I managed to twist the arm of Jason Orme to be on my podcast at the end of last year and now I have another Homebuilding & Renovating expert to add to my tally. Serial self-builder David Snell helped answer some of my questions about hiring reliable contractors and subcontractors.
As a man who has completed 13 self-builds over the last 44 years, it was with some irony that I spoke to him in his rented home! However, David certainly hasn’t had a change of heart. In fact the first thing he told me was that living in someone else’s house is an anachronism; should he desire to move or need to move, the next step is always to start looking for a plot of land where he can build. So, it was actually with little irony that I spoke to him in a draughty, cramped cottage on a busy road because this is his temporary accommodation while he completes his 14th and final self-build house.
David had a lot of good information for me and really stressed the importance of recommendations when it comes to selecting a team. Despite his 14th house being in a totally new area, recommendation was still at the centre of his strategy. So after looking online and shortlisting some companies, he checked their previous work and talked to their clients. Also by investing time in finding the key trade, he then got recommendations for tradespeople in other disciplines. This is because people who do a good job tend to stick together.
There’s also a lovely moment in this interview when I ask about ‘bargaining power’ and David cuts me down to size: “This isn’t an Arab souk, this is getting your house built!”