We’ve compiled our answers to the questions we are most frequently asked. This is to help you understand the process from the conception of your idea through to the completion of your dream home.
Do I need technical drawings?
Drawings are required for any structural changes to your home (i.e. extensions or loft conversions). They will be required for building work and a structural engineer may need to consult drawings if you are proposing to remove any load bearing walls.
What is the difference between an architect and a draftsman?
A draftsman will produce a very basic set of drawings, sufficient for planning applications. Architects hold qualifications and are held accountable to a governing body – either the Architect Regulation Board (ARB) or the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). They have to follow certain rules and regulations, whereas a draftsman does not.
Architects can provide various levels of support and can also help manage projects. The more detailed your drawings are, the easier it will be to go through the tender process and find the right builders. They can submit comprehensive quotes, leaving less room for interpretation or opinion. This should enable you to compare quotes like for like.
What is building control?
A building control officer has overall responsibility for ensuring that any builds within their local authority area satisfy building regulations. You will have a designated officer who will visit the site at key stages of the build to check these requirements. They then create the relevant documents and certification, which could be needed for resale, or for re-mortgaging the property.
Do I need to use my local building control department?
No, there are many private companies who offer this service. If you employ a private company, they need to serve notice to your local authority five working days before your project begins. In our experience, private companies provide excellent customer service as they rely on their reputation.
What is structural engineering?
A structural engineer analyses, designs and plans the structural components and systems needed to achieve the required design. Their work is mainly concerned with safety, as well as technical, economic and environmental factors, but they may also consider aesthetic and social factors.
Do I need a structural engineer?
If you are building an extension, additional structure, or loft conversion, or you are making structural changes, then yes. The services of a structural engineer are not required for internal refurbishment works.
What is a party wall agreement?
It sets out what happens when your proposed works may affect your neighbour’s property in relation to the Party Wall Act 1966. The act was designed to enable you to work on, and close to, party walls while keeping neighbours protected. Works covered by the act include:
- Building on a boundary that is not built on currently (e.g. a new wall for a rear extension)
- Works to shared walls and structures (e.g. inserting steel beams, removing chimney breasts)
- Excavations close to a neighbour’s property (e.g. foundations or basements)
Do I need party wall agreement?
We would encourage you to err on the side of caution; consult the act and if you think it may apply then speak to an expert in the field.
What is a build over agreement?
This is approval from Thames Water for building work you plan to carry out over or near a public sewer owned by them.
Do I need a build over agreement?
A build over agreement is required for any excavation within three metres of a public sewer or drain. We can carry out inspections to ascertain drain runs by opening your manhole cover, allowing us to advise on whether they may affect your project.
What are your working hours?
Our team usually arrives on site between 7:00 and 7:30am and leaves at 4:30pm.
How many operatives are on site at any one time?
This varies throughout the project and will depend on whether you are living at the property during the works. At groundwork stage there may be two or three people. During the last phase there will be decorators, electricians, plumbers and carpenters.
Do you work at weekends?
As standard we do not work at the weekend. However, this is something we will be happy to discuss in relation to your project.
Will there be noise all day long?
Building is not a quiet job and at times it can be very noisy. Local authorities have their own noise regulations and we will of course abide by these.
Do you provide all materials or do I need to supply anything?
We supply all the building materials needed to complete the project. As part of our pre-start process you will be provided with a shopping list (and timeframes) for all the items that you are required to supply. We encourage our clients to supply everything that is a personal choice as we would hate to second guess your taste (e.g. flooring, tiles, kitchen and sanitaryware). We are always on hand to help with questions regarding compatibility if required. Most builders will work in this way, which makes it easier to compare quotations too.
How do I track project progress?
At the beginning of the project you will be provided with a link to Team Gantt, which will take you to a personalised Gantt chart for your project. Here, you can see what is due to happen when, as well as tracking progress on particular tasks. This chart is updated weekly and is linked to your payment schedule, ensuring that you only pay for completed works.
Do you provide a payment plan?
We operate a payment plan system which protects our clients and enables us to run our projects efficiently. Our plan spreads payments over weekly increments in line with the progress in your project’s Gantt chart, ensuring you pay for work as it is completed.
Do you have insurance?
JNJ Building Solutions Ltd is fully insured and certificates are available upon request. It is advisable to notify your building and contents insurers before work commences. Also bear in mind the level of your contents cover if you’re putting belongings into storage.
Do I need to be on site?
We like to meet you on site at regular intervals to discuss progress and any decisions that need to be made. We’ll always agree a suitable time beforehand. In our pre-start client questionnaire, we ask for the best (and worst) times to contact you.
Please remember that during work your home is a building site, so necessary precautions must be taken. Different parts of your home may be no-go areas if they are unsafe at certain points in the project.
How can I contact you? Will I be able to get in touch easily?
We encourage communication and enjoy building relationships with our clients. You can contact us with any questions, queries, worries or concerns at any point in the process – the sooner we are aware of them, the quicker we can resolve them. We are available at the end of the phone, by email and we will set up a project WhatsApp group if this is useful for you.
Is there an out of hours emergency number?
You will have contact numbers for all our management team, which you should use in the event of an emergency.
How do you manage relationships with people living in neighbouring properties?
We ask for details of your neighbours in the pre-start questionnaire so we can introduce ourselves at the very start of the project. We find this really helps and encourages them to contact us if they have any concerns, so these can be dealt with promptly.
Will you manage my deliveries?
We will sign for deliveries on your behalf and put them somewhere safe. If you are expecting a delivery at a specific time, or if it is a large delivery, please make us aware.
What will happen with my post?
Whether you are living in or moving out during your project, we will put any post you receive in a designated spot.
Should I expect extra costs in addition to the original quote?
We pride ourselves on transparent costing and our quotes cover everything needed to complete the build. From our experience, as the build progresses and you see your new space evolving, you may want to alter the plan slightly or change the specification – this may then mean an additional cost. Equally, you may wish to change certain things that could reduce costs. We encourage you to share your thoughts, even if you haven’t quite made your mind up, just in case there is a knock-on effect.
Occasionally, there can be unforeseen costs, for example, if we lift a floor and discover woodworm. We will always bring these to your attention immediately and discuss costs and resolutions.
Will you install a portable toilet?
We prefer to park a portable toilet in a suitable position outside if budget allows. If you instead agree that we can use your toilet, please be assured it will be cleaned thoroughly.