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The building works are killing me

(16 Posts)
Terracottasaur Tue 19-Jan-21 09:52:49

You have my every sympathy. We’ve just finished three months of renovations that were supposed to take two weeks, with a builder who lied as easily as he breathed. Constant lack of communication, failure to turn up, changes made to the works without consultation. But god forbid he not be paid on the dot. The vast majority of them are an absolute nightmare.

taleforthetimebeing Tue 19-Jan-21 09:44:49

My husband is a builder and he could probably write your post but in reverse. grin. I am not saying all builders are prefect but I think they do get a bad rap.

Dowser Tue 19-Jan-21 09:34:50

I’ve lived through three extensions
I’ll never have another one

wonkylegs Tue 19-Jan-21 09:27:58

I'm an architect and I think I can see it from both sides
There are some truly awful contractors and tradespeople out there but there are also some truly wonderful ones
I think there are also some great clients but also some terrible ones. Some are just very naive and do not understand how complicated the process can become. Some are unreasonable in demands or are just plain mean (want everything done for less than nothing but still expect to get a million pound finish)
I would always say on lots of projects (not all) if you aren't as a client willing to put in some effort yourself then employ somebody else who knows what they are doing to deal with the trades, permissions and details.
I have been employed by people who then sack me after I've got them planning permission to save some money and then end up spending lots lots more on the project when things go wrong and they don't know how to deal with it.
I'll caveat this with not all architects are great either I fact I know my share of shit ones although lots of those aren't real architects (on the ARB register) and are "architectural designers/professionals/other bollocks term to get round the regulations" however a good architect will hold your hand through this and act as that vital link that holds everything together.
Never pay up front for labour, only specially ordered products and even then it's usually only a deposit and never pay without a proper contract (I generally recommend not one your builder has made up himself but a standard industry one)
Agree how you will communicate up front and ensure that everybody is clear as to who is doing what and when - communication is the biggest issue on most projects, alongside people making assumptions.
Clients often (not always) only express their expectations fully once something is finished and it's not what they expected which would be fine if they had originally told anyone what that was. There are literally thousands of ways of doing often similar things in construction so it can be easy for things to go wrong/ not be as expected.
It's hard for even seasoned professionals to live with builders in their pocket all the time - I found my house renovation one of the most stressful projects of my life even though I have managed billion pound projects, it's not the same when you live with it 24/7

ilovebagpuss Tue 19-Jan-21 08:48:35

I know this isn’t in the spirit of a good rant but we had the best crew in doing our loft conversion. I still just can’t believe it 8 weeks 2 bedrooms bathroom stairs finished to just the paint stage.
I don’t know how we got so lucky but they even hoovered round downstairs at the end of every day! They do have a huge waiting list it’s just word of mouth and genuine reviews.
Sorry you are finding the opposite it must be hell draining your cash and not even decent customer service with it.
I will say the company we used seemed to have the front man communicator and he was key making sure everyone understood any changes or issues.
I even heard him bollocking the lads for language once our kids had come home from school.

AmandaHoldensLips Tue 19-Jan-21 08:40:10

I've had a LOT of experience with builders and I swear I never want to have to deal with one again. They are generally a fecking nightmare. And the MESS! I made the terrible mistake of going away while one particular large job was being done, and when I got back the house was absolutely filthy and the carpets destroyed.

Our regular builder way overcharged us, but had us over a barrel.

We are now using an architect for our next project (loft conversion) and are using them to project manage. I told them I never want to deal with a builder again.

DorotheaDiamond Tue 19-Jan-21 08:33:22

And you have to include something about “this does not include the cost if we discover that the wall needs a total Re plaster when we take the paper off” etc...basically make them aware of anything that could add extra cost that you can think of!!!

DorotheaDiamond Tue 19-Jan-21 08:31:49

I sometimes think building is like computer have to spend a LOT of time doing a really detailed spec (down to the make and colour of the paint on the walls/exact layout of whatever program you’re writing) then get every single page signed off...or you have to find a builder/programmer you trust not to rip you off on a day rate!

But then you have to charge for writing the spec (or the client pays someone else to do
It)...I would charge but discount it off final bill myself!

bobby81 Tue 19-Jan-21 08:25:45

I feel like this about most trades people, when they don’t turn up it’s infuriating & I often get the impression they feel they are doing me a favour by completing work!
Having said that I think @knitwearordeath talks a lot of sense.

knitwearordeath Tue 19-Jan-21 08:11:57

Well I fell in love with my builder and now I live with him, so perhaps not best placed to answer 😂.

BUT something that has struck me since living with him is that (a) there are a lot of seriously unscrupulous, arsehole builders out there, and (b) there are almost as many over-optimistic/uneducated clients out there (not saying that’s you! I was definitely one though, so I feel well placed to comment).

When I look back at my own experience, and I hear DP talk about clients, I know that issues like the fact he always quotes for a ‘standard’ finish, but almost everyone ends up wanting a high end finish (eg bespoke tiled shower tray instead of plastic ready made one, carefully hand finished woodwork instead of straight out of the packet, unusual shaped or tiny tiles), so they feel disappointed when it’s more expensive for the finish they want. He also quotes on the basis of nothing unexpected cropping up - I don’t think he has done a build since I’ve met him where something unexpected hasn’t cropped up, but because the unexpected can add anything from £50 to £50k to the bill, it’s absolutely impossible to allow for. So he does mention it at quoting stage (and is clear that his quotes are estimates, not promises) but it’s absolutely unquantifiable, and I think because plenty, perhaps the majority, of clients are stretching themselves in the first place, they really feel any extra costs.

Also, I have yet to meet a builder (including DP, TBH) who isn’t always optimistic about the time it takes to do any job. You’d think by the 20th roof that was affected, time-wise, by the weather, they’d start to just build in an extra week to the quoted time, but they always assume good weather/builders merchants having full stock at any given time. I eye roll at this frequently. This doesn’t affect cost to the client, but does impact on how long jobs take.

RealisticSketch Tue 19-Jan-21 07:57:43

It's such a gamble isn't it. I'm doing my building myself, it is a different kind of torture but at least I sleep at night cos I totally trust the workperson... Sorry not very helpful, it's an extreme labor intensive way to avoid what you're describing. I don't know a way to avoid it really, only try to mitigate risks by trying to really nail down what's agreed to the nth degree before they start and knowing sad much as you can yourself so you can spot a bulls***ter. flowers

yanisakershman Tue 19-Jan-21 07:52:41

@NannyGythaOgg yes I am sure the good ones are there somewhere and I'll jump on their waiting list now, the problem is that sometime the builder is the one who don't want the job, for whatever reason they don't like it, too complicated, too small, too big, whatever.. they come take a look and either don't come back to you or submit and inflated quote to price themselves out.

And if you do book with one, there is no guarantee they will stick with you. If another job, more profitable, comes along they will dump yours.

It's risky to wait for a builder unless you can afford to wait and lose them, then start again searching.

It's a messy game. Even with recommendations and contacts it can go wrong, if they use a different sub contractor on your job than your friend, then you will not have the same experience.

As one below said its luck, a building casino 🤷🏻‍♀️.

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CuppaZa Tue 19-Jan-21 01:30:57

You need to have contacts, if not I guess recommendations. It’s difficult

donewithitalltodayandxmas Tue 19-Jan-21 01:27:37

There are good and bad builders but equally their are good and bad customers as well.

NannyGythaOgg Tue 19-Jan-21 01:20:26

Tell me about it.

I had a whole new house built, there isn't a single one I would recommend - I thought it was me until I finally found a great bloke who built my patio. He's brilliant and I would recommend him to anyone.

I know it is luck - and impatience as the best ones have long waiting lists - but there are some total dicks out there. And it's not always that you get what you pay for either. The worst of 3 plumbers I used charged £300 day rate - which, if good, was expensive but worth it but they were useless. Second plumber was £300 day rate for 2 of them which should have been great - but their day started around midday and never lasted more than 3 hours.

There are some great tradespeople out there I am sure - but apart from my landscaper, the best I found was mediocre and more than half were less than that.

yanisakershman Mon 18-Jan-21 23:25:04

So fed up with builders. We spend so much time, money our blood and soul on the project and builders just mess you up all over the place. The thing I hate the most is when you call them up on it, it's never their fault. NEVER. Always excuses and bullshit stories, and somehow it becomes your fault. Very few are trustworthy (after they got the up-front payment. They are all amazing human beings before..)

Constantly ask for more money. For every building fart, while cutting corners on materials etc. Argue to death if you disagree or don't like the results you've specified and discussed at great length. Constantly feel like we are walking on egg shells, god forbid we might upset our builder, you don't want a moody arsehole with an angle grinder in hand for the rest of the job, do you? Somehow we find ourselves worry so much about their feelings, while all this time my mental health is trashed and bank account drained.

Ok, I am know not all builders are bully arrogant pricks, but I recon so many of them are.

How did you survive your building project? Shout if you had enough of this builders attitude!

OP’s posts: |

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