On The Construction Site – Building and Architecture

On the construction site today we take a look around the house to see the workmen hard at their jobs, completing the Chelsea house as we speak.

A construction site can be a messy and noisy environment. It is not somewhere you will want to stay for any period of time and your clients will want to spend even less time there for the same reasons!  If you are going to have any meetings with your clients on site, it is a good idea to get these done first thing in the morning and to keep these meetings to a short time. 

Naturally as it is the client’s home, you want to spend time with them and you may well have questions for them. But it is important that you do not delay the builders in their work and you get out of the way when they need you to be out of the way.

Most clients understand this, but sometimes you will need to speed them along, move them in and out of rooms and sometimes convey the sense of urgency that you have.


Deliveries are one of those things that most builders will handle on their own. But it is good for you to know when things are arriving or have arrived so you can check them over visually, just to make sure that the right thing has been delivered.  We are expecting the carpet runner in today and a few other smaller items.

Clients often like to see deliveries coming in and you will feel them watching you whilst you check things over just to see, from their own point of view, that you are doing a good job and getting things done for them efficiently.

Naturally you won’t be around for every single delivery and normally you don’t need to be, but you should make sure that you are up to date with what is happening at the property, if you are to meet your clients there.

Meetings On A Construction Site:

Today, I have a meeting with the client on site to discuss some joinery.  I will also be meeting the carpenter himself to discuss his part of the project. Here are some of the sides of the spray painted joinery drying after the spray paint has been applied..



Today was actually quite a funny meeting. It’s often the way that when you are handling a large and complicated job such as this, you often have a queue of people to see, ask questions, answer questions and clarify issues that have come up.

In this instance, the joiner had a variety of questions and issues which I answered. My workmen know better than to leave the construction site without checking with me, as to whether there is anything else that I want to speak to them about.

My joiner asked me if he could leave the site and I answered with the words ”yes, you may go!”

Somewhat amusingly, the client then asked me the same question and I replied in the same short, curt, dismissive manner “yes, you may go!”

Thankfully we all laughed. You can become flippant when things are fast moving and you are anxious for people to be on their way, getting down to their jobs. And it is not the first time that I have dismissed a client from their own home – but perhaps not quite so crisply as I did this morning!


Carpet Runners – Templating – What’s Involved?

The carpet runner is from a company called Alternative Flooring. They are fairly well known in the UK and provide carpets, rugs and other flooring in a variety of finishes, colours and textures.

Carpets arrive in rolls and this is why it’s important to alert builders and crucially have a space for the carpets to sit whilst other work is going on.

The only reason I have allowed the runner to arrive at this stage is because we have a perfect place for it to go. This is the garage which is attached to the property. it’s currently being used for a variety of things including workmen’s tools and other large items that we cannot accommodate in the house itself. It will actually only be in the property for a matter of hours.

This is because my carpet fitter and installer is coming today to complete the template for the stair runner.

Runners for stairs need to be templated if they are not being fitted edge to edge. That is, right up against the skirting on one side, to right up against the banisters on the other. If you are having a runner with a border, whether that is a cotton tape, suede, leather, or just bound;  you will need to get the templating done a few weeks before the carpet is to be laid.


construction site

No one generally tells you how long things will take unless you ask. When I first started doing this job, I didn’t really have any idea that you couldn’t just get the carpet in and expect the fitter to template, bind, stitch and finish the border; plus install it at the same time.  It may seem crazy but it just didn’t occur to me. Now I know there is a procedure that has to be followed. Very much like curtain making and installing, carpets and runners need to be discussed with the fitter early on.

This means that you can get your fitter and installer into the property and show them where they will be working, so they can give you accurate measurements of how much carpet you will need. You may not have even decided what carpet is going to be in each room. The client may not have even thought about it.

But getting your installer in early is an extremely wise thing to do. Not only will you get a first look at the quote and how much money you will be charged, but you can discuss underlays, piles, edging, thresholds, installation times and even door height with your installer.

He will tell you how long things will take, he will give you advice as to what will work and what won’t work and will also relay his work schedule so you are aware of when you can and cannot book him.

I always ask about holidays and whether someone is going to be available. I always ask how much notice they will need and I will follow this up with either an email or a text message to confirm as and when things go in the diary and things such as carpets are being delivered.

Today my carpet fitter, Lee, will be dragging the roll of carpet into the house chopping it up into the various parts that he will need.  Then he’ll pack it into his van to be taken away to be bound with the cotton tape that the clients have chosen.

Things To Note:

  • The most important thing to note when this is happening is that you will need an empty house for this to take place. It CANNOT take place during the day when the workmen are going up and down the stairs and in an extremely messy building site. It is also for this reason that templating is often done late at night as this was the case today, or it takes place at a weekend when there is no one around to disturb the installer whilst he is working out measurements and quantities that he will be using. Templating should only take a couple of hours, depending on the size of the property, and sometimes it will take a lot less.
  • It is for this reason that often carpet templating is done either right at the beginning of a project or more likely towards the end when all building work has been confirmed and there are no more structural changes to be made. By all means get a quote at the beginning but make sure your fitter comes back once the work has been done so that his measurements are accurate.
  • Remember the onus is on the installer to get this right and you should not disturb him not interrupt him whilst he is doing what he needs to do.  Use this quiet time in the house to see what work has been completed and to make a note of anything that you want to talk to the main contractor about.
  • Take your time with your fitter go through everything with him; including whether carpet is to change from one type to another (as it is in this case) or if you have a bathroom (which has tiles and waterproofing and underlay) and is sitting next to a room with carpet.  Often he will need to order specialist thresholds that will hold both the tiles and the carpet in place.
  • Now is also the time to talk about quality of underlay and what finish you would like the threshold to be. Thresholds are the metal bars that sit on the ground in doorways. They come in a range of finishes from chrome, polished brass, antique bronze and white plastic to name but a few. Make sure you match these to either the carpet or most usually to the power and light switches and sockets.

Once he has all the information that he needs he will probably tell you that it will take between 2 and 3 weeks for the runner to be bound or taped and be ready for installation.

I often ask my fitter whether he will be able to hold my runner just in case I need a few more extra days before the carpet is installed.

Towards the end of a project, things move around in the diary considerably and it is wise to give yourself some leeway as to when you can book in a carpet installation or a runner installation. The house will need to be empty so that the carpet fitter can move from room to room with the enormous amount of excess carpet and underlay that there sometimes is on these projects.

There will be tools on the floor, along with gripper, nails and other sharp objects that you do not want anyone to step on, let alone children. Make sure no one is in the house.

Quite honestly, runners and carpet of any type should be one of the last things ever to enter a property before the furniture comes in. You don’t want anybody stepping on your new carpet, least of all builders completing their snagging lists, running up and down the stairs on your newly installed carpet.  I often speak to my clients and say I’d rather all of your furniture items go in before I put down the stairway runner.