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The process

Until you have experienced a building or refurbishment project it can seem like a daunting prospect. Grand Designs, Pinterest and Houzz can give you great ideas, but you need to know practically how to go about getting the work done. Here is a breakdown of the typical elements involved in a construction project, all of which we can help you with.

1. Design & planning

If your project needs planning permission from your local authority, it is likely you will need an architect. They will help you design and specify what you want to achieve and will also help you with the approvals required before your project can go ahead.

2. Structural engineering

If your project includes any structural work, such as removing walls, making openings, building foundations and so on, you will need to instruct a structural engineer. They will produce drawings and calculations to ensure that the building works are structurally sound and compliant with current legislation.

3. Schedule of works

A schedule of works breaks down each element of the project – from demolition through to finishes. It sets out measured quantities and defined specifications for every stage, including labour and materials. This is the only way you can make meaningful comparisons between quotes from builders, as they will all be quoting for exactly the same job.

4. Party Wall Agreements

This is a legal agreement required whenever any works come under the terms of the Party Wall Act. It is designed to protect the interests of neighbours when work carried out at a property may affect attached or closely neighbouring properties. It covers making good any damage caused and states that the works need to be carried out in a manner acceptable to all.

5. Building Control

This is an independent service conducted by qualified inspectors to ensure that all works are carried out in accordance with the structural engineer’s designs, relevant building regulations and accepted methods of good practice. At the end of the project a certificate of completion is issued, confirming that the works have been completed correctly. Buyers may insist on having this document if you decide to sell.

Once you have all the relevant drawings, permissions and a schedule of works in place, you can choose your building contractor. When making your decision it is vitally important that you select a company that understands your requirements, will give you a fair price and will make sure the job is done properly. Above all, you need to be able to trust and have a good working relationship with your builder from the start. This process can be long-winded and complex, but with our full service we can guide you through and deal with most of the work on your behalf.