It was fate that brought Kantec to James Barclay’s Teddington home, where he lives with his wife and two sons. We were undertaking the refurbishment of a listed building further down Park Road, which was a very large, high-pressure project. James lived round the corner. ‘We were looking for builders to do our extension anyway, and I’d seen their boards further up the road and had watched the progress,’ said James. When a member of the team parked right outside his house, James asked for a business card and the relationship began.
James’s original plan had been to put a new bedroom on top of an existing ground-floor extension to give his family of four a room for guests. However, after assessing the build quality, we advised him that the foundations weren’t suitable and that the best option would be to do a double extension, replacing the existing ground floor.
With two young boys in the house, James was pleased with how the build team worked hard to keep the site in order. ‘I liked how they were very focused on site safety and site tidiness when they were here,’ he said. ‘It was great to have the site sealed from the inside, so it could only be accessed from the outside. My seven year old was fascinated by the whole thing. The site foreman, Andrew, had all the time in the world for him, to tell him what they were doing.’
We were able to deal with a number of issues on this project, due to the knowledge and ability of the build team. We faced some problems with the floor levels drawn up by the architect, as there wasn’t enough head height. We adjusted the stairs to fix the problem, without the schedule being significantly affected. James, who works from a garden office, was always around, which enabled us to raise any issues as and when they occurred.
‘They were very focused about keeping me informed about what they’d done,’ said James. ‘They would come to me with any issues immediately, so nothing ever dragged on. You could see them progressing every day. I’ve never seen people work so hard. They were very focused.’
Many of our clients are able to live, and in James’s case work, at home while their renovations are taking place. ‘For us it’s about clever, effective project management,’ said Director Suk Grewal. ‘Before we start we always know how we’re going to service the client staying in the house. If we hadn’t had that conversation in advance, it would be a disaster. We’re able to section parts of the house off so that it’s still liveable for the client. When the build starts, everybody’s aware of the boundaries in terms of where they can go and where they can’t.’
‘They put up boards where the doors used to be,’ said James. ‘We weren’t particularly inconvenienced, except we had a bit less space to muck about in for a few months. They did what they had to do to make it as easy for us and for them as they could.’
As with all of our projects, the quote provided to James was for a plastered finish. ‘James was keen for the construction to be solid and long-lasting,’ said Suk. ‘That’s why he wanted to use Kantec.’ We then introduced James to a decorator to finish both the interior and exterior of the job.
“Their attention to detail in every aspect was excellent, from the quotation to the finishing, and everything in between.”
‘They finished it to such a high standard on the outside, that once we’ve got the rest of the exterior painted, you wouldn’t know at all which was new. It’s an old house and they were very careful to match the style of the finishing to what was already there.’ With works completed in January 2015, the family have been enjoying their extended home. ‘We love the extra space,’ said James, ‘it makes the house feel so much bigger. It’s made a huge difference to us. The extra bedroom is great, and the downstairs room is warm rather than cold!’
‘They never dropped the ball once, which I thought was very impressive,’ James said of his Kantec experience. ‘They were so far and away the best people who even came round to quote – it was embarrassing for the other builders. It gave me enormous confidence that they were going to do the job right, which of course they did. Their attention to detail in every aspect was excellent, from the quotation to the finishing, and everything in between. If anyone came to me I’d tell them not to look at anyone else.’
And we’re pleased to say it wasn’t just James that was happy, the family dog also had a soft spot for the team. ‘She loved Andrew because he used to feed her bits of food in the morning – she put on a bit of weight!’