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Finding a builder for an extension, will a joiner do?

(10 Posts)
AncientCrone Tue 16-Jul-13 13:59:01

We've just got planning permission for a one storey extension and now need a builder. My brother was badly ripped off by a local builder (to the tune of £10-15k) so I'm a bit wary.

He has recommended that I check they have Federation of Master Builders membership and have been established a while (so less likely to declare bankruptcy and start a new company, like his did).

I have asked for recommendations but a lot of the time the recommendations I get are joiners who also do building work. Would that be okay or do I need a builder builder?!

deepfriedsage Tue 16-Jul-13 15:50:23

Are the joiners subcontracting to other trades?

Potterer Tue 16-Jul-13 16:10:32

I have just had a kitchen extension built, I had a builder who just built it, ie brickwork, timbers for roof, everyone else was subcontracted in; some by the builder and some by me.

Subcontracted by the builder,

man with digger for foundations
door and window by double glazing company
roofer for the tiles on the roof
plasterer to board out and plaster

subcontracted by me (but recommended by the builder)
kitchen fitter

You can't say all builders will rip you off because it isn't true. I have had 2 builders, one who dealt with everything but I felt like we had less control, I paid him a set amount of money each week for a garage conversion. I believe it was £2k, so he did he work, I paid him for it. He paid the subcontractors out of that £2k.

This time round I pay for the builder on a daily rate, (and any helper) and I pay for the materials, he orders them, I pay the builders merchant and get a receipt. I have paid each bill given to me directly to the person doing the work.

He was recommended to me by a friend of a friend who I knew was very picky and particular. I visited him on that job when it was near the end so I got to see his work.

PigletJohn Tue 16-Jul-13 16:58:18


AncientCrone Sun 21-Jul-13 09:59:00

I suppose they must be contracting out (?) eg this guy has been recommended by a couple of people - he does extensions but is a joiner.

AncientCrone Sun 21-Jul-13 09:59:24

PS Thanks Potterer, that's helpful smile

BlogOnTheTyne Mon 22-Jul-13 08:18:31

Potterer, I have just read your message in this thread, in which you say that you paid £2,000 for a garage conversion. I have just got a detailed quote for 2 garage conversions, attached either side of our house - and it comes to around £50,000 (so that's £25K each) including VAT! They'd originally suggested £60K and have now said this detailed quote is a very budget/conservative estimate.

I am amazed therefore at the difference between this and yours and wonder what on earth to make of it? For things like "Studwork and insulation to walls", they're estimating around £8,000 alone (so that's like £4K per garage). For heating and electrics, the estimate is around £7,500 and then they've also included fire alarms £600, new external door on one side only - £2,600.

Is anyone here in the building trade who could advise me whether these kinds of pricing for subsections of the works are reasonable? Even "Stripping out/demolition" - which would just be taking down some hardboard already affixed to one garage only, internally, is being estimated at £7,000.

I had the figure in mind of around £14K in total for doing both garages (ie around £7K each). However, this building company have clearly presented a breakdown of costs and surely can't be over-charging me by so much that your figure of £2,000 wouldn't even cover what they call "Preliminaries/supervision/protection", which they're pricing at around £2,200 alone!

I'm now worried that if I get a much cheaper quote, then that company won't be doing a proper job. I've got a young builder coming today who doesn't yet charge VAT and who was recommended by a friend. If he estimates a lot less, would that mean he's just not taking into consideration things that need to be done nowadays to take things up to building regulations standards?

I'd really appreciate input from anyone connected to the building trade.

Pendeen Mon 22-Jul-13 12:48:41


On what basis is the builder pricing? Drawings, specifications, bills of quantities?

Even though theie quotation contains a breakdown of costs you have to have a common understanding of what they represent.

"Preliminaries/supervision/protection" are common terms used in construction contracts to represent the non-building costs of running the company and enabling the contract to proceed.

(I'm an architect BTW).

BlogOnTheTyne Mon 22-Jul-13 14:28:55

Pendeen, the "Budget Price costs", as the company have called the estimate, is based on a site visit and copies of plans drawn up by an independent architectural planning consultancy and each subcategory just says things like "Seal existing single garage door opening (brickwork): £300 +VAT and Velux windows and new steel/aluminium windows: £3,300 + VAT etc etc.

I presume the estimates are for speculative quantities of materials and labour.

If the non-building costs of running the company are well over £2,000 for my job, then it looks as if I'd be better with a smaller one or two man firm - but would a company like that have sufficient experience to not do a botched job?

Pendeen Mon 22-Jul-13 15:49:51

As you have drawings could you not ask other builders for quotes? At least the basis for comparison is there.

Or ask the "independent architectural planning consultancy" (whatever that is - assume they are not architects) for an estimate to prepare a specification and tender drawings.

As regards preliminaries etc. - the 'usual' rate is between 10% and 15%so £2,000 on a (nett) £48,000 job is actually very low (@ 5%).

All this said - I have to admit from your description of the project the overall figure does sound expensive even though the two items you quoted seen quite reasonable!

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