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  • FIRST POST
    • PhilE
    • By PhilE 10th Feb 18, 12:04 PM
    • 249Posts
    • 171Thanks
    PhilE
    Are there really that many bad tradesmen around??
    • #1
    • 10th Feb 18, 12:04 PM
    Are there really that many bad tradesmen around?? 10th Feb 18 at 12:04 PM
    In the last 8 months I've had a heating engineer smash asbestos in my house and cause me to vacate my property. He then declared himself bankrupt. A wooden floor company did a pathetic job of my floor. A worker from an asbestos company stole some small items from my house. A carpenter paid to repair my floorboards left them in a state.

    That's over half the tradesmen in my home within a year who've failed to do their jobs. I'm wondering if its bad luck, or if this is to be expected in the industry in this country?!
Page 1
    • Furts
    • By Furts 10th Feb 18, 1:09 PM
    • 3,877 Posts
    • 2,466 Thanks
    Furts
    • #2
    • 10th Feb 18, 1:09 PM
    • #2
    • 10th Feb 18, 1:09 PM
    There is an all round problem in the home improvement industry. There are not enough good trades people to satisfy the market. Couple this with apprenticeships becoming non existent around 30-35 years ago and matters are likely to get worse. The age profile in the construction industry is a real cause for concern for the future well being of this country because the properly trained trades are now in their silver haired era. When they have retired there will be a real problem!

    A common scenario is consumers do not undertake due diligence with selecting trades folks. Even if they do, there is frequently a failure with specifying, managing, inspecting and signing off the work. Consumers might say "why should I?" but this is an ostrich mentality. Architects, Quantity Surveyors, Main Contractors and Social Housing Landlords work on this basis, albeit to different degrees. Yet consumers think they need not. It always amazes me that consumers believe they are an exception to this rule, yet they complain when things go wrong.
    • PhilE
    • By PhilE 10th Feb 18, 4:00 PM
    • 249 Posts
    • 171 Thanks
    PhilE
    • #3
    • 10th Feb 18, 4:00 PM
    • #3
    • 10th Feb 18, 4:00 PM
    Point taken, but the trader I used for my floors was older, supposedly qualified and experienced and messed things up.

    The 2 tradesmen who were good are both in their 30's and did an excellent job. Saying that the initial heating installer was in his early 40's so not old as such.

    I'm not sure if its an age thing, more that people can take the P and get away with it. All a limited company ever has to do is declare bankruptcy and get away with whatever bad mistakes they've made.

    And the question is, how do consumers select tradesmen? Apart from word of mouth, there's the internet. On checkatrade, mybuilder the sun is shining out of everyone's backsides.

    Perhaps its the age we live in; British work ethics and craftsmanship used to set the standard for the world to follow. Now its significantly less than that.
    Last edited by PhilE; 10-02-2018 at 4:03 PM.
    • Carrot007
    • By Carrot007 10th Feb 18, 4:08 PM
    • 922 Posts
    • 793 Thanks
    Carrot007
    • #4
    • 10th Feb 18, 4:08 PM
    • #4
    • 10th Feb 18, 4:08 PM
    My experience. Avoid british workers unless you know they are good. Can't fault the foriegn ones in my experience.

    Where are you choosing these workmen from anyway, that could be the problem.

    Or learn to do it yourself.

    Or learn enough and stand over them. Any good workman would not be upset after they see you are interested in learning more how to do it yourself.
    • bris
    • By bris 10th Feb 18, 5:13 PM
    • 7,337 Posts
    • 6,339 Thanks
    bris
    • #5
    • 10th Feb 18, 5:13 PM
    • #5
    • 10th Feb 18, 5:13 PM
    Most good tradesman are working for bigger companies with long term contracts. The tradesman that answers the little diy jobs like this tend to be a hit or miss.


    A lot of them are like Yosser Hughes, "geez a job I can do that" (showing my age there).


    Recommendations from family and friends are crucial when letting someone into your home.


    I'm surprised about the heating engineer though, they need to be to a certain standard, make sure to check the Gas safe register before trusting one.
    • PhilE
    • By PhilE 10th Feb 18, 5:27 PM
    • 249 Posts
    • 171 Thanks
    PhilE
    • #6
    • 10th Feb 18, 5:27 PM
    • #6
    • 10th Feb 18, 5:27 PM
    He was and continues to be gas safe, NICEIC. Informed both of the situation, neither cared.
    • fezster
    • By fezster 10th Feb 18, 5:38 PM
    • 239 Posts
    • 124 Thanks
    fezster
    • #7
    • 10th Feb 18, 5:38 PM
    • #7
    • 10th Feb 18, 5:38 PM
    All a limited company ever has to do is declare bankruptcy and get away with whatever bad mistakes they've made.
    Originally posted by PhilE
    Which is why the good tradesmen will want to ensure their business always has a good reputation and history. Part of the due diligence should be how long ago the company was registered or how long a business has been trading for. If a tradesmen has a string of companies to his name as a director, that's a tell-tale sign they should probably be avoided.
    • molerat
    • By molerat 10th Feb 18, 5:58 PM
    • 17,944 Posts
    • 12,210 Thanks
    molerat
    • #8
    • 10th Feb 18, 5:58 PM
    • #8
    • 10th Feb 18, 5:58 PM
    He was and continues to be gas safe, NICEIC. Informed both of the situation, neither cared.
    Originally posted by PhilE
    Agreed totally meaningless. Unless they actually blow the house up then not interested.

    My son had an overheating boiler. Over 2 years or so BG had replaced about every replaceable part on it with no improvement, said power flush next then new boiler. Indy gas man just sucked air in through his teeth and said it was the control board (actually impossible for the fault) which could not be sourced (readily available part) so new boiler for £2.5K was the only option. I spent about 1hr diagnosing the off boiler fault, zone valve leaking into motor head microswitch keeping boiler running after valve had closed. Boiler has not missed a beat for almost 2 years now !

    Electricians put in new cable run for uprated electric shower. Could not get the figures to work so filled in the final figure and worked backwards to get the right numbers.

    Conservatory fitted by major retailer. 5 different "professional" conservatory installation companies tried to get it right resorting to taking it down and completely replacing including digging out the foundations again.
    www.helpforheroes.org.uk/donations.html
    • comeandgo
    • By comeandgo 10th Feb 18, 6:13 PM
    • 1,935 Posts
    • 2,637 Thanks
    comeandgo
    • #9
    • 10th Feb 18, 6:13 PM
    • #9
    • 10th Feb 18, 6:13 PM
    Where are you finding these tradesmen that are so useless. In all my fifty odd years I have never had a dud tradesman. Pick a company with years of history, look at companies house for info on the Ltd companies but it does not mean much if company not trading as ltd. Go to industrial sites near you and see who is there, check them out. I would never use a one man band unless I knew him.
    Maybe not very MSE but I never get estimates prior to using them, a good reliable tradesman is worth their weight in gold. None have charged ridiculous prices.
    • PhilE
    • By PhilE 10th Feb 18, 6:57 PM
    • 249 Posts
    • 171 Thanks
    PhilE
    Where are you finding these tradesmen that are so useless. In all my fifty odd years I have never had a dud tradesman. Pick a company with years of history, look at companies house for info on the Ltd companies but it does not mean much if company not trading as ltd. Go to industrial sites near you and see who is there, check them out. I would never use a one man band unless I knew him.
    Maybe not very MSE but I never get estimates prior to using them, a good reliable tradesman is worth their weight in gold. None have charged ridiculous prices.
    Originally posted by comeandgo
    The electrician who did both my place and my mums place is a one man band, and he did a great job. Not cheap but he worked flat out and did what he was paid to do.

    My carpet installation was fine, done by a small local company, one man and his son. Local asbestos company, one man who helped me loads.
    Latest heating installation which went well, one man company just starting out, but granted he's my best mates brother.

    Yes, the muck ups were also done by one man bands but the items stolen went missing when employees of a big, licensed asbestos company were there.
    Looking for carpet installers, a lot of these big companies were outsourcing to one man/small companies anyway. I avoided them as I've had bad experiences with outsourced installers, who dont really seem to care about the bigger company they represent.

    As I said in a previous reply, I've found both the good and bad tradesmen on the internet. Checkatrade, google searches/reviews. I prefer the google reviews as the negative ones get published, whereas checkatrade in my experience, will do their utmost to make sure a negative review is not published. I look at the credentials, checking with the governing bodies that they are actually registered.

    Both gas safe and NICEIC didn't really care when things got bad for me though. Gas safe said it was asbestos, not gas. I replied, if he's acting like this with asbestos, would you trust him with gas?
    • PhilE
    • By PhilE 10th Feb 18, 6:59 PM
    • 249 Posts
    • 171 Thanks
    PhilE
    Which is why the good tradesmen will want to ensure their business always has a good reputation and history. Part of the due diligence should be how long ago the company was registered or how long a business has been trading for. If a tradesmen has a string of companies to his name as a director, that's a tell-tale sign they should probably be avoided.
    Originally posted by fezster
    True. But as another poster suggested, the consumer will not investigate that deep. They see 'Gas Safe,' and assume everything will be ok.
    • sevenhills
    • By sevenhills 10th Feb 18, 7:16 PM
    • 933 Posts
    • 342 Thanks
    sevenhills
    I spent about 1hr diagnosing the off boiler fault, zone valve leaking into motor head microswitch keeping boiler running after valve had closed. Boiler has not missed a beat for almost 2 years now !
    Originally posted by molerat
    Is that with the help of the internet, the solution could be found by anyone?
    With the help of Google, faults can be found; perhaps the bad workers just don't care?

    • comeandgo
    • By comeandgo 10th Feb 18, 7:47 PM
    • 1,935 Posts
    • 2,637 Thanks
    comeandgo
    I never use the internet, too many ways to falsify reviews.
    • molerat
    • By molerat 10th Feb 18, 8:53 PM
    • 17,944 Posts
    • 12,210 Thanks
    molerat
    Is that with the help of the internet, the solution could be found by anyone?
    With the help of Google, faults can be found; perhaps the bad workers just don't care?
    Originally posted by sevenhills
    The internet only helped with downloading a schematic and wiring diagram. Good old fashioned fault diagnosis, something lacking today.
    www.helpforheroes.org.uk/donations.html
    • Furts
    • By Furts 11th Feb 18, 9:14 AM
    • 3,877 Posts
    • 2,466 Thanks
    Furts
    Point taken, but the trader I used for my floors was older, supposedly qualified and experienced and messed things up.

    The 2 tradesmen who were good are both in their 30's and did an excellent job. Saying that the initial heating installer was in his early 40's so not old as such.

    I'm not sure if its an age thing, more that people can take the P and get away with it. All a limited company ever has to do is declare bankruptcy and get away with whatever bad mistakes they've made.
    Originally posted by PhilE
    My point does not appear to have sunk in. All proper training for the construction industry had ceased in this country by around 1985. One cannot put an exact date - but this was the era of YTS, YOPS, Manpower Services Commission and so on. By 1989 MSC was the route much like the earlier comment about Yosser Hughes. In turn this means any construction worker born after say 1965 is unlikely to have received proper training. A simple fact of life which consumers seem totally unaware of. Put simply this means any construction worker under age 52 has to be questionnable.

    Hence your comment about the early 40s heating engineer being deemed old and knowledgeable falls into my warning net.

    I had an excellent kitchen and bathroom fitter working for me - he had never received any formal training. i suspect the same of a good roofer that did lots of work for me. I in turn have taken keen youngsters and tried to guide them with passed on knowledge. So there are not rules written in tablets of stone.

    However there is a huge problem in this country with a lack of skilled workers. But this is as great a problem as clueless consumers who leave common sense locked in a cupboard when they go about engaging contractors.

    And as the years tick by matters will get much worse than they are now.
    • PhilE
    • By PhilE 12th Feb 18, 11:58 AM
    • 249 Posts
    • 171 Thanks
    PhilE
    My point does not appear to have sunk in. All proper training for the construction industry had ceased in this country by around 1985. One cannot put an exact date - but this was the era of YTS, YOPS, Manpower Services Commission and so on. By 1989 MSC was the route much like the earlier comment about Yosser Hughes. In turn this means any construction worker born after say 1965 is unlikely to have received proper training. A simple fact of life which consumers seem totally unaware of. Put simply this means any construction worker under age 52 has to be questionnable.

    Hence your comment about the early 40s heating engineer being deemed old and knowledgeable falls into my warning net.

    I had an excellent kitchen and bathroom fitter working for me - he had never received any formal training. i suspect the same of a good roofer that did lots of work for me. I in turn have taken keen youngsters and tried to guide them with passed on knowledge. So there are not rules written in tablets of stone.

    However there is a huge problem in this country with a lack of skilled workers. But this is as great a problem as clueless consumers who leave common sense locked in a cupboard when they go about engaging contractors.

    And as the years tick by matters will get much worse than they are now.
    Originally posted by Furts
    What I was saying is that younger people have worked on my house and done a good job, but someone in their 50's didn't. It was also younger people who made a dangerous mess of things.

    I'm not sure if the previous generation really were doing a good job, it was during the post war period that the British workman established a shoddy reputation. I'll accept that the current state is a bad one, but you have to go further back in history to find a time when British workmanship really meant something.

    Perhaps you were doing a good job, but that doesn't mean others the same age as you were.
    • Risteard
    • By Risteard 12th Feb 18, 1:38 PM
    • 729 Posts
    • 255 Thanks
    Risteard
    In fairness to the NICEIC they have no remit to get involved with a non-electrical safety issue. Likewise Gas Safe with a non-gas safety issue. Asbestos is a serious issue but it really has nothing to do with their registration with either of these organisations.
    • Furts
    • By Furts 12th Feb 18, 2:38 PM
    • 3,877 Posts
    • 2,466 Thanks
    Furts
    In fairness to the NICEIC they have no remit to get involved with a non-electrical safety issue. Likewise Gas Safe with a non-gas safety issue. Asbestos is a serious issue but it really has nothing to do with their registration with either of these organisations.
    Originally posted by Risteard
    OP has commented about a heating engineer smashing asbestos in the home meaning OP had to vacate. The implication is OP is the innocent party and the heating engineer was a cowboy type. This may be so, but OP has (conveniently?) not mentioned their legal duties over this.

    The law is strict when one considers every consumers duties under the CDM Regs. Hence it is reasonable to ask why OP was requesting the heating engineer to be working around asbestos.
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 12th Feb 18, 2:59 PM
    • 14,881 Posts
    • 41,150 Thanks
    moneyistooshorttomention
    There is an all round problem in the home improvement industry. There are not enough good trades people to satisfy the market. Couple this with apprenticeships becoming non existent around 30-35 years ago and matters are likely to get worse. The age profile in the construction industry is a real cause for concern for the future well being of this country because the properly trained trades are now in their silver haired era. When they have retired there will be a real problem!

    A common scenario is consumers do not undertake due diligence with selecting trades folks. Even if they do, there is frequently a failure with specifying, managing, inspecting and signing off the work. Consumers might say "why should I?" but this is an ostrich mentality. Architects, Quantity Surveyors, Main Contractors and Social Housing Landlords work on this basis, albeit to different degrees. Yet consumers think they need not. It always amazes me that consumers believe they are an exception to this rule, yet they complain when things go wrong.
    Originally posted by Furts
    Agree about the first point.

    Re the second - I don't think its ostrich mentality. I think it's probably more along the lines of just expecting that someone would be as good at their job as the customer was (well might have been) at theirs.

    I know I've been naive at times and not realised just how poor the standard of work of some tradespeople can be - and I think it's probably been down to knowing I was a good (paid) personal Secretary/officer of various voluntary groups in my time and just naively assuming they would be as good at their job as I was at mine.

    Then I realised......

    But it does take a while for the penny to drop sometimes... and to realise one often has to spell things out step-by-step about a totally different type of job to what one has done oneself. It takes a while to get over the assumption that of course they will know their job (because they obviously should - else why are they doing it?). It takes extra time/effort to at least learn the basics of their job (on top of your own job) - when you know that you should only have to specify what your tastes are/where the "basics" go and then leave them to it (ie because that's what you are paying good money for).
    NOT dancing to anyone else's tune.

    It's the 21st century now....
    • comeandgo
    • By comeandgo 12th Feb 18, 3:08 PM
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    comeandgo
    Maybe that's the difference. The tradesmen I use have apprentices who are doing three year courses, they go to college part of the year. Could there be a north, south divide? I also know many family members who did apprenticeships. Last being a nephew who completed his electrician apprenticeship a few years ago.
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