Tuesday, 12 August 2008
This is a holiday home in New Zealand which I was quite taken with. The iconic fireplace is a favourite of mine, but Rob said we can't have one in our house because of cost/space/eco concerns. Oh well.
Two days from now we should be having our meeting with the architect and the builder to sign off on the budget, agree a contract and a schedule of work. The builder reckons he can start on Friday. The work will probably start without a signed contract in that case as it'll take some time to write it up. I just watched "Don't Blame the Builder" on Channel 4 tonight. In it, a couple clashed with a sedate builder and a mediator was called in. The wife of the couple was a very angry Spanish woman, and she had every right to be angry (the builders were constantly late/absent), but instead of talking to them in a civilised way she wound them up by shrieking so much that they refused to finish the job.
Eventually, the mediator brought in a specialist barrister who decided that the builder had to honour a contract which stipulated penalities for running nine weeks over the agreed schedule. The couple got off lightly by having to pay about a third of the final bill (being the sum they owed less the penalties). The work was finished to everyone's satisfaction and they all learnt something: The builder swore he'd never do a job when someone was living in the house, and the woman said she'd hire a builder only with a comprehensive contract.
I learnt that you have to allow builders extra time to get the job done properly and also they won't work if there's no financial incentive or if you shout at them. Useful.