Renovation project behind schedule - should I push my contractor

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Hi,

I'm doing a full flat renovation (2 bed, 60 sqm). Apart from keeping external walls and some of the internal walls, everything is to be demolished and replaced with new ones.

Before it started, my contractor estimated the project to take 4 months. Now we are 3 months into the project and roughly 10 - 15 days behind schedule. The main reason is that the new Vaillant boiler arrived 3 weeks late. I don't really know the why it's late. My contractor manages supply.

At the moment, the workers are plastering walls and ceilings. The remaining things based on the project time table my contractor gave me 3 months ago:
  • Plaster walls and ceilings - original plan is 2 weeks, but in reality only 25% was finished after 2 weeks - don't know why - 2 more weeks???
  • Fit covings - 1 week
  • Prepare walls & ceiling painting mistcoat - 1 week
  • Install wooden floor (engineered wood, glued down) - 1 week
  • Install internal doors, skirting boards and architraves - 1 week
  • Painting and decorating walls and ceilings - 2 weeks
  • Install kitchen cabinets (rigid), splashback and appliances - 2 weeks
  • Install fitted wardrobes - 1 week
  • Painting and decorating woodwork - 1 week
  • Bathroom tiling, sanitaryware 2nd fix - 2 weeks
  • Install radiators, TRV, thermostat - 1 day
  • Electricity 2nd fix - 1-2 weeks
  • Install a mist system for fire suppression (2nd fix) - external contractor - 2 days
  • Install an air con - external contractor - 2 days
  • Minor things - elec and gas test and certification, site clean-up etc - 2-3 days
Some of the works above can be carried out at the same time, but I guess in total it may still need 1-2 months from now on?? The company director of my contractor promised to give me an updated time table by the end of July - which is pretty much now - but I guess it's not happening because he just started his 10-day holiday today.

Anyway, I'm not massively impressed about the progress. Could anyone give me some advice?
  • I guess I should I push my contractor a bit. But how? I'd want them to be faster, but I don't want to sacrifice quality.
  • What is a realistic timing of plastering the walls and ceilings for a 60 sqm 2-bed flat?
  • How do you deal with project delays in general.

Thank you so much!

Patrick
 
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If you're happy with the quality of the work, the contractor is honouring a quotation made some months ago and you haven't got a pressing deadline to move in (sold the old house, new baby on the way, that sort of immovable thing) then don't press too hard. The delays may be due to contractor taking other jobs on to try and pull back the losses on your job from materials price rises and subbie price increases as well as generally stretched lead times for materials at the moment
 
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I don't see how a delay on the boiler would delay everything else.

They could run all the first fit plumbing, even upto where the boiler was to be located, there is ways of pressure testing the pipework before closing everything off, so the delay with the boiler imo made no difference.

As oldbutnotdead said, providing the costs aren't increasing and it's not causing you harm then don't push too hard.

That being said when the guy is back from his holiday it wouldn't hurt to sit down and work out a plan moving forward to avoid even greater project slippage.

Initial plans are only guestimates, once the project starts sometimes issues are found even if minor that increase time, unforseen stuff like materials shortages also has a big impact
 
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The fact is, unless the contract ties the contractor down, you only have goodwill to work with and will have to suck it up. I suggest pushing now will just result in corners cut.

The way around this in future, and only if really necessary is to specify a firm completion date in the contract with delay damages attached - usually as LADs at a daily/weekly/monthly rate. The downside is the contractor will price in the risk and the quote will be higher.
 
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Thank you for all your suggestions above.

The company director of my contractor just sent me a project update today. The reason of the delay in plastering is actually due to the fact the plasterer got pinged by the NHS Covid App to self-isolate. That put the plastering work to a halt. As painting, decorating and kitchen fitting works can only start after plastering the walls, and that the painter and decorator have other projects tightly scheduled, the delay due to the self-isolation of the plasterer ended up way longer than the time he needs to self-isolate. It is now estimated that the project needs one additional month to finish.

Regarding payments, the quotation my contractor gave me is a list of material & labour costs for each piece of work. I signed a contract with the home renovation company for the whole project. My contractor is not hiking up the prices. I didn't blame him for such issues outside his control.

As it's a full flat refurbishment, I can't live on-site. I'm renting a flat nearby. While I allowed for some wiggle room when I signed the rental agreement, it is clearly insufficient now. I will have to check with my landlord whether he is ok to extend the tenancy, otherwise I will have to find another short let flat for my household. This is the inconvenience that the project delay brings to me!
 
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What does your contact say about delays and liquidated and ascertained damages?

Normally if stages or completion dates are not met, and no extension of time granted, then loses can be claimed.
 
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