Builder woes – advice wanted (and mini rant)

  • This topic has 13 replies, 12 voices, and was last updated 1 year ago by  Phil_H.
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  • Builder woes – advice wanted (and mini rant)
  • ossify

    The story so far:

    Builders in to remove chimney breast from 3 rooms, leaving the stack in the loft and putting gallows brackets in to hold it up.

    Builder said it would probably be a 4 day job. He has a ‘fitted stair protector’ and will cover everything to seal off from dust, it won’t be a problem apparently. I’ve had chimneys out before so not 100% taking his word for it covered some stuff myself, mainly taking up the bedroom carpet but left the hallway and stairs for him to cover as he was so adamant it would be ok.  This house is from 1910, there’s tons of soot in the chimneys.

    His sheeting consisted of flimsy plastic bags which tore through or were shoved aside after the first couple of days… Despite me nagging him and his constant “oh yeah I’ll bring the sheeting tomorrow”, “don’t worry it’ll just hoover up no problem” etc it’s now 4 weeks later and it’s well trodden in.

    He’s paying for a carpet cleaner to come in and have a go but what are my options if this doesn’t work? The cleaner over the phone didn’t seem too optimistic.

    On top of this, he said he would bring some plywood boards to protect the wood/laminate flooring downstairs.  This all looked fine until I noticed some odd bits of wood lying in the hallway… He’d taken wood from my loft and broken it apart to get the boards! He said one of his guys called him to ask if he could use the “scrap wood” in the loft and he said yeah go ahead. I am fuming – this was 3 (out of 8) 2400×600 sheets of 6mm ply, with strips of wood screwed down on each side. They bolt together into walls, 2 pieces were even hinged for doors, they were all the same same size and carefully made, pretty obviously not scrap and even if they were he shouldn’t have taken them and broken them up without asking! I get rid of scrap not stack it neatly in the loft. He muttered something about replacing it but didn’t seem too bothered, I have told him what type of ply is needed but have not heard from him since then.

    The job’s mostly done now and stupidly I’ve paid almost everything except £200 (part of which is going towards the carpet cleaner).

    What are my options?

    My wife is baying for his blood, wants him to pay for new carpets should it come to that and pay me for the time spent fixing the wooden boards instead of just replacing a couple sheets of ply, plus is furious with me for paying him almost everything.

    My friend says that’s what you get from cheap builders, suck it up and it’ll come to the same cost as the higher quotes we got so don’t bother.

    I’m with my wife and feeling stupid/naive for not holding back more, however practically speaking I’m a coward and useless at speaking to the guy (or anyone) face to face :p

    Any suggestions?

    Premier Icon jam bo

    I’d set your wife on him.


    Oh dear, you’ve blown it!  He obviously sees you as a pushover and you’ve confirmed that by paying him!

    id take lots of photos and list all the details and sue him for the costs involved. Alternatively, clean it up as best you can and put itbehind you as a bad experience never to be repeated!


    Aye – set your wife on him and learn the lesson.  Half the money is kept back until the job is completed properly.  Likely to have to go small claims to get your money back

    You sure you’re permitted to use gallows brackets under regs?  I had an issue with a house purchase 4 yrs ago partly due to this – cowboys had ripped out chimney breasts but left ALL brickwork in loft supported by 2x4s.  Council wouldn’t permit brackets full stop, steels were stupid money therefore only option was to remove brickwork. The seller was a Grade A **** on this and other issues so we bailed on the purchase.


    I’d be more worried about any bodging on the building work rather than scrimping on the tidying up. If it is all fine other than the mess then I’d clear up and move on.

    Premier Icon senor j

    How are the chimney breasts?!!!!
    & Walls that bolt together? in the loft?
    Gimp room?


    I seem to remember gallows brackets depends on the brickwork. Soft old bricks are a no for example.

    I’m presuming building regs have been along to sign it off, if you’ve paid…

    With that kind of professionalism on display, I’d want someone with a bit of knowledge to have at least glanced at it.

    Premier Icon wwaswas

    I’m presuming building regs have been along to sign it off, if you’ve paid…


    Then arguing about the cleaning bill. Although given you’ve paid you’re not in a strong position, tbh.


    Don’t have anything to add other than get some advice quickly (do you have legal expenses cover on your house insurance)?


    @senor_j The walls were not used in the loft, just stored there. Not a gimp room 😉

    Gallows brackets were not used in the end due to crumbly mortar – he’s put a RSJ across resting on the purlins (massive wooden beams in the old style roof) with a steel plate welded on top, then a bit of brickwork to support the stack.

    I have been told that a “structural guy” has been in to check this work and building regs are not required here for chimney removal. I’m a stupid gullible muppet aren’t I…


    Ossify’s builder…

    Premier Icon Phil_H

    I’d be getting my own structural engineer in to look at that but it doesn’t sound right.

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