Q = Frequently Asked Question
VP = Vanilla – Properties of Distinction
Q. “How quickly can you start building my project?”
VP. If you already have third-party design, engineering calculations and the necessary consents to build, we are usually able to start on site within 4 weeks of being formally instructed. Very often, we are able to commence with relevant demolition works on site even sooner, prior to the construction of new areas.
When we are engaged to undertake all aspects of the project as a total Design & Build service, then we will be pre-organised to commence site works within a week of gaining the necessary formal consent.
If you have just started thinking about a project and are yet to engage any services, then make Vanilla – Properties of Distinction your first port of call and ask us about our all-inclusive Design & Build service, which not only offers significant economies of scale with all services grouped together but also how these elements tie in with each other for a smooth running construction phase, under one joined-up engagement.
Q. “Does what I want to build require a formal planning application?”
VP. This will depend on many factors and we will advise you on how we would approach this based on your individual circumstances and desired plans. Wherever possible, we will exploit Permitted Development rights on your behalf and where formal planning consent may be required, this will be applied for as swiftly as possible, as part of our all-inclusive Design & Build service.
By engaging Vanilla – Properties of Distinction to handle your project from the concept and design stages, you will stand the best chance of either building under permitted development, or gaining approval under a planning application process.
Q. “How long will it take to build my project?”
VP. We take a realistic and pragmatic approach to offering a guide to time-frames. We insist on a first-hand appraisal of the site before presenting an estimate and time-frame proposal. So many physical site location factors affect this subject, aside from the design proposal itself.
We will provide a project time-frame strategy once it is clear to us both technically what is involved and when the work will be commenced.
We offer three levels of time-frame options for site works > Efficient, Expedite, Extend > and information about these can be found on our dedicated page regarding time-frames.
The project time-frame will have a bearing on project cost. No two projects or client requirements are the same, we will be as flexible as you need us to be.
Q. “Can Vanilla – Properties of Distinction offer me a fixed cost project?”
VP. This is so often a project priority. Most people choosing to make an investment in their property in the form of modernisation, enlargement or general improvements, set a budget ceiling and want the comfort of knowing that this can be adhered to. The simple answer is, Yes, it is possible to fix the known aspects of a project and we regularly agree to do this. However, it is always prudent to consider unexpected issues and the possibility that during the course of the project you may wish to enlarge the scope. All estimates are subject to our terms and conditions, written details are on our website. Why not talk to us about your budget and your expectations and we will tailor a project package for you.
Q. “Is my project too large for you?”
VP. No, we are more than happy to consider all projects. We undertake everything from ground floor extensions and alterations, to complete ground-up new-build developments and large-scale, bespoke developments. We are very experienced in completing complex and challenging projects that require experience in understanding the engineering solutions presented in the plans, working closely with the designer, engineer and building control officer, adapting quickly to changes as the project unfolds.
Speak to us first about our one-stop service package before engaging third-party design!
Q. “Is my project too small for you?”
VP. The physical size of the project is less relevant as the geographic location of the site also has a bearing on cost and project viability. Whilst there are some smaller standalone construction works that we don’t engage, such as porches, driveways and general builder/DIY repairs, we will happily consider any project relating to significant additional space creation, from around 30m2, with no upper limit.
Q. “How many people will be working on site?”
VP. Our teams work in ‘PODs’ of a minimum of 3 operatives. The number of operatives either within a POD or a multiple of PODs will be task-specific and tailored exactly as the project demands at the appropriate times, during the course of the target time-frame.
The client’s project is costed with best possible site works efficiencies considered alongside the time-frame selection, in reaching the highest service offering we can.
Q. “Are your electricians and gas plumbers certified?”
VP. Yes, in line with Building Regulations all our electricians and gas plumbers are certified with the appropriate UK recognised authorities. It is unlawful to do such works using anyone other than a certified and approved/competent person and Building Regulations sign-off can only be achieved at the end of a project upon presentation of the appropriate certificates.
For complete peace of mind, contact us about your project today.
Q. “Are you insured?”
VP. Yes, we are properly insured through bona-fide insurance organisations, we have a comprehensive public liability insurance set at £5 million and every one of our operatives has a public liability insurance in place at not less than £2 million.
All our clients can rest assured knowing that the highest precautions have been taken to ensure their project is in safe hands.
Q. “Are you VAT registered”
VP. Yes, and we will issue project costs to the client as inclusive of VAT or plus VAT, as appropriate to the client.
Residential property or corporate building engagements – we consider all project enquiries.
Q. “Do you accept cash payments?”
VP. No, we never accept cash payments for any reason.
When considering which contractor to use, do not be tempted by the offer of paying in cash. Your project will need to be signed off by Building Control and all relevant receipts and/or technical certification for the works will be required to achieve this. In addition, if you wish to have peace of mind regarding warranties for the work that has been carried out, it is prudent not to risk a cash arrangement.
Q. “Do you have experience working on period and listed buildings?”
VP. YES. Some of our greatest challenges and success stories have involved very special properties.
Q. “Do you have experience working on agricultural and rural buildings?”
VP. YES. We have considerable experience in this area.
Q. “Do you supply and fit kitchens?”
VP. YES. We are frequently required to provide this service, we are also able to design and specify kitchens.
Q. “Do you buy properties as a developer?”
VP. YES. We are always interested in property development opportunities, why not ask us to consider yours?
Q. “Do you provide any guarantees?”
VP. YES. See our website for general details. We are also able to offer a 10-Year insurance backed warranty scheme, terms and conditions apply full written details on request.
Q. “Do I need a party wall agreement?”
VP. Part of our pre-engagement service is considering whether or not a particular property will require such a document. Why not make an appointment for us to come and see your property and we will give you the answer?
Q. “Can I live at my property during the project?”
VP. YES. It is often possible to live in the property during the process, there are of course areas which may be excluded and this would be a consideration that forms part of our pre-engagement services. Why not engage with us so that we can understand your project and situation.
Q. “Can I change specification of the design or fit-out during the project?”
VP. Yes. It is always possible to make changes during the course of a project. However, changes to the specification and scope of works can lead to increased budget and time consequences. Let us help you to plan your project in advance, minimising the need to make changes as you go along.