We finally got the OK from Buildstore yesterday morning that the letter the Council has eventually produced would be good enough for our Stage 1 drawdown. This is just as well as we have to pay our foundation contractors half the overall contract value in two weeks.
We’re in the money! Well, strictly speaking, we’re in the money for about two weeks!
We have had such a battle trying to get the right documentation together. Buildstore will only accept either full Building Regulations approval, a Building Warrant or a Notice to Commence Works. We’re currently going through building regs and a Building Warrant is something that you only get in Scotland, so this left us the Notice to Commence Works option.
So our architect wrote to the Council notifying them that work will start in 48 hours. We sent this off to Buildstore together with documentation on other matters so they could see the Council were aware of our build and what was happening.
Buildstore came back to say this wasn’t acceptable as they needed something from the Council stating the work could commence on site, understandable when you think about it. Then the fun started! Our Council don’t just write letters like that, they only write if they’re not happy about something, if everything is going as it should they’re happy just to let it carry on. We tried several other ways but Buildstore were still wanting this particular wording, it could appear in any letter, but had to state that work could commence on site.
Almost at our wits end, our architect contacted the Environmental Officer at the Council who had been out to inspect trial holes and had verbally stated that work could proceed and the foundations could continue, hence effectively signing off the pre-commencement condition (why our architect didn’t do this anyway still remains a mystery). We were confident (well, one of us was!) this would fulfil what Buildstore needed. And we were right.
Two weeks later, a few sleepless nights and a few big important count-ups of our loose change just in case, we got it and Buildstore said yes!
During a conversation with Buildstore today they explained that the lender will now instruct an inspection of all stages prior to the next stage release being draw down. This inspection literally means someone just turning up and checking the foundations are actually there, and then the frame is up etc. They don’t interfere with anything further and will not stop a release unless you’ve been naughty and there is no evidence on site that you have built what you’ve said you’ve built. This is because some self-builders were asking a dodgy architect to sign their Certification of Work forms to say stages had been completed when they hadn’t, and then running off with the money.
I’m telling you this because I think it is very sad, and something else hard working legitimate people have to endure for the sake of the plebs of this world.
We’re looking forward to shedding blood, sweat and tears for our house (only blood to go already by the way!) and having the satisfaction and the scabs to look back on.