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Zak S
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20 minutes ago, puntloos said:

Still, @Adsibob and @Gus Potter started a good list. Let us continue:

 

 

Why does this matter? Meaning - I get that different products have different specs, so if there's a particular thing you figured out you care about (glueyness!) then sure, make sure you specify it - but not sure if each of us should care about glue ;)

 

Well, if your builder uses the wrong glue (most will default to cheapest unless otherwise instructed) then you may end up with a squeaky floor later on. They won't have to live there and good luck proving that that was the issue and getting them to fix it. Same goes for tapes, sealants, fixings etc.

 

20 minutes ago, puntloos said:

Why do you think this is needed? Certainly agree everything unusual should probably be listed, but not sure the detail impacts the tendering too much?

 

Because premium products are more expensive and they will quote assuming bog standard. If you then ask for the better product it's 'extra over'.

 

20 minutes ago, puntloos said:

Why would you want to supply any materials yourself? Are there materials that individuals can get much cheaper than a builder would charge for them? Is there the proverbial "popcorn in the cinema" material that a builder tends to overcharge for? 

 

Oh yes, builders will buy from the BMs that give them a decent discount but more importantly good payment terms. They will not spend an hour on the internet to save you 20% on insulation or sockets etc. Whatever it costs them gets passed onto you, with a small margin.

 

We specced EPS 200 under the basement slab and EPS70 to basement walls. Groundworker had never worked with it and said that I needed to take care of it. I found a buyer who got me a great price (on commission from me) and had it delivered to site. 

 

 

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49 minutes ago, puntloos said:

Why do you think this is needed? Certainly agree everything unusual should probably be listed, but not sure the detail impacts the tendering too much?

Because my main contractor counted the number of electrical sockets/switches and smoke and heat alarms and then gave me a price based on those numbers. Any changes after the tender docs was charged as extra. But it depends on how important your lighting scheme is to you. For me, it was crucial that the main contractor understood that we were using recessed iluminos LED pipe in certain locations as the ceiling detail to accommodate these is quite technical.

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Picking up some threads in the hope of helping:

 

It sounds here as if you intend to use a single contactor, acting as main contractor. 

If they are a hands-on, owner 'on the tools' contractor, then they can't possibly know everything about everything, and their time is best spent making rather than buying.

We all have different skills, so the great builder is unlikely to be  a great researcher and buyer...that is a specialist skill and takes time.

 

As above, they will tend to go to one supplier for everything as the service is good, the prices always reasonable, and they have an account there.

 

You can shop around and get better prices for some major purchases. Insulation, timber, masonry. But then the builder has to handle it, and there can be arguments about wastage and damage. Whose responsibility if it is delayed/ delivered incorrectly? Who prepares the schedule of sizes, details and quantities?

If he drops your toilet pan, who pays for a replacement?

And who decides the specification? 

 

When you see the contractor's rates they are building in wastage and risk as well as a handling charge.

(for example a very good and trusting client once asked why our internal doors were £300 when they cost £30 at Wickes. After explanation (as above) and ironmongery , frames etc all was well but it caused short term mistrust.)

 

Therefore your consultants should specify everything. If it is a standard building they may have their lists already, hence mentioning the required glue isn't an over-requirement)

(example again: only recently on this site did I learn of floor glue that expands to fill every gap and stop creaking: perhaps your builder knows and would use it, perhaps not).

 

Also, if there is a standard list, all competing contractors are on the same terms.

You can also welcome suggestions from them, but do respect their ideas and don't share them out....that really annoys them and they may walk away.

 

Trust and respect are needed 3 ways here: client, consultant, contractor.

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On 03/01/2022 at 00:57, Adsibob said:

I’m barely scratching the surface…

 

Thank. The note from the Architect states as follows in respect of Technical phase included in the quote:

 

"Once approval was granted there would be a number of conditions attached to the permission. We would :

  1. Submit the application to discharge the planning conditions prior to the commencement of work.
  2. Produce a set of detailed working drawings to include detailed plans, sections, elevations, setting out / foundation layout, door / window / lintel schedules, indicative electrical layout, roof and floor joist layouts.
  3. Submit the package to either a private or local authority building control inspector  and attend all meetings in pursuit of a full or conditional building regulations approval.
  4. Liaise with a drainage engineer, structural engineer and incorporate this information within our package of drawings
  5. Potentially Liaise with a number of builders in order to obtain tenders for the work"

It's the point 2 that I am concerned about as it is not detailed enough for me to know if these drawing are sufficient for the tendering process. I am NOT planning one builder to take on entire work but will arrange the sub trades hence will negotiate price with and without materials. I will prefer the price without material as based on previous experience I can get some really good deals by shopping around.

 

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On 03/01/2022 at 00:58, Gus Potter said:

Lots of great views expressed here

 

 

Thanks. No doubt it has been great to ask question and advice here. Much appreciated. 

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18 hours ago, puntloos said:

 

This is for soundproofing? I'm not even sure what resilient bars are ;)

 

 

Yes they are. I have used them in the past with Rockwool RWA45 and they work really well to create sound proof walls and ceiling if installed correctly.

 

I don thin they are required everywhere but definitely on external walls they will be useful and cinema room (if I was to create one).

 

@puntloos you asked all the great question which I had in my mind so thank for that.

 

18 hours ago, puntloos said:
Quote

often you'll find that they don't bill you for every hour they work and that when you look at it in the round your shopping about has been fine up till now to enable you to get a feel for the cost but has now become counter productive in the relationship?

 

Can you rephrase that last sentence?

 Especially this one as I did not understand the last bit. @Gus Potterplease can you help explain this. Thanks.

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18 hours ago, Bitpipe said:

We specced EPS 200 under the basement slab and EPS70 to basement walls. Groundworker had never worked with it and said that I needed to take care of it. I found a buyer who got me a great price (on commission from me) and had it delivered to site. 

Hi how did you find a buyer? Is it a friend or contact or is there such a thing which anyone can use?

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18 hours ago, saveasteading said:

Picking up some threads in the hope of helping:

 

It sounds here as if you intend to use a single contactor, acting as main contractor. 

Thanks. I am infact planning to appoint sub trades rather than single contractor and project manage them myself. Indo get all the point you mentioned henc need to raise the detail of tendering pack with the Architect. But part of me tells says to me I need to approach some this detailing carefully so not to demage the relationship at the outset by appearing to fussy. But I know this is wrong kind of thinking and I need to overcome this if I want to make my project successful. 

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13 minutes ago, Zak S said:

demage the relationship at the outset by appearing to fussy. But I know this is wrong kind of thinking and I need to overcome this if I want to make my project successful. 

It’s your house/build and you are entitled to be as fussy as you want, you just need to make sure your builder/subs are aware of your “requirement” and fir them to quote relative to your standards. I was lucky in that my builder/subs were on board (mostly) but I did need to pull them up a couple of times on little things ?

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1 hour ago, Zak S said:

sub trades rather than single contractor and project manage them myself

That is fine, and the biggest issue may be 'not in my package mate'. ie the areas of work that could be in one package or another. 

It is easier (at negotiation) to add some more work than to get discounts, so always ask for 'included' rather than 'excluded' where it make sense.

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2 hours ago, Zak S said:

 

@puntloos you asked all the great question which I had in my mind so thank for that.

I'm in somewhat the same situation - detail design pretty much ready and time to start tendering soon.

 

My(our?) crucial problem is that I don't know what I don't know. For example the resilient bars thing was new to me.

 

Is it in there, if not, has it been considered and rejected for the wrong reasons, the right reasons? How much will it cost to do it after-the-fact etc etc. And that's just one technology that is new to me, I bet there are many more.

 

Then again, some might be too nitpicky for tendering as well, for example Acoustic Wall Ties - they seem to *slightly* help with sound insulation but they surely look expensive, but then again to insulate my room-inside-a-room cinema will probably benefit somewhat might cost say double the cost of standard ties so roughly 150 quid extra.. maybe not worth quibbling over.. etc etc.

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2 hours ago, Zak S said:

Hi how did you find a buyer? Is it a friend or contact or is there such a thing which anyone can use?

 

I was given my person's details by one of the groundworkers - they basically do the shopping around, source best price, arrange delivery etc and invoice you for commission on the sale, still works out cheaper than tying to buy it yourself.

 

However for most things, good old internet shopping is the best approach.

2 hours ago, Zak S said:

 

It's the point 2 that I am concerned about as it is not detailed enough for me to know if these drawing are sufficient for the tendering process. I am NOT planning one builder to take on entire work but will arrange the sub trades hence will negotiate price with and without materials. I will prefer the price without material as based on previous experience I can get some really good deals by shopping around.

 

 

If you're not looking for a single contractor tender, then you don't need all the detail up front, in fact as its almost a certainty that things will change it may not be a good idea.

 

What you do need is a ballpark cost to pivot off for each significant part of the build.

 

We used a QS to take our planning drawings and do such an exercise. The quantities they calc off the plans should be fairly accurate but their prices will be SPONs or equivalent so reality may be higher or lower.

 

We got a relatively detailed cost plan in Excel which we used and tweaked as the build progressed.

 

To give you an idea of how it went... we got firm quotes for major elements such as demolition, groundworks, basement and the timber frame and locked in those contractors.

 

I was then able to shop around contractors for windows, roofing, render scaff etc and if was a question of if they were available in my timeframe and then getting a quote and refining it based on particular materials etc, then locking them in to follow the frame erection.

 

Focus then moved to first fix - again first task was ball park quotations and availability and then with a selected contractor, firming up the spec, usually by walking around the shell and making final decisions.

 

Once they were locked in, I moved to first fix joinery and plastering, tiling etc. Then ordering second fix items (mostly sanitary ware), decoration, kitchen, internal doors,  skirting etc etc.

 

At each stage the build became more 'real' and final decisions could be made in context. We also picked up inspiration as we went and were able to flex the budget and spec.

 

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22 minutes ago, puntloos said:

I don't know what I don't know

None of us does.

The trick with acoustics is to think of sound moving through the structure. If I bang here is there a physical link from this room to that room?

You can experiment in your own house, between rooms, floors and walls.

 

Fancy kit only works if all the other 'leaks' of noise are closed off too.

Resilient bars, spring suspended ceilings, rubber mountings etc are only efficient in making clean breaks in the structure if all sound paths are closed.

 

 

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9 minutes ago, saveasteading said:

None of us does.

The trick with acoustics is to think of sound moving through the structure. If I bang here is there a physical link from this room to that room?

You can experiment in your own house, between rooms, floors and walls.

 

Fancy kit only works if all the other 'leaks' of noise are closed off too.

Resilient bars, spring suspended ceilings, rubber mountings etc are only efficient in making clean breaks in the structure if all sound paths are closed.

 

 

I used res bars for a conversion HMO. Looking at online resources, there various additional steps recommended like using the sound proofing sealants, sound proof membrane and doubling the plasterboard etc. I only used Res bars and RWA 45 insulation and the effect compared to my own house (newly built house by a developer in 2003) was highly noticable. Unless one is creating a cinema/studio, even 70-80% reduction in noise is a great deal. That extra 30-20% might only be worth if there a commercial need (in my personal view). 

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23 minutes ago, Bitpipe said:

their prices will be SPONs or equivalent

When Estimating was my job, I used 3 year old Spons as about right and only for elements I didn't know enough about. 

ie if there was an element worth 2% of the project I couldn't get a quote for, then a 20% overprice on 2% was not critical, and better than a guess.

 

On one project, because it wasn't fully designed, we were asked to quote using Spons +/- a percentage. I think we went in on -15% and made a good margin still.

Yes, I think many QSs use this, and it normally creates a falsely high price, but perhaps not in times of shortage.

Use it as a starting point perhaps.

 

29 minutes ago, Bitpipe said:

However for most things, good old internet shopping is the best approach.

 

I don't quite agree. I think it is great for research of optional materials and cost levels. However a good relationship with a local merchant is preferable.

They will usually match what can be found elsewhere, as long as you know the target price. Even if a little high they will probably include prompt delivery and offloading.

They will also respect you as a valued customer, so you can get deliveries when there are shortages, and quick deliveries when you are caught short.

 

Also use Wickes as a price tool. If the merchant won't beat Wickes with their first quote then they are not playing fair and you ditch them.

I detest "tell us your best price and we will match it". That is cheating and is their policy, so best use someone else.

 

Where this does not apply is with large quantities of special products. eg timber direct from a mill/importer or insulation by the lorry load.

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14 minutes ago, saveasteading said:

None of us does.

The trick with acoustics is to think of sound moving through the structure. If I bang here is there a physical link from this room to that room?

You can experiment in your own house, between rooms, floors and walls.

 

Fancy kit only works if all the other 'leaks' of noise are closed off too.

Resilient bars, spring suspended ceilings, rubber mountings etc are only efficient in making clean breaks in the structure if all sound paths are closed.

 

But.. everything is additive, especially due to the way humans turn up the volume on noticing small things once the big things are done. If you 'go nuts with all the trimmings' but leave out say the wall ties, then adding the wall ties will make a perhaps noticeable difference because you're already listening really carefully. But if you *only* do wall ties and nothing else then the result will be completely unnoticeable. 

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1 minute ago, Zak S said:

even 70-80% reduction in noise is a great deal.

Agreed. I was trying to make the point though that a small area that cannot be dealt with properly can allow nearly all the noise through.

eg a 5% area unimproved can allow 90% of the previous noise through.

Flanking sound through walls or floors usually being the problem.

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6 minutes ago, puntloos said:

My(our?) crucial problem is that I don't know what I don't know. For example the resilient bars thing was new to me.

 

Unless you're an experienced builder then everyone is in the same boat.

 

You either take the step by step approach that we did or throw your lot in with a main contractor and accept that you may tweak the specification (and cost) as you go and as you learn.

 

Provided you're making decisions in a timely manner then it should not be too disruptive - the closest call we had was a last min decision to put electric UFH in the bathrooms, made just after the tackers had boarded over the first fix.

 

Luckily electrician was accommodating and we popped off a few boards to get the necessary cabling and trunking down over the weekend before the plastering started the following week.

 

You can also spec things to the Nth degree and get into diminishing returns. Unless you have very deep pockets, you will need to accept some things could be done better after the fact, take a breath and move on. You will make mistakes, you will forget things but in the grand scheme of building a large house from scratch.

 

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4 minutes ago, saveasteading said:

 

I don't quite agree. I think it is great for research of optional materials and cost levels. However a good relationship with a local merchant is preferable.

They will usually match what can be found elsewhere, as long as you know the target price. Even if a little high they will probably include prompt delivery and offloading.

They will also respect you as a valued customer, so you can get deliveries when there are shortages, and quick deliveries when you are caught short.

 

Depends on what you're buying. If it's bulk, general building materials etc then yes, I agree.

 

But I found that for things like skirting, ironmongery, upmarket sanitary ware etc then I was always better off doing my own research & buying.

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2 minutes ago, saveasteading said:

Agreed. I was trying to make the point though that a small area that cannot be dealt with properly can allow nearly all the noise through.

eg a 5% area unimproved can allow 90% of the previous noise through.

Flanking sound through walls or floors usually being the problem.

 

A previous stalwart of eBuild built one of the first MBC houses in Oxford, similar time to Jeremy Harris. He spent a fortune on acoustic materials and was very disappointed with the end result, for exactly the reasons stated above.

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14 minutes ago, Bitpipe said:

 

A previous stalwart of eBuild built one of the first MBC houses in Oxford, similar time to Jeremy Harris. He spent a fortune on acoustic materials and was very disappointed with the end result, for exactly the reasons stated above.

I went to Jeremy's not long before he moved in. I was amazed how quiet and non echoy it was.

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6 minutes ago, SteamyTea said:

I went to Jeremy's not long before he moved in. I was amazed how quiet and non echoy it was.

 

Yes, the combination of the deep filled cavity, triple glazing and airtightness has that effect on outside noise, ours is similar.

 

Greg made extra provision for internal soundproofing between rooms with rubber matting, resilient bars, sound block board etc but it seemed to make little difference.

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I suspect that if you set yourself some theoretical goal of xyz dB you'll likely be disappointed. If you stand in room A in absolute quiet, then turn up the bass in room B, you will be disappointed.

 

But "from day to day" I think it will be fine, even if you only do a "decent level of basics".

 

 

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3 minutes ago, puntloos said:

I suspect that if you set yourself some theoretical goal of xyz dB you'll likely be disappointed. If you stand in room A in absolute quiet, then turn up the bass in room B, you will be disappointed.

 

But "from day to day" I think it will be fine, even if you only do a "decent level of basics".

 

 

You need to hire a couple of teenagers for sound checking, especially the nocturnal variety who decide to do their hair at 1am.

 

More seriously, if you're having MVHR then you need to allow 7600mm2 under each door (i.e. a 10mm gap on a standard 760mm door) for air movement. This will also allow transmission of noise...

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