If you read the problems we had at the apartment you could see there are issues by doing things yourself but what if you actually got an architect to deal with everything for you? Well I visited a friend today who is to say the least disappointed with the results on his house and it was done by an Architect trusted with the project. I can’t discuss names or locations as there is a chance of legal action currently happening. But a list of the faults that have come up would surprise most people unless it was on something like Rogue Traders in the UK.
Most of the work was carried out on a “trust” basis as the owners were in the UK working. The Architect handled both parts of the project himself (which should never be done on a project) that is as Architect and Engineer. The main reason you have the two is they play off each other as the Architect would be looking for quality and the Engineer is trying to save money so somewhere in between you should get a reasonable standard of work. The Architect actually instructed the workers on the property to do it with the “cheapest” materials which is why my friend is currently at the problem stage he has now.
- The waste pipes had been packed with a couple of carrier bags and concreted into the wall which meant that raw sewage backfilled from the toilet and came up in the shower. Architects response “the plumbing wasn’t in the price”. The bathroom fixtures are all second hand and an obvious crack inside the cistern shows how it was concreted back together.
- There has been no foundations or hard base put down on the property just built straight up. The walls are showing signs of cracking below window level and above. Also the wrong type of lintels have been installed for the spans.
- All doors are the cheapest found with daylight showing through.
- Floor tiles don’t match and the cheapest that can be found (nothing wrong with cheap as long as its done right).
- Handrail has different colours and shades on every baluster (different woods used).
- Front gate is impossible to open as its been built below road level.
- Main gates that are supposed to replace the existing temporary ones are obviously second hand from another project and are too big and heavy for the existing posts as well as not in keeping with the rest of the building.
- Electrics failed as ratings were wrong although now corrected.
- Gas bottle and pipe need to be removed from the house and installed externally inside a cage (same as UK) failed on inspection.
- Kitchen wall units built across cooker span needs removing (yet its all one piece now needs remodelling).
- Floors are all unlevel and in some areas have very obvious dips.
- Garden isn’t finished and external walls not smooth skimmed.
There were a lot more but I just wanted to give a few. Now this is a bungalow which needed the external walls on a solid base because the roof span now is likely to be causing the cracks in the walls as the span is pushing down. Eventually its likely the roof will drop forcing the walls to lean outwards at the top unless its underpinned and corrected. Not a cheap repair for something that was easy to do on the first stages of construction. The other issue here is the fact the Architect seems to either be a total idiot or just assuming he can get away with most things because of the “stupid foreigner” mentality some people have. The other factor which you might be thinking you get what you pay for well the work has cost around P1.8million pesos and I like other people have estimated it as a total project of P800,000 where did the other million go besides straight in the Architects pocket.
How do you avoid this for yourself? Well there are people like me who are here full-time who can oversee projects if requested. The other thing is to check other peoples houses and get recommendations as they have been through all these problems already. Another important factor is to invite the City Engineer round for dinner before the project and ask them to look over the plans etc. to see if there are any major problems he isn’t happy with and try to get them involved at various stages to check the quality to keep it on par. At the same time you really need to keep your own person on site who isn’t working for the Architect or Engineer but primarily has some construction background to keep asking questions and make sure its built as it should be. This project was too late for us to help as its now looking at its day in court but if approached earlier I would happily sit on site for P20,000 a month to monitor the different stages to make sure the correct size steels are used and that the re-bars go into the walls all the way up to “good paint” being used on the walls. Getting it wrong isn’t only expensive and time consuming its stressful. People don’t need these hassles when retiring.