OLD MILL ROAD, BOTHWELL
We purchased a plot of land in 2018 with a view to building our dream home overlooking the River Clyde. The site has very limited access – just wide enough for one vehicle with a sharp turn and a high stone wall on one side. It is also a very steeply sloping site with the River Clyde at the foot of the hillside. Despite being in a stunning location, many potential buyers had been put off by the seemingly impossible logistics of building a house there.
The site was purchased with planning permission for a traditional style home together with a tentative quote on the original design from a builder who had surveyed the site, but there were still many unknowns.
We changed the plans to our own, much more contemporary, design and during the process there were several trial pits dug and the conclusion was that extensive piling was required to support our new build. This massively impacted the budget of the build putting the entire project in jeopardy.
The tender process was very difficult, most of the contacted builders declined to quote, agreed to quote only if the foundations were first done, or came up with very high prices (and they all excluded the cost of the piling). We had little confidence in the quotes that came back and feared we may be ‘left in the lurch’ midway through the build once the builders figured out the complexity of the build.
We thought that building our dream home was over, we couldn’t afford to build the house and our plans lay dead in the water. However, we had spotted the website for Bankhead Developments online and had also received a flyer through the post. The website had pictures of very beautiful buildings in a similar style to our own and so we were about to get in touch when our architect then mentioned that he knew of a project manager that could be the answer to our problem… This project manager was Stewart Moore of Bankhead Developments.
We personally had previous experience of project managing and budgeting a new build, bringing in a traditional style villa on time and budget back in 2012. However, we knew that due to the complexity of the design, limited access and steeply sloping site that we needed to employ a professional to run the project.
Stewart is not your typical builder. (He is far more handsome 😉). He set out his project management fee and assured us he would reduce the cost and use his extensive experience of over 25 years in the building industry to build our house within our budget. He loved our site as much as we did and we could see that he was going to relish solving all the problems the site had in order to deliver our new home.
Anyone who has watched Grand Designs knows that complications or changes to the design mean money. However, in Stewart, there is a project manager who designs out cost as standard. Every aspect of the build was scrutinised and the most cost-effective solutions found. His years of experience mean that he has contacts in the trade who give him great prices to start with but then any other company that we dealt with also found themselves giving him the best prices. The savings Stewart secured on the piling alone paid for the majority of his entire project managers cost.
Complicated & Expensive Aspects
Our house required 67, 10m deep steel reinforced concrete piles. It has a steel frame on 2 levels of the overall 3 floors. A crane couldn’t fit down the access road so the steel frame had to be assembled in smaller sections. Concrete mixers or HGVs were too large to fit down the access road. The timber frame kit had to be manufactured and built on site. The foundation shutters had to be built up on site as normal steel ones were too big to come down the access road. Blocks were delivered pallet at a time… and so it went on. This was not an easy, typical house build!
We had as much contact as we wanted (which in my case meant nearly daily) with a weekly site meeting. Every aspect of our house was built to our specification which changed considerably as we went along. There was never a point of ‘well the drawing says this’ – Stewart gave us what we wanted and the luxury of standing in a space before we had to commit to exact positions or details (within reason of course). In fact, Stewart’s experience and ideas were vital here, coming up with ideas to help the flow of rooms that were not on the original architect’s plans.
We received many phone calls that started ‘Well we have a wee problem...’ that then went on to finish with – ‘So here is the solution, how does that sound?’ Anyone who has built a house knows that there are endless decisions and issues that crop up – Stewart never brought a problem without already having the solution (and usually at a reduced cost) ready for us to consider. In the end we just would laugh and answer “Yes” before he had told us what the issue was as we totally trusted his judgment.
The upshot of this method of building meant that we were actually able to build our amazing house on our ridiculously difficult plot. It came in almost on time (Coronavirus had something to say about the last couple of months of the build) and pretty much on budget - we did pick very expensive stairs that we will be getting teased about for years I expect.
We have become great friends with Stewart and his team. Our new neighbours hold him in high regard, saying how considerate the entire team was during the entire build.
Everyone that has visited the house has been blown away by the quality of the build. We pinch ourselves every morning that we actually live here and it has totally transformed our lives. If it was not for Stewart and his great team at Bankhead Developments, we would still be in possession of a vacant, if beautiful, building plot. We were so lucky to get availability in Stewart’s schedule as we believe no one else would have been able to deliver our home on this budget and timescale. We would have no hesitation in recommending Stewart and the Bankhead Developments team.
Drs Lorna and Gavin Gall