‘On The Cheap’ Building Work

We understand that when it comes to paying for something, people like to save money where they can. It’s human nature and, of course, the money is much better in your pocket.

This is all well and good providing that you are still getting the same quality and value as you would at a higher price. However we’ve come across some situations recently which highlight the pros and cons of saving on building work by trying to do it yourself.

Doing building work on the cheap not only impacts the quality of the end product. Here are five reasons why we think you should think carefully before trying to cut corners or do work on the cheap…

1. Negative impact on the saleability of your home

We’ve been out to provide hundreds of quotes in and around Barnsley for loft conversions and extensions. We always recommend, insist in fact, that everything is done to building regulations, but we’ve come across situations where people have chosen to take the cheaper option. By not going through proper building regulations, your new extension or loft conversion basically adds no value to your house. In fact, in some cases you could argue that the cost of redoing the work may decrease the value and saleability of your home.

2. Poor quality results

No matter how good your mate says he is, or how reliable you think the bloke from the local boozer is, there is no substitute for a professional. In trying to save a few quid here-and-there by using cheaper, less qualified workers, there is a big risk that the end product will not be up to standard.

3. Extended disruption

When we do a job, we hit it hard and fast. Rather than sending out one tradesman to work on your job for a few months, we send out a full team of people who will work more efficiently and have your job finished a lot quicker. There is nothing worse than being without a kitchen or bathroom for a long period, or having a house filled with dust, dirt and drafts.

4. Lost time (and money)

A lot of people try to have a go themselves. Again, I’m sure there are IT workers out there who can competently do work on their own home, but what are they losing in time having to do it themselves and wages in having to take time off work? It’s just not cost efficient.

5. There’s more to it than you think…

So, you decide to get a quote to demolish an old coal-house at your home (there’s a lot of these in Barnsley). The quote comes back at £1,500 and the job is going to take 2-3 days. You think ‘I could do it myself a lot cheaper, it’s only knocking down bricks.’

First off you clear out the coal house, which you’ve been using to store the kids bikes, the BBQ and so on. You’ve not really got anywhere else to put it all, so have to leave it out in the garden. Then it starts raining so you nip out and buy a tarpaulin to cover it all (let’s say £20).

Next you get your new sledge hammer (call it £30) and get to work knocking it down. This is hard work, but it’s not that difficult (actually it’s quite satisfying). You’re a bit cream-crackered but so far, so good. One day in, and the coal house is reduced to rubble – easy.

The next job is to start shifting the rubble, so you phone up for a skip (around £150 f0r 4 tonne), which is due to come in a few days. In the meantime, you spend a day worrying about whether the old wall at the back of the coal house is now unsafe, seeing as the coal house was joined onto it…

The skip arrives and you’re into day three. You’ve ordered a four-tonne skip (that should be enough shouldn’t it?) and it gets lifted onto the front of the house, meaning you’ve got to go up and down the side of the house with a wheelbarrow (call it another £30) to dump the bricks. After two hours, you’ve filled your skip and you’re not even half way through all the rubble you’ve knocked down. By now you’re absolutely shattered from lugging lumps of brick.

So, you ring the skip company and it’s going to be another three days until they can collect/drop off another skip. This time an eight-tonner (another £200). The new skip comes and you carry on shifting the rubble, which just about squeezes in to the skip.

Now that you’ve shifted everything, you realise that there’s now a gap in the fence where the coal house was, so you’re going to need to dig down, put in a new fence post (£20) and panel (£25), which takes you another day on your own. Plus, where the rubble was, you’re now left with concrete and paving stones which you wanted rid of, as you’re going to turf the garden.

So you set to work on the concrete with your hammer. No chance. You need a breaker, which you hire for two days (£120 plus deposit). You spend another two days breaking up your concrete and getting rid of the rubble into your new eight-tonne skip (another £200). Finally you dig down and level off the garden, deal with the old water pipe you found and apologise to the neighbours profusely for the mess and disruption.

You’re now covered in cuts and bruises, you’ve got a bad back, bad shoulders, fallen out with your wife and neighbours due to the stress and you’re two weeks in. You’ve taken seven days off work (losing £1,400 in wages) and you’re now regretting it.

Altogether, it’s taken 14 days, you’ve spent about £800 on stuff you weren’t expecting to, you’ve lost £1,400 in wages at work, and you aren’t exactly feeling great in yourself.

Is it really worth it? And is that back wall really safe?

(That’s a true story by the way, from a ‘friend’)