Desperately seeking help: renovations spiralling out of control

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I'll be so grateful if someone could help me as our renovation costs are out of control. We have trusted our builder until now but it's really getting scary!!

So, we're renovating a regular 3 bed semi that was a bit dilapidated but definitely inhabitable. We were quoted a price for decorating, new flooring, new doors, new kitchen and new bathroom. Then it turned out we needed new double glazing, new boiler plus new gutters and a few other extras - OK, we took out more on our mortgage and covered it.

Now the builder has told us that our kitchen floor (which sits above a kind of unfinished basement) is shaky (not noticed before by us or by surveyor or by other builders giving quotes). He did show me that the wood of the joists is flaking off and that it needs to be strengthened. He said that otherwise the whole kitchen could just collapse into the basement. Also said, much more expensive to deal with once kitchen is fully installed. Last week he told me it'd cost £350. Seemed reasonable to me. Now he has told me he didn't realise how much work was needed and this is the quote he gave:

FLOOR REPAIR WORKS:
Remove floor boards to 50% of kitchen area
Fit 5 x 2 floor joists bolt fixed to existing joists using 5" coach bolts at 300ml intervals
Fit 1 x 5 x 2 support joist spanning the full length of the floor area to act as a brace
Creat concrete pad to sub floor to take timber support strut
Fit timber support strut to timberbrace at center of floor
Relay floor boards using existing and approx 40% new timber

TOTAL: £990.00 (inc labour & materials)


He also said that our roof is dodgy and needs repairs - and that it was leaking through to the bedroom. There were NO signs of water damage a couple of weeks ago - and we've had the house since end of July. Again, surveyor also didn't say anything about this. This is the quote we got:

ROOF WORKS:
Repoint hip and ridge tiles as necessary using sand and cement
Remove tiles to left hand side of valley on front elevation
Resand and cement valley edges
Re fit tiles
Replace broken / damaged/ missing tiles as necessary

TOTAL :£1600.00 (inc. labour & materials)


WATER DAMAGED CEILING REPAIR:
Fill ceiling and seal area of damp using damp seal once plaster has dried
Re decorate ceiling using white matt emulsion

TOTAL : £110.00 (inc. labour & materials)

Does this sound reasonable? We've really got on well until now and builder is also relative of friend of my Mum's so really need to keep things pleasant. I'm worried he thinks his original quote was too low and is now trying to make things up and also gain more time as he's not going to finish on time. What I think is more likely, since I do think he's honest and also has another job to go to is that the labourers (who are living at the property and not supervised for much of the time) might be trying to create more work for themselves.

Please please let me know if this is normal or not.

Thank you!!!

Comments

  • missile
    missile Posts: 11,691 Forumite
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    It could be genuine, but it sounds like a cowboy builder inflating the scope after you have awarded him the work.
    "A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members." ~ Mahatma Gandhi
    Ride hard or stay home :iloveyou:
  • Thanks for your reply Missile.

    Does it really sound like a cowboy? I've never done this before so when he tells us something needs doing, we do it.

    We were thinking of telling him to do what he can with the kitchen floor for £350 and leave the rest - then we can get a professional roofer in to deal with the roof if there is a problem. Surely a leaking roof would have caused noticeable water damage earlier??
  • timmmers
    timmmers Posts: 3,743 Forumite
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    You already gave him more money easily...and work is tough to find in the building trade ..so where else would he find work and money that's easier than adding to your work required?

    Why can't he do the joists from that basement I'm wondering? Considering the amount involved I'd get another opinion..maybe from that surveyor who seems to have missed quite a lot? The surveyor was either incompetent or the bulder is a little dodgy. Anything this major the surveyor should have spotted since that's his only purpose and what he got paid for.

    Ask yourself this. When does it end? What could be discovered next and how much will it cost?

    t
    Hi, we’ve had to remove your signature. If you’re not sure why please read the forum rules or email the forum team if you’re still unsure - MSE ForumTeam
  • Thanks Timmers.

    Guess we'll have to get another builder in for a quote.

    Accordng to our builder, the problem with the floor only became apparent when original kitchen floor was taken up. Previous owners had cemented over problem. It DOES look like something needs doing - but surely he should have seen that when he gave £350 quote. The really dodgy part is the new £900+ quote.

    Also, roof stuff just seems weird and doesn't quite make sense.

    But the builder has another long term job starting (verified through family member) so why is he dragging this one out???
  • ormus
    ormus Posts: 42,714 Forumite
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    the roof price is way over the top.
    where do you live? kensington?
    Get some gorm.
  • dander
    dander Posts: 1,781 Forumite
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    On big projects there will quite often be unforseen things that come up and increase the cost. It's not unusual and it doesn't make the builder a cowboy. The initial quote will only be for the exact works that you specify - if things change as they go along, then of course they have to charge you. Builders usually only have one speciality and will call on other trades along the way. Probably your builder had a look at the floor and took a guess at what might fix it, but when it came to giving you a proper quote he then called in a more knowledgeable colleague to get the exact specification of what needed to be done.

    If you are going to get other people in to quote, make sure they give you a detailed break-down of exactly how they intend to fix the problem - there's no point leaping at a cheaper quote if they then realise further down the line that they've quoted for a basic job but need to do as much work as this builder says and their quote goes up too.

    As far as the roof goes - if you don't think it needs doing, don't get it done - you don't have to have everything done that the builder says. But obviously, if it turns out that the builder was right and there is a problem in the future, you'll obviously have to have it sorted.

    I have to say it sounds a pretty odd arrangement that the labourers are living in your house. Not something I would agree to. However, if they are there on the spot when it's raining and you are not, then it's not really surprising that they'd know more about whether damp is coming in than you do - I think in any circumstances it would be highly unlikely that someone would start making up jobs just to get more cash out of you. But if you feel the quotes are high then the most sensible thing is to get second opinions of what needs doing and for what price.

    And don't hold any store by the surveyor not noticing these things. Unless you paid for a full structural survey, the survey is only very cursory and won't tell you much more than you have spotted for yourself.
  • Oldernotwiser
    Oldernotwiser Posts: 37,425 Forumite
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    Thanks Timmers.

    Guess we'll have to get another builder in for a quote.

    Accordng to our builder, the problem with the floor only became apparent when original kitchen floor was taken up. Previous owners had cemented over problem. It DOES look like something needs doing - but surely he should have seen that when he gave £350 quote. The really dodgy part is the new £900+ quote.

    Also, roof stuff just seems weird and doesn't quite make sense.

    But the builder has another long term job starting (verified through family member) so why is he dragging this one out???

    Another builder may say the same thing because he too wants the work. You need to invest a few pounds in getting some kind of structural survey done - it'll be money well spent.
  • usignuolo
    usignuolo Posts: 1,923 Forumite
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    roof quote sounds high unless it includes lead flashing and slates - does it?
  • pettelly
    pettelly Posts: 52 Forumite
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    Thank you everyone. I really appreciate your time in answering.

    Regarding roof, definitely won't get it done with current builder.

    Regarding kitchen, builder would definitely have told us if he'd consulted with someone else, for sure. He might not be making things up but I think he did give us a low quote and is now quoting high to get some money back.

    I think we'll tell him to go ahead and strengthen the floor as he originally suggested for around £350 and we'll try and get someone else in to have a look.

    We were also initially surprised about the labourers but they live quite far away so saves on their travel costs/time and it also means the house isn't standing empty with lots of expensive building materials inside.
  • pettelly
    pettelly Posts: 52 Forumite
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    Sorry, this is the OP - but writing from another computer!!
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