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Brixton tradesmen recommendations: plumbers, electricians, locksmiths, van drivers etc

Discussion in 'Brixton' started by Mrs Magpie, Jun 22, 2005.

  1. SpamMisery

    SpamMisery I bet you think this tagline's about you?

    Have you tried contacting microsoft? They were really helpful when i screwed up office a few weeks back
     
  2. Rushy

    Rushy AKA some / certain posters

    What *cough* verification details did you need to provide them with?
     
  3. SpamMisery

    SpamMisery I bet you think this tagline's about you?

    Ah i wouldnt bother then if i were you
     
  4. Winot

    Winot I wholeheartedley agree with your viewpoint

    I used Scooter Computer a few years ago for a Mac issue.

    There's a guy called Mike that lives in Sudbourne Rd who's meant to be good - I'll see if I can find his details.
     
  5. Winot

    Winot I wholeheartedley agree with your viewpoint

  6. ash

    ash Inittogether

    I second Mike -
     
    Rushy likes this.
  7. ash

    ash Inittogether

    Another person looking for a fence person or company. We used a good firm years ago but I stupidly didn't keep the details
     
  8. sleaterkinney

    sleaterkinney Well-Known Member

    I need a new window putting in, does anyone know someone who would do it?. Most of them won't even quote for just one.
     
  9. Rushy

    Rushy AKA some / certain posters

    Cheers. I'd already left a message for him over the weekend but will try again. Maybe he was put off by the sound of my sobbing on voicemail.

    Might try the Scooter guys.
     
  10. Maharani

    Maharani Just like Heaven

    LOFT CONVERSIONS:

    Please details the good ones for south London...would you go for a company that does it from planning to pink wall or get own architect and separate builders? Any advice appreciated...
     
  11. SpamMisery

    SpamMisery I bet you think this tagline's about you?

    How much does a loft conversion cost these days?

    [EDIT] i have no advice on who to use, but i always feel more comfortable when its all done in-house by one team - less relationships to manage etc although does create a single point of failure if you make the wrong decision in who to go with
     
  12. sparkybird

    sparkybird ask the bird...

    I don't think you'd get much change out of £50k these days. The build cost quoted won't include bathroom furniture, carpets and decorating. Plus new furniture, curtains etc for the new rooms. You'll end up decorating and probably recarpeting entrance hall and first floor landing too.
    Friends and clients have used Armadillo, not the cheapest, but all had good things to say.
    I used Lofty Creations, but only for the structural stuff, I did/organised the fit out myself.
    Unless you have an unusual loft, I wouldn't bother with an architect. Loft companies do this day in day out, so could probably work without a plan even!
    Get quotes, but be aware that they have several teams, so you won't meet the guys who will be on site until they start..
    Good luck!!
     
    SpamMisery likes this.
  13. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    Loft company will very likely be cheaper than doing it via an architect but you won't get the same thing.

    Unless you can find a loft company that will give you a fully broken down quote including spec, you don't know what you're getting until they build it. Most of them don't do proper drawings or specifications, because that takes time. Also, if they do drawings, the drawings have to show something that complies with planning and with building regulations, which means that it's harder for them to then build something that doesn't comply. And lots of them build stuff that (a) breaks planning rules and (b) doesn't meet building regs. Was looking at one just the other day.

    They can do things more efficiently because everything happens in house - the design decisions and the actual construction. But that means that they design and build things in a way that suits them rather than you. There is no-one to represent your interests in this process. They have little motivation to explore different design options with you so you don't know you are getting a layout that makes the most out of the space available, rather than a layout that is cheap and quick to build.

    The "traditional" route usually uses an architect although it doesn't necessarily have to be an architect; in some cases it might be fine to use a building surveyor or technician. But you have someone separate from the builders who takes on responsibility for the design. They ought to have professional indemnity insurance which means that if they screw something up, there is money there if you need to make a claim against them. You pay them to look at the design options so you can think about what you actually want before things start rather than once the roof has been taken off their house. They do drawings so you can see what it'll look like. It might be just floorplans or it might be 3D visualisations and so on. They let you have a say in decisions about things like what kind of roofing you want. Do you want to pay a bit more for something with a longer life and a proper guarantee for example. Or do you want something cheap and cheerful. You can make these decisions at an early stage rather than in a panic when the builders are pressuring you and have something to gain from you choosing one option over the other.

    Once you've got a design, you can then put it out for pricing to a number of builders, so that you're getting competitive prices all based on the same thing. Rather than asking a number of loft companies who will give you a bunch of prices that aren't actually directly comparable because they don't give you full detail on what you're actually going to get.

    With the traditional route you then start the job on site with a proper building contract. One that has provisions for how things are to be dealt with if disputes come up. One that means that if things are changed, the price is adjusted in a reasonable manner rather than the builders holding you to ransom. One that clearly states what is and isn't part of the works. One that has an agreed finish date and penalties specified that give the builder a motivation to finish your job in reasonable time instead of all the workers disappearing off site for weeks because they've been reallocated to another more profitable job. One that's got a process for dealing with defects after they've left site and things like leaks become apparent.

    With the loft companies there's no-one independent watching progress on site and making sure things are actually done properly. If you employ an architect (or someone else in that role) they make periodic checks on site and have the knowledge that allows them to spot when things aren't being built properly. They have powers under the building contract to demand that things are put right if they aren't. With the loft company you'll have some kind of site manager who's good at telling you not to worry about stuff, and making sure things aren't visible when the building regs inspector comes round.

    The question to ask yourself is whether you want to take the risk of ending up with a loft conversion that might not comply with planning rules (what happens if the neighbours spot that it's too big and complain?) and which you don't really know is actually built properly without defects that mean you're losing energy through roofs that aren't properly insulated, or which mean that rainwater or condensation is slowly rotting bits of the construction that might not cause visible problems for another 5 or 10 years. They may say they have a "guarantee" but check what it actually is, and who underwrites it and what happens if the loft company goes bust.

    In essence, buyer beware. There are crap architects, and there may be excellent loft conversion companies. But in general you need to think about and understand the risks either way and what the motivation of the various players in the process are. The loft companies may well be cheaper, perhaps significantly cheaper, and maybe the difference means that you decide the risks are worth taking. But try and understand the differences in what you're actually getting at the end in each case.

    Also. It's not unusual for loft companies to give you a very attractive price at the beginning and surprise surprise, various things "become apparent" during the build which you are told aren't part of what they quoted for and therefore become extra costs. And the final price might not end up much less than what it would have been via the architect/tendered contract route. Maybe even more.

    Ask to speak to previous clients. Ask them if things were finished on time, if the builders were considerate, if the original price was stuck to. But remember they are probably not technically qualified to tell you whether the construction detailing was done right, whether enough insulation was actually put in behind the plasterboard, and won't be able to tell you about problems that might appear a few years later or when they come to sell their property.
     
    brixtonblade and Manter like this.
  14. Manter

    Manter Lunch Mob

    Good advice^^

    Go down the street and see who has had a loft converted. Ask them who by and what it has been like. Loft companies will only give you 'tame' referrals; ours is never going to ask me to talk to someone because I would savage them :)

    Edit- and check finish/detail. We were told we could have wooden windows for no additional cost; ten when they arrived they said oh, we needed to pay for them to be painted. The doors they provided were horrifically cheap and ugly and when we got our own replacements they charged us more to hang them. Etc
     
  15. Manter

    Manter Lunch Mob

    North of £35k for an average ine in this area. Moves towards £50k if you add bathroom, straightening out a hip etc
     
    SpamMisery likes this.
  16. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    Here's a fun game.

    Walk along any terraced street in south London with conventional pitched roofs and look up at those roofs. Some of them will have a Velux in the slope facing the street. Many of these will have had a loft conversion which extends out as a dormer from the rear slope of the roof (ie facing the garden). There are permitted development rules which say you are allowed to do this as long as you don't exceed the height of the existing roof ridge. The idea is basically that the appearance doesn't change looking from the street. But many houses have a loft space that isn't quite high enough to do this, and have a decent ceiling height inside. So, the loft companies fudge things and rebuild with the ridge higher than it was before. Sometimes just a smidgen but sometimes rather more, and if you pay attention you'll start to see quite a few examples where actually it's rather obvious from the street. You can just compare with neighbouring un-converted houses. They might not even have bothered to rebuild with a ridge capping and you'll see a small vertical section of lead flashing.

    Because things are so tight they'll probably have built the new bit of roof a bit thinner than it really ought to be. So there might not be quite as much insulation in there as there's supposed to be. And there will probably be a steel beam withing the thickness of that roof that makes a nice heat-conducting cold bridge from outside to inside.

    Have these companies fully discussed all these issues with the owners of the houses, or have they just said "don't worry, it'll be fine" in order to get the job?

    And what happens when someone living across the street notices that the ridgeline has been raised by a foot (it'll be much more noticeable from their upstairs windows than it is from the street) and decides to make a complaint to the council? Is the loft company going to pay all the money back and take everything down again? They just bank on these things never being enforced of course.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2017
  17. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    Yup that sounds about right. Terraces normally a bit cheaper than semi-detached.
     
  18. Maharani

    Maharani Just like Heaven

    Yeah trouble is no one has a loft except my immediate neighbour and they were cowboys!
     
  19. Maharani

    Maharani Just like Heaven

    Thanks for taking the time to advise. I'm absorbing!

    I need PP for mine as I want it bigger than PD will allow. I thought one had to have an architect that draw plans to put into the council, certainly in my case. Can a surveyor do this? The architect I saw said I'd need a surveyor for accuracy so can't I just use a surveyor to do the plans?

    It's a bloody mine field!
     
  20. Lizzy Mac

    Lizzy Mac Well-Known Member

    If you want to fry your brain there are quite a few threads on the East Dulwich Forum too.
    People who have had good experiences tend to let you come around and have a look.
     
    Maharani likes this.
  21. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    "Surveyor" can mean different things. I would expect that the architect simply meant someone to do an accurate measured survey of the existing building. There are surveyors who just do this. They would produce a set of drawings and the architect then takes these as the starting point for the drawings which show the proposed alterations/extensions. These are the drawings that eventually form part of the planning application.

    There are people called building surveyors in a more general sense who may have a wider range of skills, alongside just measuring stuff. They may have design skills but these might be more focused in technical rather than aesthetic areas. You'll also find people who call themselves architectural technicians or architectural designers.

    "Architect" is a legally protected term and someone can only advertise themselves as such if they have completed certain qualifications and are registered with the Architects Registration Board which is a regulatory body which sets and enforces certain professional standards. Many architects are also members of the RIBA.

    There are people who may have many years experience doing architectural design but never got round to doing the stuff to register with the ARB. They might call themselves something like an architectural designer but can be just as well qualified in practical terms and just as capable as designers from both technical and aesthetic points of view. In fact it's possible to be an ARB-registered architect without really having had much real-world experience. So if you employ someone I'd say the main thing to look at is their experience and previous work. And make sure they have Professional Indemnity Insurance as I mentioned above.

    It really depends what you want. If you just want a bog standard extension, don't care too much about the details of exactly how it looks and don't want to invest much time in exploring different design ideas then you don't necessarily need an architect.

    In theory anyone can draw up and submit a planning application. In reality, someone who does it as a regular part of their job is going to be able to do it quickly and with enough understanding of the process that it's not going to be rejected on obvious grounds.
     
  22. Maharani

    Maharani Just like Heaven

    No, I want to do it properly and use the space well and design it cleverly. I've been saving yonks so I am adamant to do it well.
     
  23. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    Attempt at concise version:

    "Architect"
    - registered with regulatory body
    - education almost certainly via architecture schools, ("part 1", "part 2" qualifications) and thereafter, qualifications relating to contractural stuff (part3)
    - trained to design, with emphasis on how things look, function and feel to building users
    - technical competence (ie detailing of how things are actually built) can vary from low to high and depends very much on experience

    "Chartered Architect"
    - same as "architect" but also member of RIBA

    "Architectural designer"
    - non regulated title.
    - likely to have educational history and skills similar to "architect" but never did "part 3" qualification
    - may have had plenty of practical experience that actually makes them more quailified than someone with a fresh "part 3" qualification
    - not being member of ARB or RIBA is not necessarily a problem, just check their experience and check they've got PI insurance
    - may alternatively have educational history as described below

    "Building surveyor", "Architectural technician", "CAD technician" and various others
    - much less likely to have been through the architecture school educational route.
    - likely to be trained to design from a construction detailing/technical point of view
    - check their experience and previous work to get an idea of where their skills lie.
     
    Manter likes this.
  24. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    good :thumbs:
     
  25. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    Oh and finally. Setting all the qualifications stuff aside. If someone's going to help design your home it's really important you feel you can get on at a personal level and that they understand where you're coming from in terms of hat you want. So talk to a few, see if you feel they are the right person from that point of view.
     
  26. Maharani

    Maharani Just like Heaven

    I'm really lucky that one of my best friends is a designer and interiors man. He's helping with the whole project, plus he's got shit tonnes of experience.
     
  27. sparkybird

    sparkybird ask the bird...

    If you are going down the architects route, then just make sure that the specs are realistic and that they can recommend builders who can work to them. I've not got anything against architects, just some experience of them and of course they are all different
     
  28. Maharani

    Maharani Just like Heaven

    Got a link to those? Thanks.
     
  29. Lizzy Mac

    Lizzy Mac Well-Known Member

    They don't let you link, it's very strict. don't get too distracted there though, it's lethal.
     
  30. ash

    ash Inittogether

    We found the company we used last time and they are charging £575 for a 7 metre boundry fence plus trellis. They were efficient last time 4 men to speed the job up. Good work. Mark at Northcote fencing 07958 423924.
     
    nagapie likes this.

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