"Loft Conversion and Extension Project" posted by Mrs. Bell
Mrs. Bell’s family needed more living space. Moving house wasn’t an option at the time so they decided to extend their existing property. This ambitious project involved adding a loft extension to give another bedroom with en suite bathroom together with a single storey extension at the back of her house to expand the existing kitchen/dining area.View job postingx
Choosing a builder:
A friend recommended MyBuilder to me. We liked the way that customers left feedback on the site. I felt that added more security to the process of choosing a builder.
I’ve had bad experiences in the past with builders so my guard was up at first. I knew I wanted a builder who was honest with their pricing and trustworthy. Above all I wanted somebody with whom I could build a rapport and feel comfortable with. The only way I could determine this was by meeting candidates face to face. We did background checks on the builders we shortlisted and asked for references and to see actual jobs and speak to previous customers in person.
When I first met Dave I thought he looked a bit young to do such a large project. When we received his quote, though, it was very detailed with everything accounted for down to the last penny. He even brought in a surveyor to work out if a crane would fit down our road. I thought that demonstrated a great attitude to service.
Working with our builder:
In terms of costs, we had a contingency but really wanted to stick to our budget. Dave always kept us informed about costs and priced any new work upfront. Because of this we managed to keep costs under control and the job came out more or less on budget.
Dave gave me lots of advice – not only in terms of how I could save money but also about any structural and design points. Dave and I are quite similar in many ways – we clicked very quickly and found that we shared a similar taste in design. Despite having plans drawn up, we were very flexible about the brief and so it was refreshing to have Dave on hand to collaborate with.
The finished job:
The finished job exceeded our expectations in every way. The quality of work and the speed at which they completed the work was amazing. I have no reservations in saying that they are some of the most knowledgeable builders I have met. They’re very polite, well organised and communicative.
Having had a bad experience in the past, Dave and his team really changed my opinion about builders. I wish I could recommend them to everyone and I really wish them well for the future. That’s why I left such good feedback on MyBuilder.
If I did need anything else doing around the house though I’d certainly have Dave back again. If Dave wasn’t available I’d definitely use MyBuilder again. I felt in general that the builders I met through the site were very keen and serious about their work. I’ve also recommended the site to other people I know.
- Mrs. Bell's tips:
- lThoroughly research any builder you are thinking of hiring. Look at their previous jobs and speak to their customers in person.
- lDon’t be too judgmental about every builder you meet. Its easy to tar all builders with the same brush which isn’t fair. There are some great builders out there.
David Oakman - the Builder
After college I worked for a builder for five years on loft conversions and extensions. Eventually I started out on my own as a contracting plasterer before I decided to start my own business. It was about that time someone told me about MyBuilder.
There are certain standards I like to maintain on any job I do. I’ll always keep an appointment. I make sure that the property is left clean and tidy at the end of each day. We even use a portable toilet to avoid having to walk through the customer’s house. I know what its like to have a builder in your home, how much disruption it causes and how much money it is costing the customer.
I believe in being honest with my customers. For example, I sent a surveyor over to see if we could get a crane between two properties without closing the road and incurring extra costs. I could’ve just increased the quote and closed the road down but that’s not how I work. I employ three guys and I’d rather work for twelve weeks and earn a normal wage than not work for twelve weeks because I’ve tried to make more money out of a job.
I always make it clear to my customers that they should always ask questions or flag concerns at any point during the project. It’s much easier to change things early in the project.
I think this was one of the best customers I’ve worked for. Mrs. Bell has the same outlook on design as I do. If I saw something that I didn’t think looked look right on the drawing I’d offer alternative options together with revised costs.
I’ve been really happy with MyBuilder. I win around 80% of my work through MyBuilder and I don’t advertise anywhere else now. I’m happy with what you get for the money and I don’t begrudge paying the fees.
- Roger's tips:
- lFor large projects, customers shouldn’t accept a fixed price quote before the builder has seen the property and a set of drawings first. Blind quotes will more than likely be padded in the builder’s favour.
- lIts really important that you trust the person you hire. If someone sounds dodgy on the phone there’s a good chance that they are.
- nJob Category: Loft Conversion
- YTradesman: David Oakman
- qDate Completed: 10 Dec. 2009
- 3Location: Bedford, Bedfordshire