They say learning is remembering and boy, oh boy have I been learning a lot over the holiday season!

In my book, “Your 7-Step Home Extension Plan”, I recommend spending time, before you start the building works, designing your fixtures and fittings for kitchens and bathrooms, and selecting internal doors, flooring, tiles and even selecting the grout colour – before you start the works.

I had a small disagreement with a client earlier in the year who insisted on supplying sanitary fittings for his family bathroom and shower room. For over a month the debated went on by email, he expounded the benefits and the great discount that he was getting. I advised him not to get into the procurement chain, “let the builder arrange the supply and delivery of the sanitary fittings even if you need to pay him a percentage” I said. This is usually 15% for overheads and profit. I know this sounds like extra MONEY when you can do it yourself but trust me it’s money well spent. In a weak moment … I agreed to let him order the sanitary fittings.

He asked the builder to let him know when he needed the bathroom fittings, and the order was placed. Guess what? the supplier only went bust! It delayed the building works by over a month and the builder had to pull off-site. If you – the client – supply materials for building works or nominate a particular supplier, you are now part of the contractual supply chain. The cost liabilities for any delays are now your responsibility and could cost you serious money. Now, 15% doesn’t seem too bad but the builder could legally charge for loss of profit and delays typically £5,000, all to retain the discount which could have been negotiated. Just get the builder to buy from your supplier or match the price with his supplier. As a business, to a business customer, the builder is more likely to get a better price than a single purchase homeowner. I wasn’t project managing that project thank goodness.

But I have recently spent three weeks redesigning a bathroom to meet the client’s requirements during the building works only to incur delays. This itself could have been avoided but I am also chasing decisions on internal doors, wall tiles, electrical layouts and paint colours all while managing the project. Wasted time – Argh!

DON’T DELAY YOUR DESIGN do it before the works are on site, if you don’t it puts so much pressure on everybody. TOP TIP! After the happening of this summer, I shall remember the serious benefits of pre-procurement.

Delaying design is expensive and can cost you time and money which is better spent on the building works themselves. They create delays and can frustrate the builder, even if it was their idea in the first place.

Thank you.

Ashton Paul