13 November 2015

Ask RiotACT: Recommendations needed for Canberra tradesmen

| KMac
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Hi Canberrans,

We are just about to start renovations on our new home. We need advice for the tradesmen who can do the following. We really want someone who is reliable, knowledgeable and reasonably priced. I’d even be happy with a handyman who would be able to do the lot.

Floor sanding
Carpet laying
Removal of a small dividing wall
Wallpaper installation

Many thanks for your advice 🙂

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As a tradesman I can recommend using induvial trades rather than a handyman that does the lot. You will get a lot better outcome, and the price will probably end up being the same as they will have specific tools and expertise in their own areas saving you on labour.

I had my floors sanded and polished by Carlo from above board floors 0407569485. He gave us a great price and the floors like fantastic.

I have also used Isa Street Carpets for an investment property and they gave great advice and where very reasonably priced. Im now about to use them again at my home. http://www.isastreetcarpets.com.au

Also, make sure you use a licensed trade for electrical, plumbing, gas, asbestos removal, etc. http://www.planning.act.gov.au/topics/hiring_licensing/employ-a-professional

Call the MBA and/or HIA, they can give you names of their members who specialise in the type of work you want done. You may be reasonably assured of getting a good job at a fair price.

You may ask prospective tradies for references to similar jobs they have done. Removal of the dividing wall may have structural considerations hence the builder MUST hold at least an ACT Builder’s Licence Class C, (I assume the job is in the ACT. Same applies in NSW), ask to see his licence, you are entitled to do so.

By observing these simple points you should avoid the aggravation experienced by Ungruntled.

Good luck with your reno.

I can not give you a who to go to, but I can tell you what happened to me, which might give you some ideas of what to look out for.

I had a tiny little ensuite (1x3M!!), ripped out & replaced. I had designed it & bought all the parts – taps, loo, shower fittings etc. I was told it was a 1week job, but allow 2 in case anything unforseen happens.

FIVE MONTHS later I got the builder to leave. The job was not completed. What was done was not done well. (It took my partner ages to repair & complete what was left behind.) Everytime I walk into my little ensuite, instead of the slick clean lines I designed, I see gross globs of silicon in the joints, the safety rail is not at the right angle for safety, the cupboard juts into the room too far to be able to comfortably bend over the sink. The shower heads are hung too high in spite of the fact I stood in the shower & put an “x” on the wall. Even the mirrored door, has marks all over it where the glue he used has interfered the backing. It just goes on & on.

He had to work with a material that was new to him. He indicated that he knew what the product was and that he had used it before at the quoting stage. In fact, he had not used it before & was too arrogant to do his research well or to ask for assistance. The information was actually on the internet on the manufacturer’s site – my partner did it properly on a sample, after the builder had stuffed it. It wasn’t that hard.

Ask to see some of their past work similar to what you are asking them to do for you or to contact people they have done work for.

Whatever you do, make sure everything is tied down in writing. Then, don’t be too “nice” to them when they’re on the job so it is easier to call them in to line. Last, the minute it looks like it’s not exactly right, raise your voice clearly (not loudly) and then don’t back down.

Having said all that, I guess it may be legally risky to name the builder I used. He was a very nice person, but he couldn’t do the job. Maybe he could do other jobs, but I hadn’t employed him for other jobs.

Wish I could name him for you. Be happy to do so privately, but I can’t afford the legal fees to do it on this site.

Best wishes

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