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The Blame Game - Builders

It sometimes appears that home owners of Bulgarian property, play the game of “pin the tail on the donkey” when selecting their builder. Putting on a blindfold and reaching out with a pin trying to find a contractor on which to land. It appears this game is also sometimes used by builders when they are considering whether to accept a job or not.

At Quest Bulgaria we often hear the builder’s side of the story too. With many complaints of “the customer keeps changing the goalposts”, which results in costs escalating and deadlines not being met.

The mix of customer and builder comments from “I wish I’d known” through to “why didn’t you tell me” ends up in a blame game which does not make for a happy renovation project.

Listening to both sides, the explanation of what went wrong would often appear to be quite simple. Neither party is really listening to the other, often allowing emotion to get in the way and letting that guide them rather than information.

 

Listen !

If your builder says to you “Hey, I’m the expert, so we’ll do it my way”, then maybe it’s better to find someone else to do the work.

On the other hand, if you are a builder and your customer is insisting on doing something which is inevitably going to be a disaster, it would be better not to take on the job. If builder and client cannot communicate and talk to each other without either or both taking an irrevocable stance or cannot talk without shouting, then this is just the start of trouble and it will all be a disaster.

Both parties obviously want to achieve best results. The best advice therefore is to learn to listen to each other. It doesn’t matter if the project is just a minor job or a major renovation/build, both parties must work with, and not against, each other.

 

Tips and Hints

Whilst this is easier said than done at a stressful time for both contractor and customer, bear in mind Quest Bulgaria tips and hints :

Read the small print. Always check out the small details. Is the builder insured? If so, what insurance does he have?

Visit your Mayor. A great source of information and the municipality will know what regulations apply in your area. It doesn’t matter if the chap down the road has just done a similar renovation and said it didn’t need plans, similarly it doesn’t matter if you are a builder with 15 years of experience - check again - what passed planning regs six months ago might apply today.

Inexperienced builders - full disclosure to the client please if you only have a few months’ experience. Don’t take on jobs which you know you can’t do.

Customers - full disclosure to the builder and/or architect please. Don’t tell your builder that the room you want renovating is just going to be a family room when you know that it’s going to be a room for your teenage son’s rock band to practice in. Your neighbours will not be pleased if you don’t put in full sound insulation.

Architects - full disclosure to the customer please. Tell them exactly how much you’ll charge for your time, each phone call, visits to the site, planning permissions, plans, etc.

Be realistic. All parties must be really clear about needs versus wants and get this balanced. A spiral open metal staircase may be just what you want and look great but is not the way to go if you have small children.

Put everything in writing. Make a contract that states clearly what is expected from the parties. Include deadlines, staged payments, pricing and so on. Go into the details and be careful of words such as ‘standard’ - what is standard?

Measure. There is no substitute for measuring accurately. Keep in mind the old adage “measure twice, cut once”

Time is money and this is probably the one thing which causes most clashes as it is difficult to cost. Building work may have to stop in Bulgaria at various times of year due to local regs or weather conditions. Don’t start projects in early December when you are likely to run into snow!

Bob's your uncle

Hopefully with these tips the project will go more smoothly for both sides. You want to make sure it’s “Bob’s your uncle”, not the builder, so be realistic, inform yourself, put it all in writing, be honest and transparent and listen to each other.