Builders are such swindlers

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    Builders are such swindlers

    Recently I asked a builder to quote for a renovation. Finally I received a quote, and asked him to go ahead, and did he require stage payments.

    He asked for 75% in advance!

    I told him I would pay 20% in advance and 80% to my letting agent who is the builder's brother to hold on trust.

    He refused this, and I told him that was the only way he would get the work. Then he agreed this arrangement.

    I bet you can guess what's happened now, can't you?

    He has done one day's work, and now wants a further 15% to order materials. (Now, okay the materials will cost more than the 20% I already paid, but surely that's not the point?)

    Have builders no working capital at all? Why on earth should the client pay for all materials in advance, even if the builder does?

    #2
    Hmmmnnnn... hate to say this but my builder is actually really good & I keep telling him he should charge more & be harder on his clients....

    In your shoes I'd fire him, find a new one then take legal action to recover funds.... that business relationship will not, I fear, get better but simply get worse...

    Really sorry, hope things get better...

    Think you might need a new agent unless agent feels like "leaning" on bruv....
    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

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      #3
      Thanks Artful. I'll keep you guys posted.

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        #4
        Be careful. Most builders have an account with one of the big merchants and get 4-6 weeks before they need to settle their account. If your chap is asking for cash up front then it would suggest he may not be able to get the credit due to previous non payments. Pay for the material yourself and only pay him for his labour.

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          #5
          Thanks. That's a good idea. Trouble is that most of the pricey items are coming from miles away. I would love to order the kitchen and bathroom fittings myself, but have no way of transporting them, (and no wish to camp at an empty flat waiting for delivery there.)

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            #6
            I incline to the view that all tradesmen should have enough reserves and credit with suppliers to be able to organise materials in advance without charging the customer.

            Asking for a deposit because you don't trust the customer to keep to theit part of the bargain (e.g. to let you go ahead with the work on the date they agree) is a different matter.
            'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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              #7
              Originally posted by JK0 View Post
              I would love to order the kitchen and bathroom fittings myself,
              Then do so and get the builder to collect. How do you think the builder was going to get them to the property?

              Unfortunately, there's no minimum standard for people to trade as a Builder and too many have little or no fiscal acumen.

              I don't see why more, smaller jobbing builders don't work on a weekly payment schedule. So much easier to keep track of material spends and labour charges also good for cash flow.
              There is always scope for misinterpretation.

              If my posts can be interpreted in two ways, one that makes you feel angry and one that doesn't, I meant the latter.

              Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new.

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                #8
                I have been over to check on my builder's progress every weekend while the place is empty.

                C*ck-ups so far:

                Week 1: Electrician bought and started installing budget electical fittings when I had specified MK.

                Week 2: Spur for storage heater put in the wrong place. (I marked the correct place with a Post-It note which they ignored.)

                Week 3: Lifted floorboards accidentally discarded with all the other rubbish.

                Week 4: Kitchen socket chased in behind tall cupboard. (Post-It ignored again.) Storage heater moved without being taken apart as I asked.

                Week 5: Tiler has removed existing timber pipe boxing in the bathroom, and construted a new one out of MDF gripfilled to the damp plaster wall. (I specified all stud walls to be covered with cement board.)

                I have just been over and ripped out the MDF. I am waiting until I calm down before I email my builder tomorrow.

                Is all building work this difficult?

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                  #9
                  I've recently been doing refurbishment on my new house, and while the work has been simpler, I've hit the same kind of issues.
                  It's a steep learning curve! At first I had assumed that these guys were pros looking to their job well and to consult me if necessary. But I soon had to conclude that everything must be specified in minute details and checked afterwards: otherwise every possible shortcuts will be taken and every possible cheaper option will be used...

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                    #10
                    Thanks JJ.

                    Today I emailed my builder a 'less rude' version of the letter I composed yesterday. Do you know what his excuse was? He said it wasn't a stud wall, it was boxing in, so didn't count. Nevertheless, he has agreed to do what I've asked.

                    And this guy thinks he will get more work from me in future. In his dreams.

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                      #11
                      In my experience you need to speak to a builder like you would a junior member of staff and spell everything out very clearly and in small chunks. This way you lessen the chances of things not being understood. Have regular chats to discuss progress and next steps.

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                        #12
                        It's the way they beggar off to start another job in the middle of the first one which maddens me.

                        How to be a Builder:

                        1. Change your name to Kevin.
                        2. Practise sucking your breath in through your teeth and saying 'Well, sorting that out won't be cheap, I'm afraid', until it comes naturally.
                        3. Buy a transit van and fill it with junk, none of which has anything to do with building. When on a job, discover within 5 minutes of arriving on site that you need supplies/materials and always drive to the most distant B & Q that you think you can get away with.
                        4. Blame all cockups on the electrician/plumber/kitchen fitter/previous builder (even if you subcontracted to them yourself).
                        5. Above all, after each job, go and live for several months on a distant star in a far away galaxy where you cannot be contacted.
                        'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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                          #13
                          Electrician: "You should remove the tiles to fit the pipe within the wall" (Apparently classic game of 'you do it'/'no, you do it' amongst contractors present on site)
                          Plumber: "But that'll be a bigger job, won't it?"
                          Me: "I'm OK with pipe above tiles, just get on with it"
                          Plumber: "I only have copper pipes. If you want a chrome pipe I'll have to come back and fit the shower next week".

                          What was his plan for fitting the shower, then?

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                            #14
                            If you want a job doing properly...

                            I sympathise JJ.

                            In view of last week's disagreement, I went over to site this evening to see if my builder had bought the correct items for the boxing.

                            Amazingly he had, but I found some more tiling had been done today where the over-bath shower will be. In my spec, I wrote:
                            Tiles to be back buttered, with adhesive in addition to wall in shower area.

                            I could see the idle sod of course had not bothered to apply any adhesive to the wall, as the grout joints had no adhesive below them at all. I have just spent an hour easing off the tiles, scraping off what little adhesive was on them, and putting them in water. Where he was running short of adhesive at the top, the tiles just had a blob in each corner.

                            I have emailed my builder that I do not wish any further tiling to be done.

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                              #15
                              Originally posted by JK0 View Post

                              Where he was running short of adhesive at the top, the tiles just had a blob in each corner.

                              I have emailed my builder that I do not wish any further tiling to be done.
                              Sounds like the (alleged) joiner who, on discovering that he had ruined all the spare spindles for our loft extension staircase (by cutting them too short, or by taking lumps out of them by mistake), simply made the ones he had left go further by increasing the spaces in between each one...10cm centres to start with, increasing to 15 and even 20 by the end.

                              His boss's reaction to our complaint : 'Well, if you keep stumm, the building inspector will never notice'.
                              'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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