Calling in the Builders

I am having some work done to the Schloss Vegetius (on the North Wing, by the crennelations next to the cable car hangar) at the moment, and have instructed a local firm of craftsmen to carry out the job.

Now, I'm still trying to work this one out, as almost a week into the job:

* The builders are polite and hard-working
* They turn up exactly when they say they will
* The job is coming in slightly ahead of schedule and on-budget
* They clean up after themselves
* They are British
* Their work is actually very good
* Their gaffer turns up frequently to check up on everything and schmooze me

My only tiny gripe is that they listen to dreadful music on the radio, but really that's a small cross to bear.

What have I done wrong? I'm pretty sure, from my previous experiences of initiating building projects that something is seriously awry. Any suggestions as to how I can restore the traditionally dystopic relationship betwixt artisan and patron would be gratefully received.

Forget to put the 15 sugars in their tea.
Make the whole site a no smoking/no whistling/no leching area.
Ban trousers that display builders bum.
Wait until they have finished a section of the work and then insist it is moved 2.5mm to the left.

This should quickly restore normality.
P1ss the builders off and they will leave everything as it is. Gather down the local pub when they should be working. Eventually months down the line when they have finished, they will over charge for expenses occurred and a high possibility the building will leak, crack, and fall down. But have fun!
Have you never seen "The Bill"? Does the term "Obbo" mean nothing to you? I would be having a good hard look at your nieghbours or in your son's room if I were you, which as we both know I'm not
I considered the possibility that they were some sort of law enforcement covert operations unit spying on me or my neighbours. Then I realised that they definitely weren't because they turn up on time, aren't lippy, are helpful (etc).

I'd like to meet an MI5 bloke or copper who could turn out a beautiful Flemish Bond using old stock like my brickie.

V, if you are in South London or Surrey area, please let me have the name of the Firm as I need an extra wing on the stables and can't find a builder that is any good.
A good builder and a good plumber are gold dust in the world of cowboy traders.

A good soldier ,however, is to be expected. LOL.
They are up to something they must be, you don't have nubile daughter or your neighbour does, or something?.

Maybe they think it's one of those TV shows where they record all the work then get some 'expert' to rip it all apart on National TV.

Perhaps it's annual review time.

Maybe, it does happen sometimes, they are just decent blokes!
V, what Whitehorse said, the same for me except it's not the stables I need doing but rather a recalcitrant wife walled up.
Why so suprised ?

The vast majority of small jobbing builders / construction firms up and down the country are very good, the cowboy builders exist without a doubt but the same can be said for most sectors of the economy.

If your planning some building work get four quotes minimum, get references, go and look at past work, and get yourself a contract (JCT Building Contract for home owner / occupier would suffice). Common dog really.

If you want it cheap, ask the mate of a mate down the pub, but don't be suprised if it goes t.its up.
Eggbanjo has a point I suspect. I'm paying through the nose, VAT and everything, and I've got a guarantee/ building regs/ all that jazz.

I suppose you pays your money and takes your pick. Even the young lad knocking up muck for the brickie is as polite as one of those American mormons you get knocking on your door. Hmmm.

Vege, being technically a skilled craftsmen of the ilk you describe (due to a previous existance, many years ago) I can promise you that the quickest way to completely foul the relationship is to pick up a spirit level and absent-mindedly hold it against an example of their work. I've seen homeowners knocked through walls moments after doing that, it puts things back to normal very quickly.

Funny too. :D
You have slipped into an alternate, albeit extremely pleasant, universe. Make the most of it. Drive past fixed speed cameras and never get pinged; park anywhere you like and never get ghosted; go to street fairs and buy genuine designer label everythings for next to nothing; go to the pub and the barmaids will be pouring you pints of wifebeater and shots of top shelf at 1950s NAAFI prices.

(I agree with Eggbanjo though. There are a lot of really good tradies out there. The cr@p ones just make the press more often.)
If you are totally sure they are kosher I wish you nothing but blue skies. However I knew a lot of coppers, soldiers, spooks etc. that were tradesmen before they joined up. Go for the paranoia and that way you can't be disappointed.
I set up an OP in the spare bedroom for an hour yesterday to try to catch them out doing something wrong. Some natchos, a can of Diet Coke and my binos. Crack on.

At 13:04 the apprentice brickie rolled a cigarette. Aha! He's going to idle around smoking a tab. No. He smoked it as he continued to shovel sand into the cement mixer. Bugger.

13:12 he finishes the rollie. Aha! He's going to discard it in Mrs. Veg's favourite potted plant isn't he? The tension is almost unbearable as he wanders around with the fag butt in his hand. He eventually puts it in the bin. Barsteward!

14:00 I give up. They are just too nice and hard-working.

Today I plan on setting up some sort of tempting sting operation. I will post the results later. They will fall into the dark side, oh yes.


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