Darren Williams was recommended to me by friends in October 2012, who spoke very highly of his work. As it was relatively close to the intended start site, I did have another builder in mind for the job, however as Darren was able to come and meet me on the site of the existing property very quickly I agreed to allow him to quote.
As promised the quote was delivered to me within 36 hours and was the most comprehensive out of all the quotes I had received. Everything was clearly itemised and refreshingly, Darren had been open and honest all the way through about his profit margins on this project. To me this was something I had only ever seen once or twice on property programmes but it helped create an air of openness and trust right from the start.
When looking into Darren’s references, I contacted 3 numbers and, equipped with a list of questions and points to cover, all of them gave fantastic references. In addition to that, one Sunday afternoon Darren drove me to 5 jobs that he had completed so I could see first-hand the quality of his craftsmanship. His professional and organised approach to this aspect of the process was the final evidence I needed to award the job to him.
Since moving into the house in 2005, the plans had been redesigned several times and approval was granted for us to add 2 ensuites, a new master bedroom with walk-in wardrobe, and a large open plan kitchen/diner to include 7.5m of bi-fold doors opening onto a re-landscaped garden.
I had a pretty clear image in my head if what I wanted from this extension – a clean, modern feel inside and outside, however had become a little frustrated with other builders who seemingly struggled to fully share my vision and more importantly to come up with ideas to make things happen within my budget. Right from the first meeting with Darren, he added real value to the project by coming up with a number of innovative ideas that have helped minimize the disruption to the existing house and our way of life during the build, but more importantly “should” enhance the quality of the finished product. Through this, I got a real sense of Darren’s passion and enthusiasm for builds of this nature and I felt that we would work together very well."
I travel abroad a lot with my work so it was important to us that the main contractor was prepared to double up as a project manager at times. Darren has made himself available at all times and has often visited the site at unsociable hours to resolve inevitable issues in a build of this size. He was always available on the end of the phone to answer my questions. To date, Darren has helped to make this project as stress-free as anything of this nature could be.
Network of quality tradesmen
Darren has an extensive network of contacts within the building trade and we have been very happy with the quality of the electrician, plumbing, plastering, rendering and general labouring tradesmen that he has introduced to the job. If you are planning to source your own tradesmen, my advice would be to let Darren have a look at the list of companies and individuals you are considering. If I had done this to ALL cases, I would have saved myself the hassle of dealing with the terrible aluminium window and door company.
Excellent work ethic
Darren and the team have worked through some awful conditions this winter and have kept the site as tidy as humanly possible at all times. They have turned up on time and have been here when they said they would. So much so that we have had a number of comments from local villagers who have been very impressed with their style and approach to the job, and I know that several of them (including our housekeeper and one of my neighbours) are considering using him in the future.
Polite, friendly and considerate
It’s a huge leap of faith to give over your home for such a long period of time and you pray that it works out on both sides. At this moment we could not be happier. Darren has kept the neighbours on-side, and has been particularly invaluable when dealing with the local planning officer and buildings regulations inspector. Also, he shows a tremendous amount of consideration for our family and always thinks of ways he can minimize disruption.
Darren was very open and up-front about the costs for him and his team and agreed that he would source the products where we could benefit from his buying discounts and leave us to buy any speciality items we needed. We agreed a daily rate with Darren and a starting and finishing date. He duly turned up on the start date to do a final survey of the work and materials needed and his team came the next day and started. Darren was a hands on project manager and gave clear instructions to his team who worked with enthusiasm and respect for the fact that they were sharing the property with the owners for the 10 week duration of the rebuild.
One of Darren’s best qualities, apart from his many years experience as a general builder, is his ability to think on his feet. If he encounters a problem he thinks it through carefully and comes up with a number of options to remedy it for the client. In our case it turned out that the wall being taken out between the kitchen and dining room was indeed load-bearing and Darren quickly arranged delivery of a RSJ from a local supplier and fitted it the same day having shored the ceiling up in the meantime.
Darren and his team are perfectionists and we were very satisfied with their standard of work and cleanliness as they tidied up at the end of every day. The additional trades he hired such as plasterer, plumber and electrician also arrived punctually and carried out their work to the highest standard. Overall we are highly satisfied with the job Darren did and look forward now to living in our modernised home for many years to come.