Diary of a renovation: the dream team
05 Aug 2015
In this busy, busy market, it took a while to find a builder for our project. There seemed to be a huge gap between smaller ‘one builder/one apprentice’ teams and the large glitzy one-stop-shop building companies. The former type took one look at the scale of the job and said no thanks. The latter took a slightly longer look then flourished gob-smackingly expensive contracts in front of us.
We’re fairly experienced renovators and despite running his own business Ian has a true knack for project managing on the side. So we found builders who were happy to tdo the job as a labour-only contract and who came with a crew of three apprentices.
There’s Locky Harrison (of www.harrisonbuilders.co.nz) who hadn’t long been in business for himself, Aston with his surfie hair, Jon the talker, and quiet, hard-working Kieran.
We couldn’t have been luckier. It soon became obvious that Locky was a man with not only a hammer, but with an eye for detail and a can-do attitude. He’s calm, communicative, quick to warn of a problem and equally quick to provide a solution. His apprentices seem to be following happily in his stead, learning what it takes to be great builders.
Our dog is happy to follow in their stead too – her waistline has grown alarmingly complements of unattended builder’s lunch boxes.
We’re part way through the project and it’s going well, relatively on budget and on time. The only nasty surprise was uncovering some very shonkily put-together framing in the part of the house we hadn’t planned to rebuild. The council wasn’t happy, so replacing the framing has added time and expense. For a renovation (or rather, a rebuild now) of this size, we’re fairly lucky to have got away with just one hiccup.
Sitting here at my comfy desk, I have to admire those builders. They work hard, long days. It’s often head-scratching work with working drawings that sometimes fall short on detail… and they have to put up with us looking over their shoulders. Ian, and the dog, would often just sit in the back garden to watch them work for the sheer joy of it. Much better than the telly.
We lived in the house while the rear addition was built but now it’s time to park our family elsewhere and not get in the way of the builders and other contractors. Finding somewhere temporary to live is a whole other story…