Work continues in Verwood

Yeah, I need to employ someone to work on my blog titles. I’m really not very good at it!

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So, I’ve been to site today, and work seems to be going well. The foundations are in, as is the beam and block ground floor. The bricklayer is making good progress with the walls and the groundworkers are getting the drainage sorted. They’ve also got a Makita site radio, which is the hallmark of any good construction site!

I once heard an old grizzled architect say “Architecture would be easy if it wasn’t for the clients”. I understand what he means, a good client can make my job a real joy, whereas, as in any industry, if you do happen to end up working for a difficult client, it can be hard work, however, old grizzly was wrong. He should have said “Architecture wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the clients”

Those of us who are professionals in the construction industry need to remember, that while we might invest a few hours/days/months or even years in a project, our client’s (particularly home owners) are always investing more, it’s a project to us, but it’s a home to them.

I had a discussion with a different architect recently, who works on similar scale projects to me, but he has a very distinct style and he said “The first thing I do when I meet a new client is tell them that I’ll only design things my way” I suppose in one respect, that’s a good thing, as it gives his potential employers the chance to tell him to get stuffed early on! For me though, my architectural “style” is less important than ensuring my client’s get what they want without being brow beaten into conforming to my way of thinking. Of course design in important, but it’s my job to help people realise their plans, and aid them along the way, not to dictate to them that they should live in a concrete box, because “minimalism” is the new black. Anyway, I’m on the verge of a rant about Architectural snobbery, and that wasn’t where I was supposed to be going at all!

The clients on this job, who I shall refer to as Mr & Mrs Mcstuffins (partly because it’s more interesting than Mr & Mrs Bloggs, and partly because I’ve just been watching Doc Mcstuffins with my four year old….), have been pretty much the model clients, they gave me a decent brief, but left enough room for a bit of imagination, they listen to advice, and they ask questions if they’re not sure about something, you can’t really ask for more than that…. But what really stands them out is their bravery on this project.

They’re a young couple with 3 small children, they’ve bought this property and taken on a fairly ambitious remodelling project (in addition to the extension, they’ve also gutted the rest of the house and are planning on bringing the whole building up to a decent level). But more than that they’ve chosen to live in a caravan for the duration of the build.

That’s a big call. Would I want to move my family into a caravan while I essentially built our new home? I’d need some persuading, (and so would my wife) but ultimately it’s a call that should pay dividends.

Building projects can be tricky, building projects that have to be done while people are trying to live in the property (especially those that involve the renovation of the entire house can be much trickier still).

By moving out it gives them, the builder and me much more room to get things right. If the builder had to programme his works such that some of the rooms could still be used then you end up dragging the process on forever. If they’d chosen to live on site, it would have almost certainly meant the project would have been scaled down, but they decided “if we’re going to do this, let’s do it right”, and fair play to them I say!

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