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Hiring Builder - Advice Required

Discussion in 'Building' started by veedee, 23 Jun 2021.

  1. veedee

    veedee

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    I've just seen some Chinese builders build a house and a couple of flats from scratch

    I'm keen for them to undertake a loft conversion and extension for me.

    The guys English is non-existent but the quality of their work looks spot on :D

    Unusually, the guy says that he only charges for labour and he leaves the client to buy the materials.

    However as this is the first time i am undertaking a job like this, I have no idea of all the required materials, the quantities and overall cost. The builder also seems reluctant to list all the materials

    My question is, is the onus on him to list all the materials/quantities etc, or should I hire a quantity surveyor?

    Given the language barrier, I will have to write the contact. But what must it include?

    Any advice is welcome
     
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  3. johnny2007

    johnny2007

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    Hire a translator first.
    With summer approaching you could hire a chinese pupil to act as a translator.
     
  4. veedee

    veedee

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    We've been getting by with the use of a nifty translator app

    But a Chinese student could come in handy for later down the line

    Question - is the onus on them to list the materials, quantities etc? Not sure why he's reluctant to be honest

    Or should I hire a QS or rely on the architects building control detailed drawings for required materials?

    Also the contract. I know that I will have to write it up. Apart from the fee and the payment stages what else is a must on the contract?
     
  5. jeds

    jeds

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    My advice is employ somebody to design the loft conversion for you and advise you on all the necessary facts. Planning?, building regulations?, party walls? etc.
    When you have design drawings and the procedures are in place then you could then ask the Chinese gang to quote.
     
  6. Lower

    Lower

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    The language barrier is going to be a barrier to the builder telling you what he needs, or even knowing what he needs to comply with UK building regs.

    You've never done this before....

    This has car crash written all over it.
     
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  7. JP_

    JP_

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    yeah, I like to save money, but even I wouldn't risk this.

    Problem is, if you are effectively project manager, buying the materials etc and just paying labour, if something goes wrong, ie building control say "No, do it again" the cost will be on you entirely.
     
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  8. Notch7

    Notch7

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    I've seen loads of jobs built by furrinors - mostly Eastern European. The biggest issue is not the quality, it's the lack of adherence to UK building code.

    A favourite seems building walls with no cavity.


    Loft conversions are are about as tricky as it gets.....add a language barrier in the mix. o_O
     
  9. sxturbo

    sxturbo

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    When you say you've witnessed them what made you think they were good, noting you have limitations in knowledge of this particular type?


    As others have said, you need to get proper plans, a structural engineer maybe, and building control and possibly planning approved. From the plans you should then be able to know what and how much to buy.

    Then you can hand over the plans to the builder to build. However as there is a clear language barrier you will have to be on your a game throughout the build to ensure they have interpreted the plans In the correct way... All the onus will be on you to get it right if it's not, it's going to cost you.

    He could well be very good, and that does Seema rarity in the building trade, there is a lot of have a go jack's where the problems they create don't always become apparent until a little way down the line
     
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  11. noseall

    noseall

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    "COMPO" is universal.:mrgreen:
     
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  12. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    I'd only use them for boundary walls, which should be OK and long lasting.
     
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  13. elisa123

    elisa123

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    Do you know who owns the house which was built by the Chinese labourers? Are they self employed or have they got a gang master with a valid licence?
     
  14. veedee

    veedee

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    I'm curious, what makes loft conversions tricky per se?

    Their speed, competency of various trades and some of the detailing looks great

    Also the fact that they just 'get on with it'.. They arrive at 8am and don't leave till at least 6pm, Monday-Saturday..

    Yes, I have already got plans drawn (including building control detailed drawings. All was given to the builder


    It's always the way.. months after payment has been made

    The owner is an local shop keeper (about a mins walk from the property).

    My other half spoke to the owner and he swears by them... He said that the Chinese builders do all his work for him.. and from the conversation, the shop keeper appears to do a bit of development.

    He said that they are cheap compared to market rate and they always do a good job

    When I spoke to the builder, unsurprisingly, he does not have a business.. and asking about licences will probably scare them off :D

    Seems like a trade off..

    Cheap price = But you have deal with a language barrier and guy that probably doesn't have licences, insurance or all the other legal stuff you'd expect
     
  15. veedee

    veedee

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    When and where would you apply this?
     
  16. noseall

    noseall

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    Because they are largely unique and annoyingly idiosyncratic.

    Because they are busy regards building Regulations.

    Because they are demanding structurally i.e. Structural Engineering-ly complex.

    Logistically prohibitive.

    Weather dependant.

    Always a nuisance regards stairs location.

    Oh and dormer loft conversions are probably the ugliest architectural abominations on the planet.
     
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  17. Londoner2

    Londoner2

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    A bit of advice.

    Chinese workers are good but don't allow them to do the plumbing, they have no concept of building regs re plumbing, other wise they are good.
     
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