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Building Issues in Spain.

           

This company became the legal constructors for the new terrace our architect had spent 18months getting planning permission for!

La Serrania Services builder was unlicensed, the works did not conform to planning permission granted, our ceilings under the terrace are now as pictured below and the central heating radiators that they  moved during the building works no longer work! Not one word of apology or regret!

         

I sent the following email to Serrania Property Services but they have not favoured me with reply:-

Dear Thorwald and Irene,
The radiator which Augustine moved from one wall to another is no longer working. I have tried bleeding it but to no avail. 
 This radiator has not worked properly since Augustine re-located it and now it has stopped all together.
Can you please have the plumber come round and fix it. We need an email or text or telephone call to arrange the appointment for the plumber.
 Please acknowledge receipt of  this email.
yours sincerely
Michael Briant

A FEW DAYS AGO I SENT THE FOLLOWING EMAIL

Dear Irene and Thorwald,
Augustine has started to pester us again and as the constructor of the project who handed over the building works to him I would be grateful if you would stop him bothering us. If not I will seek an injunction from the Guardia Civil against Serrania Property Services.
There is still no news from the planning authorities as to the acceptability of the works carried out by you and Augustine, but the moment I hear anything I will be in touch.
There is a serious development with the rooms in our house below the flat roof you constructed. Please see the attached photos.  I am deeply disappointed that the workmanship on the roof has produced this disaster.  
I can see no point in doing anything about it until we know if a new staircase will have to be constructed inside the house. At this point I will ask the Architect - Surveyors in charge of applying for planning permission to make a forensic examination of the terrace roof  construction to see if conforms to the standards Juanma stipulated.
Clearly remedial work is going to be needed in order to make the terrace waterproof and acceptable but I will leave this assessment to professionals.
Please acknowledge receipt of this email and the pictures
Yours sincerely
Michael Briant

ROOF TERRACE INSULATION

Normal Spanish building practice requires the following insulation to be installed when the terrace is above a habitable space:-

 

An air space of at least 15cm with either brick or wood supports for:

 a layer or thermally insulated boards.

Then a covering of waterproof plastic sheet specially for roofs.

Then a screed of cement then finally tiles.

NONE OF THIS WAS INSTALLED ON OUR TERRACE MEASURING 14.5m X 15.9m!!!  And we were being charged by Serrenia Properties nearly 40,000 - yes nearly forty thousand Euros. We were not looking for a bodge rather a proper professional job at top dollar price. What we got was a disaster!

And no word of 'sorry', regret, we got it wrong from Serrenia Properties . The roof terrace works rejected by Ronda Planning department, Radiators not working, damp through the roof and no insulation whatsoever.  The only communication is 'give us more money'.    All that for 40,000. Are you surprised I am angry?

How this disaster happened!

Building in Spain requires planning permission just like the UK but more so.  You cannot take down an interior wall or create a serving hatch between your kitchen and dining room without getting planning permission from your local Spanish town hall.

We wanted a roof terrace for our house in Ronda and via a Spanish friend employed an excellent architect to draw up plans and spend 18 months getting planning permission from both the town hall in Ronda and because the house is a grade two listed building from the cultural department in Malaga.

We were having problems getting suitable quotes from licensed and insured builders so we approached an English/Columbian estate agents in town who had helped us find a garage we asked them if they knew of any good builders who would be interested in quoting for the job.  Why 'Yes' they said - 'we know of an excellent builder who has done lots of work for clients of ours and we recommend him highly.'

The builder came round for a first look at the huge planning permission book we had and at the project which involved taking off part of the roof and building a terrace on it together with an interior access staircase. 'No Problem' he said - 'We do this sort of work in the old town all the time'. Let me bring round the various trades involved and give you a quote.  I am just finishing a job for the estate agents and we could start next week!

The next day the the builder plus an electrician, plumber, staircase man and the estate agent arrived and looked at the project. All was easy except the access staircase which the staircase man said was impossible in the way the architect had designed it but he suggested that a simple alternative was to place it on the outside of the building. We questioned whether this would comply with the planning permission and the builder said it was 'No problem' and they did this all the time in the 'old town' and we need not worry. The estate agent also said the outside staircase would be OK and said he was seeing the architect that afternoon about another project and would run this by him. There was nothing to worry about.

The builder came up with a one sheet estimate for the works requiring 50% up front and 50\% on completion. 

The estate agent and the builder asked me to transfer the first 50% to the estate agents bank and that I did.

The building works started and the roof came off our beautiful old house.

Then the 's**t' hit the fan!!!  And I used to think I was 'street wise'!!!

The scaffold access 3 stories up to roof - not a guard rail in site - held together with old rope!

 

The Architect turned up screaming and shouting that the works must stop as he had not given permission for them to start, the builder was unlicensed and could not do the work, and that health and safety issues were not being observed.  He had not been informed by the estate agents a promised. My lawyer told me that because the builder was unlicensed if anybody had an accident I would be responsible.  My insurers said they would not cover me.

 

 The estate agent said 'not to worry - THERE IS NO PROBLEM.' Because the builder was unlicensed he had registered himself as a licensed constructor at the town hall and he was in charge of everything!

 

Then it got really bad.

 

The local town hall sent round their planning team who looked at all the works and declared the outside staircase totally illegal!

 

They said the builder was unlicensed, the staircase was illegal.  New planning permission was required and if it was not forthcoming then the staircase would have to come down!!

 

 The builder and the Estate Agent asked me to pay the 50% outstanding by the end of the week.  I was amazed! 

 

Clearly I was not going to pay for illegal works.

 

The estate agent/constructor contacted me and again insisted on payment to which I replied that the moment the town hall signed off the project as legal and acceptable I would pay. 

 

The estate agent / constructor said he would, at my expense, seek planning permission by employing a structural engineer. He presented me with the engineers contract and bill telling me it was an application for town hall planning permission. I certainly can read enough Spanish to know the difference!

 

He insisted yet again on payment in full for the illegal works!

 

The estate agent spent 5 weeks trying to find an architect to make an application in for planning permission to make the works legal or discover what was needed to be done in order to conform with legislation. 

 

Every time I enquired as to how it was going I was told the applications had been submitted to Malaga, to Ronda, to the man in the moon, but in the end nothing had been done so I told the Estate Agent / legal constructor that he was 'off the case' and I would seek planning permission for all the illegal works myself.

 

 I now have a team of architects and structural engineers negotiating with the Ronda and Malaga planning authority!

 

The estate agents response was to employ a lawyer who insists on full payment at once! At least Serrania Property Services have a sense of humour!

 

I now have the situation where the estate agents builder, made 10 threatening telephone calls at midnight and their lawyer is constantly telephoning and emailing demanding payment at once for the illegal works done to our property to which I respond

 

 'The moment the town hall signed off the project as legal and acceptable I will pay.' 

Seems fair enough to me.............

The charming and serious estate agent  Mary Becker who sold us our house and has always been kind, helpful and most efficient is not the subject of the above article - she has lots of properties in Ronda and the surrounding area and is 100% reliable

 www.marybeker.com

Watch this space.

 

But Ronda is a wonderful place to live - it's a beautiful town and the local Spanish people are very nice.

 

building in Spain page

 

         

This is what happened to our ceilings using local British - Columbian estate agent services in Ronda Spain! Here or read on!

 

ROOF TERRACE INSULATION

Normal Spanish building practice requires the following insulation to be installed when the terrace is above a habitable space:-

 

An air space of at least 15cm with either brick or wood supports for:

 a layer or thermally insulated boards.

Then a covering of waterproof plastic sheet specially for roofs.

Then a screed of cement then finally tiles.

NONE OF THIS WAS INSTALLED ON OUR TERRACE MEASURING 14.5m X 15.9m!!!  And we were being charged by Serrenia Properties nearly 40,000 - yes nearly forty thousand Euros. We were not looking for a bodge rather a proper professional job at top dollar price. What we got was a disaster!

And no word of 'sorry', regret, we got it wrong from Serrenia Properties . The roof terrace works rejected by Ronda Planning department, Radiators not working, damp through the roof and no insulation whatsoever.  The only communication is 'give us more money'.    All that for 40,000. Are you surprised I am angry?

 

- read on or not!

Building Issues in Spain.

         

I sent the following email to Serrania Property Services but they have not favoured me with reply:-

Dear Irene and Thorwald,

Augustine has started to pester us again and as the constructor of the project who handed over the building works to him I would be grateful if you would stop him bothering us. If not I will seek an injunction from the Guardia Civil against Serrania Property Services.

There is still no news from the planning authorities as to the acceptability of the works carried out by you and Augustine, but the moment I hear anything I will be in touch.

There is a serious development with the rooms in our house below the flat roof you constructed. Please see the (above) attached photos.  I am deeply disappointed that the workmanship on the roof has produced this disaster.  

I can see no point in doing anything about it until we know if a new staircase will have to be constructed inside the house. At this point I will ask the Architect - Surveyors in charge of applying for planning permission to make a forensic examination of the terrace roof  construction to see if conforms to the standards Juanma (our architect) stipulated.

Clearly remedial work is going to be needed in order to make the terrace waterproof and acceptable but I will leave this assessment to professionals.

Please acknowledge receipt of this email and the pictures

Yours sincerely

Michael Briant

 

Building in Spain requires planning permission just like the UK but more so.  You cannot take down an interior wall or create a serving hatch between your kitchen and dining room without getting planning permission from your local Spanish town hall.

We wanted a roof terrace for our house in Ronda and via a Spanish friend employed an excellent architect to draw up plans and spend 18 months getting planning permission from both the town hall in Ronda and because the house is a grade two listed building from the cultural department in Malaga.

We were having problems getting suitable quotes from licensed and insured builders so we approached an English/Columbian estate agents in town who had helped us find a garage we asked them if they knew of any good builders who would be interested in quoting for the job.  Why 'Yes' they said - 'we know of an excellent builder who has done lots of work for clients of ours and we recommend him highly.'

The builder came round for a first look at the huge planning permission book we had and at the project which involved taking off part of the roof and building a terrace on it together with an interior access staircase. 'No Problem' he said - 'We do this sort of work in the old town all the time'. Let me bring round the various trades involved and give you a quote.  I am just finishing a job for the estate agents and we could start next week!

The next day the the builder plus an electrician, plumber, staircase man and the estate agent arrived and looked at the project. All was easy except the access staircase which the staircase man said was impossible in the way the architect had designed it but he suggested that a simple alternative was to place it on the outside of the building. We questioned whether this would comply with the planning permission and the builder said it was 'No problem' and they did this all the time in the 'old town' and we need not worry. The estate agent also said the outside staircase would be OK and said he was seeing the architect that afternoon about another project and would run this by him. There was nothing to worry about.

The builder came up with a one sheet estimate for the works requiring 50% up front and 50\% on completion. 

The estate agent and the builder asked me to transfer the first 50% to the estate agents bank and that I did.

The building works started and the roof came off our beautiful old house.

Then the 's**t' hit the fan!!!  And I used to think I was 'street wise'!!!

The scaffold access 3 stories up to roof - not a guard rail in site - held together with old rope!

 

The Architect turned up screaming and shouting that the works must stop as he had not given permission for them to start, the builder was unlicensed and could not do the work, and that health and safety issues were not being observed.  He had not been informed by the estate agents a promised. My lawyer told me that because the builder was unlicensed if anybody had an accident I would be responsible.  My insurers said they would not cover me.

 

 The estate agent said not to worry. Because the builder was unlicensed he had registered himself as a licensed constructor at the town hall and he was in charge of everything!

 

Then it got really bad.

 

The local town hall sent round their planning team who looked at all the works and declared the outside staircase totally illegal!

 

They said the builder was unlicensed, the staircase was illegal.  New planning permission was required and if it was not forthcoming then the staircase would have to come down!!

 

 The builder asked me to pay him the 50% outstanding by the end of the week.  I was amazed! 

 

Clearly I was not going to pay for illegal works.

 

The estate agent/constructor contacted me and insisted on payment to which I replied that the moment the town hall signed off the project as legal and acceptable I would pay. 

 

The estate agent / constructor said he would, at my expense, seek planning permission by employing a structural engineer. He presented me with the engineers contract and bill telling me it was an application for town hall planning permission. I certainly can read enough Spanish to know the difference!

 

He insisted on payment in full for the illegal works!

 

The estate agent spent 5 weeks trying to find an architect to make an application in for planning permission to make the works legal or discover what was needed to be done in order to conform with legislation. 

 

Every time I enquired as to how it was going I was told the applications had been submitted to Malaga, to Ronda, to the man in the moon, but in the end nothing had been done so I told the Estate Agent / legal constructor that he was 'off the case' and I would seek planning permission for all the illegal works myself.

 

 I now have a team of architects and structural engineers negotiating with the Ronda and Malaga planning authority!

 

The estate agents response was to employ a lawyer who insists on full payment at once. At least they all have a sense of humour!

 

I now have the situation where the estate agents builder, made 10 threatening telephone calls at midnight and their lawyer is constantly telephoning and emailing demanding payment at once for the illegal works done to our property to which I respond

 

 'The moment the town hall signed off the project as legal and acceptable I will pay.' 

Seems fair enough to me.............

The charming and serious estate agent  Mary Becker who sold us our house and has always been kind, helpful and most efficient is not the subject of the above article - she has lots of properties in Ronda and the surrounding area and is 100% reliable

 www.marybeker.com

Do visit 'Building in Spain' on my web site.

 

 

 

Spencer Marine Headlining Replacement

The headlining in my beautiful Paw Paw a Westerly Ocean 43 started to droop badly and we were left without choice but to have it replaced, as gluing it back up ourselves no longer worked. Having replaced the headlining in our Prout 33 and not enjoyed it and wanting the work done to professional marine standards we decided to employ professionals.

                       

We contacted Spencer Marine Headlining Replacement Service and sent them full details of the boat and the works required. They appeared to be very competent with lots of experience and offered a full and complete service to solve all the problems - Their website seemed to indicate a high standard of work so we agreed a fee of around 9,000 - which included 2,500 for them to travel to Gibraltar and spend three weeks renewing the all the headlining in the boat and re-fixing the sagging insulation in the engine compartment and cold box.

Spencer Marine arrived in Gibraltar and informed us it would be better if we stayed away during the works and only visited when it was all completed. Unfortunately we had a problem with the car which meant we could not look at the finished job until they had returned to the UK. We arrived at the boat to view a couple of days later and were distraught!

 

These two pictures are the new headlining not the old!

Quite apart from the amateur finish as pictured we found they had un-necessarily knocked 14 holes into the exterior superstructure and left them unfilled. (Where the grab rails are fixed inside the boat, Westerly had bonded in 14 bolts into the original cabin top layup then put sleeves on the end so that the grab rails could be bolted onto the sleeves.

Rather than ease the Vinyl over the bolts/sleeves Spencer Marine just knocked them through the cabin top gelcoat) 

The insulation in the engine compartment and cold box was in a worse state than when we left it and two electrical lighting circuits did not work. I emailed and expressed my disappointment and displeasure and they returned for two days to fix all these items and put Plastic Padding into holes.

My really big concern, apart from the appalling finish to the edges which could have been avoided by using the plastic strips made by Hawke House for this very purpose, is they had made little attempt to remove the old glue and foam backing from the GRP. The result of this is all the bumps and bulges in the new headlining. I asked if they had used the wire brushes made for this job and was told they used a sander. Really?

I have done the job myself and it's impossible to get the old glue off with a sander you need to use the wire face off brushes on the end of an electric drill - as supplied for the purpose by Hawke House and others.

Quite apart from the awful finish in certain places they do not appear to have removed all the old headlining (as promised)  rather cut off the droopy bit and stuck the new vinyl over the old!

OK so the job looks like a bodged amateur piece of work where the edges have in places just had some sewn bits stuck onto the beautiful woodwork of my boat spoiling the lines. Spencer Marine have removed little woodwork to tuck the new vinyl behind rather just bodged the edges, forced screws when replacing a coat hook, right through the bulkhead piercing the plastic waterproof laminate in the shower area

The really appalling and frightening part of the sorry saga is the GLUE they have used to join the foam backed vinyl to the GRP - Automotive spray adhesive called TRIM-FIX! It is for motorcars and motorcar headlining not for marine applications!

They have not even bothered to use one of the several marine adhesive sprays available like Track Trade. My personal experience of using automotive spray adhesives on boat headlining is that it works fine for 18 months or so then the adhesive quality fails and the headlining falls down!

Hawke house and other marine headlining suppliers say you must use a proper contact adhesive on the GRP or the bond will not be permanent. These contact adhesives are much harder to work with than spray cans and like not bothering to clean the old glue and foam off the GRP, spraying both surfaces is a lot easier and quicker, but is a bodge.

This is what Hawke House say about using a proper contact adhesive:-

SAF111 5 Litre is a special headlining contact adhesive for use with foamed and un-foamed headlinings. When using with foam backed vinyls, SAF111 is applied to the GRP etc whilst Trade Tack Aerosol adhesive is applied to the FOAM ONLY. When bonding unfoamed vinyls, SAF 111 must be applied to both the reverse side of the vinyl AND to the GRP etc. If you were to use Trade Tack Aerosol by itself the bond will not be permanent, particularly as the ambient temperature rises. If you need further explanation please call us for advice. 1 ltr SAF111 will cover approximately 4 sq mtrs when applied to one surface only, or half of this area when applied to both surfaces.

What I am faced with is that in a year or two the adhesion of  headlining will fail where the foam backed vinyl is in contact with the GRP.

The headlining replacement will have to be done again!

So it breaks my heart to sit in my boat and look at the sad amateur finish in every cabin!

It makes me so sad to look at the damage done so unnecessarily to the GRP, shower side and my beautiful teak sides and bulkheads with bits of flat vinyl stuck on it rather than neatly tacked behind or trimmed.

It scares the pants of me that in a year or so I will see it coming unstuck and then have to go through it all again!

I am angry with myself that I trusted Spencer Marine and paid them 9,000 to mess up my boat - not very street wise

Would you find the bumps in this bit of headlining acceptable?

 

I do know what the job entails and I know how to get an OK finish as Louise and I did a total headlining job on a Prout 33 in 2006 and by comparison with the finish above still looks professional some 8 years later

 

 

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