We’re back to bring further news and progress updates from Karen and Anthony’s home renovation and extension project. If you’ve been following our diary of project blogs, you’ll know that we have been following the family’s journey from the beginning, from when they first decided to create their own individual long-term family home.
We’ve tracked their progress through the stages of work from the preparation of their brief and concept design, to our last entry where we focused on Stage 4 of the RIBA Plan of Works 2013. Stage four took a closer look at we prepared technical designs for tenders to go out to contractors to bid for the construction of their project, selecting a contractor, and how we issued and began to manage the building contract for Karen and Anthony.
Now that Karen and Anthony have their chosen contractor and the contracts have been agreed and signed by all parties, we’re back to bring you up to date with the project's progress. At Stage 5 of the RIBA Plan of Works 2013 works can now commence onsite and the family can finally see their new home come to life!
We’ll be following the project further as the chosen contractor, AJG Construction, begins the demolition of the existing property, how we’ll manage the building contract for Karen and Anthony and the challenges that arise as work gets underway. Firstly, lets take a closer look at we will administer contract for Karen and Anthony’s project.
In the short video below Carl Croft, Managing Director of Croft Architecture explains more about starting on site and how we manage building contracts for clients.You can watch more useful short videos on our You Tube channel here.
What is a building contract?
Once we’ve signed up a contractor and, on this project, as you now know we’re using AJG Construction who is a contractor known to us, we can then plan to start on site. The building contracts and the documents already sent to the contractor prior to work commencing on site, outline the information for the contractor in terms of how we want them to run and operate the site.
The contract also brings in a level of control for the client, so that the contractor must do certain things at certain times or throughout. This includes all of the usual things that you would expect; that the contractors are doing their job properly and safely, that they are proceeding diligently and that they don’t leave site for weeks on end, and that they comply with regulation. The contractor is also entitled to staged payments and the contract sets out the way that those staged payments are determined. The payment plan comes down to what we’re doing on site and how the build will progress. Each project is different.
When we visit Karen and Anthony’s project, we will be looking for the safety of the site and making sure that the development is operating safely. We’ll also look at the work and make sure that the quality of the construction is as we would expect and that it’s in compliance with the contract and the contract documents, planning and building regulations.
We’ll also be looking for the progress of the build. As the works start to progress we will know from the schedule of works what amount of money is due to AJG Construction. We can then make a calculation of valuation for the works on site and issue a payment certificate under the contract so that Karen and Anthony know how much money is due to the contractor. The payment certificates continue to be issued throughout the project.
Preparation is key
Before any demolition work could start to take place AJG prepared the property to ensure the site was safe and secure for the team, the neighbours and the public.
Karen and Anthony kindly suggested that the AJG team use the existing double garage at the bottom of the large rear garden as an office and base for the construction team.
The garage provides an excellent space from which to manage to project. It has electrical power for computers, running water and space to have a break. The garage is a ready made site office from which to complete the necessary paperwork needed to manage the site legally and safely.
Work starts on site
We commenced on site in mid May 2018. It was an exciting day for all as AJG arrived on site to begin the work. After all the months of meetings, planning, decisions, and patiently waiting, Karen and Anthony could now look forward to getting on site to watch their new home evolve over the coming months!
Demolition is pretty much what it says on the tin and, for us, the first stage of Karen and Anthony’s build meant removing a large amount of the brickwork from the rear and side of the property to make way for the new extension. The existing garage, rear conservatory and the small kitchen extension have all been demolished and removed from site.
Once the work started the AJG Construction team knuckled down and swiftly propelled the demolitions and strip out of the property to an advanced stage. As you can see from the pictures Karen and Anthony’s property has changed significantly after only a couple of weeks of being on site.
At this stage in the project work was progressing well, however a couple of challenges arose which required our architect, Anthony, to visit the site to discuss with AJG.
A survey of the existing foul drains was undertaken before the project started on site which identified a buried chamber in the area of the works. Unfortunately, the survey information was flawed, and the chamber turned out to be located where the new raised patio was planned.
We had always planned to relocate the existing inspection chamber. However, because of the flawed information provided it was now preventing work from proceeding. As this would have left an unsightly manhole in the patio or lawn we decided to omit the chamber in favour of a new long sweeping connection.
Unfortunately, during demolitions, the incoming gas pipe was damaged. Fortunately the gas supply had been isolated so this wasn't a safety issue. AJG acted quickly and professionally and contacted the gas board. The plan going forward is to relocate the gas supply to a more suitable location under the driveway and to relocate the gas meter to the external side wall of the extension.
Working with the right contractor
Although we have made some unknown discoveries as the project has progressed, they could have proven to be problematic had we not have been working with a proficient contractor. Therefore, it is extremely important to select a contractor not purely based on price but also competence and skill. We always send tenders to a set of reputable, good contractors who we know and are familiar with. AJG Construction are an established local contracting firm who are known to us from previous projects and they have a good reputation for working hard and for delivering schemes on time and on budget.
AJG's communication, honesty and pro-active approach was very much appreciated to assist with resolving matters effectively and efficiently.
It’s great to see that Karen and Anthony’s project is making swift progress onsite. We’ll be visiting the site again very soon to check how the project is moving forwards. Hopefully by then the demolition work will be well underway and we can look forward to seeing our design ideas become more tangible.
In our next chapter of Karen and Anthony’s home renovation blog, we’ll be following their journey demolition concludes and the new house starts to take shape on site!