A Builder’s perspective.
Generally, during my 40 years in construction, I have found most builders in the industry to be straight talking and ingenious people. They will always aim to find a way to get something done.
However, this can often be ‘against the odds’ since, in this industry just about everything can be stacked against you.
To start with, there is the English weather! In a typical year there are generally only a handful of days when the conditions for external works are just right- for the remainder of the time you are battling against rain, wind, freezing conditions or, more rarely, sweating in extreme heat.
The second biggest bane of the builder’s life is the problem of materials either not turning up at all or being dispatched in poor condition. The latter primarily refers to timber. Why, all too often, do merchants send out bent and twisted timber? My advice, if you are the recipient of defective materials, is always to send it back on the lorry – otherwise the suppliers never learn!
Another problem we face regularly is the difficulty many customers have in visualizing what something will look like off plan……. and, yes, as soon as the building or refit starts to take shape, they inevitably want to make changes – ‘Maybe this could be a bit bigger / smaller; can we have some extra electrical sockets; we don’t really like this wall colour’ or, most commonly, ‘ the decorator is still here – it will only take a few minutes’. Predictably, this nearly always happens after the work has been done! If the builder has allowed for something and you change your mind – that’s fine – BUT expect to pay for it.
For anyone who works in an office – oblivious to the plight of the builder – just try moving your desk outside and see how much you get done!
Builders can often have a ‘bad press’ for letting people down, not turning up and sometimes over charging or doing shoddy work. They can be, without doubt, poor communicators and there are plenty of ‘cowboys’ out there. Against this, it is important to bear in mind that, in this industry, it can be hellishly difficult to predict exactly when a job will finish. Contractors, invariably, have to keep a dozen balls in the air because of the conditions they have to work in.
So – the point of this article is to champion all the quality builders who take a pride in their work and do a good job under really challenging conditions.
Next time you get an estimate for some work and think it’s a bit steep, have a think and factor in all the days when the weather is rubbish and it’s difficult to get on with the work.
Everything you live in, or aspire to live in; all that you work in; spend your leisure time in; drive on; vacation in – has been constructed by builders.
Take everything away that everyone else has done- you won’t see a huge amount of ‘change’.
Take everything away that builders have done and – well – you get the idea!!