"Going ballistic" is a term we use in the states for getting very, very angry. I have no idea if you say the same thing in the UK. In an hour and a half, 8:30 am our time, I will be going ballistic on our builders.
Every once in a while I learn something I believe is not true. I use to believe people with back trouble exaggerated how much it hurt, then I had a couple of bouts with a bad back, and realized hey, that really is painful. I also heard never to hire your friends, and that working on your house is stressful. I built two machine sheds, hired friends to build one, everything went fine there, how big of a deal could it be to do a little work on the house?
In the summer of 2009 Mrs. KF and I drew up a plan to remodel our home inside and out, to the tune of $60000, might not be much money in the UK, it is a ton for me, especially to spend on the house. I have(might be better now to say "had") a very good friend who built his own house and did a beautiful job, he works with a guy who built his own house and did a really nice job, they built one of my machine sheds, I figured hey, hire your buddy, he will never let you down.
The first thing to be done was rewire the house. Old wiring burns down many homes, no point in doing a bunch of work, only to have the house burn down. Perhaps I should have sensed trouble brewing when the first day they worked, November 18, 2009, they punched a hole through my bedroom wall. Nothing was said, I made the assumption(one of many) that they would fix it.
Time went on, 90% of the work they did was good, 10% was crap. At times the work was sporadic, because I learned all good builders start 2 or 3 projects at once, and work on one for a while then leave. We gritted our teeth and told each other(the wife and I) just to be patient. Mrs KF even made a point every day of complementing their work, and told me I should do the same. In June they "finished" the inside. I still had the hole in my bedroom wall, along with a half dozen very visible defects. Every morning, first thing I saw was a grapefruit sized hole in our wall as I gazed down past my toes. Mrs. KF and I assured ourselves fixing that was on the list, just be patient.
Then, one very hot June night, I got out of bed to get a drink. Our new, high efficiency air conditioner was going full blast and the house was very comfortable. As I walked through the dining room in the dark, I heard what sounded like someone thumping on the dining room table. I stood there, half scared a ghost was present, and turned on the light to see water pooling on the table, coming from the ceiling.
What you may or may not know in the UK is an air conditioner produces a lot of water in humid weather. There is a drain. They had installed my drain at an angle that did not allow the water to flow away from the unit until it was nearly full....with the very humid night, it could not drain water away as fast as it was being produced, and was running out onto the ceiling, and soaking through into the room below.
The next day being Sunday, they were not going to work,but got a call from me promptly at 7am. I had very nearly called at 1am when I discovered the leak. When my friend arrived I gave a very animated and profanity laced run down of all the things we were unhappy about, ending with, "and I suppose you expect me to look at this goddammed hole in my bedroom wall for the rest of my life?!?!?!?".
Things moved pretty fast inside the house after that, within a couple of days most things were fixed so we could live with them. I was told they needed a check for siding and windows, the windows had to be specially made, so they would not be back until the 5th of July. Without argument, I wrote the check.
However, nobody showed up on July 5th. My friend had to sell his house and work on another one so he and his family had a place to live, they got another job with a deadline. Mrs. KF and I waited patiently through July, August, September and the first week of October before I got a little blunt made a phone call, they showed up the second week of October, without my friend who now claims I was told all along he was not going to work on the outside of the house.
I was combining and getting home in the dark. I didn't pay close enough attention to what was going on. They had three sides done before I really inspected what they were doing, it was very half assed. We had a couple of polite conversations, didn't make much difference. Last week they put a door in the kitchen(from the outside) requiring them to take down the rack that holds the pots and pans..they left it on the floor and Mrs. KF tripped and fell over it while bringing in the groceries.
The new head builder got divorced in the middle of all this and now has a new girlfriend. Even though he is 40, he is apparently required by law to talk to her on the cell phone at least once an hour all day long. They have been putting on siding in between visiting, telling jokes, talking on the phone, and cooking bratwursts in a large smoker they brought and put in the front yard. He has custody of the kids,and brings one with him every day, who has been beating the hell out of the siding with a stick and chipping paint off of it. With less and less hair on my head all the time, and an increasingly round face and figure, apparently I bear a striking resemblance to Buddha and inspire not even a tiny bit of fear in anyone anymore. The real kicker though was I had questions about the warranty they could not answer, and told me I needed to go to the company website. While on the company website, I learned they have not been putting the siding on correctly, and it will not have a warranty because of that. When I brought this up, they just sort of shrugged and said I probably won't need the warranty anyway, so in the blink of an eye I go from a 50 year warranty, to none.
Yesterday, my dozer man showed up to clear some trees to build fence. He walked around the house looking at the trim and started laughing. That was the final straw. Mrs. KF and I had a two hour long conversation going over the bids and bills, and all our frustrations. I tried calling all 4 builders and finally got one.........I gave him a fairly severe 30 minute long chewing out, told him not one more dime changes hands until we are 100% satisfied, and they better figure a way to get a warranty on the siding, or I guessed it could all get sorted out in court, because I was not going to pay them any more money, period. So, at 8:30 we have scheduled a group ass chewing, where I am going to go completely ballistic all over again.
Moral of the story, hire your friends to work on your house, when you are done you will have less money and fewer friends.