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  1. On a number of previous posts I have been very pleased with what I was paying with a fixed price quote and contract in place. Variations allowed for unforseeable items only - so I thought! Initial estimate from builder was 75 - 85k to be looked at in more detail when Building Regs drawings were available. I had a quote from another builder that was in much greater detail and substantially more expensive. I asked builder 1 to quote to this spec, without prices, so that I could compare like for like (My first big error). The new quote included electrics in great detail. That was the only major thing that was specified not covered by estimate from builder 1. Building regs came in, and as discussed elsewhere on here with ridiculously extensive foundations,(double depth, double width and other details) Extra cost came in at 13k - and builder was very keen to get this as low as possible for me and took some of the hit believing he could make it up later I think, and of course the weather put paid to that.. Then I also had to cough up another 3k for a pump as no easy access to sewers - being under the property and garage of a less then friendly neighbour. Out of the ground I believed we were in the clear and not much else could be unexpected. 3 weeks ago, money going out the budget in a steady flow, I stopped the builder and said that I didn't think there was going to be enough left in the budget to finish and he said he would have a look. 3 days later I get an email, detailing 2 largish variations (6.5k and 1.7k) for work already done but not included in the quote and a list of other things not included and not yet done The main ones being; internal walls: internal doors; external windows and doors; soffits etc and that only half the drive was covered. Uh oh. I do believe it wasn't deliberate but it doesn't alter the fact that this was a huge shock. I asked him to get me the cost of these asap. This was just before Easter and he promised he would do this over the weekend. Nothing happened, I spoke to him as he left the site on Wednesday lunchtime. 'I've had no internet access but I am going home to do 8 hours of paperwork now' he said ' your prices are priority'. Still nothing. On Friday evening I got an invoice for the weeks work, with a comment that he had just got internet access back. I normally pay his invoices more or less immediately as he is a small business and has to pay the team. I was busy Friday evening as my sister arrived for the weekend. Wine started flowing rather early and I wasn't having a confrontation then so told him I was out. On Saturday, I told him that, I hadn't been retaining the 3% agreed in the contract and that I was now going to retain 3% of the whole amount paid so far (less than 2k but I had to do something to make him focus. He then started saying he couldn't quote because he hadn't had enough information. At this stage I had still paid nothing towards this bill. Technically I have 5 days to pay. I really don't have access to any more money, so I wasn't sleeping or eating and was feeling constantly sick. To cut a long story short it had the desired effect but really put his back up. Along with the 'variations' I got a long rant about all the things I have allegedly done wrong. (Like asking questions and complaining about the length of breaks taken at times) It was hard but I ignored the rant. I could counter every point and make more of my own but I have an unfinished shell and now is not the time to fall out. Having got the prices I paid the weeks invoice as I always intended to. The extra costs however came as another huge blow. Whereas I was worrying about it possibly being 15k it came in at 45k. Whoah! We had agreed to talk them through on Monday morning and whilst there could be some saving made I still had (and have) no idea where I am going to get the extra cash from. We agreed that we wanted to maintain a working relationship, we agreed that we both wanted a finished house that looked good and that we were both feeling upset and disappointed. He won't admit any responsibility. In my view, as the builder, he should have ensured that we made sure everything was covered before work started. I know the cost would still be there but there are things that I have chosen the more expensive route which I wouldn't have done if I had any idea about this. I accept some responsibility for giving him quote details to match BUT a builder should have spotted missing things than me doing this as a 'one off'. BIG LESSON Having now had some time to go through it (eleventy billion times to be exact) I have got some suggestions for him. I have also been getting external quotes for some of the things not covered although I will have to have him do some of them as they are part of other things that are quoted. Saga to continue - I have another meeting with him later today
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