We had been wanting to do our drive for some time and had some various quotes. We were told that tar replacement was the only option at huge expense by a big contractor. We had seen James and Jims work at a neighbours and could see their meticulous quality.
We heard excellent reports on value!
We asked James for a quote. We had a rough idea but James showed what could be done with a skilled eye. He came up with the idea of steps, from a blocked drive to a new patio in front of the house which got the best view.
We were immediately struck by his "can do" enthusiasm to tackle our steep drive, remove big shrubs and landscape the front garden.
He produced detailed plans and costing by email over a weekend with 3 options. These included replacing the existing patios with sandstone and blocking. He gave us the Marshall's catalogue and we noted that he was an approved contractor.
He knew the available colours and stones well with good advice on what would match the house.
We thought about the plans and asked about a turning bay extension. We had previously been told this would require a retaining wall which would increase the costs. However James could see a way to get the levels correct across the whole project and came back with a plan and costing.
We then asked about LED lights embedded in the steps and patio and once again this was "no problem". Then came a suggestion for light posts around the driveway from James to enhance the whole effect with remote control sensors from the car for winter nights.
We agreed the budget and they just worked exceptionally hard to complete the job as efficiently as possible.
James project managed the whole project with diggers, lorries, machines and an array of highly qualified tradesmen arriving with experienced efficiency. James and Jim worked 12 hour days in all weathers. They are completely honest and trustworthy. We left them the keys to the house when we were away with complete confidence. They were very tidy outside and cleared up methodically as the project progressed.
This is where it pays to get the proper skills for a job like this. We have a friend that has had a driveway done by a local non approved contractor and she has had to take action for poor work.
James' ground preparation is "everything" with deep compacted hardcore on a membrane before the sand and blocks. The blocks are also properly anchored with edging.
James' mastery with the blocking was displayed with an edging of black blocks laid like a roman floor mosaic around the whole drive and set off with diamond patterns at the start of the drive way. On the patio Indian sandstone slabs have been laid in a clever pattern with a circle to add visual interest and the LED lights cut into the circle. The front door steps have been refashioned with the slabs and improved by James.
His masterpiece however, is the sweeping steps curving up with a widening sweep and inlaid LEDs on each step on alternating sides to give visual interest. He also came up with the idea of "cobbling" the edging blocks to make it more interesting in the detailing. Again all James ideas.
He created a new flower bed edged by cobbled blocks and lights to complete the new effect. The attention to detail throughout is obvious. All the blocks and slabs are carefully cut to fit the odd shapes and curves required. There are no unsightly gaps or fits.
They finished off the whole project when we were away with landscaped turfing done with meticulous skill. They even came back at night to water the turf to make sure it took.
Mike Walker, the Marshall's assessor travelled up from Newcastle during the project and gave them an excellent report.
In summary, with James and Jim from Adept you get years of meticulous experience, visionary design ideas and they don't rip you off. They are indeed Adept!
They are honest and reliable tradesmen with clear and justified pride in their work. We can't recommend them highly enough and we are glad we did not accept previous higher quotes from other local companies.
The only outstanding task is to invite them to our next Bar B Que!
We have already recommended them to a friend who has them starting on her drive this week.
Dr James Douglas, Fort William.