Before we actually "appointed" or engaged a builder the planners required percolation tests be undertaken on site. This required a number of holes (of a specific size) to be dug, filled with water and the time taken for the water to soak away recorded. Thus, we were introduced to Neil a director of "Caldicotts" a local building company, who was highly recommended (by the architect we hadn't yet commissioned). Caldicotts had won 11 of the last 13 tenders. Following this Neil offered to provide a digger and driver to undertake the percolation tests in return for having the opportunity to tender for the build. So, all of this was taking place on a site we didn't yet own which seemed like a pretty good start to us!
When we met company director Neil from RM Caldicott of Leominster he turned out to be very open, upfront and personable. The architects assured us that Neil's company produce good quality work using employees and specalist subbies. They are always competitive but in tendering they have the edge because they only use quality materials and "do the job properly".
We soon made the decision, based on meetings with Neil and the work and help already given, NOT to go out to tender* but to ask Neil to provide some initial costings for the build. He was very amenable to any form of construction (we favoured ICF) and was content if we wanted specialists to "build the walls". Thus, if the project got off the ground then he would be our builder and project manger.
The aspect that impressed us is that Neil was always conscious of the budget we were working to. From the outset he worked tirelessly to suggest various options and specifications to ensure we could get the build we wanted that was within the budget available.
*Tendering - A very expensive exercise undertaken by the Architect. So why spend money on producing goodness knows how many copies of plans and supporting sheets of specification to be copied and
mailed out. The tenders would then need to be evaluated by the Architect in order to make a recommendation to us. Why do all that when we already had a good man and true standing by at the helm? No
We enjoyed a first class relationship with Neil throughout the build and he came in spot on budget! Having agreed that Neil would project manage the build for us he was given total responsibility for everything with the exception of the glazing and the icf walls which was our responsibility to source and fit. From start to finish we cannot speak highly enough of Neil and particularly his regular communications about what was happening, when, and the decisions we needed to make.
It is testiment to his professionalism that he involved himself in the ICF build making many sensible suggestions at the end of which he was invited to take on any other icf builds in the area in