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Extension Build Software

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 15 Dec 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Software Office Pc Building Extension

Not everybody has a PC at home but a lot of people do and it makes sense to use them to help with the management when building an extension. Here we will be looking at software that can help once you've gone past that part of the building process.

But what sort of software is there that could help? We take a look though some of the options and show you where to look for them.

Using Standard Office Software

Without going out and spending money on specialist software there is still a lot you can do. Most computers come with pre-installed office software and you can use word processing software to write up notes of meetings with architects, planners and builders.

Send those notes off as letters or emails. It will help everyone be clear about what has been decided. And if anything should go wrong you can go back to the letters so there’s no dispute over who said what.

Excelling at the Spreadsheet

If there’s a spreadsheet package on your PC it can be used to create a budget, perhaps plugging in the figures from your estimating software (see other article). Then as the extension building progresses you can add in the actual figures and see straightaway whether or not you are still on target.

You can also easily play ‘what if’ scenarios. By changing prices you can see the effect on the budget of buying higher quality but more expensive items.

Finding Office Software

If you don’t have office software you can buy commercial software or download a number of different free versions from the internet. Make sure that you know the difference between ‘shareware’ or ‘trial versions’ and ‘open source’ software. You can download shareware and trials for free and try them out. But then you need to pay to unlock some of the features or use them past the trial date.

The Open Source Resource

But 'open source' software is genuinely free to obtain and use. Some of it is a little ropy as it relies on people running the project as a hobby. If they get disinterested then bugs may not be fixed. But much open source software, particularly in the office software space, is supported by big corporations.

Search on the internet for 'open source software', and the type of software you are looking for, and you will see plenty to choose from. Make sure your firewall, anti-virus and anti-malware software are all running and up-to-date though.

Project Management Software

It is possible to take the spreadsheet application a little further and start producing project plans, although project planning software is unlikely to be included in any standard office software package. Project plans can be invaluable if designed properly in the first place and updated methodically as the building work progresses.

A project plan can show you where you need to make changes if one part of the plan slips. It will identify which jobs have to wait on each other and which ones that can be done in parallel. It can show jobs that can be done when you think you have to down tools waiting for a delivery or a particular trade to come on site.

Again searching for open source software will deliver a good selection of project management tools, or you can buy market leading software from a shop or on-line. Often you'll find software like this on magazine cover disks too. Software companies will often give away the previous version in the hope that you will like it enough to pay for the latest version.

Look at Mind-Mapping Software Too

One neat way of getting project management software is to look at mind-mapping software. This is a way of representing a project in bubbles, connected with lines. But many of mind-mapping software products have product management elements built in.

Once you have drawn your mind map a click of a button delivers a project plan. Not many of the open source mind mapping products will have this functionality so you might have to rely on trial products or actually buy software. But if mind-mapping appeals to you as a way of capturing your thoughts, it might be a worthwhile investment anyway.

Take a Tour Round Your PC

So have a play with the software already on your PC, read our other article on planning and costing then download some software from the internet. You will find the PC an invaluable aid to a successful extension building project with a little time spent assessing and learning software.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Nooby- Your Question:
My mother has passed away, she lived in the annexe that was built for her, she had council tax benefits, I would like to turn her annexe (which I own with my husband) back into one address again, how do I go about this, is this a wise thing to do!!

Our Response:
We can't give specific individual advice on whether it's a wise thing to do, but the first step is to apply for planning permission for change of use for the annex to form part of your residence.
ExtensionBuild - 16-Dec-16 @ 12:54 PM
My mother has passed away, she lived in the annexe that was built for her, she had council tax benefits, I would like to turn her annexe (which I own with my husband) back into one address again, how do I go about this, is this a wise thing to do!!
Nooby - 15-Dec-16 @ 6:07 PM
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