House of Horrors
If there hasn't been a conspiracy going on in the house building industry these past few years then at least some evidence of collusion is becoming apparent. There are too many faces looking at the plans and architectural drawings, too many architects, engineers, and tradesmen with their fingers in the pot, too many solicitors, auctioneers, and of course the developers, with a lot to gain, or lose, for the sorry excuse of the so-called "quality home" in Ireland today, and to have the finished product go unnoticed and unchallenged? Remarkable!
The developer hires an architect that will put as many dwellings on a piece of land as is feasible and still get planning permission. The Planning Crowd cannot be scrutinizing the individual house drawings very carefully! The developer next gets the cheapest builder he can find, who then subcontracts the work, where possible, to save himself even more money. When it comes right down to it nobody knows what the lads with the tools are doing and as long as "progress" is being made, no one cares. Progress is defined as speed and profit in the building industry, otherwise known as best practice. Every shortcut, whether safe or not, is used to speed up the works, and put more money in the pockets of those involved, and there are no inspectors monitoring the workmanship along the way to check for potential hazards or structural integrity.
The concept of square, level, and plumb is unheard of on the jobsite. Each tradesman has to contend with the previous dodgey craftsman and has little or no time to correct those mistakes to leave his own work looking right. "Leave it to the painter", they all say! There are Building Regulations on the books, if any homeowner cares to check them out, and if you follow this link you can read for yourself that, "Building Regulations are set out by the government to ensure that each house built in Ireland is to a minimum standard...", and minimum is exactly what you get, not even mediocre, minimum! But then again what else would you expect?
More than 95% of what is in the Regulations gets covered up during the actual construction. If you think the rigid insulation was put in between the cavity blocks with care think again. Roof rafters and collar ties, floor joists (often too far apart which is unsafe), door and window frames, and all other woodwork is installed with a very high moisture content (wet), and will warp, bend, and twist. You can see the effects in your own residence: ceiling and wall cracks, doors don't shut properly or open fully, gaps between the skirting and walls are all evidence of the haste in which these structures are put up. Not to mention exposed water pipes and electrical wiring, gaps at the wall on stair landings, mis-shapen architraves, and what kind of wood butchers put in the kitchen and bedroom presses?
Thomas and Deidre paid a lot of money for a house that will have to undergo major renovations, not because they want to, but because they have to. From the faulty plumbing to the dodgey wiring, bring on the kangoes! They can hear their neighbours bounding up the stairs and even the flushing of the toilet next door, when they are home that is, Thomas and Deidre have to work all the hours God sends in order to pay for the pleasure of this high maintainence nightmare. They had hired an "engineer" to snag the property before they took possession, €600 worth, and he inspected absolutely no engineering of the structure, he couldn't, it is all hidden in the walls and ceilings! He spotted a few wall scratches and rough untreated wood under the windows boards and ran away to cash the cheque! The builder claims best practice and won't return their calls, he has no one competent enough to sort the mess, and besides the bank owns it now, Thomas and Deidre are just paying for it. Thomas claims his name is an acronym for the plight of many: The Home Owner Must Always Suffer, Deidre of the Sorrows needs no further explanation.
Most of the sloppy workmanship doesn't lend itself to pictures very well; however two scary representations of dangerous wiring are included here. Electric wiring and the proper installation thereof is critical considering it is potentially lethal, have a look see at the two pics and ask yourself "Is this best practice?