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Managing a build, have you done it?

(9 Posts)
almondfinger Sun 14-Feb-16 17:59:41

We are currently building a new house. An old family friend said he would manage build. We started, for various reasons it's gone a bit tits up.

Last week I organised a team to come in a finish the foundation, the plumber is coming to get all the pipework and underfloor heating laid and I have grounds work men there to do what ever else is needed. I was quite proud of myself and will be on site every day to ensure all is well.

I have a blocklayer lined up and a carpenter to do the roof etc.

However it's a tricky build as its a air tight house and chasing walls, recessed lighting etc all needs to be v particular.

Does it get too tricky when I have to juggle electricians, tilers, plasterers, plumbers. DH is worried they wont do it right and we wont know any better.

Most are recommended by DB who built a passiv house a few years back.

Have you done it? how did you find it? Would you do it again.

I have told family friend not to come on site this week as I think he will upset the apple cart. I may tell him its not working out later in the week as I would rather not end up falling out with him completely.

almondfinger Sun 14-Feb-16 20:10:37


EnriqueTheRingBearingLizard Mon 15-Feb-16 12:15:07

Hi. Is the family friend experienced in the building trade at all?
Also you say you'll be on site every day, do you have other hard and fast commitments with work or family?

We did it once, employing a small building firm and that quickly started to go awry, so we demolished, cleared the site and started again with me project managing and employing all independently sourced sub contract labour.

I've no experience of the type of construction you're talking about, but as far as juggling trades and money, then yes, it is time consuming and you do need to be methodical and on the ball. The single most important thing I found was to be absolutely organized about having materials and equipment on site when it was needed so there was never any need to delay trades.

It's tricky about the family friend, particularly if they were doing it is a favour, but even if the job was for a fee. It was unpleasant sacking the builder, but had to be done and of course, we had no personal relationship to worry about.

I would absolutely love to do it again though and had an absolutely fantastic time on our project, even when problems occurred, solving them represented a personal challenge, so it was very satisfying and great experience. Doing all the ordering and direct purchasing all materials was also a brilliant way of keeping an iron hold on the budget and knowing exactly where we were at all times.

lalalonglegs Mon 15-Feb-16 12:22:40

The only people I know who had airtight houses built used a company for the whole build. I think that you will find that, unless you very tightly manage the different trades, some of the integrity of the building will be lost between them - that's not to say that the house will fall down or anything it's just that it won't be built to a high enough specification to do what you want it do. As it is quite a specialist field, I wonder if it would be worth hiring a surveyor who has specialised in energy-efficient houses or paying your architect who presumably has some expertise in this field, to oversee some of the build. You can save lots of money sourcing the materials and tradesmen yourself but have someone in charge of what they actually do with them.

shanghaismog Mon 15-Feb-16 12:55:34

I've just project managed a passive build. Our timber frame guys were experts in this field and did the actual airtight detailing & testing. They weren't doing the internals so it was vital that all internal/external breakthroughs were fully planned at a very early stage. Being a control freak, I didn't let any internal tradesmen work onsite without a firm lecture on the importance of airtightness and stray nails etc! That said, it was fine with a bit of micro managing. As long as your external structure people know what they're doing you'll be ok, but if they don't it could be pretty tough...

The airtightness test day was a very stressful one for all concerned....last working day before the Christmas break and with a very tight schedule in the new year! Thankfully we passed 0.597 when 0.6 was the golden number!

almondfinger Mon 15-Feb-16 22:28:55

Enrique, the family friend was a builder. He's been fired now anyway. Turned up today, denying ever agreeing certain points. Looking to be paid double what we agreed. He wasn't doing it as a favour, we were doing him the favour employing him. He just stressed me out to the point that I couldn't think straight. So he's had to go. I feel lighter and much more capable today, the budget had gone out the window and it will be firmly reigned in from now on.

All the tradesmen I have lined up have worked on my brothers passiv house. We are not building to that level but it must be airtight.

I take your tip on being super organised and not holding up tradespeople with materials and equipment.

My brother is in the building trade though not a builder, a supplier. He is amazing and would project manage it for me (as he did his own house) but has a company to run. He is happy to hold my hand through it.

I'm a SAHM and can be on site in 10 minutes. DH works from home 3 days a week so I am able to leave dd's with him and go if necessary. I'm hoping DM will also step up to the plate if I need her to

I will be v picky and micro managing with all tradespeople. I think DH is coming from your point of view lala, that some integrity may be lost.

Shanghai, foundations going down this week and all breakthroughs covered with an extra for what we may have forgotten. Will be clarifying on site tomorrow before final agreement and digging

As we are self building the bloody architect wont do the site management, which I'm baffled about. He said as soon as he comes on site he is liable and we are self certifying so he cant be part of it? (We are in Ireland).

Thank you all for your thoughs, much appreciated.

almondfinger Tue 16-Feb-16 01:26:08

Oh, and congratulations on your airtight test pass Shanghai.

EnriqueTheRingBearingLizard Tue 16-Feb-16 11:01:32

It sounds like you have plenty of support and people to call for advice then almond so no reason not to take it all on yourself. Family friend does sound more of a hindrance than help so I'm not surprised that you feel relieved now.

Like I said, take advice, but trust your gut and be super organized thinking well ahead especially with regard to delivery dates after ordering and that kind of thing.

Best of luck.

NotCitrus Tue 16-Feb-16 14:02:17

We did similar - builder vanished, we hired all the guys who used to work for him. It was hard work but did save money in the long run, and the structural engineer ensured the key bits were right. If I hadn't given birth in the middle of it, it would have been the best way to go.

Even if you have a builder, still need to keep an eye out - our next project was building a shell extension by builders, but the team cut a girder too short - if we hadn't noticed and made them fix it immediately, there would have been arguing and making them redo days of work.

It helps if you are in London or a city and Screwfix or Toolstation will do next-day delivery for free if you order before midnight...

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