Love me tender…

The tender process is difficult. I know only too well, I’ve been on both sides of tenders in my job.

For the builder, they have to put a lot of time and effort into pricing a document, without knowing if they will get the job. There is pressure to ensure that every element is accounted for without leaving anything short, being careful not to overprice either and to bear in mind that the client will hang on every line and digit of those figures.

From a client’s perspective, they want all the details to be able to work out what they can afford and the best way of getting it. It can take quite a few weeks to finalise everything so that both sides are in agreement before starting the work.

The contractor we were working with came highly recommended. The house had been idle since purchased in November, and we were really keen to tie all ends down so we’d be ready to start work by the end of July when the planning permission came through.

Our first hurdle came when the builder said he couldn’t start till the end of August. It was disappointing but hey these things happen, and for me I was trying to stay calm about things in my life and there was nothing that could be done about it except wait. The one thing we could do was get the site cleared in the mean-time.

All the damp plaster came down exposing beautiful, original stone and granite sills. Fan heaters were left to dry out the dampness in preparation for lime-rendering the stone walls. The kitchen and bathrooms were disposed of and the floor boards were pulled up to reveal cobble stones but no foundation (not so beautiful!). The ceilings were taken down so we could assess the leaking roof and see what level of repair it needed.

Although we were left with a mere shell of a building, we were now making some progress and I had been dying to rip everything out from the day we got our hands on it, so this was great.

As much as I had a definite vision for how the house would look; being listed, the style of building really dictated what we could do and there wasn’t room to make any significant changes especially to the outside.

In the background, the windows were still not agreed on. From the outset, we really wanted thin profile steel windows.

They are not an easy thing to find…

Add in the desire for thin profile steel windows with a thermal break and a few custom arches; and its not mission impossible, its mission bloody expensive.

Above all the ideas we had, I really didn’t want to give up on the steel windows. For a small building, there are quite a few windows and the building deserves to be done properly. However the budget was getting tight and we were already really crunching numbers. We had till the end of August to get this right, decide on where we were getting them from and build into the schedule the lead time for getting them made.

In just a few extra weeks we’d be starting…

plaster came down exposing beautiful stone… floor boards were pulled up to reveal cobble stones, but no foundation (not so beautiful!)