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Build or Get Built.... What do you think?

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wizer

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Hi

Sadly we heard today that the house we wanted to buy was sold to someone else! We have decided that we are going to stay in this house and make some additions.

I want to convert the loft for a bedroom\en-suite and build a garage (workshop).

What I'm thinking is if I should do as much work on these projects myself or get the whole lot done by a builder.

WRT the garage\workshop. All I would need doing there is the brickwork and the roofing. The rest I am quite confident in doing.

I suppose the real question is the Loft. It will need a fixed stair way and the joists strengthening (as per building regs). Any Plumbing will obviously need a plumber. The electrics, I can do and have a spark sign off. I can build stud walls and skin with plaster board but will need to get a plasterer for the finish. I'll be doing it around work so there will be at least a few months of upset. I can take a week off at the begining and another during to get particularly messy jobs done.

I have a good book on loft converting and would get and engineer to make proper drawings.

Or shall I save my back and spend the money on having it all done for me as a package?

What would you do?
 

LyNx

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Personally, i would do it myself, i always have.

But you got to think about the time and money. It will take you alot longer to do it yourself, and can you handle the stress, mess etc. But then, if you get someone else in, you got to look at the cost issues.

I would create a list of everything that needs doing, get quotes for it all, then see what can be done yourself against each cost.

Andy
 

wizer

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Thanks. Alltough daunting, the hard work doesn't bother me. The mess will be a pain, but thankfully this is the missus idea and she has been fine with all the other projects we have done.

This will be the biggest DIY project I will have undertaken, I want to make sure I plan it correctly.
 

GEPPETTO

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Hi WizeR,

Firstly for myself it has been a money thing. After the ground purchase (the old house did not there be: there were few walls only and no roof), after bricklayer was bankrup, after the new bricklayer with another estimate of expense much higher money was become very few. And more, even if you pay and you give to do all to others it isn't true the things are done how you want.
Naturally, I speak for me only, I could not make all thing myself. Therefore after the bricklayer had finished the main job (basement,walls and wall coats (I don't know how it's called) and roof,after the plumber had finished I have accomplished everything.
Now I can't explain here how much I done. Believe me, it has been so hard. I spent last 6 years of my life, and family life (wife and children).
Perhaps you believe I done external and internal fixtures. Nope. I'm not be able to do that. I'm a new woodworker.

:shock: I'm going out of topic :? Let's stay there!

What would you have to do?
It depends how much money and free time you have. However if you do by yourself, I can say now, you will have a lot of satisfaction how I said :
here;here
 

Scrit

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WiZeR":33fya8y1 said:
I suppose the real question is the Loft. It will need a fixed stair way and the joists strengthening (as per building regs). Any Plumbing will obviously need a plumber. The electrics, I can do and have a spark sign off.
Because of the structural element alone I'd suggest leaving the joist strengthening, roofing, etc to a pro because he will carry the appropriate liability insurance and in any case you probably would want the major works clearing out of the way quickly to reduce the dislocation and stress of it all. Ask yourself the question, if you make a cods of it and it goes wrong, or worse still you are injured, will you be insured?

Other than that I'd do he rest myself including the stairmaking (but then I'm insured for that) - but that's how I am.

I can build stud walls and skin with plaster board but will need to get a plasterer for the finish.
Not necessarily. If you use the American-style drywall approach where the joints are scrimmed, skimmed and feather sanded it isn't necessary to plaster at all and you should be able to do the job yourself. I posted the technique here a few weeks back now I can't find it for the life of me! :oops:

Scrit
 

Scrit

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Thanks Chris, that's exactly right - some days I just can't seem to......
 

trevtheturner

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WIZeR,

I would definitely do the garage (workshop) first, then use the second part of the project to justify all those new tools you need (want!). Further justification will be the savings you have made by doing much of the work yourself. :wink: Oh, and a monster garage/small loft conversion will be much better that a small garage/large loft conversion. :lol:

Seriously, Scrit's advice seems a pretty good way to go.

Cheers,

Trev.
 

wizer

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Cheers Scrit. I have considered getting the major work done by a pro. As soon as this year is out of the way I will get some quotes. I wonder if I should get the plans drawn up by the structural engineer anyway.

This, obviously, all comes down to money. The less I spend on labour, the more I can spend on toys for the new workshop!

Cheers for the plastering tip. One for further down the line.
 

JFC

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I did my mates loft for him over christmas 2 years ago on a day rate , Saved him around 9 grand with him running round for materials getting the plans done and calling the council himself . I also re roofed his house while i was there including a gable end a valley and obviously dormer out the back . Oh and we gable ended his hipped roof to give the head height for the stairs .
 

JFC

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Bit far away but if you send me the plans ill tell you what the materials cost and a hotel room with a nice bar tab paid for could sway it :lol:
I did another one for a mate in worthing i think i was there in all 2 weeks maybe a little more . He did all the steel work and tiling again we re roofed the house , i made the staircase with two turns put the dormer out re roofed put the floor joists down and left him to second fix . We put a lovely little hip around the top of his dormer/ flat roof that gave it a real nice touch :D
 

PowerTool

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It's a matter of time against money - I built my workshop at the start of the year;did the concrete slab,brickwork,roof,electrics etc. - the work was restricted by the weather at times,and having a full-time job as well.
So doing it on weekends took me two months - so cost was about £1,000 in materials and zero in labour,but took more time.

As for a loft conversion - have you priced it up,and compared it to the cost of an extension? (This is advice from my brother,who is a quantity surveyor - if the upstairs joists need strengthing,an extension is often similar in cost but adds more to the house value.)

Andrew
 

JFC

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Not sure i understand the upstair joist strengthing thing , all i can think is bolting a sister joist to the existing where the staircase will be . Not a big job . As for an extension adding more value i always thought another bedroom added more money to a property although im just a humble C & J so i could be wrong :D One thing i have seen is if you do a ground floor extension to your property before a loft conversion the council wont let you build the loft to the full bounderys of your building :shock:
 

les chicken

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WIZer
Our thoughts are with you ,we also lost the house we were going for. We ended up decorating from top to bottom Helen now likes the house more. Just spent the last 3 weeks extending the garage :wink: :wink: by 12 feet.
My advice same as I have done get a builder to qoute for the things that you cannot do. In my case he did the footings, blockwork I made the roof joists and battens and help lay the tiles. He then rendered and I am doing the electrics and the inside.
Keep an eye open in "adtrader" you might find things like tiles, blocks, windows, wood, insulating (Ibought kingspan for £9 / sheet against normal £22 sheet) going cheap, it all helps.

Best of luck and have a nice chrismas and a prosporous new year

Les Helen & Lucky :D :D
 

WoodPecker

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What I'm thinking is if I should do as much work on these projects myself or get the whole lot done by a builder.
Hope I'm not stating the obvious but you've got three options, From the point of view of someone who's just built his own house I'll outline the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Option 1: Get a contractor to do everything, do nothing yourself
Advantages:
1. Less stress for you, contractor will organise everything.
2. Job should be finished quickly (I say should, but this may not be the case either)

Disadvantages:
1. Cost, you will have to cover the contractors profit in addition to all the plumbers, electricians, plasterers etc. that he subcontracts.
2. There will be more wastage of material, believe me this will have been allowed for in the contrators original quote so you'll be paying for it, anything left over will either be returned and credited to the contractor or brought away with him to his next job.

Option 2: Subcontract everything, do nothing or very little yourself.

Advantages:
1. You'll save quite a chunk compared to Option 1.
2. Less material wastage as you benefit from returns.

Disadvantages:
1. You'll have to do a lot more organising than option 1 above, some people can take this in their stride others are hopeless. Not just a case of picking up the phone and ordering everything, you'll have to time things correctly.
2. Job will probably take longer than option 1, but maybe not, if you have a mate who's a plumber or whatever it can reduce the amount of chasing you'll have to do.

Option 3:

Subcontract some jobs, do others yourself.

Advantages:
1. Has all the advantages of option 2, but you'll save even more.
2. Jobs you do will be done to your standard, you'll take a little bit more time to do it better, where as someone else will often do things the quick easy way. This is particularly true with regard to hidden work.
3. You'll also save on skip fees and you won't have to allow for as much wastage so less material costs. As an example, if someone is putting up plaster slabs with someone elses material they aren't going to be as inclined to use up the offcuts, even quite large offcuts, much quicker to just keep cutting from fresh sheets.

Disadvantages:
1. It may take longer, but if you can organise things well it may not take much longer. If there are two different jobs which can be done at the same time do one yourself and get someone else to do the other, first fix plumbing and electrical is an example.
 

engineer one

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every one has made good comments, but as another outsider i might suggest that there is an advantage to do a deal with a respected local
but small firm architect. he could give you traders who are known to
do things properly and speedily. also he will get the things through the
council for you in the best time.
you could sit with him and then negotiate the best way to get the whole
jobs you want doing at the most sensible rate. you might even find good other trades.

get someone to design and lay out the basic engineering, and give you
some material details then you can get quotes for labour only maybe.

there is never enough time to do all the work yourself, and get the woodworking done too, so it is always a trade off.

good luck with it though
paul :lol: :lol:
 

RogerS

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I agree with Paul on this. I am always the first one to step forward and say I'll do it myself....but this is something that I wouldn't tackle myself.

One major advantage of giving the project to one company (and not doing anything yourself) is that if it goes pear shaped then you have a much,much better legal case. If you've been 'dabbling' (I use this term very loosely and not mean it to imply that you don't know what you are doing) then their legal people will have a field day.

Caveat...if you have worked with the trades before then that option (ie you project managing it with expert tech/structural advice) is the way to go IMHO.
 
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