Loft Conversion SW London(19 Posts)
I am looking for recommendations for builders. I know this has been asked before but the posts I have seen are from a few years ago.
I have had a couple of quotes but am pretty nervous as not had any actual recommendations.
One company was quite a hard sell. I am on my own if that makes any difference so finding it difficult to make a decision!
I want a hip to gable with an en suite. I live in a 3 bed semi & have the plans & building approval.
I would be really grateful for any recommendations /advice.
Thank you in advance.
Lewin & son builders in Banstead seem to have a good rep. They never have to tout for work as they get constantly recommended.
I can try to help with advice - but to be clear, I work for a SW London building company which in the spirit of Mumsnet I won't stealth promote. A few thoughts off the top of my head:
You have numerous good building firms in your area although the big ones tend to sub-contract out. This isn't necessarily a bad thing (we don't sub-out but have worked as subbies) but you need to ensure you meet the actual team which will be on site and that you gel with the site foreman. Also clarify who your daily contact will be with and how often they'll be on site to walk through with you. Ask to meet former clients and see the team's work - this also means they've kept good relations with their clients. Get numerous quotes and have them broken down - we do line-by-line for every single thing so it's transparent which can sometimes work against us as the final number is large, but at least it's clear. Get a timeline and payment schedule and an understanding of what's behind the payment schedule e.g. will you do a walk-through and tick off completed items?. Have a look at the FMB site as a starting point - not bullet-proof but they do check on a trader's history and visit their work, check insurance etc. On that point, ensure the team has a solid trading history, insurance and will issue a contract. Will you have penalties for a late finish, will you manage it or someone else? These need to be made clear at the beginning. If you're having doors/windows apart from Velux get quotes from independent suppliers - these vary enormously in our area, but check if architrave and sill is included. Will the contractor return to snag, how long is the guarantee and will they include a fee retention for six months to ensure all is OK? I'm happy to answer any other questions by PM but hopefully the above may throw out a few ideas of what to include in your checklist. It is indeed daunting as it's a huge sum of money on your most valuable asset. Ah, reminds me - check what protection they'll use in the house whilst working. Another thing (which may help with neighbour relations) check no radios, smoking or shouting on site and how they plan to park and remove rubbish (skip or van?) as it's these things that can tip neighbours over the edge.
Thank you that is really helpful ! It is daunting & I have had some poor experiences on smaller jobs which has made me really nervous. I have been told I should get a man in the house when the builders come to quote - don't know how true this is but I have had some ridiculous quotes on other work which maybe or maybe not because it is just me!
SarahSea1could you PM me the company you work for?
I have an architect so it may be easier to go back to him & let him oversee it / get quotes etc. I was trying to keep the cost down & thought I could do this myself but maybe that is the best route.
I’d like to know who you work for Sarahsea! Can you pm me please!
Any builder who gives you even the vagueist hint they'd rather deal with a man should be taken off your list, pronto, even if it's the lowest price ever. In fact, any negative gut feeling at the initial stages, take on board as it's an important relationship, even if you can't put your finger on why. Honestly, those days should be long gone..
SarahSea1 I have been totally shocked by some of the tradesmen & what they have told me ! My impression has been not that they would rather deal with a man but that they tell me such utter rubbish that because I am a women they think I don't have a clue & would believe them !
I think the worst has to be 240 pounds for a new plug - I won't bore you with the details and what he tried to tell me was required! Maybe I look stupid!
I have done lots of building work in the past on a much larger scale but in the North so have some knowledge.
It is just a bit depressing to the point that I have considered just making good what I have as I am so nervous.
There's a lot to be said for making good and working with what you have. If you're a terrace or semi you also have party wall costs (and hassle) plus possible remedial works on your neighbour's house.
Surrey Lofts did ours... Have also done 3 friends and none of us have any complaints.
HTKB thank you ! Could I ask the approximate cost - I am in a 3 bed semi & want an ensuite so may be a different size to you. I have a lovely neighbour and has no problems with me going ahead but wondered if your builders also dealt with the consent of your neighbour and building control or if you had to do that.
I have a three bed semi and we had two double bedrooms and a proper bathroom put up there. I think it was 45k to a plastered shell. We then had to buy paint, carpets, bathroom stuff, tiles and fitting, furniture etc. Surrey Lofts does everything, so they did the drawings, permissions, controls etc, we didn't have to deal with any of it except warning the neighbours work was starting and moving their sattelite dish.
I will also say that since we had ours done, it has had a ripple effect and we now cannot drive down our local area without seeing a Surrey Lofts sign. As i say, three friends of ours had it done, then they have.recommended to further friends etc and now SL must have done 20 lofts round us. So people are carrying on recommending them. They were a bit slow to get the scaffolding down, which would be my only complaint.
We haven't had a loft conversation done, but I'd recommend Doran Brothers www.doranbrosconstruction.co.uk/ - a few friends have used them and been happy with the job plus they seem very busy in our area!
R&M Lines www.rmlines.com/ - again, very busy in our area - they did a loft conversion for a neighbour over the road.
Ash Island Lofts www.ashislandlofts.co.uk/ - did a loft conversion for our 'attached' neighbours, so we had a reasonable amount of contact with their team and saw the finished product
I really appreciate your replies I will check these out.
We're in the middle of doing ours and have nothing but great things to say about them.
Also had a quote from Ash Island lofts who we would have gone with had we had the budget.
We got quite a few quotes and it's definitely worth shopping around.
HTKB We are just about to sign up to Surrey Lofts and just wanted to check you are still happy with them? I have seen some mixed reviews.
I used Scott Mcabe in Ealing - www.smalofts.co.uk/. They did an excellent job and I was able to view around 5 lofts they had done in the neighborhood and get references before I signed the contract.
Hi, Just wanted to share our experience as we unfortunately did not have a good experience recently with Surrey Lofts. Our builder rushed the job and therefore created so many problems for us which would have gone unnoticed if it wasn't for a builder friend coming round. I found the MD very rude and bullish and spoke to me as though I know nothing. Their finishing was appalling and had to chase to get them done. If you would like further info on our experience then please PM me. But I can't believe the stressful experience we have had with Surrey Lofts.
We used A1 lofts - and I really rate them and have subsequently recommended them to friends who have had good experiences. It obviously depends on the team - and perhaps if you have plans and planning sorted you may want a different service but they handled all of it - everything went very smoothly and the finished product is beautiful!
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