Yes, yes, we know…! There are lots of us out there, and most of us are saying pretty much the same sort of thing, which must make it difficult to choose a company to work with if you’ve never done anything like this before (and even if you have, it can still be a challenge). So we thought we’d make it slightly easier by giving you a few key pointers, some questions that you might want to ask anyone that you’re considering embarking on this journey with.
“Who will I actually liaise with on a day-to-day basis?”
With far too many companies, the experienced person you meet with at the outset magically disappears once you’ve signed on the dotted line and the project is underway. We consider it one of our USPs that we don’t have a whole team of trainee project managers; you’ll meet with either me or my co-Director, Nick Barlow, at the outset – and you’ll continue to deal with us the whole way through the project. We’re 100% hands-on, totally involved, and we’ll liaise with you in a way that suits you best. You’re living abroad for 9 months? No problem; we can have a regular catch up via video call and I’ll show you what’s happening to your house. You want to have a look around the house every week and make decisions on the spot? That’s fine, we can agree a time to suit you. We’re totally flexible and will do whatever works best. But you’ll definitely liaise with the same person the whole way through your project.
“You’ve quoted a price for the job; will I really get the house I want for this price?”
This is a tricky one! We know that it can be tempting to go with the cheapest quote, but we would always advise caution. In housebuilding, as in most thing in life, you generally get what you pay for, so do take time to check exactly what’s been included in the quote. How much has been allowed for your kitchen? Could you realistically get the kitchen you’ve dreamed of for that price? Is fitting included? If you opt for the lowest figure and then find that time and again you need to increase the allowance in order to get what you really want, you’ll probably end up paying more than the most expensive quote. And, even worse, you may find that you run out of money before the project is finished. Our quote probably won’t be the cheapest you receive. We’re willing to bet, however, that it will be the most realistic. That way we all know where we are from the start and things will run smoothly and to plan. And we’ll still be friends at the end of it!
“Are you prepared to share the figures with me?”
We work on an ‘open-book’ basis; we’ll always share with you what we’re being charged. Obviously, we’re not doing this for love (although we do love what we do!), but we’ll tell you from the outset what we’re charging for our input, so we all know where we stand.
“What happens after we move in?”
The follow-up service is where all too many companies fall down. We always allow time to come back and finish things off once the house has ‘settled’. We generally book in ‘snagging visits’ after 6 and 12 months, but our clients know that they can call on us if they’ve forgotten how something works or if they need help. If we’re honest, by the time we’ve been on this journey together, we’ll know you pretty well – and we’d never abandon a client!
“We’ve got a good idea of the sort of style we want; do we need to opt for one of your ‘standard’ styles?”
No! Definitely not! We love – and encourage – quirkiness and individuality. We can advise and suggest, but we’ll never force a style on you. Some clients come to us with a very clear picture of what they’re looking to create, others need guidance: our architects can work with either approach. We may suggest modifications or compromises to make sure that your design gains planning consent, but the last thing that we want to do is to build the same ‘cut and paste’ house over and over again!
We’ve all spent a lot of time at home over the past year and we know that it’s allowed us the luxury of time to think about our houses and how they suit the way we live – and how we want to live in the future. If your home needs major attention or you’re ready to start planning that building project you’ve always fancied, get in touch and let’s have a chat about what we can bring to the party!
01932 559 150