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  • FIRST POST
    • arsenalfan1234
    • By arsenalfan1234 5th Jul 17, 11:23 AM
    • 28Posts
    • 2Thanks
    arsenalfan1234
    Builder asking for too much money upfront for extension and shed builds
    • #1
    • 5th Jul 17, 11:23 AM
    Builder asking for too much money upfront for extension and shed builds 5th Jul 17 at 11:23 AM
    Hi all,


    Can I please get some advice from you all..


    I am doing a single storey extension (extending the existing lounge) with a bath/shower room in the corner on the side and a brick built shed at the back of the garden. I have been quoted £43.5k for the works, which I THINK is reasonable.


    Anyway I have narrowed it down to 1 builder, lets call him "Bob". Bob has asked for a third of the amount upfront £14.5k TWO weeks before he has to start (start time is around July end, beginning August). The initial work he has to do is just digging (manually dug, because there is no access for a digger to get through)and drainage I presume. So I said to him, that I am not happy paying so much up front and he said he needs the money to arrange for skips (how expensive are skips these days!) and get the "digging done". He then wants the remaining two thirds of the payments after a month and then second month respectively. I have spoken to a few guys at work and will propose the following payment schedule, does this sound fair to you:




    1) Excavation and drainage: 50% up front and remainder after building control have been out and passed it.


    2) Footings and damp proofing: 50% up front and remainder after building control have been out and passed it.


    3) Brickwork up to plate level and lintels: 50% up front and remainder after building control have been out and passed it.


    4) Carpentry, roof, soffits, guttering, soakaway: 50% up front and remainder after completion of this work package.


    5) First fix electric and plumbing (wiring and plumbing through walls, ceilings): 50% up front and remainder after completion of this work package.


    6) Bonding, plasterboards and skimming: 50% up front and remainder after completion of this work package.


    7) Floor screeding: 50% up front and remainder after completion of this work package.


    8) Second fix electrics and plumbing (plug sockets, light switches, radiator installation): 50% up front and remainder after completion of this work package.



    And 5% of the total price retained until the end of the works for any snagging.




    Thank you for your advice in advance.


    K
Page 1
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 5th Jul 17, 12:05 PM
    • 24,091 Posts
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    Doozergirl
    • #2
    • 5th Jul 17, 12:05 PM
    • #2
    • 5th Jul 17, 12:05 PM
    No to both. When did you go through your quoting process and agree this start date? I hope it wasn't recently as I'd be amazed for any decent builder to be available that quickly. However, I'd also expect for terms like heavy deposits to be discussed if you'd agreed this start date earlier.

    £14.5 is ridiculous to ask for up front and you've exposed him immediately as his reasoning is poor. A skip is usually in the region of £250. Some skip companies request money up front, most ask when the skip is collected, ime. Perhaps he will hire a digger, which is expensive, but it still doesn't justify that huge amount.

    My gut here is that builders who do this and take large deposits use their clients as an extended credit facility and deposits end up paying to finish other people's jobs. There's a chance that the gravy train ends on your job. The fact that he wants this some time before starting strongly suggests that this is what he does.

    Your own proposal is complicated and still provides plenty of money up front which is completely un-necessary. It's 'bitty', possibly overcomplicated payments and creates admin. On the plus side, you are at least trying to tie payments in with stages. Just lumping a project into three is highly unacceptable, in my view.

    The advice on this board is quite unanimous that payments should be made with agreed regularity based on the % of each element of the project completed. If a builder wants to take a deposit, then there's nothing to say that they can't, but I would draw a limit at 5-10% as a date holder and sign of commitment, with any bespoke orders paid for in advance.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • teneighty
    • By teneighty 5th Jul 17, 12:13 PM
    • 1,047 Posts
    • 742 Thanks
    teneighty
    • #3
    • 5th Jul 17, 12:13 PM
    • #3
    • 5th Jul 17, 12:13 PM
    Payment in advance is never a good idea unless the builder needs to order an expensive bespoke item and even then it should be done with great care to ensure ownership of the bespoke item passes to the customer.

    The normal way to arrange payments is to agree a time frame, usually monthly or fortnightly and agreeing a contract valuation of the completed and satisfactory work based on a %. So after first fortnight it could be Foundations 100%, External walls 15%, Ground floor 75% etc etc. Then deduct a small % as a retention if that has been agreed.

    With your version the builder could potentially walk off site half way through the job leaving you substantially out of pocket.

    The vast majority of good honest reliable building contractors do not ask for payment up front.

    As usual Doozer beat me to it with a far more eloquent response.
    Last edited by teneighty; 05-07-2017 at 12:16 PM.
    • 27cool
    • By 27cool 5th Jul 17, 5:17 PM
    • 250 Posts
    • 193 Thanks
    27cool
    • #4
    • 5th Jul 17, 5:17 PM
    • #4
    • 5th Jul 17, 5:17 PM
    I would have thought that asking for a lot of money up front is so he can pay off creditors from his existing job. As someone has said. He is using you as a credit provider to keep his business afloat. All this should have been agreed well in advance.(No pun intended)
    • parking_question_chap
    • By parking_question_chap 5th Jul 17, 5:38 PM
    • 1,413 Posts
    • 1,236 Thanks
    parking_question_chap
    • #5
    • 5th Jul 17, 5:38 PM
    • #5
    • 5th Jul 17, 5:38 PM
    On a project like this, I dont see justification for money up front. Might be he needs to pay somebody else.

    Find a different builder and get a contract.
    • comeandgo
    • By comeandgo 5th Jul 17, 5:45 PM
    • 1,879 Posts
    • 2,521 Thanks
    comeandgo
    • #6
    • 5th Jul 17, 5:45 PM
    • #6
    • 5th Jul 17, 5:45 PM
    Get a decent company wirh decent credit and experience who can do the first two weeks, get paid on measurement, same the following two weeks and you keep back 10% till everything signed off.
    Why would you be handing a £43.5k contract to a Bob.
    • arsenalfan1234
    • By arsenalfan1234 10th Jul 17, 3:08 PM
    • 28 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    arsenalfan1234
    • #7
    • 10th Jul 17, 3:08 PM
    • #7
    • 10th Jul 17, 3:08 PM
    Dear all, thank you very much for your replies. I will firstly try and tell Bob (again) that there is no way I am paying him 14.5k on three occasions during the project lifecycle. Like many of you have said, I will tell him that I will pay him on measurement of jobs completed as opposed to a lump sum here and there.


    As such no formal contract has been proposed nor put in place. I need to wait for the council to get back to me which will be imminent.


    Thanks again for all your prompt kind advice.


    K
    • another casualty
    • By another casualty 10th Jul 17, 3:36 PM
    • 3,135 Posts
    • 4,973 Thanks
    another casualty
    • #8
    • 10th Jul 17, 3:36 PM
    • #8
    • 10th Jul 17, 3:36 PM
    Is this the first builder you have approached ? Have you got quotes from others ? Where did you find him?
    Just a few thoughts
    • david1951
    • By david1951 10th Jul 17, 4:04 PM
    • 373 Posts
    • 427 Thanks
    david1951
    • #9
    • 10th Jul 17, 4:04 PM
    • #9
    • 10th Jul 17, 4:04 PM
    A few more thoughts...

    Who is drawing up the contract?
    Who is checking his work at each stage?
    Who is checking his contractors/employees?

    If the answer to the above is yourself, then you need to consider whether you are capable. Building control just check for building regs, they don't check general workmanship or whether the work is being carried out according to the 'contract'. Bob could well take you for a ride and you won't know until it's too late.
    • arsenalfan1234
    • By arsenalfan1234 11th Jul 17, 11:36 AM
    • 28 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    arsenalfan1234
    @another casualty:
    "Is this the first builder you have approached ? Have you got quotes from others ? Where did you find him?
    Just a few thoughts "

    Bob isn't the first builder I approached. I spoke to and obtained almost 5 quotes and found that the average price point was between 43k-47k. Bob was second cheapest, the cheapest builder I was not keen on for a number of reasons. I advertised my job on rated people and he contacted me.


    @david1951
    A few more thoughts...

    Who is drawing up the contract?
    I have not give this any thought to be honest but in the first instance I will approach Bob with my listing of work packages as per my first post.
    Who is checking his work at each stage? No-one is, who can I ask to check the work? Building control only check the first three points of the work packages as per my first post.
    Who is checking his contractors/employees? No-one is, how can I check his employees/contractors? Or is this all a little too much?

    If the answer to the above is yourself, then you need to consider whether you are capable. Building control just check for building regs, they don't check general workmanship or whether the work is being carried out according to the 'contract'. Bob could well take you for a ride and you won't know until it's too late. I understand, I really need to consider whether I will go with Bob now. There is no formal contract in place, not have I provided him with any money to say otherwise.


    Thank you both.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 11th Jul 17, 12:16 PM
    • 24,091 Posts
    • 66,730 Thanks
    Doozergirl
    How long have you been speaking to him for?

    We're a little wary of rated people here, as most tradespeople who are any good will have a flow of referral work. We are booked well into next year.

    Those that advertise on rated people are often working on very small works that need a high turnover of clients or, to gve them the benefit of the doubt, they might just be starting out as a contractor. Otherwise, we worry that there is a reason that people doing sizeable jobs like extensions do nit have work already lined up.

    We would really be failing if we needed to take on work a few weeks in advance. It suggests there's nithing going on right now.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 11th Jul 17, 12:16 PM
    • 24,091 Posts
    • 66,730 Thanks
    Doozergirl
    I can't be bothered to edit my phone typos. Sorry
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • arsenalfan1234
    • By arsenalfan1234 11th Jul 17, 1:55 PM
    • 28 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    arsenalfan1234
    Hi Doozergirl, I have been speaking to Bob pretty much every other week since April. He has been around twice also; once to look at the job in its infancy and then when drawings were prepared by the architect. I spoke to Bob a few days ago and told him that the council had rejected part of my plans and I will have to revise the drawings and resubmit, and he said he is taking on another job now for 2 months which will give me enough time to get my documentation in order till then. I am still looking for new builders as we speak but due to it being summer time, they are rarely available. I think with the rejection of my plans, I will inevitably have to delay my works till next summer :-( Which in fact may not be such a bad thing because it will allow me to find another builder and save more money in the process.
    • teneighty
    • By teneighty 11th Jul 17, 2:05 PM
    • 1,047 Posts
    • 742 Thanks
    teneighty
    Hi Doozergirl, I have been speaking to Bob pretty much every other week since April. He has been around twice also; once to look at the job in its infancy and then when drawings were prepared by the architect. I spoke to Bob a few days ago and told him that the council had rejected part of my plans and I will have to revise the drawings and resubmit, and he said he is taking on another job now for 2 months which will give me enough time to get my documentation in order till then. I am still looking for new builders as we speak but due to it being summer time, they are rarely available. I think with the rejection of my plans, I will inevitably have to delay my works till next summer :-( Which in fact may not be such a bad thing because it will allow me to find another builder and save more money in the process.
    Originally posted by arsenalfan1234
    So you were getting quotes based on your Planning application drawings which hadn't even been approved?

    I'm starting to understand why the builder was asking for such a large deposit now.
    • arsenalfan1234
    • By arsenalfan1234 11th Jul 17, 2:09 PM
    • 28 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    arsenalfan1234
    My plans don't need approval per se, because my build is within permitted development, but apparently you can't extend at the back of an existing extension (something my architect should have known) so the drawing will be revised by removing the bathroom I had envisaged to be built behind the kitchen. So the prices will be pretty correct regardless. But either way I think it still doesn't justify the ridiculous upfront payment of 13.5k.
    • FreeBear
    • By FreeBear 11th Jul 17, 2:17 PM
    • 1,394 Posts
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    FreeBear
    My plans don't need approval per se, because my build is within permitted development, but apparently you can't extend at the back of an existing extension (something my architect should have known)
    Originally posted by arsenalfan1234
    You can extend the rear of an existing side extension, it just doesn't fall withing the permitted development rules - If you wanted the bathroom, you'd need to submit a complete planning application and your architect should be able to advise on the process.
    Her courage will change the world.

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    • arsenalfan1234
    • By arsenalfan1234 11th Jul 17, 2:22 PM
    • 28 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    arsenalfan1234
    @freebear


    Yes you are correct, it's a shame I didn't know this before. My architect is a retired 67 year old fella who really should have known this and not stuck that bathroom build behind the kitchen and on a permitted development application. I have emailed him and been pretty blunt and asked why he didn't know about this and what the next steps are to be. I will not pay him an excessive amount extra when more work on the drawings needs to be done.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 11th Jul 17, 2:34 PM
    • 24,091 Posts
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    Doozergirl
    I think you need to check the credentials of the people that you hire as carefully as possible.

    Any of us can get the PD rules and planning guidance for any local authority online. Being 67 isn't an excuse.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • the_r_sole
    • By the_r_sole 11th Jul 17, 2:49 PM
    • 2,334 Posts
    • 1,174 Thanks
    the_r_sole
    @freebear


    Yes you are correct, it's a shame I didn't know this before. My architect is a retired 67 year old fella who really should have known this and not stuck that bathroom build behind the kitchen and on a permitted development application. I have emailed him and been pretty blunt and asked why he didn't know about this and what the next steps are to be. I will not pay him an excessive amount extra when more work on the drawings needs to be done.
    Originally posted by arsenalfan1234
    Was he cheap by any chance?!
    Is he actually still registered as an architect with the ARB?
    tbh it's not that surprising that a retired guy doesn't know the up to date pd rules, but you'd expect them to check if they were supposed to be designing within pd!
    (I've just been handed planning drawings prepared by a "retired family friend" needless to say they are miles off current regs)
    • teneighty
    • By teneighty 11th Jul 17, 2:51 PM
    • 1,047 Posts
    • 742 Thanks
    teneighty
    @freebear


    Yes you are correct, it's a shame I didn't know this before. My architect is a retired 67 year old fella who really should have known this and not stuck that bathroom build behind the kitchen and on a permitted development application. I have emailed him and been pretty blunt and asked why he didn't know about this and what the next steps are to be. I will not pay him an excessive amount extra when more work on the drawings needs to be done.
    Originally posted by arsenalfan1234
    There is no such thing as a "permitted development application" that is the whole point, you don't need an application. Was it a lawful Development Certificate by any chance?

    But what you described is a very basic error so it calls your "architect's" competency into question.

    The point I tried to make earlier was maybe the builder picked up on something that made him cautious about you commitment and ability to actually proceed with the project. It would be rather unfortunate if the builder scheduled the time to build your extension and turned away other work only for you to cancel it at the last minute because your "architect" is a numpty. That leaves the builder with a 2 month hole in his income, hence the hefty deposit.
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