The Works

I’m planning Works.

God willing, Aug/Sept will see the start of major building works at Soilman Towers. A single-storey extension will, theoretically, double our downstairs living area and magically transform our lives into ambrosial, dreamy perma-bliss.

Well, that’s the plan.

In reality, of course, it will be Purest Hell. Having no kitchen and choking on builder’s dust for 6-10 weeks will not be amusing.

The prospect of the actual works, though, isn’t the worst bit. The worst bit is the state-sanctioned extortion of the building ‘industry’. With the exception of our excellent architect, everyone is on the take, take, take. From the structural engineer (£1,000 for a 10-min visit and ‘plans’ which he hand-drew in no more than 5 mins) to Thames Water (£343 for an ‘application to build within 3m of a sewer’ – aka daylight robbery/blackmail bribery) to the ‘Environmental Assessment’ insisted on by the council (£200 for a grubby rent-a-moron to peer into a dying fern and declare it a natural habitat for bees).

Next to the professionals and public officials you encounter, the actual builders look honest. I swear to God.

I’d never encountered this before. I knew, of course, what to expect – in theory. Seeing the outrageous official scams actually play out in front of my eyes, though, has been a depressing shock. Al Capone would learn a thing or two.

No wonder no fucker can build anything in this country. If you doubt me, try it some time.

8 Responses to “The Works”

  1. Tanya Walton Says:

    I really don’t envy you the building works or having to deal with the officials…and that’s before the little unexpected ‘extras’ crop up….good luck with it all!!

  2. Simon Says:

    SM, you’ve got the simple version. We are in the throes of building a new house from a green field site. There are even more forms to fill in! But so far the parties involved (architect, structural engineer, surveyor, etc) have all been helpful and on budget. Our buddies at the Council are also playing ball. Fingers crossed we keep on the same track.
    Once the house is looking more established we can start on the garden and hedges. I’m thinking of hornbeam on for the hedge to the road side …

  3. Rampant_Weasel Says:

    hope your not building on valuable growing space!

  4. Soilman Says:

    Weasel: Nope. My back garden’s small, north-facing and over shadowed by endless trees… so pretty useless for growing, well, anything. It’s the perfect place to build on, I’m afraid!

  5. Rampant_Weasel Says:

    ah in that case your forgiven 🙂

  6. altadenahiker Says:

    I’ve come close, thissssclose, to a home addition. But restrictions are even crazier out this way, so I talk myself out of it.

  7. Gaz Says:

    Hope the weather improves whilst its going on! wet and miserable weather and builders is even less fun.

    Do you then get stung by more inspections etc later?

  8. Soilman Says:

    Oh, it’s ongoing Gaz. I’ll be amazed if I can start this project before Xmas