What to expect when building work starts

The big day has finally arrived and construction of your extension is about to get underway, but do you know what to expect when building work starts?

Well, it’s not like on TV, and Nick Knowles won’t be marching a platoon of tradesmen up the street accompanied by confetti fanfare. Instead, it is a somewhat gentler affair. You can expect a rolling start over the first one to three days, with the action gradually ramping up as your property transforms from a home to a work-live building site in readiness for works. As outlined in our post about prelims, be prepared that the initial work is setting up the site.

Who will be first to your building site?

It is often the scaffolders who are first on-site. They can be a mercurial bunch and quite single-minded in getting the scaffolding up, so it is important your builder is there to meet them and coordinate access where necessary. Of course, if works are limited to ground level, then scaffolding won’t be required. But site hoarding probably will still be needed, to keep your property and safe amidst the constant transit of people and material in and out of site. This may take a couple of days to put up, depending on the site size.

Skips, safety hoardings and services

During this time, the skip will arrive and be positioned where needed, along with a rubbish chute from upper storeys and safety lights. The portaloo will also be delivered in the first couple of days. For bigger projects, a site cabin or shipping container may arrive, to serve as the team’s resting quarters as well as a clean space for site meetings.

Deliveries of building materials

An initial tranche of building material may be delivered. It will be the big stuff – aggregates, timber and steels. It won’t be used right away, but builders like to have the material on-site so they can crack on without delay when they’re ready to use it.

If they haven’t already been carried out ahead of the official start date, any ancillary works needed to facilitate the build will also be completed in these first few days. Ancillary works include tasks such as establishing a temporary kitchen and heating and plumbing adjustments. Internally, surfaces will also be protected, as previously described.

Demolition and dust!

As these events unfold over the first few days, the build team will ramp up to start work in earnest. The first task on the build schedule will be demolition and strip-out work, so be prepared for some noise, dust and disruption. (Dust is cited as one of the most stressful elements of a home construction project. Try to be prepared, but it is rather unavoidable). As the homeowner, the best thing you can do to help get the project off to a flyer is to be patient and flexible, and doing so is much easier when you know what to expect when building work starts.