Take heed and keep ahead of the game

4 things that could delay your project and send your costs rising!

if you have a schedule to stick to, take heed and keep ahead of the game!

1: Get your steel calculations done on time!

So here’s me, in my lay world, thinking my structural engineer can get his calculator out, punch a few numbers, and hand me those calcs by return. But sadly, that’s not the case; remembering that those steels have a massive load to hold for many years to come, it cannot be guessed! Any structural engineer worth their weight, will be too busy to jump on your project pronto. If they are, be very concerned! Unless you’re prepared, you may have a two week wait or more for your calculations, which can have a knock-on effect to the rest of your project if you have other tradesmen booked in, which leads me to…
2: Schedule your tradesmen in advance, if they are skilled they may be booked up well in advance.
Get your steels on order well in advance. So you have your calculations now, but the steels may take another week or two to arrive. I’ve been told some sizes are more popular than others and may be in stock, but either way, the building inspector will be expecting to see exactly what was asked for if they are to sign off your project. If you need super-sized steels you may need a crane to get them in as well.
If you’re not prepared, there could be delays of a month or more. (And time is money!) In my case, we had to expose what was behind walls and ceilings to see what was going on before anything could be calculated. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, because we could have done it in July.  (The good news is that the steels are in now, and the project is again forging ahead, a bit late. 
3: Don’t rely on your survey!

I like to cross my t’s and dot my I’s, so as had a full structural survey done prior to purchase my current project. But it’s important to note that you will probably get all the information you need from a home buyers report at a much cheaper price. And this is why… a structural survey will give you pages of information that will probably do no more than send you to sleep at best. It includes site and location information that you probably won’t require as you know where you want to live by now. And regardless of which you choose, you still won’t know what is going on under the carpets and behind the walls as vendors won’t allow your surveyor to rip their house apart. With an old house, there are will be a plethora of problems to encounter, I assure you.
4: Contingency

In my case I had the welcoming surprise of substantial woodworm resulting in having to replace a large number of floor joists. I also had to clear the cavities costing £1,500. To top it all off, it turn’s out the back of my kitchen was originally a coal house, and therefore only a single skin wall - sadly not picked up by my substantial and costly full structural survey! Left as a single skin wall, it is not thermally efficient; at best I’d be wearing double layers in winter! The floor lacked any support, DPC (damp course) or membrane, so in time damp would rear its ugly head; and footings had to be dug out either side to allow for posts that would hold up my two (yes, two) steels, required to hold up my house, inside and out. In a nutshell, what that means is delays and substantial un-budgeted costs such as a digger and costly manpower to put it all right; which brings me back to always adding at least 5% contingency to cover unforeseen costs.


Lisa Gershinson