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Are my builders delusional or am I being a diva

(29 Posts)
diamonte68 Sun 01-Nov-15 08:21:02

We are in the middle (well actually are meant to be near the end of) a big house renovation - old kitchen ripped out and moved, wall knocked out and bi fold doors put in, old utility knocked down, new utility built in what was the dining room, built in wardrobes in a few bedrooms removed, the whole house redecorated, all down stairs rooms re floored. Plus a few other smaller things. Our builders originally quoted 6 weeks for completion of the job - which was about what I had thought was reasonable. We then added on a few more jobs (making good the decking outside / making some changes to the family bathroom etc) and they increased the time scale (and obviously the cost to 8 weeks. I felt this was a bit on the excessive side, but accepted and we agreed the cost and they started the job.

Every time I spoke to the builders to ask whether they were on track with the time line I was told everything was fine and they would finish within the agreed 8 weeks, yet in my eyes things were not progressing as quickly as I had expected. We are now at the end of week 7 and therefore they only have 1 week left and am still at a point where not one thing out of the list of jobs we wanted doing has been complete. The flooring in the kitchen is still only 75% laid, the kitchen has been first fitted (I think that's what its called.. plumbing pipes and electric wires in place but not hooked up) but the walls and ceilings have only just been plastered, the coving hasn't been put back and the kitchen is sitting in boxes in my lounge (which has no flooring yet!). The kitchen is not small I think there are about 17 base units a few wall units and a sizeable island with prep sink to install. The utility room was fitted a couple of weeks back but not finished the sink hasn't been sealed in yet, our new fridge that arrived 2 weeks ago hasn't been plumbed in (we are having one fridge in the utility and one in the main kitchen).

I came home from work late on Friday to find that we had no hot water - they had disconnected the boiler but didn't bother to tell me. I understand sometimes these things need doing but I was fuming that they didn't let me know! Anyway I spoke to the builder yesterday to let him know my frustration - and to his credit he came out and reinstated the hot water - it took less than 10 minutes to do this so why not do that on Friday before leaving! When he came round I asked him again (probably the 10th time in the last 2 weeks) whether or not they would be completing on Friday. To my complete amazement he said he couldn't see why not... we were stood in a shell of a room that is meant to be my kitchen and all I could think was - you have taken 7 weeks to get to this point and still not actually finished anything yet you are saying you can finish everything that needs doing in 5 days?

Really interested to know from those that have been there before how long do you think it would take to completely fit a kitchen including installing sinks/boiling water taps/saniflow for the island sink/ decorating etc etc. Am I totally wrong in thinking there is no way on this planet it will ever happen by Friday? For clarity the things that have still not been done are:
Flooring in Lounge re laid
Fridge plumbed into utility room
Nest thermostats installed
extractor fans replaced in 2 bathrooms
final snagging on a cupboard they built that will act as an airing cupboard in the main bathroom (really hard to describe but essentially a cupboard with a radiator in it!)
Bi fold doors still not in place yet but this is being done with the company that are supplying the door and they are scheduled in for Tuesday
flooring in kitchen finished
entire kitchen fitted including island
decorating in kitchen and lounge

My builder said that there will be 6 guys on site every day working to get it finished by Friday. The last 7 weeks they have worked at a snails pace and it seems to me that suddenly they have woken up and realised they have left everything to the last minute! I actually don't have a problem with how long they take completing - we have a fixed fee and they are not getting more money if it takes longer... I just don't understand why they continually tell me that they are on schedule! I booked the week after the work was due to finish off work after they reassured me 3 weeks ago that they were on schedule I am now thinking I need to shift that week which will cause me an issue! I have spent 7 weeks with no living room or functioning kitchen and I am frankly just fed up of it.

Am I panicking for nothing??

JeffsanArsehole Sun 01-Nov-15 08:24:21

Do you not pay until the end of the week ?

Because it seems to me that would be the obvious reason they wouldn't say there was a delay.

I do think that people don't understand how dull and how long first fixes and preparation take. The actual doing the 'thing' like putting in units is much quicker.

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Sun 01-Nov-15 08:25:30

If they have six blokes every day working on it I think it's doable.

JeffsanArsehole Sun 01-Nov-15 08:26:45

Make sure you understand there will be a small amount of snagging afterwards. There always is and they will need to come back to do that. Go around everything with a pen and paper to make that list. With the builder. And hold back 5% until it's done.

Hassled Sun 01-Nov-15 08:28:48

Blimey - no wonder you're at the end of your tether - that's one hell of a lot of disruption. I don't know re timescales but I do know that when builders get their acts together (and it does coincide with the looming of deadlines) they can achieve an extraordinary amount in no time at all - and there will be 6 of them. They've done the prepwork, which you have to assume was the hard bit. Don't panic just yet - and good luck.

Cookingongas Sun 01-Nov-15 08:33:05

Your list seems a lot- counting hours if Six workers ( in various trades) work 5 days 9-5, it can be done. BUT I've often had customers panicking that 'NOTHING' has been done, and there's no way we'll finish jobs. The fact is prep is the lion work. Quite often a job that looks crap and slow can come together suddenly because the hard work is done and the superficial making it look good is usually easy.

PurpleWithRed Sun 01-Nov-15 08:33:36

I'd be astonished if they finished in a week. Theoretically, with no unforeseen problems, all materials being to hand, the 6 blokes being multi-talented and you having a strict tea:work regime it may be possible. But I'd be surprised. Do let us know how it goes.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 01-Nov-15 08:37:06

We're just coming to then end of massive building works. Slightly complicated by the fact that I am 38 weeks pregnant and have a 1 and a 2 year old. We're running two weeks behind but that delay was partly due to having to eIt for tiles and some of one of the bathroom fittings being damaged.

I have summoned the builder may times and told him that I'm about to have a nervous breakdown and I cannot see how on earth he can possibly finish the job he's said he'll do that week in time. He always proves me wrong blush.

Ive had to learn to trust him - what he tends to do is chuck loads of resource at it. Plus his people are good so they tend to do it right the first time. However, I've had days where I've been really cross because I think there should be someone here every single day - like there was when they were doing all the heavy structural work. But the way he works for things like doing all the finishing off joinery is is to schedule the joiner to come for 4 days on the trot. But the two proceeding days, I might not have anyone here.

diamonte68 Sun 01-Nov-15 08:37:37

thanks for the responses all! Makes me feel a bit calmer knowing that maybe... just maybe I will have a kitchen by the end of the week. I have only paid for materials and a small deposit so far - the final payment is not due until "successful completion of all works" so if they do go over the deadline they don't get paid until its all done.

I am prepared for the snagging and am expecting a few minor things will have been missed or not done fully... just hoping that my snagging list doesn't include the words "Kitchen not fitted" smile

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 01-Nov-15 08:38:15

Ps - the boiler is just totally fucking annoying though. I made sure I got all the numbers of plumbers/electricians etc do I could summon them directly if any issue.

To be fair, they have been pretty thoughtful re: water etc though

diamonte68 Sun 01-Nov-15 08:49:02

On the whole the builders have all been great and in some weird way I will miss them all once this is all finished - a bit of Stockholm syndrome kicking in! My biggest concern now is that they will have another job lined up to go to and will need to rush the finishing off of mine. To date the work that they actually have completed has been to a very high standard and I have said to them I would prefer that they take more time to complete but do it properly than bodge it in so they can finish on time. I just want them to tell me when they realistically can finish so I can plan my life accordingly.

I do feel better now that a few people have said that a week is do able.

Yseulte Sun 01-Nov-15 09:12:57

I think it will be more like 2 weeks by the time everything's finished. Some builders just tell you what you want to hear.

FluffyNinja Sun 01-Nov-15 09:14:30

Op, I feel for you. I hope your kitchen gets fitted on time.
Our building work has only just started and I asked DH for an approx completion date and he just shrugged his shoulders.
Amongst other things, we're having the kitchen gutted and extended. Should we wait until the new walls are built before getting quotes from kitchen companies?
Are there any helpful online sites that guide you through choosing stuff? I get easily overwhelmed by choice and tend to make quick decisions. Sometimes that's good but not always.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 01-Nov-15 09:18:46

fluffy - I've not had the kitchen done but part of our was having 3 bathrooms refitted.

I made sure I had had s good look and pretty much knew what I wanted for each one. The hardest one was the loft extension one as I wasn't 100% sure what size it would be. The lead time on stuff can be a while for kitchens so I would look now. Plus we had a delay when the wrong tiles were ordered by the supplier.

To be fair to the builders, most want to get on and finish and I knew from ours and the architect that the most annoying thing for them is waiting for weeks for deliveries of stuff so they can get on

I wanted to make sure that no delay could be "blamed" on us so I've made sure I've had stuff ready and paid promptly in the agreed stages.

FluffyNinja Sun 01-Nov-15 09:46:16

Thanks Gobbolino, that's really helpful. smile

diamonte68 Sun 01-Nov-15 09:47:16

We got our kitchen quote right at the beginning - the kitchen designer drew up plans for us so we could visualise the space and suggested a layout etc which we tweaked and changed until we were happy with it. The designer worked closely with the builders and she measured up a few times before finalising the order. For getting ideas I used alot. It is a great site to give you design ideas etc. I re did our design at least 10 times before I finally settled on the one I am having. I even made a change to the utility room as it was being fitted!

In the early stages of planning I found it easy as it didn't feel "real" it was just a drawing on a page, it was when we got to the point of ordering stuff that the panic hit! Suddenly my decisions were going to be final and they had to be right - I found that stage particularly stressful. My advice would be to find a good kitchen designer as early as possible they should be able to give you advice on lay out etc and then the extras (appliances etc) are mainly down to budget and personal taste.

There is a post on here that's called "Kitchen lessons learned" - search for it - it was a great help to me as it was full of tips from people who have been there and done that and helps you see the benefits of some things - pan drawers seem to be a definite must have and the downside of others. One thing to always remember though is that it is YOU that has to live with the kitchen - just go with what you want and try not to be swayed by what the marketing people think you need!

FluffyNinja Sun 01-Nov-15 13:37:53

Thank you for the thread advice. Just what I need. We had a horrible experience with builders about fifteen years ago on another house and I've completely blocked the whole thing from my memory. confused

OnePlanOnHouzz Sun 01-Nov-15 14:09:39

Sounds like next week would be a good week to be out every day and leave then to 'get on with it' !! Hope you are pleasantly surprised on Friday to find it all done !!! smile

RaphaellaTheSpanishWaterDog Sun 01-Nov-15 17:29:07

I think it could be doable with six builders working their socks off every day, but IMHO two weeks would be more realistic. Three years ago we had a huge architect-designed extension built. Admittedly we did some of the work ourselves - demolishing the old extension, rendering, plastering, laying floor tiles in a 36' x 15' space, fitting the kitchen etc - but when the guys came to disconnect our oil fired boiler they said they'd be back in six weeks to reinstall it in the new utility room which was when our builders reckoned the shell would be ready. Instead it was almost six months, during which time we had no hot water or heating!

Things do definitely suddenly come together though - as other posters have said what takes the time is all the prep and first fix - once they get to second fix stage it will all fall into place.......

mrsplum2015 Sun 01-Nov-15 22:49:34

As others have said those last bits are often quicker than you think. In my experience it's best to just leave the builders to get on with it. It may slip by a few days to a week but it's not the end of the world (yes irritating though). Any normal/decent builder won't go to the next job until yours is finished.
If you keep hassling the builder you might actually find they get irritated and it causes you more trouble. Builders do seem to be a certain type who like to be self-governing and not feel they're under pressure.

diamonte68 Mon 02-Nov-15 06:49:02

Thanks everyone for your re assurance, I am going to be away for most of the week so will be leaving them to get on with it - have stocked up with lots of tea bags, coffee and sugar for them and replenished the biscuit tin to keep them fuelled for what sounds like it will be a busy week for them!

I am just frustrated after 7 long weeks of dust and living in a mess and still the end doesn't seem to be in sight. If I at least have a working (even if not finished) kitchen by the end of the week I will be happier.

whiteagle Mon 02-Nov-15 07:06:46

We are 25 weeks in and in the the ladt gasp too. It is maddening. I think you need to be prepared for 2 more weeks to be honest.

The last weeks seem to be the worst if my experience is anything to go by! All those little jobs they have left to the end.

curriegirl Mon 02-Nov-15 13:24:20

My biggest concern is that you said the "builder" disconnected the boiler but came back and connected it again. Is he CORGI registered?

diamonte68 Mon 02-Nov-15 16:14:27

hi Curriegirl, its me confusing people. The "builders" are a building company, they have all the trades working for them and the 2 that own the company are the ones that I deal with most, one is an electrician and the other a plumber both have all the necessary registrations that they need etc but I refer to them as my 'builders" but I appreciate they are more than just builders.

Justaboy Tue 03-Nov-15 11:48:21

Having the builders in is like a love affair, it starts with great expectations and usually like marriages ends in the courts, or at least with an exchange of solicitors letterssad

They are a sort of nomadic bunch making a "start" as they call it then they drift off whilst the various other "trades" come and go and pass thru lets not start off with poor builder/architect/client liaison shall we;!.

But the OP has a the right idea lots of Tea biccy's creature comforts and that's good at keeping them around. Sometimes you sort of become the project manager yourself even with otherwise good firms let alone those who need to be shamed on the telly., Anyway hope it all works out an you enjoy your new found spacesmile

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