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
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