The Temple Guiting House project: Ford Construction expert insight

Ford Construction continues to make a name for itself for quality, which inspired us to find out more about The Temple Guiting House, one of the individual projects in the Cotswolds helping build its enviable reputation.

Looking to establish and grow a bespoke building firm in Gloucestershire’s super-competitive field of construction is no easy feat, but it’s made far easier if you win work regularly from referrals.

Ford Construction, based near Cheltenham, receives a healthy number from those that matter – architects whose work inspires and challenges in equal measure – such as its Temple Guiting House project.

About the expert – Harry Ford, Ford Construction

Harry Ford started Ford Construction in 2019 after two decades-plus in the construction industry, and with his name also pinned to the mast, every job has been personal from the start.

To date, that attention to detail has delivered the payback both he and his customers are after – and it has built a valuable reputation with a select number of architects. Word has spread into the commercial world too. But despite the pressure, meeting the customer’s expectations and more remains as big a thrill as ever.

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Why did the client pick Ford Construction for the Temple Guiting House project?

This project came to us through a tendering process, sent by one of our local architects. We are lucky enough to have a fantastic working relationship with many Cotswold designers who have previously used our services and enjoy working with our team throughout the building process.

Once we had the brief, we arranged an on-site meeting with the client to discuss their vision and get a feel for the property. To us, it’s incredibly important to get to know our clients’ personalities, as this really streamlines our communication and helps us tailor our service to their needs.

I think that, generally, this helps our clients see the sort of company we are – honest, reliable and with a real passion for what we do.

What was the brief from the client?

The property itself is a stunning set of listed buildings located in a rural Cotswold village. It was absolutely vital to the client, conservation and to us, that the extension and renovation of The Granary be sympathetic to its surroundings and in keeping with the Manor House.

Was it a straightforward brief, or did you need to work with the client to develop the idea?

Every brief is different and has unique quirks. Whilst we are comfortable working with the challenges of listed buildings such as this, I think we all knew that the end result would be phenomenal. The main challenge in this instance was effectively creating an addition and renovation that fitted in with its 18th century siblings, whilst simultaneously being able to tailor the journey and alter the design to suit the client along the way.

Was there a time frame in which the client needed the work completed by and how were you able to meet that?

With this project, the client wanted to have moved in by her birthday; a challenge that we successfully met. It was a wonderful situation to work alongside; another family member was moving into the main house and it felt incredibly special to see the generations of buildings creating space for the generations of the family.

It took us around four months to convert, refurbish and extend The Granary and I hope that our client was truly happy celebrating in her new home.

If a brief does prove to be more challenging than the client might imagine, how does Ford work this through and manage expectations so the project can be brought to the start line and everyone is happy?

We are totally focused on communication, from start to finish. We will always do our best to manage the client’s expectations, whether it’s in regard to budget or time frame. We try to be totally transparent as it helps to build a level of trust between contractor and client that is absolutely vital, particularly when dealing with a property with such emotional value.

What are the benefits for a client of choosing a builder like Ford Construction that can manage a job from start to finish?

We are one point of call, one team and we are all working together to achieve the same goal; a fantastic finished project. There are so many elements involved in a project like this and each one ties into another.

Having a streamlined chain of communication, particularly with interiors in mind, any design changes can be easily accommodated and there is far more flexibility than having to rearrange or replan a mass of individual trades.

We understand that a client’s taste, style or vision might change as the project progresses. Having the ability to react to and embrace these changes along the way is something that we really excel at.

Few building projects are without their challenges. Was there something on this particular job which had to be overcome and how did you do that?

Our biggest challenge with this project was matching new materials to old. New stone simply does not look like old stone so we had to distress each one to ensure that we fitted the brief. It obviously took a lot more time than using off-the-shelf stone but it was so very worth it in the end.

What did the project achieve for the client?

This project allowed a family the chance to unite within one property whilst giving them a separate space under different roofs. For our client, we lived and breathed her vision for four months and, in the end, she has her dream home.

What are you most proud of when looking back at this particular job?

I can’t even begin to describe how beautiful it is. There are so many elements that could easily be the highlight of this project. What I think it really all comes down to is the craftsmanship of the team.

Walking into The Granary, you can’t help but be astonished by the bespoke joinery to the lime rendering and the bespoke fireplaces adding character and artistry to every room. Of course, I am thrilled with the end project, and knowing how proud our client is of her home is the reason why we do this job and give it our everything.

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© SoGlos
Tuesday 27 July 2021

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