Caveat con­verter

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Cover Story -

Ev­ery­one ap­proach­ing a pro­ject like this should spend three years on plan­ning, and six months on the re­ally ex­pen­sive bit – the build­ing (says Grand De­signs pre­sen­ter Kevin McCloud). Don’t go down the DIY route if you don’t have to. Em­ploy proper part­ners and builders, but don’t give them an easy time. Get three quotes for each job and ref­er­ences from pre­vi­ous clients. Fol­low up by ask­ing how much work each firm has on at the mo­ment. This is a coded mes­sage for “How quickly can you get around to me?” Draw up a writ­ten agree­ment re­gard­ing how long the pro­ject will take and what it will cost. Keep back five per cent for snag­ging work once the job is done. Be­fore start­ing work, get a build­ing re­port, to see if the house suf­fers from the con­struc­tion curses of damp, sub­si­dence or rot. If you are con­vert­ing a church, a use­ful source is the Church Com­mis­sion­ers pub­li­ca­tion New Uses For Re­dun­dant Churches (call 020 7898 1000, church com­mis­sion­ers. org). Con­ver­sions are zero-rated but the rules gov­ern­ing the re­cov­ery of VAT are dif­fer­ent to those ap­plied to new build. With con­ver­sions, labour-only or sup­ply-and-fix con­tracts at­tract a re­duced VAT rate of 5pc.

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