Extending your home - How to avoid extra costs

by Nick 29. February 2012 22:50

Avoiding extra cost

Q. I am thinking of having an extension. How can I make sure I don’t get a bill for extras when the builder finishes?

A. It is not always possible to entirely eliminate additional costs, particularly when working on existing buildings where unforeseen circumstances can arise.


By employing a Chartered Architect extras will be monitored and can be eliminated in the following ways:-


·        Provide the contractor with detailed drawings and schedules to price from.

Planning and Building Regulations drawings alone will not normally include all the items you wish the builder to include in his price. A detailed breakdown of your requirements is essential to ensure that both you and the builder have the same expectations. Insufficient information at pricing stage inevitably leads to extras on site.


·        Always have a contract. We mentioned this in our previous column. The contract should include all the detailed drawings and schedules that the builder has priced. It is therefore very clear what is included and any additional works you request can be monitored. Considering the cost of works you should never risk proceeding without a contract and any builder worth employing will be happy to work on this basis.


·        Monitor additional works on site. Your architect will assess any work considered to be extra. This may include unforeseen circumstances or changes requested by the client. For any work is considered additional to the contract the builder must provide a quote. Once agreed, this will be added to the contract sum and the Architect will instruct the work. We prepare an ongoing instruction schedule to ensure there are no surprises at completion.


Never let extras build up until completion. These can become significant if they are not monitored and agreed immediately. Once you get to completion there should be no unexpected additional costs.

(as featured in The Heswall Magazine Nov 2011)


Flat roof update

by Nick 22. February 2012 22:45

Flat roof update

It was inevitable after our column about flat roofs in the Heswall Magazine that a leak would appear in the flat roof of an extension we completed in 2008.

We had specified a built up felt roof system to be installed by an approved contractor. A 15-year guarantee was obtained and passed to the client.

On discovering the leak we contacted the roofing manufacturer and the installers visited site that day. The following day the leak was repaired.

This is the first instance in ten years of architects-direct.com projects that we have been made aware of a leak to a flat roof on a project we designed. This proves that the quality of flat roofs has improved and when things do go wrong they can be resolved.

Remember: -

·        Specify a product that offers a minimum 15-year guarantee.

·        Use an approved installer.

·        Ensure that the guarantee is for both workmanship and materials.

Keep the guarantee in a safe place; you will need it if you have a problem.  


Central Vacuum Systems

by Nick 20. February 2012 20:34


The principle is simple: -


  • Vacuum tubes are installed within the walls of the house with sockets in convenient locations, ideally fitted during construction.
  • A hose and attachment is plugged into the socket and you can vacuum in the usual way without having to carry around a vacuum cleaner.
  • The central vacuum, located in a discrete area of the house then sucks the dust away. As a result vacuuming is quiet.
  • Particularly interesting is the possibility of installing special sockets in the plinths of kitchen units. Dust can be brushed directly into these and taken away instantly. Presumably the same principle could apply to any skirtings. This would be especially useful given the popularity of hard floor finishes.   

Further information can be found on the following website for the Electrolux system. This describes the system in simple terms. http://www.beamvac.co.uk/index.asp


We cannot verify the efficiency of any of these products, as we have never used them, however it seems like an idea worth further investigation.


About architects-direct.com

architects-direct.com are Wirral based architects working from offices in Heswall covering Wirral, much of Cheshire and Merseyside. All projects are designed and led by an RIBA Chartered Architect.
Established 10 years ago we have grown our reputation on personal service coupled with sympathetic and innovative design.

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