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Friday, November 12, 2010

House Construction 4: The Neighbours

The old house is entirely gone. Roof and walls and all. Not a trace left!! I arrived just in time to see a mangled mass of steel support being loaded onto a huge truck. I suppose the contractor can sell that back to steel recycling agents? I dunno. Anyway, neatly stacked in a corner were long, straight and thick steel rods to be used in the new construction.

Meanwhile, exciting things have been happening. The man-sized pneumatic jack hammer had broken up the old house into small bits for loading onto the truck and discarded. The next door neighbour with whom we share a wall, popped by to tell us that the heavy vibrations had made a small crack in her plasterboard. Our big and tall grizzly bear of a contractor said "No problem! We will fix that!"

Our neighbour was so sweet too. She said, "Why don't we wait a bit and see if any other cracks appear. You can then fix everything altogether." We had made a concerted effort earlier (the contractor and I) to keep on the good side of the neighbours. I had earlier dropped a letter with my mobile number in their letterboxes. And the contractor made an effort to be friendly and courteous, as well as considerate when hacking and drilling. He went over to inform the neighbours of exactly when he would be making a ruckus and he scheduled the demolition work tightly so that it could all be done quickly within 2 days. Nonetheless, the neighbour's dog was still so stressed that it spent 2 days behind a big flowerpot in the garden and refused to go into the house.

It was good that my Quantity Surveyor had ensured that the necessary insurance coverages had been effectuated. Proper insurance requires a pre-condition survey of the neighbours' houses. This way, it becomes very clear whether a neighbour's problem was pre-existing or not. The contractor has to make good any damage to the neighbours' houses at no extra cost. This should be stipulated in one's building contract. And if the damage is severe due to his best efforts, the insurance will cover the damage.


Open Kitchen Concept said...

You are a good neighbour! But I do think constructions are tough on neighbours. Construction noises drive me crazy.

petunialee said...

I hadn't realized how awful my construction would be for the neighbours! I feel very bad.