Blog 09-11-22

Back in February 2022 we had been out turfing in the rain. And when I say rain, I really mean rain. We were totally soaked, or waterproofs dripping wet, our footwear dripping wet, even my socks had soaked up the rain. That kind of wet. The wet that drips down the back of your neck, regardless of how well wrapped up you are. Back at the house as we peeling heavy sodden layers off, we spread them around the bathroom to drip dry, our boots on the doorstep. Then a comment was made, wish we had somewhere to hang all this wet gear! Then a Eureka moment. What we needed is a porch. And that was the beginning of our quest to obtain a porch. We thought the cost might be about £20,000.

And that started all the usual carry-on obtaining quotes from builders. I started by drafting up a detailed specification including dimensions, surface finishes, lighting, electrics and so on. We initially wanted a peaked roof offshoot, not a flat roof but when we eventually got our first quote, well, I almost fell off the seat. For a tiny wee porch – we are limited to the space between two external windows – measuring no more than 1.70 m across by 1.70 m long internally, wait for it. Are you ready. £35,000. Yes, that’s £35,000. Bloody hellfire!

At that point we were close to scrapping the idea. £35,000 for a wee box to dry our wellies! Crazy. However, sensibly, we set out to obtain additional quotes for comparison. And that was almost a waste of time. Yes, the usual run around from builders. Some didn’t even reply to my initial enquiries, other failed to turn up at all, one gave me totally false information on planning and building control requirements and another quote was so low as to be ridiculous. Another said no problem, I’ll send you a quote. Never arrived. And not a single one of them followed up on any quotes I did receive. However, the exercise did provide some comparison to show what kind of costs we were looking at.

We eventually agreed a price with the original builder we contacted. What I did was revise the specification to include a flat roof rather than the original pitched roof and removed a few items we could do without such as removing and making good the existing external door and plumbing in a radiator to the heating system. We then decided on the maximum we were prepared to pay, £30,000. Still crazy money. I then said to the builder, look if you can do this for £29,000*, we can go ahead. Deal was done. Bugger, should have gone lower! Start time, January 2023. The builder is Bryant and Cairns, who also did our conservatory, double glazing and later installed a solid roof onto the conservatory, which means technically it’s actually now a sun room.

The months pass slowly. Then in October we get a letter advising a new start date of 21st November 2022. Just a few weeks away. Then yesterday the builders arrived to start the foundations, almost two weeks earlier that I thought. And departed before they’d even started as the skip hadn’t arrived. It duly arrived that afternoon, yours truly hanging about to ensure My Skippy dropped it in the correct place. And that is where we stand at the moment. The time is 6.00 am and we are expecting the builders to arrive any time before 9.00 am. They were actually the same guys that did the foundations and drainage on our conservatory in 2005.

So, I will be keeping an eye on the builders from now on, knowing from many years of experience in the construction industry as a quantity surveyor, that some builders, not all, shall we say, like to take short-cuts. But to be fair, Bryant and Cairns are one of the better ones. I’ll also be on the cadge for anything useful. For example, the old fascia timber will be used to build some bird boxes and the off-cuts from the new flat roof membrane will also be useful. Mudflaps for the bike and kick scooter, perhaps? Might even get a sand sample from the excavations and there’s also the possibility of old bricks turning up. Exciting porch building adventures coming soon.

*£29,000 is equivalent to 96,666 four-fingered Kit-Kats (if bought in 8x multi-pack).

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