Case Study: Helping an Elderly Couple with a Nightmare Building Project

Thrift Urban Housing gets involved in a wide variety of projects, depending on what is required and what has occurred up to that point. Sometimes, as we have seen before, a client is referred to us under one of our services, and yet can benefit hugely from another service we provide as well.

A good example of this is a case involving an elderly couple whose son referred them to us under our Staying Put service. We learned that a builder had installed a new kitchen and floor in May 2015, charging them £4,000 in all. The client’s son told us his father had been very ill and had endured repeated visits to the hospital.


Image courtesy of Benco Gee

Unfortunately, the work the builder did for them was very badly done. All the money the couple had paid had essentially been wasted. It soon became clear the kitchen was now riddled with damp. No insulation or ventilation had been installed by the builder while he was doing the work, leading to the damp problem becoming evident. Furthermore, the floor he had laid was very uneven.

The couple’s son and daughter had no idea what had happened to begin with. We are so glad they got in touch with us as it has given us a chance to put things right for the couple. We are trying to track down the builder even as you read this. We have put together an in-depth proposal for remedying the problems at the property, and will assist in putting everything right. We want the elderly couple to be able to enjoy living in their home once more.

Should you trust a friendly builder?

It’s always nice to find a tradesperson who is friendly and works hard to get the work done in a proper manner. People tend to put a lot of trust in builders; after all, they are experts in all aspects of building, or at least, they should be. But it is all too tempting to treat them like friends if you’re not careful.

The team at Thrift Urban Housing hears a range of comments made about builders and other similar tradespeople all the time. “But he was such a nice guy,” someone will say. “He was so helpful and polite,” says another. “He assured me the work was done right,” a third will say.

And yet in several cases, we discover that the work was far from done correctly. When the client asks questions, about the work, about payment or about the quality of what has been done, the builder suddenly becomes very difficult to get hold of. They ignore calls. They become very evasive, one way or another.

While it is great to find a builder who is friendly, you also want one who is hard-working and will do everything they can to get the job done in the proper manner, with the right tools and supplies.

The message is loud and clear

If there is one message we would like to get across in this post, it is that builders and all tradespeople are not your friends. Yes, it’s great to find a professional with a friendly manner – but don’t forget the word ‘professional’. This is the most important element of all.

In the end, they are there to win your business and take your money. They should provide a good-quality job for that money, but in reality they are business people. Smooth talking is one of the skills people use to part others with their money. Sales talk is an essential part of being in business, even among the many genuine businesses out there today. We are all familiar with marketing; in essence, smooth talking is just another part of marketing that can convince us to choose one worker over another.

In short, if you hire someone to do a job and you are unhappy with the quality, you do not have to pay. If you know something is wrong and you are dissatisfied with the service you have received, you are entitled to do something about it. There are people who pay and do not say anything, and are left stressed, upset and cheated because of it.

Could you benefit from contacting Thrift Urban Housing now?

If you live somewhere in the London area and you are unhappy with work that has been done by a builder or other tradesperson, get in touch with us now to see if we can help. Additionally, if you know anyone in this situation who may benefit from contacting Thrift Urban Housing, please do pass on our details. We want to spread the message as far and wide as we possibly can within the London area. You do not have to put up with shoddy building work.

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