United Utilities Underground Services report, Screen Grab from Google maps, overhead and Street View. I googled 'Screw Piling' site: .uk, and contacted the first three or four attaching the site briefing pack. I also googled ' piling Lancashire ' and rang up a few local companies. "What, you've 'ad a site survey done, mate? What, how moooch did that costcha? ....'OW MOOCH? Hmmm, we'd a dun that fo ya fer nowt maaate" "Thanks, I'll be in touch". Pity that. I'd love to spend the money locally. Next problem. How to compare like with like when -if- the quotes come in? How can anyone compare quotes fairly? It isn't easy. Hence this blog. So, I've decided to expose the process as fully as is sensible (protecting suppliers' confidentiality, and removing all names and contact details) Come along with me - pick the process to bits for yourself, and maybe make the process easier for yourself.
  9. Budgets and spreadsheets go together like [...........insert your own idiom here..............] And so do errors: errors of fact and errors in formulae. Realising that, recently, every time it rains, I'm in the office trying hard to avoid checking our spreadsheet. Errors of fact Not a great lot to be done here. My only suggestion is to get a mate to check with you. @MrsRA is better at this process than I am, but we still manage to avoid the issue because it's so hard (for that read time-consuming) to do something which 'should' be easy. It isn't. Errors in Formulae Is there anything that can help the hard, detailed, mind-numbing, eye-watering, annoying slog Yes Here is a simple search for all versions of the term 'formula auditing' (because there are so many versions of spreadsheets out there) And here is one website's summary of several approaches to checking formulae in the most common (I think) spreadsheet of all. Just sayin'. Guess what I'm doing this morning.
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