A self build house project diary
by Oliver Cannell

Meeting a local builder

As part of the researching the options for moving this house build forward, I met with a local builder today.

I must say, I was a little apprehensive about meeting a builder and wasn't sure what to expect. But I needn't have worried, as they turned out to be very professional and very helpful and keen to demonstrate their skill & ability.

I met them on-site to discuss the plans and some of the details and help them get a general appreciation of what's required. Then they offered to show me some the properties they had designed and built in the local area. 4 in total, including their own home, all of which were very impressive. The build quality seemed excellent (to my albeit untrained eye) but everything was solid and well finished.

Some food for thought for me, is what sort of render to use on the external walls. They have used a through-colour render on one the builds I was shown, which I think is a great idea, as there is no need to repaint after a few years, as you'd have to do with normal painted render. The other, more significant, thing to think about is whether to opt for a brick & block construction or a more eco-friendly timber frame. They have experience with both and I was shown both in their current properties. My immediate thoughts are that timber-frame would be preferred, as long as it's strong enough (and priced right) for the house design we are working to.

I suppose the other dilemma, is whether opting to hire a builder to take on the whole project is a good idea or not. Obviously the best thing is that they can control everything and oversee the whole project, which means less time and stress required from me. Great! But this will come at a price, and I have no idea yet whether this will be affordable. Once the mortgage has been researched some more, I think this will become clearer.

For now, the builder is going to produce an estimate for the build, so this will be a great guide, at this stage.

Next entry: Another option - local developer and project manager (Tuesday 10th November 2009)

Previous entry: Moving on to the next stage of the design process (Tuesday 6th October 2009)

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