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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

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    • CommentAuthorJoiner
    • CommentTimeApr 1st 2011
    My son is stopping with us for a couple of weeks, up here from Devon working on a friend-of-a-friend's place just outside Shifnal (Shropshire), building a 22m x 7m (not-kit) log cabin. Over dinner he told me what the guy had saved by following his advice to cost his materials from a local suppliers in North Devon. I almost choked.

    He'd originally priced the job from a large builder's merchants in Wolverhampton, using his old (he once lived in Wolverhampton) trade account, a place he'd always found competitive. I can testify to that, sometimes using them myself for that reason. That place is about fifteen miles from the Shifnal site so it made sense - until, out of curiosity, he priced the job at his local Devon supplier!

    He has SAVED just over £600 on the (non-log sections) wood for the roof and internal studding, suspended floors, etc.

    He SAVED £2,700 on the roof tiles (Spanish), 4,000 tiles.

    It paid the customer to hire a lorry and take a day off to fetch the stuff. (He'd originally tried to arrange a return-load, but the company who'd accepted the offer didn't get back to him!)

    If anyone wants the address of that Devon company, Whisper me and I'll send the details.
    • CommentTimeApr 1st 2011
    I always try to shop around for my morals.

    But yes, always get 2 or 3 quotes for anything expensive: the price differences can be vast!

    (And of course don't automatically go for the lowest quote: try to reduce costs and get better stuff/work.)


    My favourite example of shopping around from personal experience was when buying structural oak beams. An 'ever-so-posh' oak floors, doors and accessories supplier quoted me £800-1000 a linear metre. We got them in the end at that price for a whole 5m beams direct from the importer...
    I know the feeling. I am limited to a few suppliers down here in sleepy west Wales. I have set up an account with my local company (branch 2 miles away) that you will all know as they "sell the J##### lot" but the prices are rubbish. I get most of my stuff from a supplier 18 miles away but order a full load when possible to cut down on fuel and pollution. I hold my hand up though as I priced lovely welsh slate and then went for Spanish due to budget restrictions.....:cry::cry::cry:
    the Spanish does look great though with no risers:cheer::clap::thumbup:
    If anyone wants my supplier details feel free to ask.
    • CommentAuthorpmusgrove
    • CommentTimeApr 2nd 2011
    I fear that the local builders merchants are on the way out. My place is going to be called "internet built"! Some internet orders are then delivered by local merchants who gave higher prices for the same goods. When asked why they don't just reduce their quotes I get a shrug. Lack of people quoting for works such as kitchen fitting show that some people are assessing you as well as the job. They are after the people who believe that high prices means quality and then deliver normal stuff so if you appear to be too knowledgeable they go away and never return.
    • CommentAuthorJoiner
    • CommentTimeApr 2nd 2011
    Ha ha. Spot on with that last sentence!

    Years ago, number one son was doing a lot of work on a manor house near him over Peterborough way. Lady of house showed him the drawings and quote for the kitchen she wanted. The base units were all in place, so it was just the doors and end panels, plus a "false" chimney breast (ingle nook sort of thing) to take the Rayburn. She wanted MDF panels with "pine" frames, the idea being that she would paint and stencil the centre panels. A couple of them would also have "fretwork panels". Price quoted? £14,500.

    No1 son said 'Dad could probably do that for less', and she gave him the plans to pass to me.

    Having done something similar for a barn conversion not long before, I worked it out to £6,750, including a good profit. No 1 son said that was too low: 'Dad, she's been quoted 14-and-a-half grand for this stuff!'

    OK, I put 50% onto it. Final quote £10,125 for the identical spec, except that I would have used exterior-quality MDF and my "pine" would have been Douglas fir.

    Son gives quote to lady of the manor: "That can't be any good for that price!"

    Apparently she got bog-standard MDF and off-the-shelf redwood PAR (the stuff you get from B&Q - which is fine) and was perfectly happy with it - except that she asked No1 son what she could do to 'improve' the surface of the MDF for painting because "it seems to be a bit grainy".

    Oh, and the "fretwork panels" were Jali.
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