In May 2011 Carol Simons of Enfield, London was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. Her daughter Sara was at her side when she was told and of course the news was shocking.

Carol is not the type of personality to give up and throw her hopes and dreams out of the window, rather she discussed with her children at length what she had accomplished in her life and created a “bucket list” of sorts of things she wanted to achieve in the coming few years.

She explained to her daughter that her primary focus in life was to give security to her children so they could live happily and not have to worry about financial problems, mortgages and the other stresses which come with life. One of the items on her list was her dream of creating a home which her children and their children could call their own.

As a working mother she had spent over 35 years investing in a property in Enfield, working double jobs at times to pay off her mortgage. Now that the home was hers she had hoped to expand it with a new home extension which would stretch out 9 metres (about 30 ft) into the good-sized garden.

Carol and her son decided to go to Colorado (USA) to see a cancer specialist and to visit family. She left the UK with a plan to return at Christmas 2011.

Unbeknownst to Carol, her daughter Sara who remained in the UK, contacted Innovate Builders London to discuss the house extension project. The budget was tight and the planning looked arduous. The circumstances of the situation were also explained to the site manager of Innovate Builders London and the goals were set:

  1. The house extension needed to be completed by Christmas 2011.
  2. Planning would need to be sped through faster than ever.
  3. The London building company would have to do extra hours to get the project done on time.
  4. The budget was tight and would have to be monitored to the penny

Overcoming Planning Permission Time

Fortunately planning for this home extension had been in discussion for several years. Carol had given up on it due to getting lost in red tape and planning lingo she was not familiar with.

Innovate Builders London took the reigns and contacted the local authority. The production manager had recently completed the planning for a loft conversion in Enfield so was familiar with the local planning officer.

Again, Carol’s story was told to the planning authority. He was so touched by it that he viewed it as a priority planning application. Time was saved by direct conversation with the planning authority on points which needed modification. plans were being turned around, corrected and resubmitted within a few hours.

The House Extension

Works began in August 2011. Innovate Builders London organized the surgical demolition of the now empty home rear to make way for foundations.

By September the steel structures were going up and the 60 sq metre home extension was taking form.

By November the project hit a stop when the internal walls were going up. The home extension was a bare shell of breeze block and bricks. Funds were not available until the end of the month and the work materials could not be covered as planned. Innovate Builders London met with Sara to work out a solution. Every member of the building company was onboard with one purpose – to get it done before Carol returned from the USA. There was no question of failure.

Innovate’s Production Manager came up with a solution. The firm had recently acquired 2 new trucks and were willing to sell them to gather the funds for the project. The trucks were sold and the building works continued with only one week delay.

Just Days Before the Deadline

It was the 19th of December 2011 and the home extension was looking great, but it was 2 weeks away from completion at the pace things were going. Carol was due back on the 23rd and it was looking tight for time. The place was packed with 16 members of Innovate’s building teams. Carpenters were finishing off the kitchen while making way for the electricians who were testing the new wiring and fitting sockets and switch plates. The decorators were working evening shifts and had to use extensive protective measures not to damage or spill paint on anything.

On the 21st of December it was still a week behind schedule. To resolve this, Innovate Builders London organised a night shift team to run until 7am and then turn over to the day shift. This continued for 2 nights with tradesmen in the new home extension 24 hours a day. Neighbors were talked to by Sara and were happy to have works continue for this exciting cause.

Carol Arrives

On the eve of the 23rd, Carol and her son were picked up at the airport by Sara and her husband. Meanwhile, back at the property a clean up crew was busy making the place spotless for Carol’s arrival. A few tradesmen were completing a “snag list” and a couple of touch ups. Innovate needed to get the vans out of the driveway before Carol arrived.

Sara greets her mother at the airport and tells nothing of the past 6 months. Carol had been given some good news about her cancer, it was treatable with an 85% chance of full recovery. The news brought joy to everyone at which point Sara told her mother that she wanted to show her something.

It took 1 1/2 hours to drive from Heathrow airport to Enfield, London and they finally arrived at their home. Carol points out that she sees a bunch of white vans just down the road with decorators dressed in overalls. She says, “it’s a bit late for decorators to be working now, it’s almost 9:30!”. Sara smiles as she escorts her mother to the front door which was newly painted. “Oh! You had some decorating done!” Carol says. Sara tells her that she had “a few touch ups done around the house.”

Carol walks into her home an notices something is very different but can’t place her finger on it. She gets shown to the kitchen and her reaction is stunning. Inside her new kitchen extension is her whole family and the production manager of Innovate Builders London. The cheer sends Carol into tears of joy as she gazes around at her new dream home. She is overwhelmed with happiness and completely bewildered as to how it was all done.

Her joy was worth the effort.

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