Unless otherwise stated, the references in this section pertain to work undertaken by Darren Stone either independently or as a partner in a local construction company prior to setting up Kettlebrook Construction.
Rural New Build
Mr C, East Meon, Hampsire
“This was our first - and possible only build. Our decision to choose the building company was based not only on cost but also gut instinct and the architect’s personal recommendation
The “horror story” one hears of many builds simply did not happen. Darren was there through every step, guiding and advising. Most importantly Darren is immensely practical and involves himself in all elements of the build from the “big picture” down to the smallest detail. On site he is respected by all the trades and manages his team calmly, with authority and without creating tension. He anticipates potential problems and keeps the client aware of decisions to be made by them to avoid delays. Where problems do inevitably arise he has the ability to think practically and flexibly to arrive at a solution through dialogue with all parties, client, trades and architect.
Although obviously his first instinct is for structure, he has an unusual eye for detail and design. We would not hesitate to recommend him to anybody."
Residential Refurbishment and Extension
Mr H, Steep, Hampshire
“Darren Stone project managed for us in 2011 over a six months period during which time we came to rely on him more and more.
The work undertaken involved the complete re-roofing, re-wiring, re-plumbing and re-decorating an existing property, the building of a 204sqm extension and the replacement of all windows and external doors (all bespoke made). We were told all of this could be achieved within a 6 month timeframe although we were very prepared for this to turn out to be far longer and indeed for the budget to be exceeded - something which many friends warned us happens more often than not, when starting something of this magnitude. Without Darren's involvement We are convinced this would have happened but with him on board the project finished on time, even with client changes thrown in by ourselves and within budget.
His ability to understand our layman’s thought process and to be able link this to the build realities, the original plans and to impart this information to all the various trades at the right time was invaluable. His organisational skills held it all together even when faced with issues and problems, which any project is subject to!
Without his patience, diligence, attention to detail and organisational mindset we are sure the build programme would have overrun and been over budget.
We have no doubt that Darren would be a valuable addition to any building project and would wholeheartedly recommend him and the qualities he brings - calm, organisation, honesty and reliability.”
Mr D, Petersfield, Hampshire
“Darren Stone was the project manager of extensive construction work at our property during 2012, work which involved a sizable, dynamic team. We were extremely happy with the quality of the work, which was a result of Darren’s careful management, ability to foresee problems and overcome them and his general attention to detail.
Of particular note:
Workforce/ contacts: Darren has extensive local knowledge and good standing in the local trade. This enables him to assemble an excellent team of general and specialist workers. He manages them all with skill and good humour, ensuring that the site operates efficiently.
Changes: Due to Darren’s careful review of architect plans prior to the work commencing, we encountered very few scope changes during the works. However, when potential changes were raised, Darren was able to clearly articulate the scope of these changes and very understanding of any concerns we may have had, which were swiftly allayed.
Project Plan: Under Darren’s direction, the work started on time, with each phase of the work being completed as expected. Timescales for any deviations from the original plan were also accurate.
We have no hesitation in recommending Darren and his work.”
Roger Hill MCIAT AB
EngRoger Hill Building Design
Chartered Architectural Technologist
"Over the past 12 years an excellent working relationship has developed between Darren and myself, on his part as a site foreman for his company, and on mine as a contract administrator. The projects carried out by Darren and his company have ranged in value from £80,000 to £800,000 and without exception have required high quality tradesmanship. It has been Darren’s responsibility to ensure that each client has been provided with a building that meets these high standards, both in terms of construction and finish, and he has never failed to deliver.
It will take up less space if I am permitted simply to list those areas in which I consider Darren to excel:
As a carpenter.As an organiser and contract manager.Where interpersonal skills are concerned (ie with clients and site operatives/tradesmen alike).
In the understanding of all building disciplines, which enables him to address problems flexibly and with due regard to the particular difficulties encountered within those disciplines.In the understanding of traditional building construction and specialised operations.
In his approach to all matters of detail, being able to draw on his considerable experience.In his professional approach to his job.
In his attitude to work generally, ever diligent, hardworking and workmanlike.In his approach to relationships with people in general - honest, respectful and straightforward.
At a personal level working with Darren has always been enormously enjoyable, made all the better by his enduring good sense of humour. I do not hesitate in recommending him to anyone looking for the right man to carry out their building work.”
Mr R, Durford Wood, Hampshire
“In 2009 we undertook a project to extend our house by about 130m2. Darren was responsible for the management of the project from a fairly early stage through to completion, a period of about six months. The work required the coordination of many different trades and subcontractors as well as in-house employees.
The project was a great success and Darren must take much of the credit. Inevitably some things change or are unforeseen during the course of a project. Darren was a constant source of advice and support, and found sensible solutions whenever necessary.
Just as important we found him a very easy man to get on with. He brings enthusiasm as well as professionalism to his work. Always helpful and flexible he handled us, newcomers to building works, with tact and courtesy. We very much enjoyed having Darren manage our project, will happily use him again, and have no difficulty in recommending him to others.”
Rural Out Buildings
Mr K, Froxfield, Hampshire
“Darren has led a number of building projects for us of various sizes since 2008, while he was a Director and Project Manager with a local construction company, and more recently as proprietor of his own business Kettkebrook Construction.
Our involvement with Darren began with a major renovation and extension project at our home during which Darren was our principal point of contact: apart from leading all the on-site work and taking on the more complex skilled tasks himself, he was also the central liaison point between ourselves, the contractor, their subcontractors, our architect, engineers, local authority planning and building control, and all the various professionals and suppliers involved.
Our experience of Darren’s work has been overwhelmingly positive throughout – we have not hesitated to ask him to do additional works, and have enthusiastically and successfully recommended him to friends and contacts in the area. Many of his previous and subsequent jobs have been on a scale, and of a complexity, that continue to leave us in no doubt that Darren has a wealth of experience and is an extremely competent builder and project manager.
Some points to highlight:
People skills – Darren is highly personable and is very easy to engage and work with –he is a good communicator. It is very evident and reassuring that his working relationships at all levels with professionals and tradesmen are founded on clear understanding and mutual respect.
Taking responsibility and initiative – as our architect was based in Somerset, Darren assumed a de-facto project management role, taking the initiative to engage directly with our architect as required, double checking and resolving things with us, trouble-shooting issues and recommending sensible and intelligent modifications to our plans when needed.
Quality and attention to detail – Darren has always set very high standards of workmanship for himself and others, and thinks nothing of redoing something – or directing subcontractors to do so – if he feels that’s needed. As a former carpenter, it is clear he has retained the skills and instincts of a real craftsman and he applies those standards throughout.
Consistency – not only is his work of a consistently high quality on a given project, but we are aware that his record of follow-on work and referral is very high.
In summary, we have no hesitation in recommending Darren / Kettlebrook based on our direct experience and also on what we know of his work and reputation in the locality.”