- The subcontractor (Damian) was quick and efficient both in building the loft and in responding to our queries and to emergencies.
- Design. In the design phase we kept getting designs with no explanation whatsoever. It took a lot of time to ask for even minor modifications. We were never in touch with the actual architect and we could never discuss the project with anyone. WIth no support, in retrospect, we definitely made sub-optimal choices.
- Application:. Total chaos. Someone from A1 was in touch with the council and there was a continuous back and forth with no clarity at all about what was OK or not. For sure the council added to the confusion, but we got no guidance at all from A1. What is even worse is that we were locked in into a 4K contract, that meant that if the planning application were to be refused, we would have had to pay A1 the full amount anyway. Ridiculous.
A1's role was basically to collect the money. Perhaps they arranged the materials and scaffolding. I don't really know.
In the contract they talk about a "quality inspector" but this inspector is actually the main subcontractor. Ridiculous again.
In the sales pitch they talk about the quality of their materials and roofing. All not true. Materials are the same as any other basic loft company. The special roofing technology was not installed. The walls of the loft are just a cheap insulation layer plus wood. They did not do any work on the roof at all, just built the box inside. The "standard" windows were cheap run-of-the-mill PVC double glazed with thick frames.
In the rare instances when A1 were involved, chaos ensued.
We had a chimney stack that had to be removed. We discussed it during the sale phase. We asked for confirmation that it was included in the price.
Of course when it came to actually doing the job A1 forgot to tell the contractors that the chimney had to be preserved, did not include supporting in the structural calculations. Then they come up with a story that the council was fine with us removing the chimney. When I asked for written confirmation from the council, they changed their story, and suggested we built a fake replica. Which they did. They tried to have us pay for the replica extra but luckily I had kept the e-mails where they confirmed they would take care of it. The replica by the way looks nothing like the original chimney. It's basically a box.
We were clear again from the sales pitch that we had to install a misting system on the ground floor. We also told the contractors. Of course nobody did anything to contact the misting system company until we pushed A1 for it. A1 had the contact of just one company, that they just started working with. So we had to look for extra quotes ourselves. Thankfully the contractor coordinated well with them.
- The end result: just a run-of-the-mill loft conversion for about 10K extra compared to the competitors. I was fooled by the promises of quality. Don't make the same mistake.
Some examples: stairs are really small, the supporting steel for the loft protruding from the wall into the stairs, making the stairs ultra tight, the hatch doors are not insulated at all and started creaking from day one, the windows are way smaller than they could be even if they promised to install the largest that would fit, the sockets are completely not insulated at the back.