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What You Need to Know About Property Externals: Mastering Renovations Part 3

Transcript of video below:

Hi it’s Dr Ro and Col here, we are on site here and we wanted to talk about another key element of a renovation project. 

So Col there are internal and external works aren’t there? This is another element of any renovation; this is slightly a larger project here but let’s talk about external first. And I think you wanted to talk about ground works. 

“So in this project we’ve got new extensions going to the rear of the property and the front of the property, and once we’ve gone through building control and we’ve got sign off from the foundations from the engineers design and the inspector. We can then start the excavations and actually the initial stages are to prepare the site, excavate and then pull the foundations.”

So, in the process of now remember what we are talking about here is we are trying whilst we are doing these videos to talk about two types of renovation. One major and one smaller. So let’s imagine for a moment, you are looking at a project where looking something like this is going on. So you’re looking at this, what sort of thing would happen here Col? 

“So if you have a look at the lower level we’ve actually excavated all the way around the existing building and then matched in a new section at this side where there’s the new foundation just below there. So we have our new extension with the foundations coming around at the rear and then we’ve got matching into the existing part of the building on this side.” 

So when you’re looking at a project like this at the start, you have to be planning the timing correctly. They wouldn’t have gone in for example and gone straight to the roof would they here?

“No absolutely. We did a strip out internally so we can get the stuff we don’t need, that clears everything out of the way. Then what we do is prepare the site to then set out our foundations, do the excavation and then pour the concrete.”

And all of that needs to be marked out, planned out and timed with the builder?

“Absolutely.”

So that affects the costings? And what type of labour is on site?

“Yeah it can do because it is quite labour-intensive at the start of the project. Because you have to prepare the site, the excavations, then after the excavations you need to take all the soil away. So it’s not just about creating a hole in concrete there is a lot of other elements that go with it. But once the concrete’s in you can then clear the site and make it ready for the structure to go in.”

Okay, if you look here, I’m just going to spin the camera around. You can see the amount of space that is taken up by all of the and even here, we’ve got all the soil that’s come out of the ground. A load of it has gone out in the back here in the garden. Col okay, I’m Joe blogs and I’m watching this thinking, okay I’m going to be doing a small HMO renovation is that relevant to me?

“Not for an HMO unless you’re doing an extension. If you’re doing an extension, then this will come into play because if you’ve got a small property, and for instance it could be a terraced building, to get the soil and the excavating material for the back for an extension that takes some planning by the contractor. It’s more than just simply putting the foundations in.”

Let’s just picture a scene where somebody has bought a wrecked old two up, two down and convert it into a buy to let property. Garden’s kind of crappy overgrown, maybe there’s an old well or something there. These are still things that they need to be on quite early correct and not leave until the end.

“Yeah it’s good just to make sure everything is planned with your contractor. The contractor will help you, that’s what they are there for. They know how to do this stuff you don’t need to plan everything yourself but working with you contractor is really important.”

Yeah okay, so let’s stay on the externals. So ground works we’ve just covered there, what other things need to be considered from an external perspective? Before we go have a look at internals.

“Okay, so from the foundations up you’ve got your super structure. So your external walls, your window openings and then up to roof level. So there are another couple of stages here to create the building and the spaces that you need for your property.”

Don’t be scared by things like this, if you look up there is a window that has been ripped out and it’s been out for about two weeks now, but this is all part of getting it ready and making sure that the external is going to be repaired, watertight, etcetera.

“For this property we are quite exposed at the moment because there is so much structure work going on. So you can’t keep things that you don’t need and you can’t have things in your way that could actually impede the work. Because you don’t want to have any delays inside. So we’ve cleared absolutely everything and as we move into the property you’ll see the structure work that’s gone into support the new open spaces we’ve created. But we also need to be mindful that the external walls need to come up to put the roof on to then make it watertight.”

You said something that is very important. You said remove anything that could impede the process of the work. So what you’re saying is anticipate anything that could possibly hold the build up. And in fact, even on this project you were emailing us and calling us two weeks before, in anticipation of possible things that could hold the project up.

“Yeah it is just having a little bit of foresight with the contractor to know what they’re going to be working on next and making sure everything is ready to do that. They have their plan in their own mind, but plans change and they do all the time. It’s how we manage that work with the contractor to make sure we work it as best as we can.”

Okay, very good point. So, for anyone watching this I’m going to come back to the smaller projects. For somebody that’s looking at a basic buy to let project something like that, anything else that we need to add to this really at this stage in terms of this part of the renovation? 

“I think that if there’s any structural work then just work closely with your builder, it’s as simple as that. But if it’s a basic buy to let refurbishment then a lot of these elements won’t necessarily come into play. But then when you move beyond that, even if it’s structural work internally, the structural elements of the project will come into play.”

And how about the outside of the house like rendering in the UK is quite a big thing. Damp, cracked rendering sometimes people underestimate actually that we had a situation years ago where there was a massive crack on the rendering, and the valuer held I think they retained £5000. Because they needed to break out certain parts of it to check and inspect behind. What’s the issue with cracked render on the outside of a property?

“So there are many types of different rendering systems and the older render systems are actually made out of sand. Now what that means is that that’s fixed and applied to the external face of the wall of the building. Now if there’s any leaks or any water that gets in behind that what happens is it blows it away from the structure. Hence creating the gap which means that it has blown and that will need replacing. So that means that your buildings are not weather protected, so that’s why that would have come about.”

And from a lender they’re not happy with that. They’ll say until we get it approved it’s okay, not okay might need to be removed or possibly re-render or whatever, the price needs to be adjusted accordingly.

“And there are new rendering systems out now that are insulated and they’re made of silicon. So they’re flexible, and it’s actually much better.” So there’s a lot of options out there.”

Excellent so external and internal we’ve talked about. What I think I’ll do is let’s watch the next short video we are going to do and we will go internal, because that’s another part of the whole process of renovation.

So anything else on the external before we finish, that we are aware of?

“I think you’ve covered them.”

Okay great, signing out with Colin here. And see you in the next video.

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