Building Extension: Self manage or get a builder.

BiggieBig

Active Member
As usual always come here when I need some good advice.

I'm currently looking to sell my property but can't find anything I like (or rather afford :D ). Therefore I would like to attempt to make some cash as I have planning permission on my existing property and leverage on the increasing London house prices. Here's the details:-

Extension: Turn a 2 bed end of terraced house into a very good sized 3 bed.
Double storey side extension which is arround 35 ft x 6.5 ft
Single strory rear extension 18ft x 8ft

Estimated cost: 80k (from about 3 builders)

If it costs me this much to build I'd probably just break even.

Could someone help with the following questions

1) Could I save some money by Project managing it myself and get in trades men as I need them ?.
2) Do I get all the quote's from the trades men in advance so that I know how much to budget for each task, or do I just get quotes from a specific trades men as I need the work doing ?
3) Does any one have a list and the order in which I would need to get these people in ?
 

Pat_C

Well-known Member
1) Could I save some money by Project managing it myself and get in trades men as I need them ?.
Possibly - but having had a similar extension built myself a couple of years ago I wouldn't even think about it. If you don't know what you're doing it could easily cost you more than a fixed price quote from a builder who knows the business and has all the subcontracting contacts. It's a pretty stressful time even with a good builder.

If you are prepared to do the research, can cope with the stress, are not working to a strict deadline, and have a lot of spare time on your hands it may be worth pricing it up - but I'd add a big chunk of cost in for contingency.
 
D

Deleted member 30535

Guest
Also if you do it yourself you may run into issues with warranty/insurance. Rather get a qualified builder who can issue a NHBC certificate or is covered by the Federation of Master Builders.
 

Razor

Member
Forget about trying to run this yourself. It will just end in tears. You have a sizeable job there and no experience in the building trade, it can only lead to disaster. I would sell the house with planning permission. You will get more money for it as the permission has already been granted.

I have been involved with property for over 10 years now.
 

Accylad

Distinguished Member
DON'T DO IT - You can almost be sure it will cost more in the long run.

Find yourself a builder who can show you previous jobs they have done and talk to the property owners to find out if there were any problems.

Get at least 3 estimates so that you know the price is OK

As a former Building Control Officer I speak with inside knowledge - you wouldn't believe the number of jobs that went wrong when someone tried to manage the job whithout the necessary experience.
 

udsf

Banned
it would be worth asking a couple of local architects how much they would charge to manage the contract

if you let any contractor do the whole thing they will cut corners to make an extra 'buck' - also if you change spec or encounter problems the 'extra's' could be tricky!

also i would want stage payments as each element is completed and valuations of materials on site before payment is made
 

Razor

Member
it would be worth asking a couple of local architects how much they would charge to manage the contract

if you let any contractor do the whole thing they will cut corners to make an extra 'buck' - also if you change spec or encounter problems the 'extra's' could be tricky!

also i would want stage payments as each element is completed and valuations of materials on site before payment is made

Architects charge approx 10% to manage and add loads of confusion into the job and inevitably bump the price right up. Also architect's always have their own builders who they are getting back handers off. Get quotes and nail down the scope of works to encompass everything you need. Then have a 10% contingency as you will probably need this. A good builder will never cut corners, its just not worth it.
 
D

Deleted member 30535

Guest
Depsi, I think there is a consensus when it comes to doing it yourself:

DON'T DO IT!!!!
 

BiggieBig

Active Member
Tnks for the replies guys...

Seems like you guys have really put me off....

Reason why I was considering is because:-

1) Woman at work from the states saved a packed managing her own built and she was only 23 at the time :eek: But things may be different in the states
2) Also I know someone else at work who's decided to do it them selves though I haven't had a change to ask her specific details. I know she has a few contacts for polish builders. Which I’m sure she'll be happy to share.
3) Someone else who had a large shop extended is persuading me to do it myself but that was in Birmingham and they know quite a few trades’ men. Things are completely different at the moment in London.

Thanks for all the advice,

I'm no expert in this trade but I’m an ok DIY buff :rolleyes:
but like you guys I’m not entirely convinced this project is worth undertaking myself. I would be looking for pure profit but feel like it is a big risk....


But surely there must be some good stories out there (after all you see it all the time on TV :D )
 

Pat_C

Well-known Member
But surely there must be some good stories out there (after all you see it all the time on TV :D )
What I've seen of this on TV is that in almost every building/converting project the original budget was exceeded, sometimes seriously so. And they almost always go over on planned completion date too. With a contracted builder you would at least start with a fixed price.

I wouldn't rule it out completely, but I'd certainly do a lot of thinking and research before going ahead.
 

Hi-Def

Active Member
Well ill back up whats been said here and that its HEADACHE doing it yourself

having some work done myself 2 story extension and attic rooms

have to say if i had decided to manage myself it would need to be there full time and it would be going on for much longer

and you just dont get that level of finish, seen people do it before any they never managed to get that high quality finish and in budget

got myself a good price and a good guy who knows all the regulations and what needs to be done

but anyway heres the stages that took place here

  1. Clearing site and kncoking down anything that needs removing
  2. Digging out footings - inspector came to check these before filling
  3. Fill the footings with concrete - inspector comes to check when this is done
  4. Drains put in - inspector comes to check when this is done
  5. Dig out for putting the floor in, start the first few layers of brickwork and stick in the concrete and insulation for floor - inspector comes to check when this is done
  6. Brickwork
  7. Roof, floor for 1st floor and gutters

then you can start 1st fix - basically anything in the walls and floors

windows and doors
electics
plumbing

the when thats done you can plaster and finally 2nd fix - basically any finishing bathroms kitchens etc

when its all done and dusted the inspector will come

this is just a rough idea of what you need to do to get there

even justs orting out 2nd fix stuff yourself like the bathrooms+kitchens is a massive headache
 

eFGee

Active Member
Judging by questions 2 & 3, you hava absolutely no knowledge of building so why do you think you are competant to project manage it?

TV makeover problems have a lot to answer for!

I was in building for 25 years and still let out the job to a builder, albeit a mate, when I had my extenion done as I wouldn't have been able to committ the amount of time required.

If you do decide to project manage it, pm me and I'll give you some guidance.
 

udsf

Banned
Architects charge approx 10% to manage and add loads of confusion into the job and inevitably bump the price right up. Also architect's always have their own builders who they are getting back handers off. Get quotes and nail down the scope of works to encompass everything you need. Then have a 10% contingency as you will probably need this. A good builder will never cut corners, its just not worth it.

sorry but can't let this statement pass without comment!

you obviously know very little/nothing about the architectural profession

and to suggest architects 'have their own builders' and 'get backhanders' is both a lie and a serious slur on the profession:mad:
 

Razor

Member
sorry but can't let this statement pass without comment!

you obviously know very little/nothing about the architectural profession

and to suggest architects 'have their own builders' and 'get backhanders' is both a lie and a serious slur on the profession:mad:

I run a building/structural engineering/Party Wall company, I am a landlord and a property developer for over 10 years now. I think I know my business. I have also worked with more than a fair few Architects, in fact I am doing a project for one now who works in the movie business as a set designer.

I take it by your reply you are an Architect.

I have met many Architects which take back handers for giving out contracts to builders. Telling me this is not true is just plain false. You may not do it but I know many who do and I stand by my statement.

Do you own your own Architectural company or do you work for someone and take a wage?
 

udsf

Banned
i'm not going to get into an arguement on this one!

but retired as an architect - have been an employee and self employed

worked on anything from a house extension but in later years was a specialist hospital planner - my most of you in the south east will have been in a major hospital that i've been involved with

as regards backhanders - i strongly recommend you report the matter to the RIBA professional standards - if you have proof


its totally unacceptable

i can see both sides of the coin - my father is a retired md of a medium sized building company and he NEVER paid or was asked for a backhander!!

if in the type of instance being discussed - a house extension - competitive tendering would remove any possibility of favouring any contractor or the taking of backhanders!

also you say 'architects' - are they RIBA? - in my experience there are a lot of people about today who are not qualified architects but use the title - sadly the public are not aware of this deception - hell, people have called themselves doctors and even done operations!!!
 

Razor

Member
I have walked away form jobs because of the back handers, I didnt agree with them. I have also lost jobs due to my price being copied by the architects who were in control. By some miracle my estimate for some very large jobs were beaten by a very small amount say approx £100. The builders who won have been working for the architects for over 5 years. They basically stole my quote and undercut it. This is also common place and I am not the only person who has encounted this.

Involving an architect wont bring in competitive quotes at all as the spec from an architect can be OTT and the builders quote to match this. I have seen silly things asked for in a scope works for a rear extension like:

Contact Police to inform them you are working on the property. - We charged £700 for this service and won the contract. :confused:

I have also seen scope of works which are nearly 2" thick and take a good 2-3 days to quote from. All this costs time and money. I have reduced large scopes of works like that to a dozen or so pages of relevant info.

Architects have their place, especially in large commercial jobs or new builds but for a residential extension or loft conversion I really do believe one isnt needed if you have a good team of builders.

The architects I have meet which ask for the back handers are fully qualified and manly work for themselves. I have also meet a few who work for large companies. I did a job in Christopher's Bar in Covent Garden a few years ago and i was told our invoice for extras would not be honoured unless air miles were donated. A massive argument broke out between me and the architect and I told him were to go. We got our money in the end.
 

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