Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Home Improvement

I've been following the progress of an absolutely gorgeous home that A-M has been building in Brisbane. It really is something to behold, but she's been having a few "issues" with her builder and his painter. You can check out her latest instalment at:

Anyway, it got me thinking about all the trials and tribulations of my own renovations over the years. Most have been wonderful experiences (no really, they have)...and I've met some great tradies who have become firm family friends and who have worked on multiple projects for me.

But there have been a few hiccups along the way too.

One case in point was a builder I hired to extend my small house. I had plans drawn up to build on a dining room, study and new bathroom as well as a back deck, but I only wanted it to lock-up stage so I could bring in my own plasterer. Well, tyhis guy's building skills left a lot to be desired and caused some real headaches, especially at the end of his contract. As we were packing the walls to get them square and level so we could hang the plasterboard, we realised that if we'd kept going we would've ended up with a dining room the size of a matchbox...every time we got one wall square, another wall was "out", so we had to re-do the other wall...and so it went as we continued to work around the room in a never ending spiral.

It was quite a challenge knowing when to stop, but in the end we just had to accept that it was never going to be perfect.

Another issue I had was with a painter late last year... I had painted all of the ceilings and walls, but we needed someone to finish off all the woodwork and windows etc.

Not only was this guy slow, he was a grot and even worse, he was a liar!

Apart from making me feel uncomfortable when he was in the house, he decided one afternoon to sand the french doors and architraves with an electric sander, but didn't bother to cover any of the furniture or electrical items like the TV or stereo. When I came home, I also noticed that, not only was my lounge room shrouded in a haze of fine dust, he'd sanded a small section of floor (that I'd recently had polished) where he thought he'd left a spot of paint. When I challenged him about it he denied all knowledge...and as I was getting angrier with him he told me to "be quiet and let him have his say.

As you can imagine, his time with us was not long

There's no real moral to this story...it really can be trial and error when it comes to bringing strangers into your home to perform tasks that you're unable or unqualified to do. The only advice I can offer is to get recommendations from friends or check out local suppliers like plumbing and timber stores or lighting shops to get them to give you some names of reliable tradespeople. That's how I found my cabinet maker and plasterer.

Have you had any major issues with tradespeople in the past?

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