Help my builder’s gone bust

If your builder has gone bust, you are not the first person this has happened to

We are sure this won’t make you feel any better

But it is an unfortunate fact that building firms go bust all the time

Several years ago Carillion with twenty thousand employees and an annual turnover of several billion went bust

But it doesn’t matter if your builder is nowhere as big as Carillion. If he has gone bust it can have a devastating effect on your project

What can you do if your builder goes bust?

The first thing to do is assess the impact it is going to have on you

There are several legal avenues you can pursue to try and reclaim money from him

But first of all you have to work out how to complete your project. This means you will have to work out how much is left to finish

If you have had close involvement with the project and are knowledgeable about construction, you may be able to do this yourself

Who else could help?

If not it may be worth employing a Quantity Surveyor (QS)

A QS will be able to inspect the project and work out what is left to do and what it will cost

The next thing will be to get several builders to come and have a look and give a price to finish the job

Whatever you do it is never a good position to be in

What can you do to protect yourself before a project starts?

Before a project starts there are various things you can do to protect yourself in case this happens

There are 3 stages of a construction project

The first one is the preconstruction stage

This is where you do all your planning

You should give careful thought as to how you choose your builder

Also give careful thought regarding which contract you choose

How can you protect yourself financially?

There should be clear stages when you release payment to your builder

You should only pay for work that has been done

That way if he does go bust you will still have money left to finish the job

A lot of people ask should I give my builder money up front?

Well that’s for you to decide, but what happens to your money if he goes bust?

Some building firms make it a condition of them taking the job that you pay them something up front as a holding deposit. And they are perfectly entitled to do so

Some people choose to pay for expensive items such as kitchens themselves. They think that means the materials belong to them. There is a common misconception that anything installed by the builder belongs to him. But that’s not correct. Anything installed on your project belongs to you even if you haven’t paid for it yet

Due dilligence on a builder before a project starts

You should always do your due diligence on a builder before signing a contract with him

And you should always check he has the correct insurances in place before starting work

Many people are just looking for a cheap builder. So when they get a cheap quote they like they skip the due diligence. That is never advisable

When hiring a builder a cheap quote can be as bad as a high one

Property development can be a lucrative enterprise

But it can and does go wrong

Many people have lost a lot of money having a go at it

Our experience

During our extensive careers, the partners at Evbi Projects have seen many projects go wrong, sometimes disastrously

We have all worked on projects where builders have gone bust

And we have seen property developers lose everything. Including their own homes

If you are reading this we hope it’s just out of general interest

And we hope you are not reading it because your builder has gone bust

 

We offer a wide range of services

Contact us for a free no obligation 20 minute chat to see how we can help you with your project

 

 

common causes of delays on a refurb project

 

The 5 most common causes of delays on refurb projects.

It is often said that something will always go wrong on a project

That is not necessarily true

An experienced team with a well thought out project plan should be able to overcome most issues and still deliver the project on time

However for numerous reasons many projects suffer delays

It would take too long to go into all the reasons

Here are the 5 most common causes:

Lack of planning

There are 3 stages in a construction project

The preconstruction stage is where the project is planned. This is where you will make or break the project before you even start. Get it right here and it should be plain sailing. Fail to complete this stage properly and it will be an uphill battle from day one. Many projects are doomed to failure at this stage because of lack of attention to detail

 Lack of experience

Far too many people try their hand at property developing and refurbishment with no experience. They watch TV programmes, join Facebook groups, watch Youtube videos and think it looks easy. They think they can make a small fortune in property with no experience. If it was that easy tradesmen and Construction Professionals would do the same. They wouldn’t bother spending years at college and University. The only thing that is easy is the chance to lose a lot of money very quickly

 Not calculating costs correctly

When you are calculating costs on a refurb project nothing should be arbitrary.

Inexperienced people guess at labour and material costs.

Or they try and use the square metre method. This is a very inaccurate and amateur method.

When calculating costs you need to have your figures as accurate as possible.

You cant just hope for the best

Property development is a business and should be treated like any other one. No other business owner would just take a guess at their operating and staff costs and hope to make a profit

 Not having the right team

There is no such thing as a standard refurb project

You need to look at each one individually and decide which team members the project needs

Don’t waste money on team members you don’t need and don’t expect someone to fill a role they are not qualified or experienced in

 Accidents on site

The construction industry is one of the most dangerous in the UK

Serious accidents and deaths happen all the time

Small refurbishment projects can be more dangerous then major construction projects

This is due to the inexperience of a lot of developers and the lack of enforcement of safety standards

Anyone carrying out construction work for a commercial project has a legal duty to comply with the CDM Regulations 2015

Anyone wishing to carry out refurb or development projects should know how to run a safe site

If there is an accident on site they attracts the attention of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) it could bring the project to a complete halt if they serve you a prohibition notice

 

We have decades of experience in a wide range of refurbishment and development projects

Contact us to see how we can help you avoid all the issues mentioned above

The 3 stages of a construction project

The 3 stages of a construction project

When you are planning a construction project you can break it down into 3 stages

  • The preconstruction stage
  • The construction stage
  • The post construction stage

A project manager will focus on 6 key areas

  • Scope
  • Schedule
  • Finance
  • Risk
  • Quality
  • Resources

 

The preconstruction stage

This is where you will make or break the project.

It is where all the planning is done

This is where you will be working out how to deploy your budget

Drawings and specification documents will be prepared

Invitations to tender will be sent out and tenders received and analysed

This is when you will think about site set up, access and logistics

You will create a project programme and think how all the above fit into them

You must identify potential problems and how to mitigate them

If you are going to make any changes to the design of the project, this is the best time. Once the job gets going making changes will be a lot more expensive

Measures to make you compliant with CDM 2015 will be taken into account

Team members will be selected and tasks allocated

These and many other things must be looked at it detail

This is of crucial importance because once the work starts you will have enough to deal with

A critical issue you will deal with is which contract you select to use with your builder

As a result it’s important you understand why you should use a contract on your project

The Construction stage

Once the work has started you will be glad you spent time in the preconstruction phase

Time is money and you can’t afford to have men standing around doing nothing. Consequently it’s vital you ensure the programme is follwed to avoid this

 

You can’t afford to have work stop due to lack of materials

The logistics must flow smoothly

Quality inspections will be carried out as work progresses

Work areas must be ready for following trades

However, if work is seriously delayed you will need to write an accelerated programme. As a result you may need to reorder the sequence of activities or reschedule deliveries

 

Unforeseen problems may occur and you will have to find a way to overcome them

You might need to sack individual tradesmen or whole companies, for instance

You may have to bring in extra labour or find additional finance

Whatever happens you have to get that job over the line, on time and on budget

The post construction stage

The work may be over but the project is not finished

There will be numerous issues to tidy up

You will need to collect all paperwork such as red line drawings, emergency lighting, electrical installation, fire alarm certificates and anything else required by building regs

Final snagging issues must be dealt with to ensure you are happy with all works and there are no defects

After that, the final account will have to be settled with the builder

Once that is done, all plant and site huts will have to be off hired

Project analysis to see how you performed and calculation of final build costs

In addition, depending on which contract you used you may have to deal with the retention clause

Depending on the scope of your project this may take you into the commissioning phase

 

If you need help with any project planning issues mentioned above please contact us. We have extensive experience in these and will be glad to help

Project Management eliminate the variables

What does the above statement mean?

There are 6 key areas of project management

As a Project Manager the more control you have over every element of the project the less problems you will have. As a result you will have more chance of completing it successfully

A project from conception to completion may be composed of several hundred elements

What is a Project Manager responsible for?

You are responsible for everything.

The programme, sourcing of subcontractors may seem the obvious ones.

However sourcing of materials, material compliance, Quality Assurance, logistics are your responsibility.

Along with Testing and commissioning, liaising with the client, dealing with cashflow planning.

Dealing with building control and many other things mustn’t be overlooked

If you don’t keep a tight grip on it the project can easily slip out of your control. As a result you may never get it back

In a mathematical equation the constants are the things that never change. Similarly the variables are things that can change

In Project Management there are things that you absolutely know and can control (constants). And things that are fluid and you  cant control (variables)

Constants

Programme, this is a 12 week programme not a day more

Budget, its 100K not a penny more will be available

There is a 3 metre extension this will not change size

The key to successful Project Management is to eliminate as many variables as you can. If you can do this  before the project starts it will give you more control.

We will list some examples below with the solution

Variables

Variable: Deliveries may not turn up on time and cause delays

Solution: Have an alternative supply chain organised. In addition, space permitting have everything delivered at the start of the job

Variable: Poor workmanship might cause delay and extra expense

Solution: Pay proper tradesmen to do the work

Variable: Tradesmen might not turn up and cause delays to the job

Solution: Have alternative contractors lined up before the job starts

Variable: Unexpected problems might cause delay

Solution: As PM its your job to think of everything. Have solutions before you start and be able to avoid impact to your programme

Variable: The builder may misunderstand the design and build differently to it

Solution: Ensure clear communication and understanding before you start

Variable: Accidents on site may cause delay

Solution: As PM it is YOUR job to make sure the site is a safe one and people don’t get hurt. Above all safety should be your No 1 priority

Eliminate as many variables as possible before the job starts. As a result once it does you can concentrate on managing the actual work.

Problems will inevitably arise. It is better to deal with them in a proactive manner rather then a reactive one

If you can eliminate the variables before the project starts, 2 things will happen. Firstly, you will be under less pressure. Secondly, you will be more focused on things that might derail your project

 

If you need advice on project management or need someone to manage your project please contact us.  We have a wealth of experience in this

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The top 10 ways to annoy your builder

A property refurbishment can only succeed if you and your builder work as a team

Builders get a very hard time in some circles

Numerous internet sites are awash with people complaining my builder is no good

Or I have fallen out with my builder

The complaints are endless

People blame their builder for every single thing that goes wrong

But dig deeper and all is often not as it seems

What they are describing is a team of a professional builder and an amateur client

Before you accuse your builder of being incompetent ask yourself if you are a competent client

If you want your builder to succeed , then you need to help him not annoy him

You can do this in a lot of ways

We are sure there are many builders who could give us their top 50

But here are the top 10 ways to annoy your builder that we have seen

 

1 Haggle with him over price

This isn’t the marketplace where he goes high , you go low, then meet in the middle. He is providing a service and there is a price. He couldn’t care less if the other builder said he could do it for less. Why didn’t you choose the other builder then? Are you looking for a  Cheap Builder or a good builder?

2 Pick n mix from his quote

You might be happy with him doing the bulk of the work. But you want your family to do parts of it. Or you want to get your own carpenter or plumber. That is going to play havoc with his planning. He has a supply chain for labour that he knows well. He is giving you a price for a complete job. Its not a wish list for you to choose the best items from. You cant  Pick n Mix from his quote the bits you like

3 Try and project manage the job yourself

Unless you are a project manager by profession leave it alone. The builder does this for a living and knows what needs to happen in what order. There are benefits to using a project manager to act on your behalf. But if you think it would be good experience to do it yourself, think again. All you will do is hold up the work. And annoy everyone by asking stupid questions. You wont think they are stupid. And as the person paying for the job you will feel entitled to ask them. But to everyone else they will be stupid questions from someone who calls themselves a project manager

4 Drip feed him information

Before the job even starts the builder should have everything he needs. Scope of works, technical information, Specification documents, designs, drawings and programme. He shouldn’t have to be chasing you for things because you haven’t decided what you want or haven’t chased up answers. He needs all these things in advance so he can plan the complete project. Its no good giving him the kitchen layout the day before the kitchen is delivered

5 Ask for free extras

Once the work starts don’t ask for free extras. Maybe the cost of the refurb is 30K. You might think that asking for 2 extra downlights in the kitchen is nothing. But even if they cost £20 don’t expect them for free

6 Buy materials yourself and don’t deliver them

If you are going to order certain things yourself make sure you get them delivered on time. People usually do this to try and save money. If the builder has agreed to that then that’s fine. But if you don’t get them there on time you could cause delays to the job. And cause extra costs. This just makes things harder for the builder. If you have done this to save money its unlikely you will want to absorb the extra costs and pay the builder downtime. Just remember there are risks buying materials yourself .The next thing you will be saying is I have fallen out with my builder

7 Keep changing your mind

Every time you change your mind once a job has started, will cause delays and extra costs. Before a project starts there are  benefits of having a feasibility study   carried out before your project starts. This is the point when it will be the cheapest to make changes. Even if you agree to pay your builder for changes it will still make his job harder. The downside for you is it will lead to Scope Creep and margin creep

8 Mess him around with money

There is nothing that is going to annoy your builder more then this. You will find you get a far better performance from your builder if you pay him on time. If there is some piece of work you don’t like then raise it with him immediately. But if you are happy with his work then there is no reason why you should be slow to pay. It’s a good idea to use a contract on a refurb project. Payment terms should be clearly stated in it. If they are then stick to them

9 Turning up on the job all the time

If you do this the builder will get the feeling you are spying on him. If you don’t trust him and feel the need to go there everyday , why did you hire him? Turning up on site without warning will just stop the work. You don’t want to be causing delays on your own project. Site visits should be agreed in advance. And they should be at a time that will cause the least disruption to the job

10 Giving him advice from others

The builder doesn’t want to hear what your friend thinks. He doesn’t care if one of your family says he is taking too long. Once he has started leave him to it. He knows the spec and the programme, so as long as he gets the project finished on time that’s all that matters

 

If you need help with any aspects of a project please Contact Us

How to make a small fortune in property with no experience

Would you like us to tell you how to do it?

That’s easy

Start with a large one

Its amazing the amount of people who think they can enter the world of property development with no experience and make a fortune

Imagine the situation if you wanted to make a fortune selling Ferraris

Would you order the body, 4 wheels and a thousand separate parts from the factory at the cost of a few hundred grand and attempt to put everything together without the proper tools and training?

Would you think being part of a Facebook group and watching a few youtube videos, sufficient to put together a product that is going to make you £50K profit?

Of course you wouldn’t

It’s the same with property

Can you guarantee to make money in property?

Of course there is money to be made

There are many different ways to make money in property

There are equally as many ways to lose money

And many people have found this out to their regret

If it can go wrong you can guarantee it has gone wrong for someone else at some time

And everything that can go wrong can go wrong at the same time

People tend to make the same common mistakes

The best way to give yourself a chance at making money is to invest in some education

You are investing substantial amounts of money into this so you don’t want to be trying to learn it as you go along

Invest in learning the different strategies in property and how to raise finance

Think about partnering with some one experienced until you are confident to have a go on your own

Until you have a bit of experience you will always have to pay others for their knowledge

And knowledge of property strategies is worthless without the construction knowledge to go with it

And unless you know otherwise you will always be at the mercy of others who don’t have your best interests at heart

Is getting educated only in peoperty strategies enough?

It’s not enough knowing about strategies and construction. Most importantly you have to learn how to work with builders that includes how to find builders  

Are you looking for a good builder or a cheap builder

Do you think that you are a competent client ? Would a builder want to work for you?

If things go wrong are you willing to take responsibility or will you say my builder is no good

Protect your capital

Remember that although it’s not worth doing it unless you make profit, the most important thing is protecting your capital

Protect your capital and the returns will naturally come

Lose your capital and its game over

So before you put a few hundred grand into a refurbishment put a few grand into yourself. As a result you will find it’s the best investment you will ever make

 

Please take a look at our services

If there is anything we can do to help you please contact us

Good builders are easy to find

Here is a statement you don’t often hear. Good Builders Are Easy To Find

The usual complaint is that good builders are hard to find. True some are better then others and its true that some are bad. But getting a good performance out of any builder will depend on your skills and ability to manage them

A bad workman blames his tools. When you are in charge of a project the builders are your tools. The main complaints are that a builder is either unreliable, incompetent, not punctual, overcharges, produces shoddy work, wont come back to finish the job among other things

My builder is no good

Time and again people say my builder is no good . But all these issues can be dealt with if you manage them properly. It starts with your due diligence on the builder. Have you checked that he has the experience to handle your project and he is in a financial position to finance it until you pay him?

Then you have to have the job ready and prepared for him. Have you given him all the information he needs? Have you made sure the site is ready and clear for him? This is part of you being a competent client

Do you know your numbers as a client?

Don’t complain that he overcharges if you haven’t done enough research on what labour and materials cost. You cant guess at how much work needs to be done and how much it will cost

You must have accurate costings before you start. Don’t just have a set amount you can spend and be paying out as the project goes along, hoping it will end up less then your budget

The work is not up to standard

You cant just hope for a good standard of work. It’s important to schedule regular quality inspections. Before you sign a contract with a builder, you need to ask him what his systems are to ensure quality work. All good building companies will have these

Defective work will not only cost more to rectify, it will also slow a project down. If you don’t know what Quality Assurance is don’t complain about the standard of his work

Having the right contract

Have you chosen the correct contract before work starts? If you don’t have the right contract no wonder he is running rings round you

Have you agreed payment terms with him before he starts? Or are you just giving him money when he asks for it? Payment terms should be stated clearly in the contract

If you have paid him most of the money and there is still work outstanding can you be sure he will return to finish the job? If you have the correct contract it will have retention amounts stated in it specifically to deal with this kind of issue

The tender process

This is the process before a project starts and you are getting prices from builders and interviewing them to see who is best for your project

When you interviewed him did you make it clear you expected him to be on time and to be there for a full day every day? The builder is a member of your workforce and as such needs to be managed properly and told what is expected and acceptable

Did you leave sufficient time to interview several builders? Or was it all a last minute rush and you hired the first one you could find?

When problems first started did you nip them in the bud? Or did you allow them to snowball? If you didn’t deal with them, can you say it’s all the builders fault?

When you have done all your preparation properly and asked the right questions, then the only builders you should have left to choose from are good ones

If you need help with finding good builders, contracts, Quality Assurance or any other issues please contact us

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 5 key stages of a project

 

There are 5 key stages of a project that you should be aware of

If you approach a project with these in mind you will have more chance of a successful outcome. Doing this has several benefits. Firstly you will make sure that you havent missed any options. Secondly, once work begins all the key people involved will understand how the project has evolved from the start

Feasibility study

This is where you present your idea to the people who you have chosen to deliver your project. Typically these would be the Architect/Designer/Consultant you have engaged. However it’s important to have the right team involved when you are discussing this . This is where ideas are discussed and rough sketches are made. Also options can be discussed and changes made to the original design

Outline Design/Planning

Once you have assessed the feasibility of your project, drawings will be submitted with a Planning application,  or notice given to the Council under permitted development rights. Also it will indicate the design, what kind of materials you will be using and the scope/size of the project

Building Control

You are legally obliged to inform Building control of certain activities and if that is the case this is the stage where you will submit detailed drawings for their approval. Planning drawings only show an outline of your intended project. Building control drawings will be more detailed and will have technical details included

Tender Stage

Once you have received approval from Building Control this is the stage where you will be able to send tender documents to contractors for them to give you prices to do the work. These documents should contain as much information as possible. You should include things like the scope of works, the materials you want used , the standard of finish, a specification document and a full set of drawings. This will allow them to accurately price for the job. Once prices have been received and accepted these drawings will become the contract set. These are the drawings that the project will be completed to. These are sometimes called the Construction drawings. Make sure that as the project progresses you are using the right drawings

The Construction Phase

This is where it all comes together. If you have got the preceeding steps right you should be on your way to completing a successful project. As a result you will be glad that you spent time preparing properly

If you need any help planning a project please contact us. We will be happy to talk to you about The 5 key stages of a project. We offer a wide range of services for any project regardless of size

 

 

6 key areas of project management

There are 6 key areas of Project Management that you must be in control of if you are managing the project yourself

We have previously discussed  Why use a Project Manager

But if you have decided to do it yourself there are 6 areas you must concentrate on

  • Scope
  • Schedule
  • Finance
  • Risk
  • Quality
  • Resources
Scope

The scope of the project is everything that is involved from start to finish. It is essential that you understand every single activity that is involved. If you don’t your project could end up costing more and taking longer then you allowed for. If you do not keep within the original scope you run the risk of entering into  Scope creep. This is the last thing any Project Manager wants

Schedule

This is the order in which the work is done. It is where you make or break the project before it even starts. This is sometimes called the Programme. A well prepared schedule will allow you the flexibility to rearrange activities if problems occur. But if your schedule is too tight you are fighting an uphill battle from day one

Finance

For obvious reasons Finance is a key element of any project. The aim is to get maximum value out of every single pound spent on your project. Cost efficiency in material procurement and labour sourcing are essential, as is cashflow planning. A cost loaded programme can be invaluable for this. Also sufficient financial reserve must be allocated to be deployed if needed .This will ensure delays are minimised if you need to accelerate the programme, or supplement planned logistics or increased demand for materials

Risk

Any project has risks. These may be financial in the form of budget overrun, disallowed costs, scope creep or enhanced labour rates. If you are using investor or bridging finance the consequences could be serious. The other risk is time. If you go over the allocated  time on one particular activity that will impact your schedule. It may also cause contractors to leave to go to other jobs leaving you unable to finish the project

Quality

The Quality Assurance process is an essential but frequently overlooked part of a project. On smaller projects where the subcontractors are all on a price and  margins are tight it’s a particular problem. There may be a tendency to prioritise speed of installation over quality. Particularly where work is hidden under floorboards, above ceilings or behind walls. A good project manager will be experienced in all the different trades and know what to look out for. As well as having a good understanding of all the relevant Building Regs and British Standards. An essential part of a good project is to have an Inspection and Test plan (ITP). This  monitors the quality of the project. It is not wise to just take the subcontractors/builders word that everything has been installed correctly

Resources

A good project manager must have sufficient resources organised before the start of a project. These include all subcontractors and Professionals that may be needed as well as Suppliers and alternative supply chain if necessary. Logistics, drawings, technical information and financial resources. Trying to find these in the middle of a project when everything has gone wrong is not a good place to be

 

These are the 6 key areas of Project Management. But there is a lot more to being a successful Project Manager. You need to take a holistic view of the whole project. When it goes wrong everyone will be looking at you. No matter what, you have to get the project over the line. So plan well and keep on top of everything once the project starts

 

If you need help with managing your project contact us. Take a look at our services  page. All our team are members of the Association for Project Management

 

 

 

 

Enviromental damage on a construction project

Enviromental damage on construction projects

As a property developer there are many things you will have to consider

It’s not just finance or construction there is a lot of legislation as well

A significant piece refers to Enviromental damage

There are many things you have to consider when you are planning to set up a site

You must consider if your refurb/ development project poses any harm to the enviroment. Most importantly you have to understand that any spillage of a substance, however small, can cause harm to the environment.

Why are spillages dangerous?

A spillage will either seep directly into the ground and ultimately into a water course or flow directly into a water course via a surface drain. Spillages leaking into the ground contaminate the soil and can lead to harm to flora and fauna. Spillages that enter a water course can unsettle or even permanently damage the ecological balance of a river

One of the main hazards on a site is diesel used for mobile generators. These should always have a spillage kit with them. If diesel is accidentally split, a spillage kit will be able to limit the amount of enviromental damage it causes. Where a spillage does occur then it is important to act immediately to contain it and preventing it leaking into the surface drainage. Make sure you know where spillage kits are stored. Make sure you know how to use the spillage kit. Always dispose of the recovered spillage as hazardous waste correctly

Spillages are caused by:

  • Hoses in poor condition bursting
  • Joints not tightened leaking
  • Overfilling tanks causing spillage
  • Filling up tanks in windy conditions and not using a funnel

Spillages can be avoided by:

  • Planned maintenance
  • Pre-use inspections.
  • Following filling instructions
What other things can cause enviromental damage?

Cement can cause serious damage to the enviroment. Therefore, care must be taken when cleaning out cement mixers, and the contents must never be tipped on the ground. They should be emptied into a wheelbarrow and the contents poured in a skip

Paint should not be poured down drains, excess paint should be put in the skip or disposed of at a recycling centre

If concrete is spilled on the pavement when being moved from a concrete lorry it must not be swept into the drains. It must be shoveled up and thrown in a skip

And as for Asbestos dont even think of disposing of it with general site waste. Asbestos must be removed and disposed of by a licensed contractor

If you get caught polluting the environment the authorities will come down hard on you

If you would like to discuss any of the above please contact us