start­iNg the su­per­struc­ture

Progress is made on site as Katie Gut­teridge and Andy Thomas­son be­gin build­ing the walls for the ex­ten­sions to their two cot­tages, but there is a slight hic­cup with re­gards to cost

Homebuilding & Renovating - - ON SITE -

With the foun­da­tions fin­ished, we had a three to four-week wait be­fore the stone­ma­sons could be­gin on our build.

This was due to a few un­fore­see­able fac­tors, which in­cluded a de­lay in gain­ing plan­ning per­mis­sion, which forced the stone­ma­sons to be­gin an­other job else­where. We also hadn’t re­alised that there was a huge short­age of stone at the quarry, with a back­log of six weeks — and we were put at the bot­tom of the queue.

While we waited for the stone to ar­rive on site, the stone­ma­sons made a start on the su­per­struc­ture, build­ing up the block­work walls (the in­ner leaf ) and in­stalling the steel cor­ner frame ready for the bi­fold doors. De­cid­ing to com­plete the build­ing work on both cot­tages si­mul­ta­ne­ously, they built the ex­ten­sion walls up to first floor height on Cot­tage 1, be­fore re­peat­ing the process on Cot­tage 2.

Un­for­tu­nately, all of the stone that we had sal­vaged from the ex­ist­ing prop­erty (when de­mol-

ish­ing out­build­ings) was deemed too dif­fi­cult to build with by the stone­ma­sons. They ex­plained that the stone we were buy­ing from the quarry would all be cut and graded to ex­act­ing sizes.

How­ever, the stone that we sal­vaged was stacked in ir­reg­u­lar piles, with the depth of the stone be­ing deeper than that of the quarry stone.

If we did want to use it, their labour costs would rise, due to the ex­tra time in­volved in grad­ing the stone and cut­ting each stone to size with a stone-cut­ter (which again we’d have to pay to hire).

We quickly cal­cu­lated the dif­fer­ence in cost be­tween us­ing the sal­vaged stone – but pay­ing ex­tra for labour and cut­ting – and build­ing both ex­ten­sions from quarry stone.

In the end, it was still cheaper to use the sal­vaged stone (by ap­prox £1,600 in to­tal), but it wasn’t as big of a sav­ing as we’d thought. We there­fore made the de­ci­sion (af­ter clear­ing it first with build­ing con­trol) to build the outer leaf of the ex­ten­sions com­pletely in new quarry stone; this was the most time-ef­fi­cient method, and we were con­scious of get­ting all the build­ing work fin­ished be­fore win­ter set in, es­pe­cially with the de­lays we’d al­ready ex­pe­ri­enced.

The quarry stone even­tu­ally ar­rived on site (at a cost of £90/m2) and the stone­ma­sons be­gan lay­ing it (the labour costs equat­ing to £115/m2). With the com­bined costs for both ex­ten­sions to­talling around £175/m2 (£20,000 not in­clud­ing ma­te­ri­als and labour for the block­work), we made an er­ror in be­liev­ing that we wouldn’t be charged for win­dow, door and bi­fold open­ings — as­sum­ing that we could deduct these costs and make a sav­ing.

Hav­ing not built us­ing stone be­fore, we hadn’t re­alised that labour is more com­pli­cated and time­con­sum­ing around these open­ings, with more cut­ting to do, mean­ing we’d also need to fac­tor in the size of these open­ings into our bud­get.

Next moNth: iN­te­rior rip-out

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