Is it just the ones I buy, or have all older house fallen victim to a cowboy builder or one that’s generally sh*t?
This one in Payhembury isn’t turning out to be quite the can of worms my Lyme Regis house was, but Victoria Dairy has certainly seen some corners cut in its time.
It says something when the estate agent who is selling the house suggests quite insistently that you don’t agree to the vendors family member, who is in the building trade, putting right the problems found in the survey* and instead strongly recommends you make it clear you want money off the price so you can get your own team of builders in. And now we’re beginning to see why…aside from some rather creative wiring (obviously carried out before Building Control was a thing), there is the manhole that instead of being raised to allow for a new drainage pipe, has just had a hole cut out the metal cover, the pipe slotted into it and a paving slab put over the top – a true sign of quality workmanship if ever I’ve seen one. Then there was the damp treatment that probably caused more problems than it created, and since being removed has allowed the walls to dry out rather than continue to accumulate moisture. My conversations with my builder tend to go like this:
Builder: “We did this and then discovered that” (points to some dubious piece of workmanship)
Me: “Riiiight, so how longs that going to take to make good (and safe) and what will it cost?”
Aside from the increases in budget (which I’ve learnt are to be expected when it comes to house renovation) there’s also the frustration that everything takes so much longer than planned. Originally we were going to be moving in this month, that then slipped to mid-November, mid November became the end of November and now I’m at the stage where I’m keeping everything crossed we’ll be in and settled by Christmas. I’m regularly bribing the building team with freshly baked cakes in the vague hope it may make a difference.
In the mean time I’m beginning to wonder if it would have been quicker to knock the house down and start again. Oh for a new house.
*I always question why I bother shelling out for a survey as they’re filled with so many caveats I’m not sure they’re actually worth the paper they’re written on. When I questioned one thing on this particular report the surveyor agreed to go back out for a second look. His response? “Yes, there is a defect but we wouldn’t go into that sort of detail hence why it’s not in the report.” No, I won’t be using him again.