Basement Clerk of Works
 


When I was a young man in construction, large projects would have a clerk of works or a resident engineer. These people represented the client and they had real power.

I worked on a new prison in the 1980s that had one of each. If they rejected your work you did it again replacing the materials at your cost.

But by the 1990s Design and Build had been invented along with the term Turnkey.
  self build basement


From that day on you let a building firm decide what materials they would use and they would look after their own quality. But that proved to be a recipe to choose inferior materials, cut corners and not pay their workers in full. Just think of Grenfell and tower cladding for absolute proof our construction industry is broken. Of 3 of our biggest builders: Carillion is liquidated, Interserve is in administration and Kier cannot afford its debts and has issued several warnings.

In very simple terms I am your clerk of works and I won't take any bull.

You can buy just the supervision so I am your clerk of works / resident engineer,

You can buy my supervision and concrete admixture and I guarantee the concrete.

You can buy my supervision, concrete admixture, rods and nuts plus a bit of training and I will guarantee the concrete and the joints.


To email me for an estimate click this link philsacre@basementexpert.co.uk


What happens without a clerk of works?

It seems to me that work almost always goes badly when the client trusts a builder as main contractor and the builder sub-contracts to a 'basement specialist' because the main contractor doesn't know much about how to build a basement himself.

These photos are basements where I was called to see if I was prepared to help sort out the mess. These basements were built by people who claimed to be 'specialist'. These are not basements I helped to build.


This first 'specialist' told the main contractor, who told the client, that they had only added the 'permitted' amount of water to the concrete when the truck arrived. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as permitted water added to concrete.

I said that they had added so much water the concrete couldn't possibly be waterproof any more, but even worse it will be very much weaker with so much water and it might not be strong enough.

This concrete had so much water added that a lot of the cement washed out to the surface.

The stones deeper down will barely be bonded together.

I have other photos, on other pages, of this commercial basement in Hammersmith that water poured into for 8 years No wonder the internal drainage system kept breaking down.

Quite clearly the sub-contractor did not deliver the concrete into the wall formwork in good condition. As the concrete crashed through the steel reinforcement it coated all the steel and the formwork in cement paste which is why there isn't enough cement paste around the stones at the bottom..

water added to concrete laitance    water added to concrete weak bad workmanship


My Clerk of Works inspection of your Basement Construction.

My usual responsibility is to be there for the concrete pours to make sure the concrete delivered is the waterproof mix ordered and to make sure that it is poured, compacted and cured properly so that the structural concrete is waterproof.

Sometimes I am paid to inspect the steel and joints before the concrete pour as well. Here are two examples of errors I found with the steel reinforcement.

Building Control had swung by earlier, not looked very closely, and approved it.

steel reinforcement error

steel reinforcement error


Here are two photos of concrete pours I supervised. This is the plant room for a swimming pool all of which will be buried.

supervised concrete slab

supervised concrete walls

Every visit to site costs £300, whether a site meeting, clerk of works inspection or supervision.

Honestly, dear reader, my supervision is cheap because it is frighteningly likely that the cost of putting work right or paying for extra products to overcome poor workmanship will cost many times more.



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