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  • FIRST POST
    • HannahBananah
    • By HannahBananah 10th Jul 17, 10:35 AM
    • 4Posts
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    HannahBananah
    Help! First time home renovations / barn conversion.....
    • #1
    • 10th Jul 17, 10:35 AM
    Help! First time home renovations / barn conversion..... 10th Jul 17 at 10:35 AM
    Hello!

    Looking for all and any advice. Me and my partner have taken on a barn conversion. Never did I realise how much hard work as involved... obviously I knew there was work involved but it is taking up every hour of my waking life!

    This is the first time I've ever done something like this and I'm struggling to get people to take me seriously. Any tips? We've borrowed and saved enough money to be able to achieve a high end finish, however I don't think people believe that we have the money. It's becoming a real struggle. We're a modest young couple, but we like nice things. This is our dream home and I feel like we're treading water! Going round and round with various tradesmen who never phone back / turn up! Is this normal? How do I get people to take us seriously without walking around with a briefcase of cash?
Page 1
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 10th Jul 17, 11:08 AM
    • 24,053 Posts
    • 66,667 Thanks
    Doozergirl
    • #2
    • 10th Jul 17, 11:08 AM
    • #2
    • 10th Jul 17, 11:08 AM
    What's your barn constructed from? Is it Listed?

    What are you going to these builders with? How much work is needed? Have you drawn up a specification? Have you told them what your budget is? Have they asked?!

    I'm just getting involved with two barn conversions at the moment. One is fine and I'd be happy to go in tomorrow. The other is such a different kettle of fish that I don't know that anyone in their right mind would take it on. It is incredibly difficult, in fact, impossible to price and the owners are not developers either which would make it hard to manage expectations.

    Thankfully for them, they now have the backing of my best client, but the cost is going to look like three times the owner's idea. I've already told my client that if it weren't him, I wouldn't touch it. The propensity for a relationship to break down, even if the money pot is large, is incredibly high. Heritage projects suck money and I wouldn't take it on as a project for ourselves either - and heritage projects are by far our favourite.

    I'm now doing an awful lot of legwork to try and push the project to a point where we can even start it. It is certainly going to test my project management skills, and the paperwork before work starts is something that most homeowners get done themselves. Conversations with the structural engineer keep involve him saying 'xx' specialise in stuff like this, oh, but they went bust'

    Sorry if I'm just waffling at you, but builders are incredibly busy and most want an easy life. If you've something that is unusual, difficult to price, difficult to build or unorganised, then they may not want to be involved. Some builders may even be worried about a high level of specification. Giving them as much info as you can will always help, being realistic does too.

    The owner of this one can't even see what we can.
    Last edited by Doozergirl; 10-07-2017 at 11:10 AM.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 10th Jul 17, 12:04 PM
    • 23,681 Posts
    • 89,649 Thanks
    Davesnave
    • #3
    • 10th Jul 17, 12:04 PM
    • #3
    • 10th Jul 17, 12:04 PM
    I was going to say that if you're so vague in your approach as you were in your post, it's not surprising that tradespeople are failing to get back to you.

    In addition to Doozergirl's first two questions, have you any project manager? Without one, you may struggle if you're not very au fait with building work.

    Fortunately, when we started a major project on our (easy) bungalow, we had a tame builder who was able to steer things along. I realise now just how much we relied on him.

    And yes, we were ignored too when we first started to look for people to do the work. It was just good luck that we eventually got the right guy in place, otherwise it would have been a nightmare.

    (We could have been luckier with the architect and the structural engineer though!)
    'A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they'll never sit in.'
    • Furts
    • By Furts 10th Jul 17, 3:22 PM
    • 3,632 Posts
    • 2,267 Thanks
    Furts
    • #4
    • 10th Jul 17, 3:22 PM
    • #4
    • 10th Jul 17, 3:22 PM
    Horses for courses. Barn conversions are specialised work which countless builders would run a mile from. Much like Doozergirl, if I was approached to do one imminently I would be studying, researching, phoning, and dusting off old file notes and articles. Somewhat infuriating is that much of this should have been done by the consumer, but they frequently do not have a clue.

    Again similar to Doozergirl, I recently took on a rebuild/refurb/renew job, albeit not a barn, and it has turned out to be a nightmare. Which was much as I predicted. My point here being most folks in the building industry do not want to get involved in liabilities, difficult clients and wishy washy, vague concepts of what is required.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 10th Jul 17, 7:54 PM
    • 24,053 Posts
    • 66,667 Thanks
    Doozergirl
    • #5
    • 10th Jul 17, 7:54 PM
    • #5
    • 10th Jul 17, 7:54 PM
    Recognition! I have an appointment with microfiche tomorrow morning!
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • the_r_sole
    • By the_r_sole 10th Jul 17, 11:16 PM
    • 2,333 Posts
    • 1,173 Thanks
    the_r_sole
    • #6
    • 10th Jul 17, 11:16 PM
    • #6
    • 10th Jul 17, 11:16 PM
    What stage are you at OP?
    Are you actually converting a barn, or is it one that's already converted and requires work done to it?
    Have you had any design professionals involved in it? What level of information do you currently have?
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 11th Jul 17, 2:36 PM
    • 24,053 Posts
    • 66,667 Thanks
    Doozergirl
    • #7
    • 11th Jul 17, 2:36 PM
    • #7
    • 11th Jul 17, 2:36 PM
    OP hasn't been back since they posted. Random.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
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