How to live in harmony with your builder
Even if your DIY skills are en pointe, you can’t always go it alone. Whether you’re refitting the main bathroom, fancy an extension on the kitchen, or want to put some decking in the garden, sometimes it’s best to let the professionals take care of the hard graft for you.
However, for many people the idea of bands of muddy-booted strangers traipsing through their house every day and making noise is hell on Earth – especially worrying about rude or intimidating workmen upsetting their family. Aside from the social strains of having people you don't know in your home, things like noise and mess can be a concern, but it need not be.
The fact of the matter is that 99.9% of builders are friendly, polite and considerate. However, if you're still worried here are a few tips to ensure you always get along with the workmen in your house.
Take time to do a full introduction
Bigger jobs like extensions are in most cases going to involve a team of builders working on your house five days a week. These builders are going to be the same labourers day in and day out, apart from plumbers and electricians who may come and go as necessary. This means it’s worth taking the time to introduce yourself to the full team, as it is likely up until this point you will have only met the lead builder.
Don’t stress about forgetting their names, but say hello if they pass in the corridor. Having this first contact with the people working in your home will go a long way to take out the anxiety of having strangers in your home.
Talk about access
In the first couple of days it’s also a good idea to talk to your builder about how they would like to access where the works are being carried out. If for example you’re worried about dusty clothes and boots on the carpet, request that the builders take a different route (if there is one). No tradesperson is going to be offended by this, they know that their job can get a bit mucky and no one wants to worry about finding a bit of dried plaster on an antique rug.
During this discussion it may also be a good idea to raise other topics such as parking, so you don’t find yourself late to work from being blocked in by a van one day.
Don’t worry about the milk and 3 sugars
Many homeowners feel that it is their duty to constantly be making tea rounds for the workmen in their home. This is just not true. A recent survey of workmen found that just 9.7% get annoyed about not being offered a drink. If you’ve just got one tradesperson in doing a spot of tiling in the bathroom for example, by all means feel free to offer them a cuppa if you’ve got the kettle on but don’t feel like you have to.
For larger jobs like extensions many builders will bring their own amenities including a small kettle and some mugs to cater for themselves anyway.
Don’t worry about keeping an eye on them
In the same survey that revealed the fact that tea isn’t that big of a deal, it was found the thing that annoyed workmen, more than anything, was the feeling that they were constantly being watched. Remember that a happy workplace is also going to be a productive one, so leaving the builders alone to get on with it could speed up the whole job.
That doesn't mean you can’t go over and check in on them every now and then, just don’t feel like you’ve got to watch them the whole time, let them get on with the job at hand.
When nature calls...
Builders are only human, and when nature calls they need somewhere to go. If you have multiple WCs in your home, tell them to only use a certain one. This way you don’t need to worry about them all being in use by the tradesmen so no one in your family gets caught short.
If you only have the one loo, or the idea of them coming through the house covered in dust and other muck really bothers you, it may be worth considering a portaloo especially if the work they’re carrying out is outside anyway.
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