What’s a Quantity Surveyor & how to Value Engineer your project.

This week we talked to the seasoned Quantity Surveyor Millie Lucas about the role of a QS in a renovation or extension project and what lessons we can learn from her years in the construction industry.

We start by learning that we are all capable of making minor omissions in the project but they can have expensive consequences!  The devil is in the detail and never take something just on word alone.

Millie describes how the Quantity Surveyor is the ‘purse strings’ of a project and they are obligated to work to get the best value for their client during the ‘Buy It’ Stage. (see here for a link to a short podcast on the 5 stages of a home renovation or extension project).

We go through the reasonable level of information to receive from your contractors Quantity Surveyor and Millie reminds us if there is no programme then it is likely that the costs have not been calculated accurately. 

We discuss the use of Gumtree, Freecycle and NextDoor to sell ‘left over’ materials, but we also talk about how to avoid this in the first place!

Millie spills her secrets on getting the best price through shopping around, going straight to the manufacturer and if possible getting your contractor to purchase it, as they might well have much stronger buying power than you.  And watch out for those fancy showrooms as that fancy thick brochure and free drinks are being added onto the cost of your product!

We cover What Value Engineering is, which is an elegant way of saying cost saving.  Millie tells us there are 3 fundamental ways to Value Engineer: assess if there is a better cost method of installing the item, a different and lower priced product or a reduction in the finish to a cheaper specification.

BUT Millie reminds us that we need to have conversations with the people we are doing the project, your partner or other home users.  The value engineer options are easy to come up with but, unless you know what each uses ‘need to and nice to’s’ are for the home design, you might cut something which you later lead to regret. We are trying to design happiness, not anger and animosity!

And remember, if you find that the project value is simply more than you can afford, even after value engineering, it isn’t that your dream won’t happen, it is just postponed until you can save the funds.

To find an independent QS please visit the professional bodies RICS and CIOB, if in doubt call up and have a chat about your project.

If you have enjoyed this episode please rate, review and subscribe as it helps other home owners design their happiness. 

Designing and installing a green roof

This week we talk green and living roofs with Chris Bridgman of Bridgman & Bridgman landscapes.

We learn that the terms living roof and green roof can be used interchangeably as they are both a roof which has living plant on it.  Sometimes they are called brown roofs when they are really dry and the plants appear to have died back, but Chris reassures us that, when installed correctly, they always spring back, thats the nature of the wonderful alpine sedum used.

Abi was quite surprised to hear that a green roof can go up to a 45 degree pitch, so aren’t just something to consider if you are planning a flat roof extension.  He also gave us the weight loads to consider – something which is always worth considering at the planning and designing stages of your project so you can made the simple structural design adjustments to accommodate the green roof of your choice.

We learn about the plant types and their individual maintenance requirements.  There are no green roofs which require zero maintenance, but they are very simple to manage compared to a garden, just 2 – 4 times a year, depending on the type you have.

Chris goes through the cost benefits of a green roof including thermal, prevention of wear and tear, acoustic, aesthetic and potentially even adds value to your home*

*This was not scientifically tested – Abi and Chris agreed we’d prefer a green roof and see it as a sight of a quality build.

But the most important take away was for you to tell your architect and builder as early in the process as possible, that you would like to consider a green roof.

For more information see GRO, the UK trade body where there are Green Roof specialists who are working in your area 

For more information on Chris and his company, please visit his website Gardens in the Sky and follow him on Instagram and Twitter

If you have enjoyed this episode please rate, review and subscribe as it helps other home owners design their happiness.