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Builder misery

(12 Posts)
TheBeanpole Mon 22-Aug-16 09:58:19

Just a rant really- I want them done and OUT (and maybe reassurance we have done the right thing). Am 36 weeks pregnant with a toddler and some sort of flu virus and they have overrun by a month already.

We are having kitchen works doing. Involves knocking out an arch (this bit went fine, beam ok etc) and installation of roof light. Kitchen is in a sort of single story extension at the back of the house which is ancient- maybe victorian as well- it had a bathroom in it at one point and a shallow pitched roof. It runs into a 'breakfast room' ie the orginal kitchen, with suspended wood floor etc.

When we went to retile the floor it turned out that this was the source of damp in the kitchen- a wet concrete slab all cracked, with remains of an old wall in it. There wasn't much that could be done with it- advice was to dig it all out, install suspended wood floor and ply etc. Cue 2 week delay and the addition of about 40% to the proposed cost along with re-rendering the walls. But fine- it wasn't visible at the outset and was a big messy job and actually explained a lot about the weird smell from the low cupboards.

When the builder quoted for the rooflight fitting there was a long conversation about the pitch of the roof and tiles which are all non-standard but we were told they had spoken to the roofer and they could make it fit ok. The SE also did the building regs drawings that specifed pitch. Roofers come round on Saturday, suck their teeth and say, oh- you actually need a whole new roof there or we can't make it watertight- that will be £3k- and we are, surprise surprise, free next week. We don't have another £3k- our more than ample contingency has been used up on the floor. They are claiming the roof is wet. We have never had a roof leak there, it doesn't feel wet, the brickwork is dry- one of the joists had some dry rot and woodworm but it is at least 70 years old so we weren't surprised. The flashing is in a bit of a state but that was also pointed out at the time.

Anyway, I have handed over builder negotiations to DH as although I am apparently a demon negotiator at work (I negotiate contracts!) I seem unable to do this with builders and we wondered if a gender switch would make a difference. This morning there was a terse discussion where the builder said- ok we can put the rooflight in for the original quote but I can't guarantee the work. DH asked if we could just put the roof back (it has a bloody great hole in it, waiting for the install) and forget the rooflight and was told they would still charge us for labour (!). So he said fine- put it in, don't touch anything else (we actually have a roofer who has done other work for us who is cheap and good who we will get round to fix the flashing and gutters etc after they clear off).

'If you can find the money' was repeated a lot. DH repeated we couldn't. Endlessly. At some point you have to say 'nope', right? We weren't unrealistic in terms of budget and contingency.

AIBU to think 3k is ridiculous for a 2.5x2.5 m roof and they are probably on the make? And that even if we had it put back the builder should have absorbed some of the fault for not knowing enough to quote properly? If I did that professionally we would have to absorb the cost.

Our builder was recommended and we got references etc but turns out not a great project manager if things don't go to plan and a bit of a catastrophiser (he sends these great long texts predicting disaster- like saying he thought we needed woodworm treatment everywhere and the rest of our floor would need ripping up because it was 'probably all rotten'- neither of these things were true).

I start mat leave today and just want them GONE and want to cook and get rid of the dust so I can at least think about my homebirth. And now have 2 sulky roofers downstairs who are pissed off they're not getting 3k. And they left their ladders up against an unsecured roof while we were away. Our feeling was we would probably never get them back if the damn thing leaked anyway, and a leetle bit of me also thinks they're thinking they can exploit pregnancy urgency.

Gah. Tell me it will end? I am immaturely hiding in bed rather than offering tea.

Stumbleine Mon 22-Aug-16 10:14:39

Oh dear! I am so sorry I have no practical advice to offer, but just want to jump in there with sone sympathy/solidarity. I am sort of feeling your pain right now as am 34 weeks pregnant and slap bang in the middle of a kitchen/utility renovation which involves wall removal, windows, doors etc.

I am so sick of 'camping' in the house and trying to entertain 3 feral dc! I want to nest! And nap! And feel generally more prepared for the impending baby chaos! Dh keeps telling me I need to relax. Ha yeah right! hmm

I really hope you manage to sort this roof business out. You'll soon (hopefully not too soon) have a lovely newborn to snuggle and house issues will fade into the background (well that's what I keep telling myself). Good luck flowers

TheBeanpole Mon 22-Aug-16 11:58:45

3 DC! You definitely win. Just got the one and at least she is still at nursery.

There is some encouraging hammering going on.

TeddyBee Mon 22-Aug-16 12:32:22

I feel your pain sad I was so glad to see the builders gone and I was only a few months pregnant (although they had been here for nine months by then). Does every build finish with the homeowners loathing the builders? I wouldn't even piss on mine if he was on fire, not least because I still don't have building control sign off two years later.

TheBeanpole Mon 22-Aug-16 14:27:29

Urgh. Building control. Fully expect that to be another saga. Am just waiting for a 'surprise' on the electrics now.

Everyone seems to hate them by the end but so many have shocking project management skills. I can never work out if they genuinely think something isn't a problem or are spinning a yarn to get the work.

Ntinyn Tue 23-Aug-16 06:48:46

Don't have any advice but sort of feeling your pain. 22w and one DC, major works on two floors of house, dirt, dust, offering tea, driving me bonkers. I'm not sure how you've coped as I'm not coping at all. I'm so over the project now and right now wish we hadn't started... Sending hugs

Marmitelover55 Tue 23-Aug-16 07:50:27

Sorry to hear you are having so much trouble. Just wanted to point out that not everyone ends up hating their builders - we loved ours and had an extension party for them when it was finished! Really hope yours gets back on track though - must be very difficult for you flowers.

icklekid Tue 23-Aug-16 08:04:37

I feel like for balance I should say we also didn't hate our builders. Ready for them to finish yes definitely but they did a good job and were finished in good time (even when dd came 5 weeks early and I hadn't been worried about being finished on time!)

TheBeanpole Tue 23-Aug-16 08:57:12

Well, the roof is in at least and they are apparently plastering and electrics fitting today...

I think we're just awful at choosing trades! Our bathroom went well but not so much everything else. Thanks for the good vibes!.

0SometimesIWonder Tue 23-Aug-16 10:22:02

You have all my sympathy Beanpole; we've just come to the end of our kitchen re-furb and it nearly cost me my liberty. It was fifty-fifty who I killed first - a builder or a husband.....
I can't offer anything other than an ear to bend and the fact that it will be finished someday.

0SometimesIWonder Tue 23-Aug-16 10:23:47

And the fact that the end result is amazing.

venys Tue 23-Aug-16 13:29:50

Just sympathy here too. The house we bought was tired which is fine as we have young kids. But it has needed lots of work just to make it safe and habitable. You do tend to get a snowball effect with these houses - touch one thing and 5 other things need doing. We trust our builder (he is a friend) and he does a good job but its a much longer, drawn out and more expensive project that you envisage. My latest is an extra £1200 to insulate loft as the insulation had fallen down and was making it damp and a bit extreme. You know you have to do it at some time but you tend to put blinkers on. I think if you can get your roofing friend around this week as a second opinion that would be good. It's tough when you are this pregnant though but best to get it to a workable finish as you won't be doing much after baby arrives.

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