Things Irish Builders say & the correct responses…

In the eight or so years I’ve been working as an architect in Ireland, I’ve heard many interesting things said by the indigenous Irish contractor or builder. None of them quite as good as the Caribbean concept of ‘slantendicuar’ but quite good nonetheless. Well here are some of what I’ve heard and the appropriate responses by architect or client:

1. “Well, that’s the way we do it around here”

Response: “Well unfortunately you’ve been doing it wrong around here, do it as per the drawings and specification and as the way your employer is paying you to do it”

2. Well that’s the standard everybody gets around here.

Response: “I’m sorry but that level isn’t acceptable and you’re going to have to do better”

3. I’m losing money hand over fist already on this job

Response: Ignore, they’re not. They always say this.

4. What you should do here is this…. (when describing some great design change, change of material etc…)

Response: Be very wary, I try to take on board anything that the builder suggests but you need to ask yourself two fundamental questions:

1. Does this save the contractor money and thereby increases his profit (at your expense)

2. Does this save the contractor time and thereby increases his profit (at your expense)

5. We can work out what the price of that is at the end (when making variations during the build)

Response: An absolute no-no, get prices as you go; doing this at the end of a build is the worst time to do this; the build is finished and it’s very difficult at this stage to reconcile the prices, obviously at every variation there would have been an ‘Architects Instruction’ that defines what the variation was ~ I feel another blog post coming on AI’s and the time and effort it takes to run a job properly…

Comments welcome and would love to hear other great things said by contractors.

Ps obviously there’s a love~hate relationship between architect & contractor; it’s the builder than can create the most grief but it’s also the same person that builds the architects vision.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

6 thoughts on “Things Irish Builders say & the correct responses…

  1. My favourite was two tilers on site on a Saturday morning. My carefully worked out tile layout around a carvery unit was replaced by ‘laying out by eye’. I pointed out the tiling they were laying was neither symetrical nor level. I instructed them to lift what they had done and screed the floor properly as they complained about its uneveness. They said it wasn’t in their quote. I pointed out I had written the specification and knew it was. They said they were here working Saturday. I said fine, come back Monday and discuss it with me and the project manager/site foremen.

    Departure of one white van in a huff/puff of dust…

  2. Looking at your comments mark I must reply I was a builder and now a student.
    At all times these are all with in reason as you may have a very picky client going beyond good quality. As for hangers in price I find a lot of clients try to get you to do extras and don’t want to pay any extra not even with in reason, that’s why having a project manager on any half decent job is essential for the client as well as the builder. Standards are there for a reason and advice is generally given
    with the clients best interest at heart especially not price 8 times out of 10 eg something the client may have over looked and easier to be done while the work is being carried out.
    Everything is with in reason and a contract is important regardless of the size of job .

    1. Good points, agree with picky clients and my job as Architect administering contract is as intermediary between Employer & Contractor to ensure that contractor is paid on variations the employer has asked for. Next blog post I think will be on Architects Instructions…

  3. Comment – “I’m not changing that to suit you”.

    Say nothing in response, just smile and issue the written instruction, citing the relevant clause of the building contract and stating that payment will be withheld until matters are rectified to the satisfaction of the certifying architect in accordance with details and/or instruction previously issued.

    1. Fully agree, and I do this 100%, problem is when there’s:

      A. No inspecting certifying architect for the course of the build
      B. Where there’s no contract between Client & Contractor

      I suspect Priory Hall has both A & B

      The problem arises when the client & contractor & developer are effectively same person.

      Good reason to employ a full team (including structural engineer etc…) throughout the entire build with the architect managing the contract.

      Would be interesting to know %’s of certifying architects vs ‘Engineers’ on developments similar to Priory Hall

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