In part two of our focus on a new start up building business, Barry Kavanagh of Camberford Construction has embarked on his biggest project yet.
Since I last wrote, I’ve managed to get a quick turnaround on a couple of decent jobs, building up the CV and getting the all-important references that get you more work.
It means I’ve been able to line up some bigger projects. I managed to secure a particularly nice gig converting a loft and adding a large extension on a bungalow in Addlestone based on a reference from a previous job.
Offering a clear quote and spending a lot of time with the client did a world of good and I reckon since starting out, communication is probably the area I’ve improved in most. This is Camberford’s biggest project so far and hopefully it is a positive sign of things to come.
Having a lot more work on-site means having a lot more paperwork off-site, and with a little kid growing up in my house, it can be difficult to get my head around the sums and paperwork.
So, based on the fact it can feel like being back at school doing maths, I decided to completely turn back the clocks and build a little office in my parent’s garden to create some space to run the business from.
I’m hoping that having my mum and dad nagging at me again will be motivation enough to get the homework done quickly!
Despite the hectic schedule, I found the find time to take part in a builder’s social last month, playing a round of golf with some other business owners in Reading.
Tiger Woods I am not, clocking up an impressively poor 14 Stableford points. Which, actually, wouldn’t be all that far off from the score Tiger Woods would get these days…
Growing my business
I’m always looking to learn new skills. It’s a challenge, but one of the reasons I love the job – every decent builder wants to keep on developing and how you grow is always up to you.
One of the areas I’m interested in taking my firm is work on traditional buildings. It’s a big market and with older properties generally worth a fair whack, it can be a lucrative one as well.
Homeowners are getting wise to the amount of money they can save on bills if they fixed up their properties to be more energy efficient, so I’m hoping that if I can bundle together the offer of doing up a house with the knowhow to save them money every year, it leave me much better placed to win the work.
The problem is that retrofitting a traditional home can be an absolute nightmare. They tend to have older solid brickwalls which are permeable and porous, which means that using non-permeable materials and renders can introduce some nasty building defects.
To the homeowner, the wrong decisions are quickly going to show up in the form of damp, rot and mould – not exactly a nice calling card for a project you’ve done.
I decided to go to a retrofitting conference down in Brighton to brush up on the dos and don’ts. Once you know what good practice is, it’s straight forward enough.
It just takes an understanding of how a house has been constructed, how it performs and how to treat a building using the right materials and building techniques. I’ll definitely be looking to gain some qualifications in the future, which will hopefully lead to a lot more – and better – work.
For further information on the Federation of Master Builders visit www.fmb.org.uk