Oak frame home in Cornwall

Best Architect or Designer for a Self Build Project – Build It Awards

By | News

Best architect or designer for a self build project – Build It Awards

 

We’ve been shortlisted for the Best Architect or Designer for the Self Build Project Build It Award!

Build It said “Complete Oak Home provided a superb level of service – from specialist advice on cost control, energy efficiency and ecology through to sophisticated contract management to walk the couple through their project.”

Our client says, “As a skeptical individual who wondered what real value an architect would add to the process, you made us consider design options that we simply would never have thought about. The result is a home beyond our expectations! Your skill and expertise throughout the Contract Administration phase have saved us thousands of pounds and has de-stressed the build process. Thank you!”

Read more about this stunning Cornish oak frame home here: https://thecompleteoakhome.co.uk/portfolio/upside-down-oak-frame-house-in-rural-cornwall/

If you’d like to vote for us then please click the button below. We would really appreciate it!

Get More Valuable Information About Building Your Dream Home

Would you like to receive valuable advice & tips from us, giving you crucial information to help you with your self-build project? If so, sign-up to receive our weekly email, or join our community over on Facebook where we run live expert sessions and more!

Our cost control process gives clients their lifetime home

IN BUILD

Upside down oak frame house in rural Cornwall

COMPLETED

Contemporary oak frame home designed for clients overseas

NEAR COMPLETION

HERE'S WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY:

Initially our feeling was one of relief and disbelief! A unanimous committee decision was far more than we had expected. It has still not properly sunk in nearly a week on. We feel as though our first assessment of what could be achieved on the site has been vindicated with the expertise of The Complete Oak Home and their planning team.

G & S HUNT

Having steered our project through challenging planning issues, Andy and his team worked tirelessly to ensure our new home is both what we wanted and within our means.

N RISDALE

I just want to say a huge thank you for today. You were really professional and it was a pleasure to watch. We have taken it as a positive result, albeit a delay, but I guess that’s a function of this business as well as mine! You are a real asset and we are so happy with everything you do for us, worth every penny.

D & K SMITH

Oak frame home whole front perspective

The Difference Between A Timber Frame House & An Oak Frame House

By | Build process, Design

Timber Frame Or Oak Frame?

The wonderful thing about an oak frame is that it can be incorporated into almost any form of house construction, including timber frame, to bring a warmth and character unachievable in any other way.

Including oak frame into your timber frame house doesn’t need to be an all or nothing decision. The use of elements of oak frame in key areas can add a wow factor to the hallway, master bedroom or living area.

HERE'S WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY:

The Complete Oak Home offer something rather different, not oak frame manufacturers but oak frame experts who design & build oak frame homes. 

HOMEBUILDING & RENOVATING MAGAZINE

The one thing that has enabled us to progress is I believe finding a company that is prepared to partner with us from the very beginning and take us through planning, design/costing, tendering and build through to completion (or to any stage along the way). The Complete Oak Home offers us a way of achieving our dream by undertaking those tasks for us. 

M SMITH - KEARY

We have both had a good look at the designs and we absolutely love them. It hugely exceeds our expectations and for this we are truly thankful of your superbly impressive work! We are so excited to think that this could be ours - you are very talented indeed.

D SMITH

Timber Frame, Oak Frame, Panelised or Stick Frame; Which Is Which?

Oak frame is a structural frame that is visible inside the house (and occasionally outside), it’s made of large section oak and is chosen for the warm and characterful aesthetic it brings to the house.

Panelised systems are made from small section (150mm x 50mm) softwood and sheet timber (like ply wood) that make up the walls of a house. They encapsulate the insulation, they can be pre-fabricated off site or fabricated on site. In an oak framed house they are often used to wrap around the oak frame to create the walls.

Panelised systems also come either open or closed. An open system doesn’t have the inner board fitted so that insulation can be installed on site. A closed system does have the inner board fitted and the insulation, vapour barriers and membranes are installed in the factory.

Stick frame is often used when referring to a panelised system that is fabricated on site.

People tend to use Timber frame as a generic term to refer to any of the above.

Timber Frame Systems

Timber framed systems have earned a rightful reputation as an economic and fast form of construction.

Having been fabricated off site, from drawings provided by the designer, panelised systems or kits arrive on site once the ground work is complete. This enables the self-builder to get wind and weather tight quickly.

If we’ve designed oak frame into your house we’ll ensure that it works seamlessly with the timber frame.

Timber frame kits come in all sorts of guises, open panel, closed panel, structural, non-structural, pre-fabricated or on site fabrication. The one best suited to your project will depend on a plethora of options, how much insulation you want, what type of insulation you want, which offers the most efficient solution, site conditions, access and so on.

When you’re working with us we’ll talk you through the options and help you make an informed choice.

How Much Will A Timber Frame House Cost Me?

One of the first things you are likely to want to know is how much an oak timber frame house is likely to cost you. Because of the nature of self-building a new house you won’t be able to get a fixed price on day one. It is an iterative process that should run alongside the development of the design for your house. However you’ll need to know if your project and budget are feasible and we can certainly give you some guidance.

Our cost control process gives clients their lifetime home

IN BUILD

Upside down oak frame house in rural Cornwall

COMPLETED

Contemporary oak frame home designed for clients overseas

NEAR COMPLETION
Rear perspective of modern family home with character

Successful Planning Appeal for Project in AONB & CNCA

By | News, Planning

Successful planning appeal for project in AONB & CNCA

 

Our clients came to us with a garden plot in the centre of an historic Cotswold market town. They wanted to build a bespoke house with lots of character, a bit of quirkiness, plenty of natural stone, to create a warm, homely environment for their family.

Being in the centre of a Cotswold town, sitting in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and within a designated Conservation Area, getting planning permission for this project was always going to be a challenge. It was going to require a well-considered design, a strong planning statement to justify the development and, as proved to be the case, a good deal of tenacity.

Our architectural team love getting our clients fully engaged in the design process and this was no exception. With one of our clients frequently working abroad, setting up online meetings and sharing screens with them enabled them to fully contribute to the design process.

IF YOU HAVE A PLOT, AND WOULD LIKE TO TALK TO ONE OF OUR PROJECT ADVISORS ABOUT GETTING PLANNING PERMISSION, BUDGETING, BUILDING COSTS OR ANYTHING ELSE RELATING TO BUILDING A BESPOKE HOME, SCHEDULE A CALL HERE TO PICK OUR BRAINS!

Following what was initially considered to be fairly positive feedback from the planning authority through the pre-planning application process, we submitted a full planning application. Unfortunately, once the proposals were in the public domain several local people rallied to oppose the scheme. As is sometimes the case we took a strategic view and withdrew the application to address some of the concerns raised.

A second planning submission was made which sadly attracted further objections which we felt were unjustified. However, as is sometimes necessary we advised the client to allow the planning application to run its course so that the planning officers report would be available to us. This provides officers reasons for (in this case) refusal. In turn this gives us the potential to submit a further application addressing these specific issues or an appeal.

The principal reasons for this refusal:

  1. That the character and appearance of the scheme failed to conserve and enhance the landscape and scenic beauty of the Cotswold’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
  2. That the scheme failed to preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the Chipping Norton Conservation Area (CNCA)

We believed that the reasons for refusal were unfounded and advised our client to appeal against the decision, requesting the Planning Inspector review the reasons for its refusal.

The Planning Inspector agreed with us that the design was high-quality which will indeed enhance the landscape and scenic beauty of the AONB, and the character of the Conservation Area.

In April 2019 we were successful in winning the appeal and getting planning permission for this detached dwelling in the Cotswolds.

Our client says, “thank you for everything throughout the battle, makes the win very satisfying indeed!!”

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Get More Valuable Information About Building Your Dream Home

Would you like to receive valuable advice & tips from us, giving you crucial information to help you with your self-build project? If so, sign-up to receive our weekly email, or join our community over on Facebook where we run live expert sessions and more!

Our cost control process gives clients their lifetime home

IN BUILD

Upside down oak frame house in rural Cornwall

COMPLETED

Contemporary oak frame home designed for clients overseas

NEAR COMPLETION

HERE'S WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY:

Initially our feeling was one of relief and disbelief! A unanimous committee decision was far more than we had expected. It has still not properly sunk in nearly a week on. We feel as though our first assessment of what could be achieved on the site has been vindicated with the expertise of The Complete Oak Home and their planning team.

G & S HUNT

Having steered our project through challenging planning issues, Andy and his team worked tirelessly to ensure our new home is both what we wanted and within our means.

N RISDALE

I just want to say a huge thank you for today. You were really professional and it was a pleasure to watch. We have taken it as a positive result, albeit a delay, but I guess that’s a function of this business as well as mine! You are a real asset and we are so happy with everything you do for us, worth every penny.

D & K SMITH

Oak frame home sketch

Launching Our Self-Build Video Series

By | Are we the right fit?, Build process, Contract, Costs, Design, FAQs, News, Planning, Risks, Value, Videos

Creating the Self-Build Video Series

 

We have created a how to build a house course for our clients. Many clients come to us completely in the dark about the whole process of building a house. They often find that a lot of resources out there are unreliable, outdated, and not realistic. We are completely committed to providing our clients with plenty of help and thoughts this would be the perfect time to create a video series giving them all the information they need through their home-building journey.

Our main objective that we wanted to achieve through this project was to provide solid and easy to understand information and to be a company which our clients would come to for self-build resources.

We set out to plan out the content we wanted to include for our viewers. Using our road map as a guidance, download here for FREE (link Road Map freebie), we listed the process which a typical client goes through to get their dream home. We then broke it down into 9 separate topics as follows:

  • Design and Build Process
  • Project Appraisal
  • Up To Planning
  • The Planning Process
  • The Construction Package
  • Value Engineering
  • Tender Vs Negotiated Process
  • Build Contract
  • The Role of a Contract Administration

Everything you need to kick-start your turnkey bespoke home project.

Why we created it

The aim of creating this video was to give people information they may not already have. We want our viewers to be confident they know what is involved in the process of building a house, including the risks and pitfalls. There’s a huge misconception from builders about what goes on behind the scenes who often make the process sound very straight forward, quick, and often refer to unrealistic costs. Sadly, that’s not always the case. We go above and beyond to make sure you’re leaving your screen with confidence of how to build a house. We give you an accurate portrayal of all the different steps involved, and guidance and advice to make sure you’re working towards a realistic time and budget.

 

How we created it

Although we have used our own resources before this for creating videos for our Youtube channel, we concluded that this was to be more successful with a professional videographer who could provide the equipment as well as the editing skills. We felt this would be more suitable for what we were envisioning for the videos. Green Kiwi Productions was recommended to us and, after looking at their work and discussing their offerings, we felt confident they could deliver what we were looking for. They offered a very casual approach to presenting the videos which was exactly what we were after.

Working alongside Green Kiwi Productions, we discussed various ideas and ways to present this. The key priority was to make it personal and in a casual setting. We wanted to give it a quite informal approach and keep them short and to the point so that our audience would remain captivated and understand the information.

If you haven’t yet discovered our self-build video series but would like to sign up to receive them for free then please click below!

IF YOU HAVE A PLOT, AND WOULD LIKE TO TALK TO ONE OF OUR PROJECT ADVISORS ABOUT GETTING PLANNING PERMISSION, BUDGETING, BUILDING COSTS OR ANYTHING ELSE RELATING TO BUILDING A BESPOKE HOME, SCHEDULE A CALL HERE TO PICK OUR BRAINS!

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Get More Valuable Information About Building Your Dream Home

Would you like to receive valuable advice & tips from us, giving you crucial information to help you with your self-build project? If so, sign-up to receive our weekly email, or join our community over on Facebook where we run live expert sessions and more!

Our cost control process gives clients their lifetime home

IN BUILD

Upside down oak frame house in rural Cornwall

COMPLETED

Contemporary oak frame home designed for clients overseas

NEAR COMPLETION

HERE'S WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY:

The team worked with us throughout the duration of our project, from the early design stages through to completion. We now have a wonderful oak framed home which we’ve been delighted to show to many other clients.

K HANSON

Because we used an architect first who was absolutely useless. He didn’t listen to us at all or give us a design that we wanted. In fact his design was so poor that I could have drawn it myself or just copied it straight from the internet. When we spoke to The Complete Oak Home you actually listened to us and provided us with a design that met all of our requirements.

B MERRON

We have both had a good look at the designs and we absolutely love them. It hugely exceeds our expectations and for this we are truly thankful of your superbly impressive work! We are so excited to think that this could be ours - you are very talented indeed.

D SMITH

Picture showing rows of lavender in a field with a sunset in th ebackground

Design Features We Love For 2019

By | Design

Design Features We Love For 2019

 

One of the biggest advantages to building your own oak frame home, is being able to design and create a home that suits you and your lifestyle. Another one of our favourite advantages of a self-build project though, is being able to incorporate the latest styles and trends into your new home.

What is better than creating a space that is 100% you, but that is also at the forefront of the latest trends and feels modern and stylish too?

Here are some of the newest home design trends to look out for in 2019:

Oak Frame Homes

Oak frame homes are a growing trend year on year. An oak frame home offers you the beautiful character and personality of an older or more traditional home, but has all the benefits of a brand new build, with a bespoke design tailored exactly for the way you want to live.

Floral Materials

Using floral materials around the house is a big trend for 2019. Floral materials add texture to a space, bringing the outside in, and really harmonising the nature and landscape surrounding a home with the interior decor.

IF YOU HAVE A PLOT, AND WOULD LIKE TO TALK TO ONE OF OUR PROJECT ADVISORS ABOUT GETTING PLANNING PERMISSION, BUDGETING, BUILDING COSTS OR ANYTHING ELSE RELATING TO BUILDING A BESPOKE HOME, SCHEDULE A CALL HERE TO PICK OUR BRAINS!

Eco Features

We spoke about this in more detail in our eco friendly design tips post, and we’re seeing more and more people taking an interest in eco design features. Caring about the planet, energy usage and sustainability is becoming extremely popular and making your home more eco-friendly has never been more in vogue.

Bold Colours

Bold colours will be the popular choice of the year, so if you’re looking for a bold statement to bring into your new home, this might be your style. Bold colours such as blue, red, and even black, will add a striking effect to a space. We love seeing people incorporate more dramatic colours into their homes.

Concrete Accents

2018 might have been the year of ‘brass’ but 2019 will be the year of concrete. Concrete creates a real statement in a house and a beautiful contrast by using the right materials to match the concrete effect. The simple yet classic and industrial feel of concrete is what’s making it such a popular choice for 2019. You can bring it into your home in a variety of ways: using concrete kitchen worktops, flooring, or even lighting. 

We are very happy to work with you, or your interior designer if you have one, to incorporate the design features you would like into your scheme. If you’d like to find out how we could work together, please call us on 01249 479891. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Get More Valuable Information About Building Your Dream Home

Would you like to receive valuable advice & tips from us, giving you crucial information to help you with your self-build project? If so, sign-up to receive our weekly email, or join our community over on Facebook where we run live expert sessions and more!

Our cost control process gives clients their lifetime home

IN BUILD

Upside down oak frame house in rural Cornwall

COMPLETED

Contemporary oak frame home designed for clients overseas

NEAR COMPLETION

HERE'S WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY:

The team worked with us throughout the duration of our project, from the early design stages through to completion. We now have a wonderful oak framed home which we’ve been delighted to show to many other clients.

K HANSON

Because we used an architect first who was absolutely useless. He didn’t listen to us at all or give us a design that we wanted. In fact his design was so poor that I could have drawn it myself or just copied it straight from the internet. When we spoke to The Complete Oak Home you actually listened to us and provided us with a design that met all of our requirements.

B MERRON

We have both had a good look at the designs and we absolutely love them. It hugely exceeds our expectations and for this we are truly thankful of your superbly impressive work! We are so excited to think that this could be ours - you are very talented indeed.

D SMITH

So what is a contract administrator and why would I need one?

By | Design

So what is a contract administrator and why would I need one?

 

Contract administrator. Not the most exciting title and probably one most people have never heard of and have little idea what one does.

But for a self-builder this role is one of the most important for your project and can mean the difference between a build that comes in on time and on budget and one where costs spiral, problems and disputes arise and deadlines slip.

For many people, going ahead with their bespoke home is the culmination of a long-held dream. It may have been years in the planning and a significant financial investment. So why risk something so important? Building your unique home is complex and challenging and can easily go wrong.

So what does a contract administrator do and how do you find one? Put simply, the CA monitors the proper performance of the contract for your build on behalf of you, the client. The CA ensures the fixed price contract is being adhered to; resolve any disputes that might arise and they keep a close eye on the budget. At TCOH, we provide the impartial CA role as part of our turnkey offer to our clients.

IF YOU HAVE A PLOT, AND WOULD LIKE TO TALK TO ONE OF OUR PROJECT ADVISORS ABOUT GETTING PLANNING PERMISSION, BUDGETING, BUILDING COSTS OR ANYTHING ELSE RELATING TO BUILDING A BESPOKE HOME, SCHEDULE A CALL HERE TO PICK OUR BRAINS!

‘Oh I see, a project manager for my build.’

Actually, no. A CA doesn’t project manage. The CA doesn’t arrange supplies or engage contractors. The CA’s role is to act on behalf of the client monitoring the contract and ensuring the build is progressing in accordance with it.

‘I don’t need a CA, I can do that role for myself. What can a contract administrator do that I can’t?’

Having a professional, experienced CA minimises the significant risks of something going wrong that self-builders, particularly those doing a one-off scheme, face. How many times have you watched a TV programme such as Grand Designs and seen a self-build spiral out of control blowing the budget and going way over deadline? It’s easy for things to go wrong even for the most hands-on clients. Your contract administrator is a professional  with the skills, expertise and experience to minimise those risks for you, the client.

The key, core element of the CA’s role is to ensure the contract is giving you, the client, best value for money. We do this by keeping the programme on track and closely monitoring the costs. This means you, the client, can be confident in paying the contractor’s bills as we will have checked everything before issuing a payment certificate confirming it is valid and in line with the contract.

It all sounds obvious but clients can get into difficulties through no fault of their own, often with significant financial implications.

TCOH’s Andy Parker: “This is an extreme example, but it shows what can happen if you don’t have a competent contract administrator on your project. A self-builder we know of paid £100,000 to an off-site sub-contractor to manufacture the panelised wall system. The sub-contractor went in to administration shortly afterwards. A contract administrator would not have allowed the client to become financially exposed in this way.

“In another example a contract administrator received a monthly valuation from the builder for the construction of the roof on a house. It was apparent from a site visit that the roof was no more than 20% complete. Whilst the builder maintained that it would shortly be finished and therefore his claim valid, the CA determined that only 20% of the value would be paid on the current valuation.”

Changes to the design, specification or materials can impact on the cost of a project and can be an area of contention between main contractors and clients. The CA plays a key role in ensuring any variations are properly priced and agreed by both parties before issuing variation orders.

When the build is finished, the CA handles any snagging issues with the builder and the final bill is paid only when the scheme is signed off. So having a contract administrator on your project gives you peace of mind and the confidence of knowing that your beautiful new, bespoke home has the greatest possibility of being built on time and on budget. That’s worth having.

Pin this post and save for later!

Get More Valuable Information About Building Your Dream Home

Would you like to receive valuable advice & tips from us, giving you crucial information to help you with your self-build project? If so, sign-up to receive our weekly email, or join our community over on Facebook where we run live expert sessions and more!

Our cost control process gives clients their lifetime home

IN BUILD

Upside down oak frame house in rural Cornwall

COMPLETED

Contemporary oak frame home designed for clients overseas

NEAR COMPLETION

HERE'S WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY:

It's been something we've been looking at for some time but to be honest we didn't really want the hassle of having to do everything ourselves. The Complete Oak Home offers us a way of achieving our dream by undertaking those tasks for us.

M SMITH-KEARY

To me turnkey means that you have a safe pair of hands to look after you through the whole process. But I was also quite nervous of it because I really wanted to be involved in all of the decision making, and needed to know that I wasn’t going to left out of the process. Your turnkey service means that I am really enjoying the journey of building our dream holiday home. I get to be involved in all of the nice bits knowing that you take care of all of the stressful bits!

C NASH

“The team worked with us throughout the duration of our project, from the early design stages through to completion. We now have a wonderful oak framed home which we’ve been delighted to show to many other clients.”

K HANSON

Ceiling showing exposed oak frame beams

Why Is It Difficult To Find A Builder For Your Project?

By | Build process, Design

Why Is It Difficult To Find A Builder For Your Project?

 

We are often asked how we manage to have such a strong network of good available builders working on our projects. We hear people say that there aren’t any builders available in their area for the next year. How do we do it?

Firstly, let’s understand why there is a perception that good builders are in short supply.

Builders must often tender for work and might only have a success rate of 15% – 20%. It takes a great deal of time for them to put together a properly considered tender where they can be confident they’ll be competitive without being at undue risk of losing money.

It follows that competent builders will only price jobs where they are confident they have sufficient information to do so properly. Comprehensive information also means that anyone else tendering will be doing so on a like for like basis. It means that the project is real, and a meaningful investment has already been made in getting a good end product.

Few builders will price a job based on planning drawings. Some might price a job on building regulations drawings, but these will be very short on detail. Competent builders will only price a good set of construction drawings and a detailed specification.

So, some builders will decline to price projects, saying they are too busy when they really mean the project doesn’t warrant the time they will have to invest. Being unable to get builders to price a scheme probably has less to do with availability and more to do with the quality of the documentation and likelihood of them winning the job on a fair price.

IF YOU HAVE A PLOT, AND WOULD LIKE TO TALK TO ONE OF OUR PROJECT ADVISORS ABOUT GETTING PLANNING PERMISSION, BUDGETING, BUILDING COSTS OR ANYTHING ELSE RELATING TO BUILDING A BESPOKE HOME, SCHEDULE A CALL HERE TO PICK OUR BRAINS!

Tendering versus a negotiated contract

The two most widely recognised ways of getting to a fixed price for a bespoke home building project are tender or negotiated contract. When tendering, a pack of information is sent to several builders, all of whom will price for the job. With a negotiated contract, one preferred builder is selected, and a price is negotiated.

If you tender, you can’t involve the builder until the construction package is ready. With a negotiated contract the builder can be involved much earlier in the process. Providing you can be satisfied that they are giving a fair price they can be confident of getting the job.

If friends and neighbours tell you they can’t get anyone to price building work, don’t read too much in to it.

Why we can get builders when we need them

  • We involve the builder early on, so they know the project is going forward
  • We nearly always work on a negotiated contract basis, so the builder has greater confidence he will get the job (providing we can reach a fair price) and will be willing to schedule it in to their programme of work much earlier than in the tendering process
  • Builders like to work with us because of the projects we do, and they know our approach is fair and collaborative rather than the somewhat adversarial nature of many building projects. They will therefore prioritise and make availability for our projects.

If you would like to talk to us regarding this subject or any issues you think may have an impact to your build, please don’t hesitate to call us on 01249 479891, we’re very happy to help.

How simple was it to find a builder for this project?

We have a builder who had worked with us on multiple projects, likes the work we do and is always keen to work with us and our clients. They are generally eager to accommodate the project into their work program.

The entrance of the oak frame house

Pin this post and save for later!

Get More Valuable Information About Building Your Dream Home

Would you like to receive valuable advice & tips from us, giving you crucial information to help you with your self-build project? If so, sign-up to receive our weekly email, or join our community over on Facebook where we run live expert sessions and more!

Our cost control process gives clients their lifetime home

IN BUILD

Upside down oak frame house in rural Cornwall

COMPLETED

Contemporary oak frame home designed for clients overseas

NEAR COMPLETION

HERE'S WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY:

Because we used an architect first who was absolutely useless. He didn’t listen to us at all or give us a design that we wanted. In fact his design was so poor that I could have drawn it myself or just copied it straight from the internet. When we spoke to The Complete Oak Home you actually listened to us and provided us with a design that met all of our requirements.

B MERRON

We had experienced difficulties with another company but from the moment we met Andy our faith in the project had been restored. He understood what we wanted and listened very carefully to our needs. He talked about structure and wood which was so interesting, and he was clearly so much more of an expert in his field than other people we had spoken to.

P MICHIELS

Building a house has been something we've been looking at for some time but to be honest we didn't really want the hassle of having to do everything ourselves. Complete Oak Home offers us a way of achieving our dream by undertaking those tasks for us.

M SMITH-KEARY