We have booked a builder to knock down a supporting wall in our kitchen, separating a dining room and the extension. Had drawings done by a structural engineer, got three quotes, went with what seemed the most reasonable, had good reviews on checkatrade etc.
Said 4 days, we thought ok maybe 5 then..
1st day all good, 2nd day steels arrive, 3 rsg needed as it's a wall supporting the room above and back of the house. Steels are wrong size, as he ordered them from the drawings, not measurements...the drawings clearly state don't do this.
Soooo he asks for more money for extra days work, we say no chance, he accepts this.
4th day, I come home to find he's put in a steel over hanging the wall so that we will either have an odd shaped wall when done or lose a good few inches of wall if he plasterboards it flush with the rest. Hard to describe so pic below.
Also damages to the flooring in hall and a kitchen cabinet.
We call today and he's apologised but has said he will do something to cover the massive bit of metal sticking out and won't charge for the more complicated electrics he's uncovered...
Also we find out today that despite us asking and confirming with him several times that he would contact building control and organise site visits, that he hadn't. So I've done it today and they won't be out until Tuesday and in the meantime we've got a kitchen full of props and exposed brickwork. He can't plasterboard etc as they need to see it all.
Lastly I think he's misunderstood what we plan to do about a doorway leading into the new larger room, as I think he wasn't planning on rebuilding the doorway and replacing the door...kind of leaving it open plan from the hall..which i dont think is a good idea so he'll probably say this wasn't part of the quote. I think we were clear where we wanted it knocked down to but he's not exactly proving himself to be the sharpest tool in the box or the most careful person.
I want to be here when building control come and get the engineer to check it all as I'm worried now about what he's done but we both work full time and cant take a day off. I also want to withold the remaining balance until he's got it perfect and done everything we want, including recompense for the damage (not that it can be fixed, old kitchen and no idea where the cupboards are from or the name of the colour to mend the damage)
DH doesn't want to complain further...he's worried he will just down tools and go or something! I kind of think if he did we'd just get the work checked and do the plaster board etc ourselves.
I don't know the best way forward really..worried the house will fall down, fed up of dust and not having a kitchen with two young children and passed off at this idiot who doesn't seem to care we are paying him thousands to do all this and trusting him.
If you get to the end of this well done!
No advice but sorry you're having a nightmare! Hope it gets sorted.
Re the funny shaped steal overhang - I would box it in from the steel to the side wall and celaing - so you have a slight step out but hopefully it won't be too noticeable and you're not loosing cm of room.
Just spoke to DH who is a builder; from your 1st photo it looks like, in his opinion, that the steel (RSJ) should be on a "padstone" and not resting on a single brick and wouldn't thought that this would be acceptable to building control. Speak to building control, we've spoken to them in the past and found them helpful, and they are there to help protect you!
Thanks all, yes I had thought that an option would be to box it. We might put shelving in which would hide it too. It's also overlapping the ceiling so he'll have to box it somehow.
Really the padstone, yes we think the same and said he would do this but hasn't. I'm worried this is going to drag on for at least another week as he will have to take it down and cast a concrete padstone. Or prop it again to do this I guess.
User sorry to be cheeky but did your dh have any opinion on what he'd do about the doorway/no extra doorway?
Asked DH, In his opinion you can put in doorway quite easily, either using a stud wall or with thermolite block or similar. Obviously he says if you go down the "masonry" route ensure it is "tied in" to existing block or brickwork. HTH
Sorry pressed "post" too early, - he says padstones can be bought, they don't have to be made "on site" so shouldn't cause a delay.
You might very well need the doorway if you have three stories in your house then you need to block off kitchen / bedrooms somehow as part.of a means of escape in case of a fire
But I hear ya. We have had similar issues with our builders / surveyors etc. They suck.
Thanks all. I'm feeling a bit less panicky about the house falling down now, DH has spoken to him an he's going to build a pier to support the overhanging rsg and put a Padstone on that, removing the bricks, apparently nothe a massive job. Just got to check about the doorway now. Just hoping it's quick as it's bloody freezing with drafts coming through the floor and ceiling! Oh well no kitchen excuse for a takeaway...
The pier is inadequate as the overhang is too great.
Padstones don't have to be cast concrete - they can be engineering bricks or spreader plates, but you have to use what the engineer has specified.
OK thanks for that do you mean even if he builds a peir of two brick widths and then adds a Padstone over all the width of the rsj, removing the layer of bricks, that wouldn't be right? I think at this rate one of us will need to take time off to meet building control and the builder to see what he's got to do.
I'm a teacher and dh works all over London with an hour or more commute so it's a massive pita.
The SE will have specified what the steel needs to sit on.
Personally having seen the pics and this post he sounds like a cowboy who I wouldn't have doing any more structural work on your house. You shouldn't have to be finding out and telling him how to put in an rsj!!!
Ahh this is typical!
Even the 'best' contractors will try any excuse in the book for extension of time. I work with an Architects and its nearly a daily occurrence.
What did the SE supply? Just structural drawings? Because really you should have an NBS, GA Plans, Detail Design Drawings, Component Schedules, FInishes Plans. The NBS is your most important part, detail by detail it will write your requirements and the drawings these are shown on (and have all the clauses saying 'Allow for measurement on site etc.'); that is the basis of your contract with your builder.
If you don't have that (like my parents didn't when doing exactly the same as you are doing - wall demolition and steels) then it all gets in a bit of a bind and very messy.
I would be worried you have none of this as its not even clear about the door. Which would be the simplest of things to correct him on via your existing GA Plan and proposed GA Plan (basically a floor plan).
Ahh you have my sympathy! They are little slimy buggers if they can get away with it.
We've just had very similar work done and it looks to me as if the RSJ is in the wrong place/is the wrong size. Personally I would be telling the builder to get it sorted in accordance with the structural specifications and would not be paying a penny until this has been done and signed off by building control. Did you also ensure that he had adequate insurance cover before he started work? I certainly would not be satisfied with being left with some odd looking boxing in, as it will annoy the heck out of you.
Sorry can't help with building. But guessed you were a teacher I am too.
Hope you can have a day off maybe PPA from home maybe ask to use two weeks of PPA together and then forgo it later (week before Xmas maybe)
Thanks all...back to panicking now!
We have a contract for the works to be carried out plus the SE drawings. No floor plan. Weve been a bit stupid there.
I am going to call building control and ask their advice, we're also going to make the builder call in to see us on Sunday night to agree a list of what needs to be done. Hopefully we can get it sorted. He's not getting a penny till its sorted though.
Not much hope of ppa really, I do have a couple last period frees but unfortunately this week am running detentions/clubs/parents eveningshould so can't leave.
Ah, so no NBS, floor plans or details.
Maybe try and list it out yourself as an Architect would for your chat...
Components (things going in as part of works):
- 1 x doorset (Specify which one you want)
- 1 x Casing to Cased opening (unless you are just having a plastered dry walled opening)
- Timber skirting etc.
Draw a floor plan to show existing and proposed (what was there/ what you want)
Note down the finishes you want:
- Plaster finish
- Wall Paint
- Wood Paint
Also note down agreements of:
- make good damages to kitchen etc.
- make good damages revealing exposed wiring etc.
Re-read your contract and see what it actually says. Does it say any of this if you don't have an NBS? Because a structural engineers drawings will tell you how something should be built; it wont usually tell you what you want building in much detail. So it wouldn't include a doorset detail as its not rocket science requiring SE, IYSWIM. Nor would it detailing (what it actually looks like in your house - rather than generic how to put a steel in).
Maybe look at NBS Domestic Specification but adding that in now wont make it part of your contractual agreement.
Bit late now but next time get an Architect to draw all this up for you; it would be less than a days work (c. £300-£500 dayrate) so well worth the money to have your contract bullet proof.
I am a surveyor and knock throughs like this are my bread and butter.
I would say architects are rarely involved (not worth the cost), ditto NBS. A decent builder wil normally do a perfect job with just some calculations.
99% of jobs like these are completely straightforward. You've just been unlucky here, OP. Doesn't mean it won't be easy to resolve so please don't panic!
Thanks all for the advice, really helpful. Builders been over to chat and we've gone through the list of stuff he's going to do now, he's going to repair the damage and we're just waiting on building control, if we are happy that they've signed it off then I think we will be sorted. He reckons all done Wednesday. Seemed more reasonable and explained how he'd sort the mess he's made of the pier so I think it will all be fine.
Never having builders in again! We will just do everything else ourselves I think...
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