After 5 years of deliberation (and some procrastination), we decided to build a new house in Tranmere. The intent started as building a similar house to our previous house but better laid out, and progressively morphed into our "forever house" - if we're doing this, let's go hard, do it once, do it well and do it right.
Our first involvement with Merlin was early in the detailed design phase when our architect invited them in to provide costing and constructability advice. This advice was provided without charge from Merlin and without commi...tment on our part, and was very valuable to us in scoping and designing our house. Once the design was complete, we approached six builders inviting them to express interest in building our house. We short-listed two for initial pricing, one of which was Merlin, whom we eventually selected as we knew them and their pricing was around 10% lower than the other builder. We then went through a relatively transparent pricing phase, during which we were able to negotiate scope and price and eventually an agreed Contract. Merlin was adamant that we should define and include fixed pricing for as much of the scope as possible, which we did, and I'm sure that avoided some potential conflict later. Our experience through the build and handover was, on the whole, highly positive. The underlying attitude was a desire to deliver a quality outcome and achieve the objectives of both parties (we wanted a quality house, and Merlin wanted that plus make a profit and build on their professional reputation). I think we achieved all that in a very collaborative way. When issues arose, as they inevitably do, Merlin were pro-active in recommending solutions and options to help us decide how to resolve them. Most often these were not Merlin's fault, rather arose from errors, inconsistencies or omissions in the documentation that none of us had picked up previously. Occasionally we had to push back on issues that were Merlin's responsibility, but these were generally resolved without angst.
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