Gwendoline: Finding a builder
Today we met with 2 builders on site to get some quotes and ideas about the development.
Walking around the property with the builders, we discovered the ease in which this property could be turned into a HMO at a relatively low cost as many walls are brick, and therefore the fire exit is protected. The biggest issue may be the window escape routes. We will have to check with building control if it is necessary to change all the windows which are UPVC already, but not fire exit standard.
Bad news was this little beauty we found growing out of 3 spots, 2 downstairs and 1 upstairs. One of the builders said “this is not good, fix it straight away” and another said “no urgency” so we are seeking another opinion. Our research took us to a couple of places, including a DIY treatment site suggested the best way to deal with it is to inject boron paste into the effected wood and masonary in order to put a stop to it. Another site said it needs 20% moisture in the air to survive, so we shall do some work towards reducing or stopping it in its tracks while we wait for the planning to come through. We also tried to get quotes to fix the problem and it ranged from Port Talbot being too far away, waiting for an answer, to a £50 call out fee just to give a quote. Fingers crossed second builder’s opinion stands and we will get rid of it in the building process.
Choosing a builder
Meeting builders is great, and we really liked the first one, the second was more professional, but less friendly. We have set a few criteria for selection beyond just price.
- Delivery time
- when can they start and finish
- Professionalism on site
- will visit on current work site
- check cleanliness and attitude of sub-contractors
- plan of delivery, schedule of works, scope of works
- how focused they are
- how many jobs they do at once
- How many HMOs they have done
We also spoke to the Neath Port Talbot council to get an update on the planning application, and we were told our application had been cancelled and we should restart it. Based on the discussions with builders, and re assessing the viability of the HMO option we decided to do this. The extra expense to do a HMO is relatively low in this area, so the 4 room still makes financial sense. It is a pity we couldn’t do the 5th room, but it will make a very nice 2nd sitting room, making this a higher standard HMO for the area. Alternatively we could use that room as a Landlord storage room, maybe rent it out to a local as an office space to one of the tenants. Renting it as an office to someone who isn’t a tenant would create further planning issues (free tip from our architect/ planning officer duo – see Swansea Road post).
Port Talbot Area Update
The new train and bus stations update is almost finished, and this area is looking really nice (as you can see below). This should increase the overall value of Port Talbot and the properties we have there as they are a short 10 minute walk from the train station and the centre of town. We did both walks today as we got the train up from Salisbury where we are staying at the moment.