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How To Plan a Successful Building Project

When you begin a project, it can be tempting to jump right in. We get it! It’s exciting, it’s new, and if you’re anything like us – you’ll want to get started straight away.

If there’s anything we’ve learnt from years in our professions, there are a few things you’ll need to do to ensure your building project goes as smoothly as possible.

Choosing Your Design Professionals

In order to begin creating your vision, it’s vital that you hire reputable professionals to bring your ideas to life. This could be an architect, an interior designer or even both, whilst your project is in its initial stages.

Every company will do things a little differently; this gives you an opportunity to understand the variety of services each firm offers, and whether they match with what you’re expecting.

Become Familiar with Building Regulations

Building Regulations and Planning Permissions can easily be confused; but it’s important to note that each of these aspects of a building project are very different and need to be addressed separately.

Building Regulations focus on both the safety and quality of the build and materials, including insulation, ventilation, drainage, and structure. Whereas Planning Permission is about how the building sits within its environment, what effect it has on surrounding elements, how it’s used, and what it looks like.

Alongside this, ancillary factors including Party Wall, Thames Water Build Over Agreements and your CDM responsibilities all need to be considered.

In all cases your Design Professionals should guide you through these matters and risks.

Ask for a Tendered Quote

Once your Design Professionals have drafted and collated all the information together, you’ll then need to provide this information to the contractors/construction professionals you’re asking for a quote from; this process is called ‘tendering’.

If you are not using your Design Professionals to undertake this for you, you should be aware of the two fundamental mistakes that most clients make when asking for prices from several different tendering professionals:

1) Giving different information to each party; it is critical that all prices come back equal so that you are able to compare them accurately. E.g. If you were to compare one apple against another apple, you’d be able to compare them accurately. Compare an apple with a piece of Lego, and your projection is thrown way off! It’s important that when comparing quotes, all the information you give to either party is exactly the same.

2) Not double-checking the contractors/construction professional’s backgrounds. It’s very important to make sure the work is being done by a reputable company. We’d advise talking to previous clients, looking at their previous work or even undertaking a simple company’s house check.

Be very clear what you are expecting from the contractors/construction professionals, and when you are expecting it.

Remember to give clear deadlines on tender returns, make sure the contractors buy into this date from the outset when they agree to return a price. Ensure they know what your expectations are when it comes to the build duration.

Nobody likes unexpected costs, so it’s important that extensive research and planning has taken place ahead of this in order to be given an accurate evaluation.

Agree a Price and Timeframe

Even after you’ve undertaken the above checks, it is so important to ask more questions and understand the price fully.

Believe us when we say that the lowest price does not always mean that it’s the best value. Some contractors/construction professionals may:

· Not have priced for everything

· Put in different budget/provisional prices for unknown items such as kitchens, bathrooms, toilets, or soft furnishings

· Have specifically stated that some items are not priced for

· Have made the price up of mostly budget figures and not actual prices

Always choose the contractors/construction professionals and price that demonstrates the least risk.

Clear communication and information are key here; ensure that a price and a timescale are agreed on and are supported by clear drawings and a schedule. Remember, your timescales should allow for any possible complications.

If you follow this guide, you’ll find that the risks of overrunning, stress and budget problems are much smaller.

Ensure You Have a Contract in Place

A building contract is essentially an agreement between the client and the building contractor undertaking an agreed set of works. It’s put in place in order to clarify any ‘what ifs’, such as additional work being added or the work taking slightly longer than expected. Remember that contracts need to protect the client and the contractor in equal measures.

In our experience, most hand-written contracts issued by one party (client or contractor) tend to be bias and often not written correctly; these give little to no protection to either party.

We always recommend a JCT contract be used (be careful here as there are many variations and you need to use the correct one); if filled out correctly these are really robust and protect all parties.

Once the contract is in place, you’ll be ready to begin your project!

Our Service: Project. Design. Delivery.

If you’re struggling to get started with your building project, whether that’s residential or commercial, our all-encompassing service enables clients to work with us from design and delivery through to the practical completion of their build.

Our multi-disciplined approach means we don’t just design buildings that look great; we make sure they work too.

Once we’ve designed the perfect space for you, we’ll recommend a contractor to build it. We then manage the tendered quote process in order to assist you in selecting the right industry professionals for your project. After the build has started, our team keep track of the progress and monitor the expenditure for you.

We completely understand how important cost control is. We work on a fixed fee basis so our clients know exactly what services Dacegrade will provide and when, ensuring your build is of the highest quality, delivered on time, and crucially: on budget.

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