Builders working on commercial building

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  • Builders working on commercial building

    Strange question.

    In my partnership, I don't deal with any builders/tradesmen when we have work done on the building, repairs, renovations etc. Generally, we agree something needs doing and a colleague arranges it all.

    I'm now frustrated as yet another piece of work has failed and the tradesman is awol and as he was paid in full there is 'nothing we can do' according to my colleague. To me, we are just throwing money away with no improvement to the problem.

    I was doing some research on a residential side and I came across some tips for when working with builders and want to know if it is common practice for this to be done in commercial side too (please excuse my naivety, as I said I focus on other areas).

    Signed Contract
    Schedule of works
    Fixed Price
    Retention 6 months

    At the moment, they just agree a price and works then pay in full at the end and it then goes to pot.

    My main interest is the contract and retention. Are the contracts usually the 'JCT' ones?

    What level is the rentention usually - 5%/10%?

    Not all our jobs are huge, some are just repairs - would you always insist on all the above on any job?

    Thanks in advance - I reallt want to get this sorted before I pull all my hair out...


  • #2
    You may have difficulty not payng in full after the work is done.

    Tradesmen either work for a company, and you can sue them
    ( drastic, I know, but that is an option )
    Or thay advertise in the local paper and are self employed, in
    which case, you make dam sure you have a verified home address
    where you can find them, even visit them on the premsis of,
    "Just passing and wondered when you may be able to start".

    If you are emplying workmen, and you cant contact them
    afterwards, I would tell your colleague to "Do better in future",
    or not at all, and you get the quotes.


    • #3
      This is all very difficult and can really depend on the size of job. The schedule you set out above is a pretty standard schedule for most construction companies whatever they are working on, but this is really job related. If your doing a £50,000 job then you would expect this all to take place but if it is a £5000 job then many builders would be less happy about doing all of that for a small job.

      Same with retentions, these are usally on jobs that are rather big, usually over £100,000 from my experience. You can always ask for this schedule to take place but even things like fixed prices are difficult and depend on exactly what kind of work is taking place as prices will increase as sites are possibly dismantled and new jobs found. You really need to be working with someone who has experience who would help you and advise you.

      It will always be difficult if you have no site experience and do not understand the job which is being priced, value is not always the cheapest price and can be very dependent on what works you are getting done for the cost.


      • #4
        Thanks for the replies - exactly what I was looking for.

        Hech - thanks for the indication of the scale of jobs these kind of practices are introduced on. Unless we have any major work done, it is likely these practices will not be required but there are a couple of long term plans that could require this.

        Ram - sound advice on the details I would ask him to get in the future as a back up. One of the lone guys disappeared right after he finished his work and it's been failing since. I'm just getting sick of paying out and the work not fixing the problems.

        I imagine it wouldn't be popular, but rather than the 6 month retention is the within reason to hold a proportion of payment while a snagging list is produced and payment made on completion of the snags (if they are reasonable)?



        • #5
          Please give an example on a couple of the kinds of works you have had problems with and I will say whay I would do.


          • #6
            Could you not just get a full written quote and then do staged payments to mitigate your losses? No need to undertake a schedule of works etc. It will put the cheaper builders off and cost you more long term.
            [I]The opinions I give are simply my opinions and interpretations of what I have learnt, in numerous years as a property professional, I would not rely upon them without consulting with a paid advisor and providing them with all the relevant facts[I]


            • #7
              Originally posted by hech123 View Post
              Please give an example on a couple of the kinds of works you have had problems with and I will say whay I would do.
              Ok, the works with issues is a job to repair a series of serious leaks on an older property. The workman viewed the exterior using closely, said he identified the problem and re flashed a large section. It has made no difference to the water ingress to the top floor.

              Electrics - installation of full electrics (light,fuseboard, plugs) to series of self contained units. Found down the line they were not isolated from one another and they could trip each others elec off.

              MrJohnnyB - I would think it would be more difficult to get a builder to accept staged payments over a period where issues would become apparent - a few months after 'completion' of the job, rather than an agreed retainer. I don't know.


              • #8
                Roof's are a constant nightmare and I have myself fixed 3-4 jobs on a roof and it still leaks, you really can not blame tradesmen for this as it really is a trial and error thing. I have one at the minute and have done 3 jobs, all of which need done and were in the correct area but still water is coming in, it can trickle donw from so many points and can be really hard to trace. If a roofer see's a problem they will try and fix it and you pay for there time, this does not always solve the problem and quite often it will not be the roofers fault.

                Electrics, if it is on a commercial property they would possibly not need isolated from one another as in a residential so may depend if you had requested this specificaly, the plugs and lights should be seperate as they have seperate load amounts at least, so a tricky one. It could even be argued that plugs and lights could be on the same dependiong which wire he has used.

                Small jobs like this are impossible to get retainers, you just got to check as best you can and pay the bill. Roof's are the worst job though and can be very difficult to fix!!


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