Professional Builder continues its journey alongside new business start-up Camberford Construction and founder, Barry Kavanagh.
Well it’s safe to say that any warm weather has well and truly packed up for winter. I know most were a little sad at the end of summer when the heatwave ended, but at Camberford we were pretty grateful.
Those reading won’t need any reminding how quickly carrying a brick hod becomes a massive chore when its 33 degrees outside and you’re standing in baking sunshine – especially when you have an Irish complexion like mine.
Having spent a week in Egypt during the summer, I did find myself wondering how on earth they got those pyramids built…
I’m pleased to say that business is going well at the moment. I’ve been going basically non-stop all summer, doing job after job with barely a moment’s rest – not that I’m complaining. When you first start out, you’re always anxious about where the next job is coming from.
It’s been about a year and a half since I started Camberford though and things are getting steadier and the work is getting better. This is exactly what I hoped for – but didn’t dare expect!
The latest project I’m working on is definitely the best bit of business I’ve won so far. I’ll be adding an extension and a loft conversion to an early 1950s bungalow in a town near to where I live in Surrey.
It’s a really interesting job – the road (Katherine Close) was named after a wealthy land owner from Addlestone back in the ‘50s.
When she agreed to sell the land to build the homes, she requested that the road be named after her as part of her legacy and to be fair to her, they aren’t bad homes to have associated with her name.
I’m doing the work for an old rugby pals ex-wife (it’s amazing how many people you hear from once they catch wind of the fact you’re handy with some tools) but still, I had to set out my experience and skills like I would for any other tender.
I actually think I got more of a grilling going for this job than I have any other, and I had to be on my best form to convince them I was the right man.
One of the things that struck me is that homeowners seem better informed than they used to be, so coming armed with an answer to every possible question has become pretty important.
In fact, it was one potential client asking me about my approach to health and safety that got me thinking that I should get myself onto a CDM training course. The regulations updated only last year, so it’s a really easy area to fall behind on.
Who was responsible for what on site was always a bit of a murky area when it came to safety, especially on smaller jobs. Since 2014 though, we’ve all had to be on our game.
The training course, which I did for a discounted price with the Federation of Master Builders, was really valuable in getting an understanding of my responsibilities as a contractor and for learning about what documentation I need to have for a project.
I ended the day with a CITB-National Construction College certificate, which could be the difference between winning and losing a job one day.
Next month, I’ll be writing about getting to grips with my web presence and cracking the mysterious art of marketing my business.
For further information on the Federation of Master Builders visit www.fmb.org.uk
For more information on Camberford Construction visit www.camberford.co.uk