Saturday, 19 February 2011

Builders, don't you just love'em

When is this definition going to get into a major dictionary?
"Builder: somebody who smokes cigarettes and leaves their stubs all over your garden, in your pot plants and just outside every door of your house. Generally known to leave rubbish of every sort behind them."
Or what about this one:
"Builder: somebody who thinks that your kitchen pans are there to be used for mixing filler."
"Builder: someone who wedges doors wide open so that anyone can walk in and take whatever they like."

Why do all builders wedge your front and back doors wide open and leave them like that all day in the middle of winter so all the heat goes straight out into the garden? "I'm in and out to my van," they shout from the back of the house. Do they think doors can only be opened and closed once per day?
The builders who did my underfloor work in this house did exactly that and later I found that many things had been stolen. Pictures, a plug-in radiator, food, what do you expect if you leave the whole house gaping open?

Why is is that British builders don't know what a dust-sheet is and seem to assume that in any job, they are entitled to trash every single thing in the house and garden?
A relative of mine recently hired a builder to put in a damp-proof course in two downstairs rooms. The builder never covered anything at all with dust-sheets. He tore down all the plaster from walls and ceiling, with all the doors in the house wedged open so that the draught blew dust and filth into every room in the house. The kitchen cupboards were filled with rubble - not just dust, not just dirt, but rubble. So was the cooker and the brand-new sink, which was used to clean plastering tools. He tore out everything from the walls and broke it - all the light fixtures, shelves, wall fixtures, blinds, even the cooker hood vanished, thrown onto a skip. The shower screen in the bathroom disappeared. He did not have the sense to take up the lino either before doing the job. It was ruined. When asked why he said, "What? I fort you was 'avin' a new kitchen 'n' barfroom."
Not content with that, he opened sacks of cement and plaster on brand-new carpets. The carpets all over the house from top to bottom were completely ruined with plaster, rubble and cement trodden in. When the owner complained about this he said, "Can't you just hoover it, like?"
The damage caused by builders often exceeds in value the work they do.
I have lost count of the times workmen have come to do jobs in my house and have failed to put down a dust-sheet. This is typical of carpenters. They assume they can leave the mess or grab your own domestic hoover to clear it up. Two of my hoovers have been broken by workmen doing this. They don't understand that ordinary household hoovers cannot cope with heavy waste such as paint-chips, rubble, wood-shavings, cement, plaster, and sand.
And just why do builders think that a garden is there to be trashed? I have seen builders load rubble and waste knee-deep onto flower-beds, crushing shrubs and plants. They mix cement on lawns and have fires there without asking you. They leave heaps of rubbish in the garden and even when it is cleared away, there is a scattering of paint-chips, wood-shavings and rusty nails. Why is it that when builders have got a bucket in which they have mixed some sort of plaster, cement or glue, the first place they empty it is in the middle of your garden? They don't stop to think about the result of emptying that stuff on flowers and bulbs that are coming up. Or vegetables!
I had someone in to clear a drain not long ago. He had to bail out some filthy greasy water from the upper part of it first. Instead of carrying it around to another drain to dispose of, he tipped it straight on top of my strawberry bed. Yeeeugh!
How can anyone anticipate so much collateral damage from a routine maintenance job?
I caught the last handyman I employed stuffing his plastic bottles and other rubbish into my garden disposal sack. I made him take it out and put it where it belonged. He wasted the cup of coffee I made for him and preferred to drink two bottles of fizz and smoke three cigarettes in the course of a single morning's work. The stubs were put in the usual place on the garden path.
When is this country going to start training its builders and workmen properly?
We need a code of conduct for them.

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