Do I Need a Project Manager?

Home extension companies in London often offer a variety of services, as there a whole host of things you need when undertaking a home extension project. Here at Home Tales, we specialise in home extensions, including ground floor extensions, first floor extensions and loft conversions. We are an architectural firm and offer a comprehensive design package that your assigned builder will use to build the scheme. If you want and end to end service, we do have a recommended builder that you can build with. Our two-stage process ensures that you maintain flexibility and are never committed to more than you need to be. 

We do offer a project management service as an optional bolt-on service. If you would like for us to stay on and manage the build, we would be delighted to do so. The reason we offer this as an optional bolt-on service is because lots of homeowners want the option to manage the build themselves. This does involve investing some more of your own time into the build project, however you make a substantial cost saving in doing so. The option is entirely yours! We thought we would talk you through the two options in more detail.

What is project management? 

The job of a project manager is very diverse, however at its core, it is assisting in achieving goals and objectives within scope, time and budgetary constraints. Building work is complicated, and there are lots of moving components which require attention. A project management service acts to oversee the entirety of your build, which increases efficiency, reduces the risk, the helps the project stay on-track. 

What do I need to project manage my build? 

The main commitment of project management is time. It takes time to go to site and speak to the builder. If you are living in during the building works, this is a massive advantage as you are already on-site and can speak to the builder at regular intervals. It’s worth noting that builders are generally on-site Monday – Friday between 8am to 5pm. This does mean if you work a demanding job, it can be tricky to navigate these timings with the builder.

In terms of the skillset required, that very much depends on the builder. If you have a great site foreman (lead builder), the project management is much easier as you can rely on them for the technical skills and quality of work. 

One advantage of having an experienced project manager is to check quality of work. Experienced project managers will check the quality of work frequently and discuss concerns with the builder. If you aren’t experienced, this can be more challenging, as you don’t know what you’re looking for. 

Thames Water 

Another advantage of having a project manager is having someone to resolve hurdles like Thames Water. If you are opting for a ground floor extension in London, there is a change you will have a manhole within the garden which might need to be moved to another location. You cannot build over a manhole so if your extension encroaches onto the land or is within a certain distance of the manhole, you will need to have the manhole moved. Most contractors will be familiar with the process and will include this within their scope of works. With that said, many don’t assist with the notification to Thames Water. This is done by the project manager or by you (as the homeowner). It’s not hugely complicated however there is some information which you need to provide to Thames Water, which can seem daunting if you’re not familiar with the process. Generally, when you appoint building control, that will trigger Thames Water to send you a letter. This letter will explain exactly what Thames Water need from you. In some cases, there concerns can be satisfied via a simple application form which is completed online. In this case nothing more is required, and the cost is £0. In some cases, they require a build over agreement in which case you will need to provide some drawings to them to review. These drawings can be provided once the sub-terranean drainage is exposed. Until then, no one can know the width and types of pipes that lie beneath the soil. In most cases, the contractor can give you the information Thames Water need. Most contractors will simply annotate the details on your foundation detail drawing. If your contractor cannot help with this, that’s where it’s useful to have a project manager who has the necessary skills and expertise to do this for you. 

Building Control 

The appointment of building control varies between builders. Some builders will include it within their scope of works and others will omit it and leave it for you (or the project manager) to resolve. You can appoint building control via your local council or through an independent company. If it the independent company, it’s called an approved inspector. Many builders prefer the independent route as it tends to be quicker than the alternative. For a typical ground floor extension, building control will want to visit four to five times during a project. They are checking lots of different things, including the foundation details, the steel insertion, fire regulations (and much more). Once the build is concluded, assuming your assigned officer is satisfied that the regulations have been met, they will issue you will a building control certificate which confirms building regulations have been met. The visits with building control need to be arranged at the appropriate times, and someone needs to be there to show them around. This can be done either by yourself of your assigned project manager. 

Lots of our clients chose to use our project management service, and many also chose to project manage it themselves and make a cost saving. The choice is entirely up to you. If you aren’t sure and would like to discuss in more detail, contact our team today on 02070432378 or email us at hello@hometales.co.uk. You can also book a consultation directly via our website on our live booking page. 


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