Monthly Archives: June 2010

Close encounters of the ‘contractor’ kind….

I’m breathing a sigh of relief right now…… some minor renovation works that are being done in the house are nearing completion & YAY …. no untoward incidence of the contractor running out in the middle of the job ….. no ‘collateral damage’ to existing furniture and fittings in the house … & am just so grateful that it’s a pretty good job done ….

Well, just to share a amusing ‘facts’  experience has taught when encountering contractors ….

1. “I do everything”. Famous quote by contractors who claim they can do everything from wetworks to kitchen cabinets …  Well, technically, it means they know how to outsource everything … So truly, if you want something nice done, you might want to source some services on your own, especially if it involves fittings like your wardrobe or even the kitchen cabinets. If not, always insist on material samples or pictures of works done, to make sure you get what you want.

2. “We don’t use Indon workers“.  Don’t be tricked into thinking you’re getting Chinese sifu’s instead  …  they actually utilise Bangladeshi labourers. Cheaper and more ‘obedient’, so they claim….. (I personally prefer them to Indons too, Bangladeshi’s are very polite and mild mannered) … Whatever it is, for the final touches, make sure that the works are fine tuned by the Chinese sifu’s especially when walls need to be plastered or window frames need to be done….. If not, you might have to live with a crooked wall or a crooked window frame…. seriously.    

3. Don’t choose the guy with lowest quote. The quality of materials given might be compromised. Even the cement used has different grades. Don’t be surprised if they use cheap mortar & your tiles come loose in a year or so ….. 

4. Beware of fly by night contractors without a proper registered company. These guys are just out to make a quick buck, cashing in on the band wagon. They promise the sky, they are quick to ‘demand’ for a ‘deposit’  but slow to pay their outsourced labour. At the end of the day, you will end up paying the price as there could be a huge delay on works to be done …… and worse still, if these guys run out on the job half way through.

 5. Digressing a little here, don’t trust colour charts issued by the paint manufacturers. There are so many variables that will affect the colour …. sunlight, yellow light, white light etc etc. A case in point is the ‘fog grey’ weather shield which we chose for our balcony floor. It looked dark in the chart but ended up so light when painted. It turns out it that area is under the direct glare of the sunlight hence the lighter shade ….  Tip: If you’re painting & you’re not too sure of the colour, buy a small tin of it just to make sure you like the colour.

6. Never take your contractor’s word for it.  Do your own research.  Most of the times they will tell you ‘this’ cannot be done, ‘that’ cannot be done just because it’s too much hassle. Know your rights. Insist. If they know you won’t back down, they will try to do things your way. 

7. Expect delays. …. I think it’s safe to extend the time frame set by the contractor for works done by another 20 to 30% (if you’re lucky) … Trust me there will be delays here and there … The reason being… we cannot predict the weather, we cannot predict whether suppliers of certain fittings etc will come on time, we also cannot predict the additional works that need to be done if ‘collateral damage’ happens i.e. pipes drilled into accidentally, damage to floors etc, etc.  In addition to that, the contractor might also be juggling two or three jobs. Let me share a story with you how long the delay can be …. A friend bought an old double storey house in Taman Tun. When he started renovations, the neighbour’s wife had just given birth. By the time the renovations were done, the baby had already started walking. Imagine that!  

Well…that’s just a few things that come to mind….. & oh yeah…. you wouldn’t believe the wonders a can of COKE does for you …. always keep some handy to offer to workers who come to your house. They really appreciate it & instead of slacking off… they even point out mistakes made by others to you so that you can get it rectified …. Speaking from experience…..

Happy Renovating all!