Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Budget crisis!

So, the crisis of the month is upon us. We finally (finally finally, bloody finally) received a quote from the happy chappy who's going to be doing the landscaping. A trifle late, considering the bloody construction's under way, but then that's also a lesson learned; it's no skin off anyone's nose 'cept yer own if they quote late, 'cos yer still got to pay, right? And the later the quote, the more committed you are to that particular supplier.


Anyways, the finalised landscaping quote came in at CHF 105,000... (about 45,000 quid) and that's CHF 40,000 more than the preliminary quote we received from the same fellow a few months ago. And as the overall project was already CHF 90,000 over budget, yer can imagine how our hearts sank. We now had a CHF 130,000 mountain in front of us. Oo-er.

Anyways, while I updated the cost spreadsheet (tap tap tap, panic panic panic) Claudia hit the 'phone to inform Herr Landscaper, in her coy Swiss winsome way, that both the lateness and size of the quote was unacceptable, and he'd better think again, or else, or else, or else, erm... or else she'd be very very disappointed! Oh yes.

And it worked, to my surprise.

The following day we had an emergency meeting with Herr Arkitekt (he of the bow tie) and Herr Landscaper, both of which were looking somewhat contrite. Turns out the massive increase was due to the scope-creep of the 15 metre wide wall that'll be supporting our parking area (see various graphics below). This has grown (on paper) from being about 1.5 metres high, up and up and up, until it peaked at 3.3 metres high. What had been a good sensible wall that we could cover with virginia creeper and whatnot, had become a veritable cliff face. We'd need a funicular railway just to get to the sodding cars.

And the net result according to the pair of 'em? Well, the material for a bloody big wall like that costs money, and lots of it. And the foundations under it costs money, and plenty more. And all of it involves lots of work, which is still more dosh. Smaller wall equals smaller foundations equals less work equals smaller quote. Oh, and they have an idea which would look better anyway. Come see! Yes, from the top of a smaller wall the land could slope upwards to the parking area, and yer can grow pretty plants and stuff there. Aesthetically, it'll be a real boost, says them. And yer have the chance to relocate the steps to the side which'll look much much better. In fact, creatively speaking, they're really very enthusiastic about the ambience that the new solution'll bring to that immediate area. A real lift. Oh yes, a real boost.

"Sod all that ambience stuff", quoth I, "how much cheaper?"

"Dunno", sez them, "we need to cost it."


Sooooo, Claudia and I left the meeting feeling a little better. But we decided we'd better do something radical to bring this CHF 130,000 budget over-run under some sort of control.

We reckoned we could could count on about CHF 25,000 from the Smaller Wall Solution, which would be a start. We can also stall the car port (CHF 20,000) until the following autumn 'cos the snows'll have melted by the time we move in (and possibly the soddin' ice-caps). And we decided to reduce the fancy plastering work in the infamous Bastelraum (yep that room) which should save us another CHF 15,000. So that comes to (counts on fingers) a total save of CHF 60,000, which means we're 'only' CHF 70,000 over budget. How to cover that? Well, we've already put my BMW X5 up for sale (wanna buy it?) to realise the capital, which is half way there. Oh, the sacrifices one has to make... erm, actually yer shouldn't feel too sorry for me, 'cos another newer X5, leased, arrived last week. And this one's got Sat-Nav, Heh heh heh.

Ahhhh, everything back under budgetary control (And a new car for your trulys, to boot).

And then last night (Stop press!) we had the first budgetary nice surprise of the project: the new quote for the Smaller Wall Solution arrived. The rethink had reduced the quote from the 'final' CHF 105,000 to the final final CHF 70,000. (It had better be) That's about CHF 10,000 better than we'd hoped, so we're down to a 'mere' CHF 60,000 budget over-run.


So we now have to decide whether to reprieve the Bastelraum plastering or the car port. Or do we go for the fancy CHF 15,000 wooden decking for our garden terrasse? Or do we do the lot? Hmm, can't imagine how people get into such a mess with their budgeting...

And progress since last week? Well, the concrete base that the Keller'll slot onto has been plonked into the Big Hole... and the Keller itself should arrive later this week from the Huf factory in Hartenfels. In theory we'll have our Keller installed by the end of this week. Wow.

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