In our last article we explained that in our experience the most important step of the garden office buying process is the site visit. The vast majority of garden office suppliers will visit you to discuss your garden office project and they will do this for free.
We say the vast majority because there are a group of suppliers who don’t offer site visits. They learn about what you are wanting to build and details about your site by talking to you on the phone and conducting a digital site visit.
Why don’t all garden office suppliers offer a site visit?
Time and cost is the short answer. Particularly for garden office suppliers who cover the whole of the UK site visits are expensive to undertake, with no guarantee of them getting the job. The days of making a charge for a site visit have long gone.
When asked these suppliers tell us that they would rather pass on the savings they make by not offering site visits to customers in the price of the building.
So, how do they know what you want and assess the site?
If you decide to work with a supplier who doesn’t offer a site visit, you will be able to have detailed phone conversations to discuss your vision for the project. You might be asked to complete a questionnaire to ascertain your preferences.
You will probably find that the garden office designs are quite standard in these situations with limited choices over finish and layout. Each design might only be available in a few standard sizes.
One of the key parts of a site visit is that the site is assessed in regards to a suitable foundation system. Obstacles around the site can be factored in and the access to the site can be assessed.
By not conducting a site visit these suppliers don’t have the opportunity to assess these factors themselves. They say however, that their designs are so flexible that they can overcome any of these problems once on site, without too much trouble.
A digital site survey
Technology now enables these suppliers to undertake a digital site survey rather than a physical one.
You would normally be asked to take detailed measurements of the site. You will be asked to take lots of photos of the site to identify the location of any tress and other obstacles.
You will also be asked to measure and photograph the route from where the lorry would park to the site and identify any height restrictions or tight turns. Its becoming popular for a supplier to ask you to video the route on your phone and send it to them,
Skype has also become a popular tool in a digital site survey.
This puts responsibility on you
Whilst we can see why some suppliers conduct their site surveys this way we feel it puts quite a lot of pressure on the customer.
We feel it is important for you to enquire prior to placing an order who is responsible if a problem crops up once on site – whether that be problems with access to the site or the site conditions in regard to the foundation.
Please ask your supplier about this during your ‘digital site visit’ and read the small print in the terms & conditions.