Saturday 25 July 2009

The hidden costs of direct labour

Yesterday I was asked for my thoughts on building an extension by direct labour. People think it is a far cheaper route to hiring a builder to do the job and go that route, often not factoring in the hidden costs. A client who chooses the direct labour route is ultimately managing and running a business for the duration of the project, however many never think or see it as that.

There's their time, often away from work associated with the project, including ordering materials, chasing sub contractors etc and the costs of phone calls trips to the builder's merchants to collect materials all which are often never factored into the project costs.

There's an array of insurances, which some are sometimes over looked, until its too late. And of course the client has full responsibility for the health and safety of the site. I wonder how many clients in their role of the employer have a safety statement for the construction site as required by law or whats more are aware that they are responsible for maintaining the health and safety of the site.Some might see these an an extra unnecessary cost, but if an accident occurred on site having the proper insurances and heath and safety procedures and policies could be the difference of having a new home or spending ones days in the jail house.

In the end I didn't give an opinion, just presented some of the information which doesn't always jump to mind for those considering the direct labour route as at the end of the day most people will do what they want anyway.

Sunday 12 July 2009

Information Evening at the Park

The summer months are not normally the time, when information evenings take place or are well attended but on Wednesday week last, I attended a presentation in the Clonmel Park Hotel made by Campion Concrete on a new system build they are using for housing. While the concept is good, and properly works I won't be recommending the system in the near future, as I left with a lot of unanswered questions. Much of the presentation or "sales pitch" used bad workmanship in traditional cavity walling construction as a method of promoting the system and how this the system eliminates that, however as we all know, any system is only as good a the workmanship, be it timber frame, light gauge steel frame or conventional conc. block cavity walling. There was no real technical data to support or verify the system, nor from what I can gather has any testing of the system been done other than a 4 houses constructed within the last 12 months. Those associated with the product ran for cover when asked about the technical side and if an Agrément Certificate was applied for/pending ..... which answered that for me anyway.

Still the evening wasn't wasted as some knowledge was gained and Carey Glass of Nenagh were also in attendance and made a brief presentation on their "enegry reducing" products.