Cowboy Builders - you get what you pay for !

 

I have now been writing in the What makes Jalon Different magazine for approximately one year, and have recently found that as the credit crunch takes a deeper hold, readers are contacting me more frequently asking me to inspect and comment on defective building work that has been recently carried out by so called builders.

The Jalon Valley seems to attract people from all walks of life with a variety of past employment records who decide to re-invent themselves and become builders. This new generation of builders are usually people who have not been too successful in the U.K. but have the gift of the gab or to a lesser extent people who have taken early retirement, have an income and simply want to earn a little extra cash for life’s luxuries. Generally ex-pats come to settle in the valley and immediately trust everyone they come in contact with, they expect others to be honest with them, and they want to 'believe' what other people say. Unfortunately, there are some people who can lie very well and promise the earth without any intention or the ability to deliver. These people are not all builders and all builders are not always those kind of people but building work can be expensive and stressful at the best of times and you need to select the right builder to work for you. It is not only the dishonest cowboy builders you need to avoid, some very honest and genuine tradesman are just ‘not up to the job’.
Ask yourself the question, if you were still living in the U.K. and needed a builder would you ask someone that you have never met, knew nothing about and give him the work or would you ask a professional builder with references and whose work you had previously seen. Many of the recent letters and telephone calls that I receive are complaints about these cowboy builders, each complaint has the same common theme and that is the lack of information that the client requested about the builder beforehand. Having been the Principal Building Inspector for Sheffield for many years, overseeing all of the builders within that area, enforcing the compliance of the National Building Regulations and striving to achieve a minimum standard of workmanship, it never ceases to amaze me of the poor quality and standard of workmanship that is accepted as the norm locally. I would find it very interesting to know exactly what building qualifications and past experience our local builders have and does anybody ask for this information.


Anyone can say that they are a builder and that they have been in the trade for many years but usually it is not true. If the price you are given sounds cheap and too good to be true then it probably is - do you want a cheap job or one that will look good when finished and will stand the test of time. Quite often a way in which cowboy builders cut prices is to use inferior materials, for example: - when laying floor and wall tiles there are two main types of adhesive – water proof adhesive for external terrace tiling, also used for bathrooms, showers, kitchens etc. and a non waterproof adhesive for internal floor tiling - the non water proof adhesive is half the cost and if used on a large external terrace would save the builder hundreds of euros. The reality is that both adhesives will do the job initially, but when an internal adhesive has been used in say a shower or an external terrace the tiles will soon start to become loose as the adhesive starts to perish and expand. When you employ a professional builder you are not only paying for the work he carries out but also for his knowledge and more importantly your own peace of mind. 

As often happens, most clients are price driven and yes you may save an initial 15 – 20% but a year or so later when the problems start it will generally cost a lot more that this initial saving to put that work right.
If you are considering any future building work however large or small contact a builder with a reputation. Ask for a written fixed price quotation with their address on it, not an estimate, ask to see work they have previously carried out for other local people, talk to the builders past clients asking them for their comments with regard to the builders capabilities and never ever give any pre-payment of money to any builder armed only with their mobile phone number. As in all professions you should be looking to achieve a good quality job at a fair price, you really do GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR.

John Phillips (F.I.A.S. F.A.B.E. M.I.B.C.O. F.F.B. M.R.S.H. C.M.W.O.B.O. M.B.I.M)
Construction Buena Vista

Contact us

Construction Buena Vista
Urb. Palmeria. Orba 03790

 

Please call us on

 

0034 965 577 464 (office)

 

0034 619 089 281 (mobile)

 

or use our contact form.

 

 

Buena Vista Villas s.l.

Urb. Palmeria. Orba 03790

 

Please call us on

 

0034 965 577 464 (office)

 

0034 629 554 561 (mobile)

 

Or simply click the image above