Before you build

How to choose a builder and sub-contractors for your building project

How to choose  a builder and sub-contractors for your building project

With horror stories about so-called ‘cowboy’ builders, budgets spiraling out of control and sites being left half-finished, it’s a wonder anyone builds anything! However, we find the vast majority of builders and their sub-contractors to be decent, honest people who take pride in their work, and who will go to great lengths to satisfy their clients and protect their reputation.

“This guide will take you through the important work of how to choose your main builder/contractor and related sub-contractors like electricians, plumbers, carpenters, joiners, ground workers, bricklayers, plasterers and decorators.”

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A Guide to Building Regulations

What are building regulations?

In general terms, the Building Regulations are a set of 14 statutory documents, part A to P which set minimum construction standards for the design and building work applying to most buildings and many alterations to existing properties.  They include consideration of materials and workmanship requirements, structural matters, fire safety, sound insulation, energy conservation and access to and use of buildings. 

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building project Insurance guide — for domestic self builds, renovations and extensions

"93% of homeowners doing extensive renovations works are not properly insured. If you do not tell your home insurer about works then you could invalidate your home insurance!”

When you undertake a project involving the structure and fabric of your property, as opposed to simple renovation without any alteration or addition, you are putting your biggest asset under increased risk. It only takes one misfortune to produce consequences which could jeopardise the value of the building. Increasingly, therefore insurance providers are demanding proof of the existence of a suitable policy. Building sites are full of potential misfortunes — all of which need to be insured against.

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Asbestos and domestic projects

Asbestos and domestic projects

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is used generically to describe six minerals that share similar physical characteristics, specifically being natural strong mineral fibres, all with a high melting temperature but which are chemically different.

Up until the 1980's three of the six have been extensively used in construction, these were:

  1. Crocidolite (blue asbestos);
  2. Amosite, (brown asbestos);
  3. Chrysotile, (white asbestos).

Amosite and Crocidolite are the ones most closely associated with health issues and were typically used in pipe lagging and fireproof coatings.

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How do the Construction Management Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) apply to domestic clients?

For many years’ people having work carried out on their homes, whether that means a small extension or a large brand new self-build project, have been happily able to ignore health and safety regulations, which were formerly known as the Construction and Management Regulations (CDM), as they have traditionally only applied to contractors, commercial schemes and large scale projects homeowners being exempt.

All that changed on the 6th April 2015 when the revised CDM regulations came into force. Now, homeowners are subject to these revised regulations which have been altered in an impetus to place responsibility on the private domestic extender, renovator or self-builder.

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Party Wall Act of 1996 — what is it and what are your obligations under it?

The Party Wall Act of 1996 may sound like an unnecessary hassle, but its objective are to prevent disputes arising between neighbours. It sets up a legal right and a framework to undertake certain works that might otherwise constitute trespass or nuisance. It is nothing to do with planning permission or building regulations but a totally separate bit of legislation.

You can understand neighbours not being overjoyed at the prospect of having their homes foundations undermined by builders in mini diggers, excavating alongside them or knocking into the party wall at loft level, and even potentially coming through the wall into the loft. The Party Wall Act is designed to assist both sides in negotiating this potentially challenging affect of building and restoration projects.

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