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Tips for coping with having the Builders in?

(20 Posts)
morningpaper Fri 20-May-05 11:47:56

We are having some building work starting on a small granny-flat style extension. [shudder]

They estimate the work will take 8-9 weeks which I assume means "about 18 months love".

Does anyone have any tips for coping with having the builders in? Anything I should do/avoid doing? I am home seven days a week so totally dreading it!

NotQuiteCockney Fri 20-May-05 11:50:00

Seal anything you can. Get thick plastic (like a futon cover?) and tape, and seal anything and everything. There will be lots of dust.

You're not moving out? Do you have kids home in the day?

welshmum Fri 20-May-05 11:51:44

Make sure they're attractive and occasionally have to take their tops off if they get too hot.....

jollymum Fri 20-May-05 11:57:03

Ask them to bring along a Portaloo thingy. At least then you can poo in peace

HandbagAddiction Fri 20-May-05 12:10:31

Feel as though I'm a bit of an expert on this given that I am currently in the middle of building hell at my house. So, I'd really recommend that you set out some ground rules really early on. For example:

- Making tea and coffee - ask them to provide their own - including milk and sugar. You will be amazed how much they can get through! Also - never offer to make them tea - just advise them that they are welcome to make their own!!
- If they use your mugs - ask that they be washed up at the end of each day.
- It's often impossible to seal up everything - especially if you are going to be in the house at the same time - so ask them to give you a timetable of when certain areas of the house will be affected - this will give you time to rearrange furniture / equipment beforehand and also allow you to retain some relatively dust free zones
- Keep all interior doors shut at all times
- Ask that they be mindful of the fact that you have small children (if you have) and that leaving circular saws and othersuch equipment within arms reach is really not such a good idea!
- Be nice but firm and if you find that they are taking the p**s, embarrass them into submission! e.g. you wouldn't behave like this in your own house so I don't expect mine to be treated any differently.
- on the loo front - if you have a downstairs loo, restrict them to the use of this and then you can forget about the state for a few weeks. Otherwise, if they do need to go upstairs, demand that they remove their boots before going uo the stairs - otherwise your carpets, etc. will get trashed!

That's all I can think of for now....but if I remember anything else..I'll post it up later!

morningpaper Fri 20-May-05 12:14:06

Gosh thanks all - esp. handbag addiction. Loads of good tips.

We're not moving out and I have a 2 yo at home during the day. [eek]

They are demolishing the downstairs loo in order to rebuilt on top of it, which only leaves the upstairs loo. Do you reckon I can ask them to bring a portaloo? Is that ok? I want to keep costs to a minimum and I'm expecting to have to replace house carpets afterwards.

HandbagAddiction Fri 20-May-05 12:22:17

No problem - happy to help.

I don't think it's unreasonable to ask for a portaloo - although they may expect you to stump up the money for it. However, the money is probably worth it based on the state that your only bathroom is likely to end up in if theyre trapsing in and out all day. And if like us, you only have one main bathroom and your dd/ds likes to crawl around naked before and after bathtimes - the last thing you want is to be cleaning up dirt and mud everyday....!

I would also suggest that you try and get out and about more than normal. Our dd (20 months) is at nursery 5 days a week, so avoids some of the crap - but I'm paranoid about her breathing in too much brick dust...so even at weekends, we try and get out of the house as the dust seems to take forever to settle.

morningpaper Fri 20-May-05 12:23:45

[groan!] it sounds AWFUL what am I DOING?!

What work are you having done HA?

flashingnose Fri 20-May-05 12:32:03

If your dd still has a sleep in the day, ask them to schedule noisy stuff around it.

I made them tea and coffee if I was at home - I drink a lot anyway, so didn't mind, plus they were then willing to do me favours e.g. climb in my bedroom window TWICE when I'd locked myself out, take in deliveries, clean my gutters etc. etc. . Plus they're great gossips .

Definitely get a portaloo in - money well spent [fainting emoticon].

noddyholder Fri 20-May-05 12:34:58

Have just been through this I would say let them bring their own tea etc and make it maybe provide a kettle and cups etc a portaloo is great as they do walk dust everywhere and don't be too friendly with them as I think they take advantage and think they can get away with things if you are too soft NEVER give them any money up front for anything I learned the hard way with this one It is a nightmare tbh but the results are well worth it

katierocket Fri 20-May-05 12:36:09

bloody hell mp I don't envy you. I know you work from home like me and while we had some building work done recently (and it was only knocking down an internal wall) I couldn't get anything done.
Really noisy, a quite astounding amount of brick dust (hopefully you won't get this to badly) and just the general upheaval. if they're in for that long then I'd consider trying somewhere else to work? Sealing stuff is a really good tip, we didn't....and the dust is literally everywhere.
I personally made cups of tea for them (but there were only 2 of them) but they did eat their sandwiches in their van (their choice) and had their own flask for lunchtime. I think to a degree you have to just accept that the house will be a tip for a while and go with it. I would clean the kitchen at the end of each day (they were in for a week) and literally within an hour the dust resettled and it was dirty again!

morningpaper Fri 20-May-05 12:36:57

I wonder how much a portaloo will be?

I have decided to employ a project manager for an extra 10% who is a chap I know and trust, so hopefully this will be worth the extra money in terms of not having to spend too much time overseeing things.

Still dreading it though!

katierocket Fri 20-May-05 12:38:01

money well spent MP (on the project manager) there is always stuff that happens that you haven't/couldn't anticipate and it's good to have someone to deal with it.

Ameriscot2005 Fri 20-May-05 12:41:20

I think you just have to grin and bear it. It will be worth the pain.

We have a loft conversion done last year, which affected 3 out of our 4 bedrooms in addition to the work that was going on in the loft. There were as many as 9 men on site at the beginning. I was basically at home with a 2 year old.

When we were at home, we sat in the living room with the door and curtains shut, and an electrical heater for the days that the central heating was out of commission.

I did provide the tea - they drank about 50 cups a day, but it was January and I didn't begrudge them it - they were so grateful!

They really didn't use our loo. They must have gone at the local caff at lunchtime, or au naturel at the bottom of our garden.


One tip is to know who the onsite foreman is and make sure you keep the communication lines open at the beginning and end of each day. If there are problems with your neighbours (parking, mess, noise, getting access from their property), get the foreman to deal with it exclusively.

Also, be prepared to be frustrated. If your job is anything like ours, it will go amazingly fast at first, but will then slow down as the main crew leave and you are just down to one or two tradesmen.

HandbagAddiction Fri 20-May-05 13:01:10

Morningpaper - we have had and are still having a ridiculous amount of work done. It's an old house and needed updating so we have - changed the structured of the downstairs, knocked down a few walls, created a utility room, downstairs loo, play room / study, made the lounge bigger and moved the staircase! Upstairs, we split a bedroom into two and now have half as the new family bathroom and half as an en-suite for our new bedroom (which is now being built). We've expanded into the roof - so a new staircase, lots of steel work and reinforced floor joists, velux windows and sunpipes. We're now in the process of having a new kitchen / diner built onto the back on the house - on top of which will be mine and dh's new bedroom.

But given that we're obviously gluttons for punishment....we're also hard landscaping the back garden - so at the moment there's no turf and just mud everywhere!!

Anyone want to come around for a party????

CountessDracula Fri 20-May-05 13:11:27

Move out

That's what we did. I put an ad in local shops saying family with 1 well behaved dd (lol) and 1 well behaved giant dog need place for 6 weeks. We got response from a couple who were going on holiday for 6 weeks, we paid much less than going rate and moved into their house for 6 weeks. It was great.

flashingnose Fri 20-May-05 13:16:17

"They really didn't use our loo. They must have gone at the local caff at lunchtime, or au naturel at the bottom of our garden."

My friend's builders used a bucket in their garage

CD's suggestion is a good one.

morningpaper Fri 20-May-05 13:20:24

Can't afford to move out and TBH I would worry about what was going on in my absence! Also the cat would get confused ...

Portaloo is Top Tip so far!

morningpaper Fri 20-May-05 13:20:53

Bucket in Garage is Bottom Tip so far!

assumedname Fri 20-May-05 13:21:23

Get them to bring a Portaloo for their own use. My sil did this and it didn't cost them anything extra. Maybe the builders already own one?

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