Trouble with Builders

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by LordVonHarley, Nov 16, 2010.

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  1. I'm in the middle of doing up our homestead. For most of the work I'm fine but for the larger jobs I need to call in the pros. I have found that UK builders are proving a little problematic, they turn up to give a quote, then don't send you the quote, or keep you hanging on for weeks then say they can't do the job. Or turn up late with out a major part only to return a week later to finish the job. Fail to clean up properly after them selves too!

    Although I think that it is important to support home grown companies I seriously tempted to start to get the Poles in.


    <Rant over>
  2. the_boy_syrup

    the_boy_syrup LE Book Reviewer

    I have a rule when using builders etc

    Good Job = cash in hand don't put it through the books its up to you what you do with it
    Not so good job - nice cheque in the company name to go through the bank account

    Get the Poles in wave the cash in front of them less 10% what the Brits want and watch them go for it
  3. The advantages of planning and preparation, and good reconnaisance, seem to have evaded the thinking of the average builder/maintenance worker in this country. Do we not teach that sort of thing anymore?
  4. sirbhp

    sirbhp LE Book Reviewer

    wait till after Christmas when there is no work on , the buggers will be queuing up . Also look for a trade register on the internet for plumbers and sparkeys etc and see who is qualified. Give the Poles all he work 'cept the electric otherwise you will hire a Brit to sort it out for you . Poles if they are any good do NOT work cheaper than Brits . 2mates of mine do conversion work demolition etc and they hire them .)

    Mind you the state of the Irish finances could mean that we will see another wave of immigration over the water to bi 'lightey . Roll on MCAlpines fusiliers .
  5. Not any more, judging by the last builder I had in for a quote they learn how to treat the customer as an idiot. *****.
  6. Pick up the phone to a local, decent commercial main contractor, ask to speak to an estimator, tell them your residential and ask him who his subbies are. Chances are, he'll be a decent sort, give you some advise and recommend you a good plumber, sparky, chippie etc. Don't ask him for a rough cost, because you'll just piss him off. Most estimators or QS's are always keen to help and it benefits them to get a bit more work to their subbies.
  7. Saw a TV programme which compared a British and Polish Builder. British builder turned up, gave a quote, started work then failed to appear for days at a time. He was juggling a few jobs and once he has hooked another one will have more to juggle.

    Polish builder turned up gave quote and worked until job was finished, talking and checking with client along the way. Client at the end said they were impressed and would be likely to use Polish builders in the future. Overall cost of the job was about 2% less than using a British builder.

    After seeing so many horror stories on TV about builders, I would be very wary of who I used and check them out thoroughly.
  8. Very true Taffnp, it's very easy to just buy a van and get a add in the papers.

    One of my mates from London runs his own building company, small but doing a good trade. He has stacks of folders full of photo's of all his jobs that he shows to clients to prove his workmanship. I've not had any one do that yet.

    I've googled Polish builders and joiners in my area, shed loads on the net but only one showed up in Yell. Will start calling around today.
  9. Absolutely spot on answer, this is becoming quite common. It shows your switched on and 99.9% of cowboys exploit those that are completely clueless. PM me if you need any more help.
  10. Grumblegrunt

    Grumblegrunt LE Book Reviewer

    polish builders have been learning all our bad habits so arent so good anymore and a lot of other forn types like albanians or russians pretend to be polish so you cant really win unless you ask to see proof of identity. best way I find is to get a decent middle aged joiner and see what his mates are doing, if he wants the work then he will pretty much manage the project for you for a bit extra, as he will be doing the last bits of work then he is the one you go for, plumbers, brickies and plasterers tend to stay interested as long as their bit lasts.

    what are you having done?
  11. Grumblegrunt

    Grumblegrunt LE Book Reviewer

    oh yeah and stay away from the all up front types, if they are any good then will have accounts for materials, failing that say you will buy the stuff and open your own 30 day trade account as it stops them booking all and sundry to the job.

    my end used to be kitchens and its still the family firm, it used to be 25% deposit, rest of goods value on delivery to site then fitter on completion of work to satisfaction of customer - as it was me fitting I had to make sure it was right. a lot of fitters are joiners with additional experience so okay for small plumbing and lectrical jobs and will have small builders they use regularly
  12. Builders are a popular and easy target and there are unfortunately lot's of examples of why this is so. Just as in any walk of life though and not surprisingly, there are good one's and bad one's. Go for a local builder but check out previous work he has done for other people. Any good builder will be able to give you references.

    Polish builders are not any different. Again you get good one's and bad one's and the good one's are not really any cheaper these day's than anybody else. With a Polish builder though, firstly, question him to make sure he does understand building regulations relevant to your particular project, secondly, check he can prove where he lives and thirdly, insist that there must be good english speakers on site at all times. The first and second bit is so that you are not paying your hard earned cash to a fly by night cowboy who hasn't got a clue about what he's supposed to do and who can just vanish overnight with most of your cash and the job left unfinished. The third bit is so that proper communication is available at all times between you and the builders and also, very importantly, between the builder and the building regulations people from the local authority if your work is substantial enough to need inspection. Language barriers are used by some foreign builders to cut corners on quality and quantity of work.

    Good luck with your project.
  13. Can't go wrong with a local small company that's a couple of guys (your not paying his boss to drive around on a merc) and go off local reccomendations. Im a joiner in civvy street working with my old man. We get loads of calls off friends and family of past customers. Locals knowing you do a good job beats any yellow pages ad. Hope this helps your search, just my 2 cents and looking forward to getting stuck into the forum more!
  14. Word of mouth is the best advert for any trade , ask around your neighbours ... ask in the local builders merchant ... if your near Gatwick or just south I can recommend a very good company.
  15. I fully agree. Just had an extension built by a local builder. He does not have to advertise as he is well known locally for the quality of his work and would not shyte on his own doorstep. Not the cheapest quote, but did a cracking job and the final bill was a bit less than the estimate. Sub contractors (plumber, electrician) not so good and kept skipping from customer to customer. Try and avoid planning jobs involving plumbers in the early winter as they will be busy making their money from emergency call outs when unused heating systems decide to pack up!