Floor Poured before BCO Inspection

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We've got the shell of an extension at the back of our house, completed by a builder. Roof, walls, concrete floor, etc. -- just no windows or doors.

Throughout the build communication was absolutely rubbish with me constantly having to chase things up, and taking time off work for no-shows. I've never raised it as we are human and he's down to Earth in person. Plus, what's the point in creating friction? Unfortunately there have been other issues such as us having a concrete floor when I specified suspended and using my tools without asking (wheelbarrow, drill) and breaking both! Again, I've begrudgingly let these slip.

I've dealt with the BCO who is a really decent bloke. The current detail he is waiting on is a photo of the floor showing insulation and membrane before the poor. I know this went down and I put them in touch with each other so that the builder could share pictures which he's said twice now that he'll do. The BCO arranged to meet up with the builder to see this, but the builder never showed up.

We are currently awaiting windows. I sent him measurements over 10 weeks ago and he still doesn't have a date. A local firm I trust can get them to me in 2 weeks. I've decided to scrap the builder and do this myself. There's no contract, he has far larger jobs on (we are his smallest!) and I'm a bit fed up of him, especially with a baby on the way.

I still don't have the pictures of the floor pre-pour. Should things go sour and he not provide them, how do I satisfy the BCO short of pulling the floor up? I've asked for them a couple of times this week and still not got them, but not mentioned me wanting to sort the windows myself.
 
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tricky one -the first option is to chase the hell out of the builder to send you images.

the second option is to ask the BCO what they would accept -theres a chance they may take it on trust if they know the builder well.

are you talking about insulation below concrete?

has the builder run a cavity wall across any doorways -in which case maybe you could remove some blocks to expose the floor construction.
 
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tricky one -the first option is to chase the hell out of the builder to send you images.

the second option is to ask the BCO what they would accept -theres a chance they may take it on trust if they know the builder well.

are you talking about insulation below concrete?

has the builder run a cavity wall across any doorways -in which case maybe you could remove some blocks to expose the floor construction.


That's what I'm trying re the builder. Holding off going to BCO at the moment as everything has been spot on with him so far, don't want to mar the success we've had.

Yes. Floor level is 2ft off the outside ground level -- so it's compacted MOT, then slabs of insulation, membrane, then concrete pour.

There are cavities actually, that's a very good point. Where the French doors will be, he could remove a block and inspect. I think a lot of rubble has fallen down inside as they were barrowing the MOT and concrete in, but I'll just have to excavate it if all else fails!

edit, he won't take the builder on trust as they haven't had much interaction over the 15 years the firm has been going.
 
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The BCO arranged to meet up with the builder to see this, but the builder never showed up.
That says the BCO did turn up and if so what did he see?

He needs to see the DPM and insulation. The DPM will be visible around the edge, and to check the insulation you can either knock out a corner of the slab or at a threshold - as the builder may well have just left the wall level at thresholds and the top courses need to come off anyway.

If you have a receipt or delivery note for the insulation, that may be accepted
 
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That says the BCO did turn up and if so what did he see?

He needs to see the DPM and insulation. The DPM will be visible around the edge, and to check the insulation you can either knock out a corner of the slab or at a threshold - as the builder may well have just left the wall level at thresholds and the top courses need to come off anyway.

If you have a receipt or delivery note for the insulation, that may be accepted



The BCO was at my front door when he phoned to ask where the builder was :( I asked the builder to get in touch but the BCO had to leave as he'd been waiting 15 minutes, so he never got to see anything that day. Floor was poured the next day by surprise!

The DPM was laid with a good 500mm excess around the edge. There is also a 25mm sheet of insulation which runs around the edge of the new room between the slab and the wall. If I could chisel out some of the slab (which is around 80mm-100mm thick) I could expose the DPM and insulation. The DPM was laid on top of the insulation which I'm not sure is right or wrong.

I don't have the receipt and I doubt the builder will share it if he does based on experience trying to get these photos! I am doing the roof insulation between the rafters so have taken photos at every stage alongside the delivery notes... wish he had.
 
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Decided to speak to the BCO about this. He said that because he had seen the MOT poured in an compacted beforehand (which was his greater area of interest) he was happy to accept that the insulation slabs and membrane had been put down if I was, which I am. Very happy with this which I think is quite a reasonable viewpoint.

The builders are all squared up and didn't challenge my decision to decline the windows! I've since ordered two windows for £250 from a local firm and I am trying to source a French door at 1500mm x 2090mm.
 
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Its not just my builder then, made me feel better about all the minor sh*t we had to put up with before we finished it ourselves. (y)
 
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Sorry to hear it! Throughout my three-month relationship with our builder, we had no end of little issues. Most of them I was very patient with and I was never ‘one of those customers’ getting involved at every stage. I gave him a clear plan at the start and for the most part it was followed, it’s just the lack of communication and asking questions which I think broke down the fluidity of it all. The worse of the issues were:


Asked for a suspended floor and got a solid floor. No idea why, it was even stated on the quote. Wasn’t a huge issue, I just wanted to use the space for storage as our house is 2ft off ground level.

Concrete pour for the foundations was “booked in” for Monday but actually, meant Tuesday. I had made sure everything was ready for the lads (shuttering up, gate unlocked, site completely clear for them, moved my vintage car onto the road) and when I got home… no change.

When the concrete pour did turn up they used my barrow and left it caked in cement, used my spades and poured a large pile of excess onto the garden. I accept this isn’t the fault of the concrete pump firm, but he clearly mucked up in his calculations.

Still got two builders bags full of rubbish left on the drive. I’ve got rid of 6 pallets, a ton of sand, ½ of MOT and broken bricks but these bags are full of cans, an old toolbox, solid cement.

No photos sent to BCO when he said they had been (three times!)

Gave measurements for windows at the start, turned out they had been built to different sizes. As they weren’t too different with no real impact on the job, I accepted this.

Marked on the brickwork the positioning of the opening for the French doors (so that inside, they would be proportioned correctly), but they got put in 250mm extra to the left.


There were other things but I’m just glad it’s over now. The lads he subbed his work out to (namely the roofers and brickies) were top lads who genuinely cared about their work. The extension is only 5.5m W x 3m D and if I had another one in the future, I’d just go individually to each trade.
 
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How did you find your builder? Was it through a recommendation or a Google?

Recommendation from a friend of his. The friend is a close work colleague of my other half and he was only mentioned when the conversation came up at work. We did get others in (also based on recommendations) but he won on a more competitive quote and being able to start sooner.

He's a decent bloke to get on with but I don't think this friend has ever had to work with him.
 
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Asked for a suspended floor and got a solid floor. No idea why
its easier, thats why

a suspended floor requires more organisation: you have to send off a drawing, get it approved, order the beams and blocks -and it sounds like your builder isnt organised

suspended floors take around 10 days to organise the beams -its a pain when solid slab has to be changed to suspended at last minute due to poor ground conditions
 
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Recommendation from a friend of his. The friend is a close work colleague of my other half and he was only mentioned when the conversation came up at work. We did get others in (also based on recommendations) but he won on a more competitive quote and being able to start sooner.

He's a decent bloke to get on with but I don't think this friend has ever had to work with him.

building work is all about project management -but most builders are great tradesmen, very practical just not organised

I feel there is a massive trick missed by the training in this country -there should be a course for builders to go on for organisation skills...as its what lets almost every builder down

to do an extension you need 3 things: information, materials, labour -and builders spend most of their time with only 2 out of the 3
 
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I fully agree with you. The course would be a good start, but I think most of it would come from experience while on jobs. A lot of school leavers I remember hated exams/courses which is possibly a large reason they left for jobs on the tools.

I did my part which was to provide a clear set of drawings and requirements -- i.e. the building I wanted constructing. I also ensured I had obtained the build over agreement from the water authority as well as initiating engagement with Building Control prior to any works commencing. After that, the 'project' was handed to the builder (in effect the project manager). As you've rightly concluded he has poor organisational skills, which I think comes from taking too many jobs on. I've since found out he does a lot of driveway work and has two very large jobs on including a completely new dwelling.

Re the floor, if he'd just discussed any complexities of my preference beforehand I probably would have decided on solid instead. I had good reason to want suspended, but he could have told me the pros and cons and at the very least tell me if he'd decided on doing something different.
 
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2 or 3 visits...foundations, drains, insulation...don't forget they are not quality control and are under no obligation to give you advice only to make sure what you are building complies.
 
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Hello. How often should i expect the BCO to visit / inspect work on an extension ?

I've been building a 2 storey extension over the past few months and the BCO has only visited once and told me just to take pictures as the work progressed - reading other posts, i expected these guys to be crawling all over me, but doesn't seem to be the case....should i request them to come out or just carry on with my David Bailey impressions ?

For me it was three visits. The initial visit to inspect the site prior to works commencing, the second visit to see the depths of the foundations and the third to see the insulation, windows/door, drainage and the electrician sign off certificate (although they get this sent to them separately).

Mine was only PD, so I expected fewer visits but I was surprised at how little they did visit. There was an issue with the drainage at the property (he wasn't happy with me putting rainwater into the soil stack with a trap I proposed), however once I'd come up with a solution he was happy just for a picture to be sent. In fact it was the same for the insulation (which wasn't complete on his second visit) -- he just accepted a picture.

What is standard is the checklist of items a BCO needs to see, what isn't standard is the way in which each council is satisfied checking the items off. Sounds like yours' is like mine! Best just asking what they need to see and when (although they should have sent you a list of these items) and advising when it's ready.

My certificate of completion was sent in the post and the last time I'd seen the BCO was two months prior.
 

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