MIK wrote:Hi guys
Can someone give me some pricing references about renovation. Timing, general availability of workers and materials. Were you able to find good materials or should I consider to import them?
I did a search on the forum but I did not find any thread apart windows and heating.
My main concern is the roof.
Unfortunately, you don't show your Bulgarian location otherwise, I/we might be able to recommend certain suppliers.
. You will find a thread on this as I remember us discussing the labour cost per square metre. However, no need to import tiles from the UK unless you get a fantastic bargain in Wickes or somewhere as all of the BIG DIY Sheds carry loads of bathroom and floor tiles from Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, Spain a China. I have a mix of rather expensive German floor tiles, Spanish and Bulgarian kitchen/bathroom tiles. The biggest Bulgarian producer is KAI Group and they have a website in English language too, (if I remember correctly). I've had both English & Bulgarian tilers working on my house and the only difference was that the English chap was faster, but far more expensive than my Bulgarian tilers. English worked on a job price the Bulgarian on a daily rate as most can't work out a job price for love nor money.
. Again, there must be threads on this subject, the usual arguments about the standards of labour from Bulgarian and/or British sparkies. I personally used an English electrician with a recognised ticket that charges very similar to Bulgarian prices in the Yambol area. I hear that there are some good Bulgarian sparkies too, but I recall us arguing on here about the EU standards, Ring Mains and whatever so, the information is here somewhere.
. Again, I used a Bulgarian plumber for all my water supply and connections although, I bought all of my sanitary ware in one of the big German DIY sheds. I don't know if they're more expensive here than back in the UK, but again, you can buy Bulgarian through to the top Italian brands if your budget fits. We used plastic piping for most of our plumbing as copper is expensive. Again, if you want copper piping and you see a great offer on eBay or similar then, it might be worth buying it and all the connections in the UK.
. I started my house build with two English guys and they sub-contracted a Bulgarian team of two men to make and fit all the roof trusses and joists and affix them to the ring beam. After that, it is not rocket science to have some decent workers/builders do the OSB (Sterling or Stirling board sheeting, treat it affix the roofing felt, battens, roofing tiles and guttering. Roofing tiles here appear to be local manufacture or, from Turkey/Greece etc. There are millions of second-hand ones lying about, folk can't get rid of them. I saw some advertised this week in the ALO paper for 0.10 Lev each, but beware that some can be distorted. I bought new as it is a new house and I use the old ones under gravel to keep weeds from popping through.
. Varies greatly, the tiling thread shows as low as 8 Lev per sq. metre using a Bulgarian to 55 Lev per square metres using a Brit. You won't get a Bulgarian 'independent' (I mean cash in hand) worker to sign any document and has been shown on here, the contract means nothing when it all goes wrong. My BEST advice is to be on-site during the building process, don't rely on agents or friends as they won't be there all day long. I'll give you two examples of what CAN happen. Someone I know had a Bulgarian firm to renovate their house. Everything looked fine, they paid the firm. First time it rained heavily, water came in through part of the new tiled roof - why, because they had run out of roofing felt and just put the roof tiles on without it. Another one, an English guy leaves two Bulgarian workers to do some concrete steps (I think it was steps) he goes back and finds out that they forgot to put the reinforcing bar in. Okay, this guy is honourable, smashed up all the concrete and did it again properly, but many would not.
I prefer to pay for all the materials myself, transport costs here are HIGH and if I had to do it all again then, I would buy a cheap UK flat-bed and get my own sand, cement, bricks or whatever. I prefer as do my Bulgarian workers to receive a daily 8 hour flat rate. I pay 40 Lev per day, but I have paid as low as 25 Lev per day. You can see if they're working or shirking, but my guys are so glad to have the income that they work well and put in a shift. Don't get me wrong, we ALL make mistakes, but being on-site allows early rectification. If you ever see my house, you'd ask, why is that outlet pipe for the toilet on the exterior wall and not under the foundations! Answer, because two English builders forgot to put it in. They swore blind that it was there somewhere, but it wasn't so, I had to find another route.
We live and we learn.
I prefer to use individuals for set tasks as opposed to one building team for everything. It can work out cheaper or, more expensive. If you give your location you will no doubt be inundated with loads of offers and recommendations, but everything can be sourced here and done to a very good standard if you choose the right workers. Hope that helps you somewhat.