Home Renovation – House P Woodmead Springs – 2020

Jukka Construction managed a renovation and alteration project for Mr. Pincus. The scope included remedial work of a previous builder’s efforts. Below is Mr. Pincus’ testimonial.

To Whom It May Concern,

Ashley Svensson is my current building service provider for my home renovation. He is also my second builder which I appointed to take over from the first. Having used two builders with two very different styles of approach and management, I am able to relay my experiences and perhaps through my story some advice.

My starting point for my building project was to build as economically as possible without compromising quality. To achieve this I decided to put together my own building team, negotiate with each individual and organisation, and then manage the project. While the theory of this was good, practically, logistically and economically, this turned out to be a big mistake. In the end, I definitely did not save any money even though I negotiated and sourced everything up front, and the result before I appointed Ashley was disappointing and requires many fix ups.

The simple truth of a successful outcome is not the expertise everyone has (or professes to have), or the ‘savings’ by going direct, but appointing that one individual that becomes the glue for the entire project. That person becomes the person that talks the language of ‘building’ to all the many moving parts of the project, that sets the pace and programme and sticks to this programme, that creates the culture of quality and discipline on site from keeping the site organised and tidy to ensuring everyone is on board with what he expects of each person. Having this one point of contact, engagement and accountability is everything.

My first builder was a lovely man to deal with and I think an honourable person. He also has 40 years’ experience so there’s no lack of knowledge. He has a good team of builders and his pricing was in line with the many quotations I received. So, on the surface this is all good. The problem came with his lack of management, chaotic organisation (I think this is called disorganisation in the extreme), and a lack of good, proactive advice. This resulted in me taking on a much bigger management role which was way out of my comfort zone and level of expertise. I landed up second guessing every decision, and as it turns out rightfully so. Eventually this chaos starts to rub off on all other contractors and with all good intentions you are left with at best a frustrating situation every day and at worst an unmanageable project. Mine was the latter and this resulted in many parts of the project being started but not finished properly. I also landed up losing money in two key areas – the first is that there was always material or finishes  to procure at the last minute which meant there was no time to shop around and ultimately I paid a premium to get things quickly and at the drop of a hat. The second and perhaps biggest cost issue is that I have needed Ashley to fix up so much stuff that wasn’t done properly the first time.

Since Ashley has become my main building contractor and my single point of communication, my renovation has gone from chaotic and unpleasant to smooth sailing and exciting. I’m actually enjoying the building experience. From the outset, Ashley accommodated me with budget, getting things built right first time, offering excellent advice which has either saved me money or provided me with a better solution, and taken control of all aspects of communication with third party contractors. Ashley is also very flexible so where I have chosen to use my own connection to provide a service, Ashley has integrated this as though the service is coming from himself – same commitment and responsibility.

At this point its important to talk about Ashley the individual. Its all very well debating whether one should take on these projects themselves or use a managed building service, but it’s really the individual that makes the difference and not the concept. From my experience Ashley is unique. He is principled and ethical and I see this all the time where he could justifiably bill for every extra I request and where reasonably possible Ashley chooses not to bill. Although he has 20 years’ experience in the industry and very clearly knows what he is doing, he is young and energetic and brings new ideas and new ways of doing things to the project. He is also very kind – we recently had to do work in our living space and Ashley noticed my one son who was writing exams’ was being impacted by this. Ashley made it his priority to make sure my son was looked after and as a parent this meant a lot to both my wife and myself. Like any building project there are curved balls. Ashley is calm and flexible when these curved balls arrive and he ALWAYS has a solution. He is also very honest. Ashley will always say what the real situation is in order to manage expectations and not give false information or false hope just to get you off his back.

This finally leads me to the value one can expect from Ashley.

  • Ashley will work closely with you to accommodate budget and affordability
  • He will design an up front programme that he will stick to and stay on top of
  • Ashley uses different specialist teams for the different requirements which impacts the quality positively – my experience with the previous builder was that he would use the same individuals to multi task so some things were done ok and some not up to scratch
  • Ashley is a true manager of the project and visits the site a minimum of twice daily and sometimes more to ensure things are done properly – My previous builder and those before him provided more of a delivery service dropping off their building teams in the morning and never coming back in the day to inspect the work
  • I have been very impressed with Ashley’s attention to preparation detail. Windows and doors are covered with plastic and all effort goes into ensuring no property is damaged. I can confirm that with my previous builder the lack of this level of attention led to many things being damaged and requiring replacement like some of our stacking door glass which costs a fortune.
  • Ashley provides a safe working environment for the builders and this includes lots of signage around covid and wearing masks
  • Ashley is accountable and takes full responsibility for everything he is tasked with.
  • Ashley positions himself as the go to person in the project so every third party contractor including the architect feeds into Ashley regarding schedules and what needs to be done. This also includes changes and as I mentioned there are always curved balls especially working in a home 30 years old.
  • You can expect an excellent result and the difference in the quality of work between the first builder and Ashley is chalk and cheese.

I never knew Ashley when my architect appointed him and I was sceptical of promises from my previous experience. Today I would not consider doing any building project without Ashley. There is too much that can go wrong and mistakes in this industry are costly. I also trust Ashley and I think its very rare to find a person of such integrity and principle. My advice is don’t make the mistakes I made and use the best building service you can afford – for me this is Ashleys company Jukka. You will save money and time, and most importantly,  you will have no regrets in years to come.

Please feel free to contact me should you require any further information or if you have any questions.

Mark Pincus

For Mark’s contact details, please email admin@jukka.co.za.