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Frequently Asked Questions About Our Building Construction Service

Do you have questions regarding our building company or a construction project? Listed below are some of the most frequently asked building questions. If you have a question that is not answered below or you will like to get further information about our building services, please call us on 020 8987 8071 or get in touch via the contact form below.


Can you work with existing designs/plans?

Yes. We will provide you with complete design service for your home extension, kitchen refurbishment, and other such projects but if you already have your project design and just need builders to follow through with the plan, we can do that as well.

What is a change order?

A change order refers to work that is deleted or added from the original stipulation of the contract. Depending on the level of the change, it may or may not affect the original contract sum/and completion date. In some instances, change orders will require significant alterations to be made to current projects.

I live in a semi-detached house, will I need a party wall agreement?

According to the law, if your property adjoins your neighbour’s, you will need a party wall agreement. However, in our experience, if you inform them that you will like to carry out work and get their permission, this is all you would need. We recommend you do this at least 20 days before your project is set to start just in case you need to get a party wall agreement, you can do so in time.

What is the time duration for building a house?

On average, the building time for a residential home could take anywhere between 3 and 4 months to be completed. In some instances, it can take up to 6 months depending on construction material supply, weather and if design changes are implemented along when the construction is underway.

Is it correct to call a home builder a general contractor?

No. Homebuilders are not involved in the overall planning of a construction project. A home builder is someone who can build a house from top to bottom. A team of builders works together with a general contractor to execute construction plans.

will a new build house go up in value?

Similar to a new car, a new build is devalued the moment you walk through the door. Even in very favourable markets, chances are you won't get your money back if you decide to sell in a year or two.

Is design and build expensive?

In a lot of situations, design and build is a very cost-effective traditional project delivery method. This is because the budget for the project is outlined early in the process and is followed through by a very collaborative process.

Which is cheaper – to build or buy a house?

There are pros and cons to each. Even though eco-friendly homes may often cost more in terms of upfront spend, you will save a lot more money in the long run on energy bills. The cost of land often comes with an existing home but with a new build, you will have to find the perfect plot first.

Are new builds better than older builds?

New builds are typically structured in a way that caters to the realities of modern family life - for example, a large open plan kitchen that doubles up as a dining room and living area. New builds are more energy-efficient than older properties because they offer better loft insulation.

What are the benefits of Elite Builders Londer design and build?

  • Faster project delivery.
  • Not restricted to building types.
  • Removes adversarial conditions.
  • Transparent/open communication.
  • A single point of responsibility.

How long will a new build last?

This a question that is very debated in the construction industry. It was suggested in 1992 that new build homes will have a lifespan of 60 years. And 25 years later, the Local Government Association (LGA) predicts that new build homes could last at least 2000 years.

What is site construction work?

The term ‘site work’ refers to the part of a construction project that has to do with everything not related to the physical structure of the building. This includes excavation, grading, the installation of septic systems, driveways, utility infrastructure, and so on.

Is a new build more expensive?

Typically, newly built homes cost about 20% more than resold homes, depending on the national median price data, which goes back as far back as the 1960s. Please note that the median price isn't a perfect matrix as it is influenced by a mix of higher and lower-priced properties and the direction of the market.

Can you supply all required materials and project-manage my required work?

Yes. A lot of the jobs we take on require us to source for materials and efficiently manage personnel. This ensures the project is completed to the highest standard. The service we offer at Elite Builder London is very inclusive. In our experience, clients who attempt to project-manage numerous tradesmen and get materials themselves quickly find out that they incur more costs, as opposed to saving on their budget. We believe you will be better served if you leave your entire projects in our capable hands from start to finish.

Who is in charge of health and safety on a site?

The main contractor is responsible for health and safety but you also need to be aware of your employer's responsibility. To find out more, please visit the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) website. The HSE is a government agency in charge of enforcing health and safety legislation in Great Britain.

How do you handle construction rubbish?

Leftover rubbish materials are removed from the site by our staff. On larger projects, we might use a skip. We also ensure all rubbish is disposed of responsibly as we have a recycling policy in place at our main office. We will carry good housekeeping practices on your site and adhere to all environmental policies guiding the construction industry.

Do you use subcontractors?

This will depend on the type of project. We do all our tiling, carpentry, joinery, roofing, plumbing, building and groundwork by ourselves. On the rare occasion that we need to use outside trades, we will only use well-vetted professionals that we have worked with before.

Can I begin a build while I wait on planning permission?

Although it may be tempting to get your new build started while waiting on planning permission, we do not advise this, as you will be in planning breach. Thankfully, not all extension projects need planning permission. In fact, a lot of home improvement projects are covered under permitted development rights such as single-storey extensions. To find out the specific government guidelines for your project, please visit planning portal .gov.uk for a full list. Please note that even if you are not required to get planning permission, it is safer to get a loft development certificates that certify your extension is lawful.

What is the best type of foundation?

When built correctly, all foundation types are great and will last a long time. However, the right foundation for your building will depend on the topography of the site, soil type, geography and so on. But ultimately, the foundation used on your site will depend on your budget and personal preference.

Can you guarantee construction planning permission?

No. We cannot guarantee that construction planning permission will be given or that it will be granted quickly. However, before we submit any application, we always consider the local authority's statutory requirements and guidelines to increase our chances of success.

Can you apply for planning permission on my behalf?

Yes, it is possible and legal for us to apply for planning permission on your behalf. The planning permission is for the land and not the landowner; the person who files is of little importance.

What kind of information will I be required to provide about my project?

Any information that relates to the breakdown of the work involved. For example, a schedule of the work, working drawings and any project specifications you may have. All of which will help us create an accurate quote.

What are the documents needed for construction?

The specific documents you will need for your construction project will largely depend on borough planning laws, the size and the scope of the project. Some of the basic documents you will need include subcontractor appointments, construction contracts, plans specifications, building permits, financial records, and drawings.

When will my building need structural works?

It doesn't matter if you own a commercial property or residential property, any property foundational issue is a major cause of concern for any property owner. Things like physical disturbance, subsidence, and failure of building materials can affect the structural integrity of your property. It is therefore imperative that issues like this be identified and addressed as quickly as possible. With building structures prevention is definitely better than trying to fix long-established problems.

What should I expect from the first consultation meeting?

We prefer that the first consultation meeting happens on your plot/property where the project is to happen, so we can gather all the relevant information and get a better grasp of what you have to achieve. Our major focus will be on your vision - the feasibility and risk associated with it, as well as how best to deliver the construction project.

Is your work guaranteed?

Yes. All Elite Builders London work is covered by an XXXyear warranty and an XXXyear manufacturer membrane guarantee. We also carry insurance guarantee for the products we deliver, which is independent. For extra measure, we are PCA members and have insurance-backed guarantees on the work we carry out. We have all this coverage for your peace of mind. For further details about our insurance coverage, please contact us today.

Will I need a structural engineer?

If you're making modifications to the structure of a building in any way such as altering load-bearing walls or removing chimney breast, you need a structural engineer to do the calculation for this work. A structural engineer will also confirm if specific lateral walls are not load-bearing. If there are structural elements that you need to complete, for example, foundation/floors, a structural engineer will also be necessary. In general, most house extensions will need some sort of structural calculation, especially if the existing external wall is to be opened for access to the new building extension.

How much will my project cost?

We discuss the cost of each project after we've done a survey of our client's site because each project is different.

How will I know if my house needs rewiring?

You will need your house to be rewired if you frequently have tripped breakers or blown fuses, over-fused or over-amped electrical panel. Some of the other signs that your wiring may be bad are if your lights flicker or dim - this often means the circuit is overloaded or there is a disconnection. If you see discoloured or hot switch plates, plugs or chords, these are also signs of faulty wiring.

What is the cheapest way to add a new room to my house?

One of the most inexpensive ways to add a new room to your home is to finish off an existing space. For example, if you have an unfinished basement, you can easily convert this into a functional room that could function as a family room, a lounge, a home gym and more. In finishing an existing space, you will spend less money because the bones of the structures are in place. Please note, the walls may need insulation and framing and flooring will also need to be installed. In some instances, plumbing and electrical work may be necessary as well. Home extension projects are complex jobs, so we recommend you get in touch with a professional contractor to handle yours. Call Elite Builders London.

Which is cheaper – a new build or a remodel?

The cost of tearing down and rebuilding is normally about 10-40% more than a full house remodel.

Can your services be custom-delivered to my exact specifications?

Yes, we will actively work to ensure that your project is completed according to all your requirements. Although we've worked on a lot of refurbishment projects, no two are alike. It is our goal to ensure our customer's personality is reflected in their new home.

What is the difference between renovation and refurbishment?

The major difference between the two (even though they are often used interchangeably) is renovation has to do with restoring something to good condition by repairing it. On the other hand, refurbishment is the process of retrofitting, equipping and cleaning a home.

What is the duration of a house refurbishment in the UK?

The time it will take to refurbish a house will depend on a couple of factors like the size of the house. On average for cosmetic repairs, it takes 2 to 3 months and for a full refurbishment, anywhere from 3 to 12 months.

Is a leaky roof an emergency?

A leaking roof can occur in any weather but if a roof is leaking during a heavy storm, then it is a major emergency. Roofing companies typically charge more for an emergency call, so it is best that you have repair work done ahead of time, in order to save money on repair bills.

Should I have my roof inspected?

We recommend that you have your roof checked at least twice a year (spring and fall) when the weather is mild and it is easy for problems to be spotted. We also recommend that you have your roof inspected after major weather events such as hail or high winds.

Will a new roof provide insulation for my home?

This will depend on a couple of factors. For example, reflective roofs can reduce the temperature on the surface of the roof by as much as 30%, which means less heat enters your home (source - Energy Star). To truly increase the energy efficiency of the roof, we recommend adding insulation.

Is a new roof a good investment?

Yes. A new roof is a good investment that offers great returns. A new roof has a life span of 20 years or more, especially if quality materials are used and it is installed by a professional.

Do I need to be home during a roof replacement?

You do not have to. Roof replacement for an average family size house will take a couple of days. However, if you work from home or spend much of the time at home, we recommend that you stay out of the house for a couple of days while your roof is being replaced.

Can you work in any weather condition?

Yes. Groundwork is done outdoors, so our operatives are well equipped for the realities of working outside in all weather conditions. The only time we won't work is if there are extreme weather conditions that would pose a risk to the safety of our staff. At all sites, gangs are kitted with generators and ponds to ensure foundations are water-free before being filled with concrete when it's raining. In winter, the concrete we use is aggregated before it arrives because it needs to be done at a temperature that is at least 2°C. We also protect floors with covers when there is frost and we do not use road substrates in low temperatures.

How will I know if my roof needs replacing?

One of the tell-tale signs that your roof needs to be replaced is if the shingled tabs are cupped, the shingle edges are cured, there are cracked shingles, bald spots where granules are missing or your roof is about 20 years old or more. Please note that even though shingles of today are durable, several factors accelerate its ageing.

I can see some cracks in my foundation and a couple of my basement, how can I ascertain if they are a cause for concern?

A lot of homeowners have a hard time telling if the cracks in their foundation walls or basement are serious because some shrinkage cracks are to be expected with poured concrete walls and floors, while other cracks are not. However, in most instances, a crack is an indication that something has moved or settled. This is especially true if the crack is wide at a point and not at another. The bottom line? It is always best to get the opinion of a professional.

Can I view a previous construction project with similar requirements to mine?

Yes, you can. We strive to build an excellent relationship with our clients. Our past clients are always willing to show you the project that we've completed for them.

Which is better, block or poured foundation?

Poured concrete foundations are stronger than blocks because poured foundations have better lateral strength. This means that poured foundations can withstand more pressure from the soil and water from outside. In addition, a poured foundation doesn't have joints like a block foundation, which makes it easier to waterproof.

What does underpinning a foundation mean?

Underpinning is a term used to describe the strengthening, repair, and increase of the depth of an existing foundation by lowering the foundation to rest on more supportive soil.

How deep are foundations in the UK need to be?

The depth of the foundation will depend on the type of clay.

Are raft foundations expensive?

It depends on the complexity of the structural load requirements. On some sites, raft foundations cost way less than traditional approaches, we recommend they be considered first for every project.

I will like to handle my own renovations but will need professional guidance, can you help with this?

Tackling renovation works can be very satisfying but there is risk involved. We will be more than happy to advise and consult with you on all aspects of the project and offer services for tasks that might be beyond your skills.

Contact Elite Builders London Today

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