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Pushy builder - feeling pressured - how to deal??

(11 Posts)
Audrey0989 Fri 15-May-15 13:21:38

Hi everyone,

We are awaiting for our license to alter for our flat renovation. We've found a builder through a friend's recommendation who offered a competitive price and has pointed out a few structural issues that even our architect hadn't thought of. So we are quite thankful for that.

However, our license to alter is taking quite some time. Mainly because we are waiting for access to the flat above and below us, and for the managing company of the buildings to approve our structural calculations.

In hindsight, we probably should've waited until we got approval before looking for a builder.

Now, our builder (we haven't signed any contract) has been saying for 2-3 weeks now, he wants to start "next week". We've also asked him for some paper work which he hasn't done yet. He keeps saying he hasn't got any jobs lined up and is "waiting" for us and wants to start ASAP - but drags his feet on the paper work we require from him. Whenever we tell him something new came up from the management company (ie. more surveys, or more paper work), he gets flustered and says "I thought we were starting next week??" and stuff like that. 3 weeks ago he even said he may have to pull out if nothing "starts" in a week....

He's making me feel really pressured and stressed, as if pressure from the managing company/surveyor/engineer's request isn't enough to deal with.

I had my first emotional breakdown of this renovation yesterday.

Does anyone have advice on what's the best way to deal with this sort of behaviour?

And would it be reasonable to pay him a "holding" fee - for him to "wait" for us?? But we don't know how long it'll take.. could be 1-2 weeks.could be 3-4..

There are days I just want to no longer use him, but his price is competitive and he has really found out structural things that our architect's missed...

linspins Fri 15-May-15 17:30:04

I think I might say to him that work probably couldn't start for a month, and did he have a short project he could do in the meantime. Be very sweet and apologetic about it, disarm him with niceness! Blame it all on the flats management, in a 'gosh, this is frustrating for both of us, not much we can do for a while' etc.

I do not have experience of this myself, but sure loads of others here do, who may be more helpful!

BeatieBo Sat 16-May-15 00:24:25

It would worry me that he doesn't have any jobs lined up. You normally have to wait for a good builder.

TheoriginalLEM Sat 16-May-15 00:36:00

It might be that the builder had kept his diary free to do your job when he expected to do it so put off other jobs. My DP is a builder, although he works alone (well now he has an assistant - me smile and we do have a client list waiting that we could juggle if there was a delay on a job we were doing just now, but that is mostly because the people waiting to have their work done are existing clients and happy to fit in with DP because they like his work. A new client wouldn't necessarily be so understanding.

I think it must be really bloody stressful for the builder as he wont have any money coming in while he is waiting to do your job and he may well have people on the payroll. So i can really understand his frustrations.

BUT its not your fault and you have to wait for the permissions to be in place. So there really isn't any mileage in putting you under pressure and I wouldn't dream of doing that myself, i'd suck it up i suppose and swear and rant in private.

The most competitive quote isn't always the best though, i would be wary of extras that occur if he has priced too low.

Id maybe get some other quotes if you can

OnePlanOnHouzz Sat 16-May-15 06:58:27

He should give you paperwork - and he must give you in writing your rights to cancel and how you cancel. You have 14 days from date of issue of this to cancel . If he starts within this time then he needs you to sign that you will pay for any work done within this period if you still decide to cancel . This is an EU directive that came in in 2013 to protect clients from arranging work without truly thinking about it . It apples to anyone buying a product or service from anyone else in their home of place of work wether in person or internet based.

Hope that helps !

TheoriginalLEM Sat 16-May-15 08:25:42

So what protects the builder when the client changes their mind? (I KNOW this isn't THE CASE with the OP)

OnePlanOnHouzz Sat 16-May-15 19:41:54

Sorry for delay - Only just logged on again... In answer - Well I must admit I tend to book my work up 2-3weeks ahead - but that said, I get the odd client who wants to change . I think most people realise that builders and people like me are business people and that we too have schedules to try and keep to.
I think it makes people aware . And if you start the project sooner the client needs to sign that they will pay for work covered within that timescale if the then decide to terminate the agreement .so that covers the contractor too.

MyFirstName Sat 16-May-15 22:41:25

If he makes you feel anxious before you have even started I would walk away if you can tbh (sorry). Having worked with a builder who was all about him and his schedule and his cash-flow problems and continually finding extra stuff we "needed" to do - but could not give me a definitive price for anything, never had the paperwork ready (apart from 2 weekly invoices without fail), schedule set (unless it suited him)....and then ended up costing us wayyyyy too much...<shudder>

Next builder. Lovely. Flexible, understanding, able to price things on the hoof which comes to a fairly similar fixed price quote, gets paper work to you (OK may require one reminder due to being busy).

Audrey0989 Mon 18-May-15 12:21:54

Thanks everyone so much! I honestly am not convinced he has "nothing" else to do while "waiting for us" b/c whenever I call him, he sounds like he's busy. sigh. Interesting thing is when we offered to pay him to "hold" for a week or 2, he doesn't take up on it. I think he's an alright guy - just he's used to twisting people's arms?

Anyway, we're trying the "kill him with kindness" approach and just being excessively apologetic about the whole thing.. so far it's holding him off.

JugglingChaotically Mon 18-May-15 12:28:28

If it starts this way I would run.
We had similar interactions with our builder - including the positive constructive suggestions and the start dates - he turned out to be a total disaster.

JugglingChaotically Mon 18-May-15 13:16:38

Rereading this sounds very like our builder- we are still picking up the pieces and ££££. It has been truly awful.
If you like PM me his name and I'll tell of if the same one.

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