Tradesman of the month: April
Groundworks specialist tradesman Andrew McMullan tells us all about his business, Hilldean Construction, and hints on dealing with the materials for a project...
Hilldean Construction is based in Whitwick, Leicestershire.
Tell us a little about yourself
I went into groundworks and foundations straight from school and worked my way up to attain the position of groundworks foreman. In the past I ran sites for some of the UK's biggest house builders and I have worked on large civil engineering projects too. As a result there is virtually no area of groundworks I haven't experienced.
In 2007, I decided to set up Hilldean Construction which was impeccably timed to coincide with the start of the recession! Luckily my dad gave up his semi-retirement to help me and by using Rated People I've been able to show new customers my ratings and get more work that way.
For those of us starting a new project, what's your tip?
In most cases a tradesman will buy all the materials for the job that they have been recruited for. They can source them quickly and easily which takes the pressure off you and in most circumstances the tradesman will only request a payment from the homeowner once they are satisified with the goods.
Remember that payment upfront for materials would not account for any wastage or mistakes that are made so account for this in your payment schedule. In some instances where the homeowner is also the project manager, they may want to buy all the materials for their project. But even in this instance, it's worth asking your contractor for advice about which materials are best for the job.
Finally, what are the three golden rules for your trade?
- Dig deep enough. Many of the problems in groundworks, be it with house foundations or a sinking patio, are caused by not digging down to solid ground.
- Dig out the topsoil. Never build anything on top of topsoil. Things will grow through the drive or the slabs or whatever it is you are building. It will also very likely sink.
- Work safely. Groundworkers often work in a dangerous environment; down a deep hole or with powerful machinery so you need to work safely at all times and be aware of your situation.