Before asking builders/contractors for a quote, you must have the structural engineering plans complete. The structural engineer has a critical role to play in the build as they will specify what’s needed to accomplish your proposed plans. That includes the beam structure, number of beams, size of beams, foundation depth, etc.
A contractor will be unable to provide an accurate quote without knowing what work the project actually entails.
At the start of the project, I didn’t think I’ll be contacting the engineer much. I was wrong. I’ve contacted the engineer several times to confirm specs of beams and for the bay window structure. I initiate the meeting leaving the builders and engineer to discuss the technical aspect.
Back to the box topic. Our rear extension needs a lot of structural support as were breaking two of the outside wall and one side of the house could collapse if not done properly. To accomplish this, the builders had made a box frame out of steel beams.
Check out the images. You can see what the steel has to support and understand why it’s needed.
We decided a while back to stop the services from the Architect due to costs. That leaves the builder with a lot of power and me needing to get to grip with learning the technical side of the build.
The builders made out it was an easy build and they could handle, however, it clearly has not been as easy as they initially thought. After talking to a few experienced people about the subject they all had the same opinion, “All builders think they know best and they are the dog’s bollocks”. It’s important to keep this in mind when tendering to builders and not be fooled by the builder’s spiel. Stick to the details of the build. This is where the architect is handy. A good architect knows when the contractors know what they are talking about and if the calculations make sense. It’s worth having an architect onboard to help in this process.
I also miss asking the architect for advice. The build would have progressed further to date if the architect was still onboard as they would have checked the build at certain stages and made sure the builder had the materials needed to schedule.
I’m still in touch with the architect for situations where I’m really stuck.
Here’s an example of how the architect can think out of the box. It’s based on the article ‘Panic Button‘.
I messaged the architect asking how we can resolve the depth issue for the kitchen units and counter to fit between the window and wall. We were short of the 60cm needed. Ideally, we really we needed the depth of 65cm.
The architect replied with an easy fix.
‘You bring the plaster in so you don’t see the frames of the windows internally…you only have to do it to the large Windows, you can do the bay if you want’
Make the windows frameless.
scetch sent in what’s app
Brilliant Idea. One I would never have thought off.
Company Name: Edite
Tel: 0208 133 7446
All the steel has arrived. I hope the builders have super powers to lift it in place. Mind you’re foot.
Finally. We have placed the order for the bathroom. My builder has been asking for the bathroom supplies for a while now. In return, I’ve been asking them why is the extension has not been built yet?
I’m not keen on the builders installing the bathroom at this moment of time. The reason; the bathrooms are the only section of the house I can run wires if needed from the ground floor to the first floor, loft and vice-versa.
The builders have completed plastering the whole of the first floor. I have no idea why. I told them to leave it as it should be one of the last tasks. At least have the extension shell built before plastering. The issue is that by plastering all walls on the first floor, we can’t make any changes. On a building site, changes are needed all the time. No new wires can be run as you will need to rip off the plaster.
I’ll let them fit some parts of the bathroom. The bathtub and shower tray. Should keep them happy.
Look at the link below. They have completed the first floor up to number 15. Plastering Out/Screed Floors. This schedule applies to the whole house. NOT floor by floor.
Note: Bookmark the site. It’s the best website I’ve come across for information and advice.
There seems to be another freeze on the build. There’s been no work for over a week as the builder waits for the steel to arrive. The suppliers do all the fabrication as requested by the builder. We met the engineer on the 18th Sep to go through sections the contractors were unsure of. The engineer explained in detail to the builder and he seemed to understand. Fingers crossed it’s measured correctly as it’s a big part of the cost for our project. For the record, this should have been completed at least one month ago. It’s another reason why it’s worth having an architect involved if it’s your first time as they would have overseen the project needs in advanced.
Space-saving banister. Let’s plenty of light in. Contact me if you are interested. Will do a good price.
Finally, we have chosen our tiles. The builder wasn’t impressed when we explained the changes we wanted in the main bathroom. We want the toilet moved. He’ll do the job. I’m just hoping there are no other changes we need to do as he has plastered the first level. I don’t completely agree with it. I think the plastering should have been done at a later date. The extension shell is not yet erected. I’m worried that we may want a change and he will have to rip through the plaster. Fingers crossed we don’t need to make any changes.
I’ll add a drawing of the changes once I get all the tiles delivered.
The button was pushed when I walked in and looked up. This is the ultimate of 1st world problems. I was tired and frustrated with not making a final decision on the bathroom from the day before. Plus I had a long drive from London to Manchester and back in one day.
The view wasn’t as good as I was hoping. We had to sacrifice the line of sight to the second window for some extra storage for the walk in wardrobe. It really got to me how we affected the design. I was unhappy about the view from the ground floor. On top of that, I also decided I wanted the bathroom door moved to the right.
We spent all day on Tuesday going through the bathroom design and when I was looking around the bathroom on Wednesday I realized the ceiling had curved edges on two of the main walls. That changed the design completely. Don’t know how I missed the detail. It meant we would not be able to tile the whole bathroom as it will look strange having tiles going all the way up to the edge of two walls but not the others. That explains why the bathroom was never fully tiled in the past.
After looking at the bathrooms and landing, I went outside to check the measurement from the wall to the window where the kitchen units will start from. I discovered it was short of 60cm meaning the kitchen units won’t fit. I was really annoyed as we might have to make one of the windows narrow which will change the symmetry. We’ll check with the Architect (extra cost). I spoke to a kitchen shop and they recommended leaving 65cm. The general depth of kitchen cupboards is 60cm. The extra 5cm will allow space for plumbing pipes and the worktop counter lip.
The cure: Went sleep, woke up and vented out my frustration to my wife over the phone while driving to work. Done. Back to the right frame of mind. Not everything will be perfect and I’ll figure out a solution to the ugly box we added for storage. We’ll also book a session with the architect to fix the kitchen unit/window situation.
It is difficult living like this, however, it’s important you stay calm and try your best not to have sleepless nights thinking about the project.
Builder sent us these images today. We’ve reached a big milestone in the project.
Thanks you to the lad’s (and lady) from STA Electrics. These guys know what their doing. I purchased the plug sockets and switches for the first floor from these guys. My brother recommended them. They offer all sorts of electrics including AV, lighting, CCTV, etc.
My brother was adamant I went for a brand called Varilight for the dimmers, stitches and plug sockets. Apparently their the dogs *******. My wife preferred another brand as they offered a better colour, black nickel. The Varilight range doesn’t have the colour yet. I feel really bad for still going ahead with Varilight, however, there’s good reason. A few of our switches require to have dimmers and switches on the same plate. The black nickel brand only offered only dimmer switches on one plate which meant the dimmer would have acted like a switch. Seems minor but I didn’t like this idea. I want a switch to be a conventional switch and dimmer to be a round knob only used to dim the light. I also think the brushed steel I went for is more of a neutral colour.
If you have not been to STA Electrics in Slough, GO. Check out the fully automated Cinema room they have implemented. Wow
Note: I purchased switches/plug sockets with screws. After seeing screw-less switches/plug sockets in store, I’ll most likely order it for the ground floor. Varilight do offer screw-less. To install it you have to make sure the plastering is spot on.
All Lighting in the Cinema Room was implemented by Kam from Onlight