Anyone used Econoloft?(74 Posts)
We're going to convert our loft early next year and we've asked a nation-wide company called Econoloft to prepare a quote.
Has anyone used this company? I'd love to hear how it worked out.
TracyGriffin - will take up your offer as we live in the Beckenham area too - we're waiting for a revise quote from Econoloft, hopefully by the end of this week, so once we have it can we come round and have a look?
That's so nice to hear, Tracy. They've just started ours... slightly daunting...
Hi TracyGriffin, really pleased you had a good experience with Econoloft as they're currently at the top of our list - trying to get a loft conversion done before 2nd baby arrives in July! We don't live far from Beckenham, would be really helpful to have a look at their work if the offer still stands and you haven't been inundated!
Hello We have just had a loft conversion done by Econoloft on our maisonette and are thrilled with it. Our initial contact with Paul who came round on numerous occasions to go through ideas and plans was great and we never felt like he was giving us the hard sell. Adam and Jim were our head joiners and were very professional throughout keeping us updated with all aspects. Despite having the worst weather possible during the majority of the build it only overran by a couple of weeks and this included having a new roof which we hadnt asked for at the start. As we only had the shell done Adam was great in giving us advice on how to complete it, which we are currently doing. We would be more than happy to use Econoloft again if we ever had to do another conversion.
I was looking at "Advanced Search" and am puzzled that there are people on this thread who never seem to have posted anything else. Am I searching wrong, or is there some reason why a person might join a forum, recommend a loft company, then never be seen again?
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"I was looking at "Advanced Search" and am puzzled that there are people on this thread who never seem to have posted anything else. Am I searching wrong, or is there some reason why a person might join a forum, recommend a loft company, then never be seen again?"
Funny you should say that! Econoloft is an old thorn in our side and I came across this thread causing my jaw to gape open and my eyebrows to collide with the ceiling. Very painful. I can point anyone towards several people of my immediate aquaintance whose experience of Weconalot is less than positive. Generally the finish on the work is appalling, and they never actually finished the job. I completed wiring, plumbing and an outside contractor finished plastering. Doors did not fit, they sawed a 100year old teak banister 2inches short, securing it to the new stairs with a cheap metal angle bracket. Tasteful.
I knew what I was in for when the first delivery arrived. The doorbell rang and a large scruffy man without a hello or any pleasantry, turning away from me holding upa sheet of paper said "this is what you gotta pay". Apparently he was the company boss.
The workers were rude and very aggressive and demanded large payments in advance. Work was exceptionally slow, the weather got into the rest of the house damaging ceilings. This was never repaired. Using ECONOLOFT was one of the worst experiences of our lives.
Headofdiy, very interested to know more about other issues you had with this company. We are thinking to get quotes for a loft conversion too.
A friend of mine is thinking of using central London lofts ltd but the comany is listed as dormant ? is this a problem?
I just wanted to get on here to describe my experience with Econoloft as the positive reviews on MN were the main reason we chose to use them, i bitterly regret this in hindsight and I'm glad that PigletJohn and others have drawn attention to the other side.
Work started on Jan 17th 2013 and as of today it hasn't finished! We were told at the start it would take 4 weeks as no one was living in the property. We are now in month 8! All econoloft do is subcontract your job out to someone else and it's pot luck whether you get a reliable team or a totally unreliable one, as in our case. The head joiner's initial are DM and from start to finish there has been very poor communication, and total unreliablity on the part of the workers, apart from when they want money and have they have no qualms about asking for that.
I haven't got the strength to go into all the issues we had but here are a few:
They removed an old water tank from the loft but forgot to close the pipes properly and water dripped throughout the celings. They reassured us that it was nothing serious and would dry, but 2 months after we moved in the ground floor ceiling in the dining room (nothing to do with the loft conversion) came crashing down!! And even then econoloft were in no rush to recyify it. Thank God we were out of the house at the time.
They smoked all over house (we were not living in the property at the time) and left cigarette butts everywhere, despite them knowing we were planning to move in with a newborn baby and a toddler a few weeks later. They Treated the house like a dumping ground - the skip didn't arrive when they started work so they dumped all the rubble (from lowering our first floor ceilings) in the living room, on the carpet, with no protection!
We were told on umpteen occasions that work would be continuing on our property, my husband would take the day off work (for which he didn't get paid) and no one would show up. This happened repeatedly. Materials that my husband had bought were stolen and when confronted, the culprit tried to pin it on another labourer!
The quality of the work is dubious as it was evident to us that corners were cut and my husband had to specifically ask for jobs to be done again when he noticed, but as they worked unsupervised most of the time, we have little confidence in the workmanship. We also received a phone call several months down the line in the middle of the night from one of the labourers telling us that all sorts of shortcuts had been taken by the joiner and that we should get the work checked!
Econoloft's current management seem to be wholly unqualified for the job and I have never experienced such poor customer service as I did when speaking to this company director. You may as well complain to your dog for all the sympathy you'll get. Week in, week out we phone econoloft to get them to finish th job, but here we are, still waiting for it to be signed off. We have had no offers of compensation and I find it hard to believe that anyone in that organisation will ever step up and take responsibility for the utter shambles that is our loft conversion. I seriously would not recommend them to anyone.
We used econoloft twice. The first time went well. The second was a nightmare. Cut ceiling and wall joists to rooms below which they tried to hide. We had to take down walls and ceilings to make safe, we had unbolted steels it was so bad we had to get our builders to finish the job.
The customer service was abysmal, the plumber Duane and Plasterer were great but the rest I could only describe as cowboys. If you use them make sure you get a recommendation for a good joiner. Our first conversion was fine, the second from hell. I could go on but our experience including the smoking! We're similar to Misstrust.
I'm surprised by the first few glowing reviews too
We had our loft converted by econoloft in 2006. They turned up on a Thursday, no notice, worked for 4 days straight and then no show for a few days. This carried on thru the job. Joinery was good enough but plumbing was awful. Drainage from shower was left going up rather than down. Luckily my DH is very handy and after we fired plumbers he finished it off.
The plan and layout was good, joiners ok, everything else fairly ropey. If I was to do it again I'd pay more for a reliable local builder with a good local reputation.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
We have just had the loft converted. Found Econoloft to be a great company who were very easy to deal with. They were also the most competitively priced and on budget! Our joiner (Greg) was just excellent. He has a real eye for detail and his team were great. Their professionalism made the conversion what it is! Would very much recommend them.
No no nooooooo! I wouldn't recommend them to anyone, we had a horrible experience with them!
They had a good sales patter, seemed to know what they were doing to start off with, and their quote was £10k lower than the other company we asked. They took our initial £1500 deposit, after which we agreed that they would start the second week in September.
The start date came and went. Since then, we have chased them numerous times, both by phone email etc and the few times that they actually answered the phone they have been rude, saying things like: I'll speak to the managers when i've got some time. We finally stopped chasing them in October and now it's December and still no word from them! We are now thinking of suing them to get our deposit back.
I am also astounded by the positive reviews that Econoloft have received here - they were one of the reasons that we decided to go with them for our conversion, and oh how we wish we had gone with somebody else.
Below is the review I wrote on the FreeIndex site a week ago. As a result of writing the review Econoloft decided to take the coward's way out and hide all reviews on the site, rather than attempt to come up with a counter-argument.
I should also note that within a few hours of posting the review I got a grovelling phone call from the head office promising to rectify some of the issues. One of the issues (the remaining waste materials) has been sorted out now, but we're still waiting for our window to be fixed.
Anyway, if you're interested, here it is:
We had a loft conversion completed by Econoloft in October 2013. The loft itself is fine – we had a hip-to-gable conversion and a full-width rear dormer installed, which has given us a large additional bedroom and an en-suite shower room. However, getting to this stage has been extremely stressful and I cannot in all honesty recommend that anybody use this company. I will detail our experiences below.
1) We initially approached Econoloft in August 2012 and we were promptly visited by their representative, Bill Muir. He promised the earth – Econoloft are a one-stop-shop, he said. They manage the whole project from planning to completion, he said. All of their workers are direct Econoloft employees, he said. All of the above claims turned out to be untrue.
2) We were initially told that we would be able to get our loft converted under the permitted development regulations, and our intention was to get a rear and side dormer installed. However, after the surveyor visited we were told that we would have to have a full hip-to-gable conversion done which would bring us over the allowed volume for permitted development, and so a planning application would be required. We asked repeatedly for an explanation of why we needed this type of conversion but our requests for information were ignored. We then asked repeatedly if any other type of conversion would be possible that would bring us under the permitted development volume limit, and again we were ignored. However, by this point we had paid the £1500 deposit and our requests to have it returned were ignored and so in January 2013, five months after we initially approached Econoloft, we reluctantly decided to go ahead with the planning application.
3) At the end of February 2013 Econoloft eventually submitted a planning application on our behalf, but managed to bungle it such that key documentation was missing. In particular, we knew that the planning department required that we add an extra parking space to our property, otherwise the application would be refused. And so Econoloft were meant to submit documentation to the highways department, and to include full diagrams of the proposed parking layout. This extra documentation was either missing or incomplete. They took so long in responding to requests to complete the documentation that I gave up and sent it off myself, including drawings of the parking layout that I drew myself (perhaps I should consider a new career as a draughtsman). Fortunately, my contact at the council was excellent and we managed to resolve various issues with the parking layout without any further intervention from Econoloft's inept drawing office, and our planning application was finally approved in May 2013.
4) Construction began on August 1st 2013. Initially progress was fast and all seemed to be going well. However, it rapidly became clear that our joiners were working on several projects at once. In particular the head joiner, who was meant to be "managing" the project, was rarely seen – and his junior sub-contractors were typically unable to answer even the most mundane of technical questions. The contractors were also messy, leaving piles of dirty mugs in the kitchen and a disgusting pile of used teabags in a bag on the counter top. Bags of rubbish were left on our patio which seemed to take an age to be moved. The joiners also damaged our existing bathroom ceiling and dragged their feet for so long with repairing it that I gave up and paid a decorator to do the job instead.
5) It rapidly became clear that all the workers were self-employed contractors, and not direct employees as the salesman had told me. The system for paying these workers was utterly bizarre. We paid about 2/3 of the money to Econoloft themselves, and then we were expected to pay each and every worker individually on a weekly basis. This meant that I had to set up about 10 online payments with my bank, and then every week send out money to whoever had been working on my house. I was told that this strange and inconvenient system was so that I would not have to pay VAT on the labour costs.
6) The project was not managed at all, which lead to some dangerous errors. The joiners did not appear to talk to the plumbers or the electricians about the stage of the work that they were at, and often it was left to me to chase people up and to schedule the work. It became clear that as part of the work our boiler flue would have to be moved. I pointed this out to the joiners at an early stage and they told me not to worry, it was all in hand. But one day I went up to the loft to find that the loft structure had been enclosed around the boiler flue and the fumes from our boiler were venting into the loft space. When I queried this I was told not to worry – all I needed to do was open the window and all would be fine. I accepted their "expert" advice and let them carry on with their work. However, when the plumber returned a week or two later he was horrified to see that the boiler had been venting into our house for all that time and immediately told us to stop using the central heating and hot water because "we could die if we used them". Fortunately it was summer and so we had not been using the boiler much – but I shudder to think what could have happened if it had been winter. The plumber rapidly resolved the issue and re-routed the flue for a small extra charge (we were hoping that Econoloft would waiver this charge as a good will gesture after their incompetence but they refused to do so). I cannot praise the plumber enough. His work was exceptional and, along with the tiler, has given us a beautiful new shower room.
7) While the construction of the loft appears to be solid we feel that some of the finishing-off work was sloppy. In particular the skirting boards were attached in a hap-hazard fashion with gaps left in various places, and boards not quite laid level. To meet the building regulations we had to have a door fitted at the ground-floor level from the hallway into the living room. They managed to assemble the door frame directly onto the carpet, and then bungled the skirting boards around it so that it looked truly awful. After prompting they managed to sort out the skirting boards, but I am bemused over why they thought it would be a good idea to construct a wall directly onto a carpet. Fortunately, the decorator we used managed to tidy up most of these issues, and fill in various other holes left in the plaster work.
8) The loft conversion was constructed with an extremely large void space, and so only 2/3 of the available space has been utilised in the new bedroom and bathroom. When we queried this with the joiner during construction we were told that this was because of the positioning of our chimney breast. However, at no stage during the planning or surveying process was this issue mentioned – if somebody in the drawing office had taken the time to discuss the design with us we might have considered paying extra to have the chimney removed, thus giving us extra space. However, as described in point 2, the drawing office ignored all emails and queries regarding the design.
9) The new bathroom window was fitted so that it opened in a direction opposite to that detailed in the specification document. Our neighbours complained about this because it means that when the window is open their entire garden is visible, and this made them feel uncomfortable – partly because they would be able to see us in the bathroom and partly because we would be able to see them in their garden. We requested that Econoloft refit the window so that it opens in the direction defined in their design. They agreed to do this about two months ago but we are still waiting for them to come round and complete the work.
10) The contract and specification document say that all surplus waste materials will be removed from the site. However, an old water tank was removed from the loft – it would not fit into the skip and so it was left behind, and is currently sitting behind our rear wall right next to our neighbour's gate. We have requested that Econoloft return to remove the tank on a number of occasions over the past few months, and our neighbours are getting increasingly agitated and upset about the situation. I have now requested in writing that the tank be removed but I am not holding my breath.
To anybody reading this review who are considering using Econoloft, please think carefully. If your loft conversion is a simple one then Econoloft will probably be fine and you'll end up with a satisfactory installation. However, they are not really interested in anything non-standard. If problems occur during the planning stage they will drag their feet and hope that you will go away. If problems occur during the construction phase they flap around and blame everybody else. If problems crop up after you have made the final payments then they have absolutely no interest in helping you to rectify them.
Most of the issues we have encountered are down to a lack of project management and a lack of communication between the different departments. In particular we feel that the dangerous issue with the boiler flue arose because nobody was in place to oversee the project and to coordinate the various tasks that needed completing. It also does not help that the head office is in Lancashire but most of the lofts are constructed in the South East. We were initially told that this was not a problem because "you can send an email in seconds". However, as nobody in the head office ever seems to read or answer their emails this argument is redundant.
We had a very bad experience with Absolute lofts, from the planning stages, builders not turning up, botch jobs and damage, and the worse, a brand new roof that leaked like a sieve. A 6 week job took 6 months. Luckily I was a sahm, and when I realised what they were like, I was project managing it myself.
The problem with the larger companies, as previous posters have stated, is that they subcontract, and you just get a team that is available and it's potluck. If I did it again I would research an independent builder, with references, and inspect previous projects myself.
just found some useful reviews about econoloft in rated people and yell, According to those Econoloft is poor in work quality as well as customer care. Please consider those reviews before selecting Econoloft for loft conversion
I have read with interest several reviews concerning Econoloft and would like to add my perspective as a next door neighbour adjoining a house having a loft conversion by Econoloft.
If you value your friendship with your next door neighbour, DO NOT USE ECONOLOFT! I was asked to sign a party wall agreement to insert two beams into the party wall and was also given a letter written by Econoloft and signed by my neighbours saying that the intended work had been fully explained to me. This turned out to be a lie. The loft conversion turned into a complete re-roof which resulted in tiles from my roof being removed further than the party wall and then the openings left exposed to the stormy November elements. Rendering was broken off my side of the party chimney stack and the rendering on one side of my chimney was deliberately damaged by cutting it through with an electric saw by (guess who?) – yes, the wonderful ‘Project Manager’, Mr Dave Mullins! Guttering and a downpipe was also damaged.
Communication with the company is nigh on impossible. When you do get to speak with someone, they make promises they don’t keep. Even the name and telephone number given to me to contact re any problems gave me no response. Econoloft did agree to repair any damage done to my property – as if this exonerates them from causing the unnecessary damage in the first place! However, their idea of repairing the chimney stack has been to slap some plain cement over the original pebble-dash render. Having asked advice from two reputable builders and a surveyor, I am told that I will be lucky if the ‘repairs’ last for a year before water seeps in and the render falls off. It’s apparently a shoddy and shabby job to apply a coat of new render over the old. And it’s not even been pebble-dashed to match in with the rest of the house as the old render did.
My neighbours have stuck their heads in the sand throughout the whole job, not wanting to deal with any problems beyond their own property line. They wanted a home improvement and chose a cowboy company to do it. That is their decision and responsibility but I now have a repair bill for damage to my property which should never have occurred.
Econoloft are difficult to communicate with and difficult to deal with, even the Directors in Head Office. They do what they want to get the job done and get their money, and this includes unnecessary damage to the property of their customer’s neighbours. They appear to be a law unto themselves. When you do get to speak with someone, they give you a lot of flannel but don’t deliver what they promise. I cannot speak for the standard of work on the loft conversion, but their standard of work when repairing my property is definitely sub-standard. My advice: KEEP AWAY FROM ECONOLOFT.
Just started a loft using econoloft. 2 days in and already a little ahead of schedule. My team are outside in the van at 7.15, they start at 7.30 and leave at 3.30. They never leave the loft for more than 20min afaik, they are clean, polite and have kept me informed without having to ask for updates. I will update as we go along. have 2 comments at the moment:
1) party wall agreements: loft conversions are a big undertaking, not just slapping down some chipboard and crossing your fingers. As a neighbour, I would never sign away without seeing plans etc. we spent approx £3k with 2 party wall specialists to make sure everything is water tight legally. Pain in the a but glad we did it now.
2) standard of work. How come the building inspector hasn't got involved. Ours has to do 3 site visits to sign off work as it goes along. Surely if the work was that bad they wouldn't allow the project to proceed without correction?
Finally,We have received 3 sets of plans during the design stage to sign and correct. If you see something you don't like, say so. We have a direct number to the office manager and planning and have found them really pleasant to deal with.
As I said, only the first week and I will give updates.
Re building inspectors - with us they only visited once and they didn't stay for that long. It's not their job to comment on the quality of work, just to make sure that it meets the regulations in particular regarding safety. They'll care if you haven't got fire doors in place but won't be interested if your skirting boards have been put on upside down.
Regarding the plans - as I detailed above the drawing office ignored all our requests for information about the plans, giving us the impression that it was "like it or lump it". Also, from the plan we could not see the positioning of the chimney breast and so we're not aware it was an issue until construction. The only reason we stuck with them once planning permission was granted was because they had our deposit, which they seemed to be clinging onto like grim death, and they also had ownership of the plans - so to switch company at that stage would have required employing a second architect and then paying another planning fee.
Ok.1 week in. 1st building inspection done. Floor laid, dormer frame up. 1st fix wiring done so we have little tails thru the ceiling on 1st floor for smoke? Detectors. Team still very punctual, explain what they are going to do and when.i had an issue with velox positions & they gave me options quite happily. I am very impressed thus far
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