The shit hits the fan
So, it finally happened. After a couple of months of showing little interest in the build, our builder has simply disappeared. From one day to the next, he vanished like a ghost. He’s left a lot of unpaid workers and suppliers who he owes a lot of money to.
Fortunately, we have not been financially devastated as we have been paying in stages. We had refused to pay the final stage until he finished. However, that’s not much comfort to the many people he owes money to. People who don’t have much to start with, and now have been ripped off.
We had to fix the problem straight away. First and foremost, we wanted to give some assurances to our workers. We sat down with them and explained the situation. We immediately promised to pay our workers ourselves from now on. Some asked for their salary to be paid daily, others weekly. No problem. We can do it.
The workers have been great. We’ve known them for a year now and while they are angry at the builder, they understand he has also stolen from us too. They all wanted to stay on and continue working.
We made a list of what still needs to be finished in the build. Lots of relatively small things. Our small team can finish then off. Each day we meet in the morning and discuss what they will do that day. So far, this system seems to be working.
We also needed a list of what needs to be fixed. This is the list of things our builder did wrong. Some are easy to see, like the finishes, while others are inside walls or underground, so they are definitely not in my comfort zone! I used my contacts and brought in a building consultant, Edo. Edo’s job was to review the entire build and let us know what we needed to fix.
We let Edo do his thing. For a few days he explored every crevice of the build and spoke to our builders about how they had done various things. We crossed our fingers that there were no major structural issues……. Fortunately, there weren’t. With one major exception, the shell of our home is solid and in good shape.
The one exception was one part of the roof. The part where the angle of the roof changes becomes less steep on the edges. If we had gutters (we don’t, most people here don’t) it would be there. The angle is too flat and water is getting in and damaging the calciboard. The roof angle needs to be fixed so this required some work. The only problem is that it’s the rainy season now and while the rain is not as heavy now as it was a few weeks ago, it’s a pretty safe bet it will rain at least once every day or so. Not ideal if your removing tiles and working on the roof. So, we’ll have to put that job off till the rainy season is over.
Another thing I am really unhappy with is the floors. My dream of gorgeous polished rough concrete floors has turned out disastrously. Yes, we have a floor, but it is not what I wanted. We’ll make do with what we’ve got while we save up some money and then use a far less risky type of flooring to replace it.
Truthfully, there are other things I’m not happy with, but I’m learning to accept them (or saving up to change them!). Ah the joys of building!
Installing mirrors, breaking resin
It’s taken a while but we finally had the 3 big mirrors installed in the upstairs bedrooms. Lovely to have them in and the bathroom looked great …… for a grand total of 1 day. The next day when our nanny Annie was reaching up to grab something in the bathroom, she put her weight on the resin bench top, and went straight through it. Most importantly, she was totally fine. But the resin top was destroyed. The resin was less than 1 cm thick. Anyone would have broken it. It was an accident waiting to happen.
I contacted our resin guy but I didn’t have much hope. This is very much a buyer beware/all sales are final place. Once I bought a brand new fridge and the warranty on the fridge was till the end of that day! They delivered it at 5pm and it was damaged and I had to fight tooth and nail to get them to replace it.
Amazingly, our resin guy said it was his fault and he would fix it. They removed the top and are working on it now. I have crossed all my fingers and but won’t sing his praises until the bench top is installed back in our bathroom. It certainly seems like he’s an honourable man (however , I did think the same about our builder and look where that left me!)
So it’s been an eventful fortnight. I miss the old days when our biggest issue was currency fluctuations blowing our budget!
Meanwhile, our team has been working hard on my studio, which is the least completed of our 3 buildings. At the moment, it’s still a mess. It’s a storage room and the bedroom for many of the workers who sleep on site. We’re working from the top down so we’ve been painting the ceiling and installing lights and fans.
As much as I’d like to get a voodoo doll of our builder and stick some pins in it, we simply need to continue on. This time, my husband and I are the foremen!