Thursday, December 5, 2013

                                          [Conversion of double garage to granny flat]                                                                                      


Just a small token of 'thank you' for your integrity and professionalism. [Dinner Gift Voucher]

This has been our easiest project owing to all of the above and your great way of 'being with the world'!

                                                                                        Many thanks
                                                                                        Linda & Paul Griffin

Project reflections

Marius I wrote this as part of the positive experience we've had in collaborating with you on our Garage renovation Project - it should be a requirement of reading for all your prospective clients so that they ' nie kom kakkies maak nie'

Many thanks Linda Griffin (0424 080 222 - for reference purposes)

Planning component was key to a successful project for the following reasons:

* Realistic expectations were set in terms of Timing, Material Sourcing, and
  Sequence of Events.
* Planning was presented on a spreadsheet and used as the reference point for
  conversations on scheduling. Seeing this in operation settled the need to
  constantly ask the logic of sequence.
* The builder's experience was invaluable for scheduling and steeped with
* A problem solving approach from both client and build was key to a harmonious
  relationship throughout
* Expect a delay - our delay was not from the builder but a door company which
  was ultimately seceded by   the client for , what appeared to be its professional
  appearance - glossy buildings don't get the job done and organized builder does.
* Use subcontractors for electrical and plumbing that the builder trusts.
* Be clear who is project managing these subcontractors
* We felt calm minimizing how many people we had to deal with and my
  preference was always to only communicate with the builder
* We made no decisions without talking it through with the builder.
* Important to note that you need to have an overall vision of the finishing’s
  embedded and well described to your builder so have a portfolio of pictures.
* Be clear what your budget is and do not begin the project unless both you and
  your partner are absolutely aligned regarding the arrangement. The builder will
  pick up this dynamic and certainly does not want to be part of it.
* Pay in a timely manner, it is the respectful thing to do
* Do not throw in lots of little favor jobs because you happen to have a strong
  man on site. Your partner does not pick up his boss's kids on his way to work,
  therefore don't expect the builder to nail your pictures to the wall while he's there 
* Check in weekly on progress but not daily - do not become a time detractor
* In particular, our builder was clear that every choice was ours and was cautious
  not to choose floor colours etc. Rather, he focused on the technical aspects of the
* As we were owner builders, we learnt some of the product technical aspects at
  the store and always opted for products that would wear and tear well
  REMEMBER : In Australia the cost lies in the labor, not the product. An
  example - We bought high grade stainless steel forage kitchen owing to the cost
  of  plumbers
* Gumtree was very useful but ultimately we opted for new white goods because
  Harvey Norman covered the cost of transportation, guarantees and had an end of
  year sale. We did not want the hassle of running around struggling to squash
  things into the back of the car.
* Mentally expect delays because they will happen in areas neither you nor the
  builder can foresee (Ours was a week on one box of flooring, the doors 3 week

*Be smart and find high quality salvage products - we found a bathroom sink for
 $20 at the local dump - valued at $180.
*Always confirm your potential purchase with builder- our builder had good
 impulse control and double checked all measurements and alternatives before
 condoning purchases
*The final touches - be disciplined about not purchasing anything until the end
 because the spaces keep evolving
*Collaboration with the builder led to some excellent and practical creativity- we
  used floorboards to create counter tops which is how we also found ourselves
  short of one box but it was definitely worth it.
*We changed the depth of all the kitchen cupboards and dressing cupboard gaining
  increased walking space of 45 cm which is a lot in a small apartment
*Creativity is good only if you do not dash from one impulse to another- embed
 the idea overnight.
*Keep returning to the space after hours. Note how you move through the room as
 this lays the foundation for understanding the traffic flow in the room – important
 for knowing where to ultimately place furniture
*Be smart about your lighting particularly if you're having tenants - burning lights
 will be your cost. We over killed on lights but were very conscious of how
 difficult it is to get an electrician on site so wanted to maximize the opportunity
*Truly understand the potential of the space before you start, epiphanies after the
 event can be very disappointing
*Glossy packaging and fancy stores do not necessarily sell superior products – I
  believe the builder saved us $3000 by constantly being ‘underwhelmed’ by the
  luxury choices I was wanting to make - ultimately he was right and while feeling
  like a petulant child quite regularly - my mantra owing to the level of trust
  between us was to 'listen' in order to stick within budget
* I added $5 000 on to the negotiated budget for the unforeseen and have not had
  to use it - this lays the ground for positive future projects with one's partner
* Think of space as prime real estate and let it dictate
* Use the mental modeling of your current spaces to understand what is required in
  a dwelling for a stranger. Yes, the ironing board still has to live somewhere.
* The builder was meticulous in cleaning up his work space every day. This kept
  the whole environment calm. I want to write this ten times because it was very
  important to us. Dust does enter your home, it can't be helped but to add chaos to
  that would have become wearing.
*Really take note of how the builder likes to work before the project begins and
 respect that.
* The builder forewarned us when it would be a noisy day.
*Our builder kept us calm when we were beginning to feel irritable with the door
*Do not book guests in too close to project completion date - allow a month to take
 care of the small details. It 's the pressure of time that will make you behave
*The overall vision can be achieved in collaboration but it is YOUR project,
 therefore your responsibility to research and come up with the options. That's
 what 'owner builder means'

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I welcome testimonials, comments, and queries from clients. Please feel free to post your comments here.