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Gerry McGrattan - COWBOY builder

Post » Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:54 pm

If you have been approached by Gerry McGrattan, or had him recommended, please do get in contact. He has turned out to be the second Cowboy we have encountered in Battersea. Unfortunately he has dubious working practices when it comes to the completion of contracted agreed works, as well as it being clear that he and his team have cut significant corners. This has left us with burnt fingers and considerable overspend to rectify mistakes that an honest and reputable builder (which he seemed and convinced most of our street he was, and previous recommendations belied) quite simply would not make. He has been highly unscrupulous and threatening since being found out as wanting in respect of delivering on promises.

 

Robertgarrett81
 
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Re: Gerry McGrattan - COWBOY builder

Post » Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:57 pm

I'm always slightly suspicious of posts slating a business when the poster joins NVN a few minutes before posting. Is it just me?

 

schoolgatesmum
 
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Re: Gerry McGrattan - COWBOY builder

Post » Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:01 pm

Your suspicion is respected. However, I feel no option but to try and warn people off. Whether you choose to heed that warning remains your choice. I had no choice in being ripped off, and the reason for joining, and posting, is total exasperation at falling for it like a mug, leaving my family with a one year old reliant on the kindness of friends and family for the last six months in what has become an enduring nightmare.

 

Robertgarrett81
 
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Re: Gerry McGrattan - COWBOY builder

Post » Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:29 pm

If it's real fair play. If he's threatened you go to the police. If he carrys on sort it out.

If not then it's libel.

But you did have a choice. Never pay a builder you don't know until he has completed stages properly. If he says no I won't work that way ... walk.

 

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Re: Gerry McGrattan - COWBOY builder

Post » Wed Mar 06, 2013 12:01 am

Sadly it is perhaps a sign of the industry and the times that the Police (whom we have called) suggested we take to social media, viewing it as a "civil" matter. (There's nothing civil about the way texts to my wife have made her feel). I was wary until now because of the risk of defamation as you highlight. I'm still being guarded publicly about my true views, which aren't for this forum. However, this forum is opinion led, therefore it is not libellous. Let's just say I'm disgusted by the callous disregard shown by that man.

Unfortunately as well, hindsight and advice heeded is a wonderful thing. Although we thought we took reasonable precautions as you outline, paying for stages, the fact is that this man has ripped out or removed perfectly legitimate looking wiring and gas pipes prior to abandonment. I'm not an expert nor was able to be onsite all day every day, otherwise I'd be a project manager. Furthermore, I was reliant on what has transpired to be very bad advice on material items which I have had to pay sizeable and now worthless deposits for goods that are substandard. Oh, and Trading Standards don't really seem to care about that either.

 

Robertgarrett81
 
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Re: Gerry McGrattan - COWBOY builder

Post » Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:04 am

I feel for you. I really do. After a bereavement very close to home and some time off, I returned to my home in London and embarked on a theraputic refurb of my house until I felt ready to return to work. I had virtually every rip-off merchant in town walk through my door, all seemingly sympathetic and all just out for an easy few quid. I eventually got the job finished but learned several valuable lessons:

1. Always insist on a quotation rather than an estimate - a quotation is the maximum they can then charge for the job and legally binding.

2. NEVER pay money upfront. Any builder worth their salt will not ask for this.

3. For larger projects where a small business or one man band builder may have a substantial financial outlay (e.g paving of my garden) I agreed, in writing, to pay in installments only once good were delivered to my home and kept a retainer until the job was finished, completely to my satisfaction.

4. Always have a legal contract between you and the builder drawn up for larger projects and always include a clause stipulating that a percentage of the final amount will be retained for a specified period to ensure that any snagging work will be completed, to your full satisfaction, before final payment is made. It is also possible to include a clause stating that if the project runs much later than the finish date agreed, you can deduct £X per day from the agreed total until the work is completed. This is is a common practice in many European country. It tends to help speed up lazy builder and worked for me!

6. I have since had other projects done on my house and have successfully implemented these conditions in all cases.

Any reputable business will be happy to have a legally binding contract in place. Cowboys will run a mile.

Sorry that you had such an awful time. I know full well how upsetting it can be. Where did you get this guy from - who recommended him?

 

Hattie Weeks
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http://www.hattieweeks.co.uk
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Re: Gerry McGrattan - COWBOY builder

Post » Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:45 am

robertGarrett81: A couple of questions. You used the phrase "approached by" which would imply that he came to you looking for work, rather than you sourcing him. Would I therefore be correct in assuming that he is the kind of builder who knocks on doors, trawling areas for work?

Second question: You also say that he seems to have convinced many others in your street that he is a reputable builder - did he work for them? Did they personally recommend him? Did you check and have a look at any of his previous work? Or did he just drive down your road soliciting jobs door to door?

I only ask, because good builders really don't use this type of practice and it might be worth flagging it up if he is doing this.

You are now running another post in House & Garden about another company - is this the same person or a different problem? :?

 

Hattie Weeks
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Re: Gerry McGrattan - COWBOY builder

Post » Wed Mar 06, 2013 11:55 am

Hattie,

We weren't "approached by" Gerry McGrattan. Unfortunately we inherited Gerry as a legacy of the other building company mentioned. More on that in moment.

They (Protia) were recommended by the Estate Agent, we saw examples of their work and had references. They also gave us a full and above board contract and quotation. What wasn't above board and became clear as they failed to deliver to the initial timelines in the first month of our build is that they had failed to grow the company strategically and had taken on more work than they could reasonably achieve. We, along with four other clients that we know of were left with incomplete work, and when insolvency was formalised, low down the creditors list behind HMRC ande rather gallingly, family members of the proprietor. What we had paid to that date was in line with industry standards, a deposit for materials and to secure the contract. Unfortunately that outstripped the value of the work completed in the first few days, and we then lost out.

Having had that financial hit, we naively took what seemed a very fair quote from Gerry McGrattan who had witnessed first hand what had happened to us, having been subcontracted onto our site before insolvency. We did get a formal quotation, within the limits that he is operating without business premises, but we did speak to others he had worked for, and saw examples of work he had done/was doing. At that time, and subsequently when he used his very personable character and Irish brogue charm to solicit odd jobs from our neighbours and others on our street, all seemed well. What became apparent however that the solictation was to cover a rapidly expanding cashflow gap brought on by a highly competitive, nay loss-making potentially, quote to complete our works. Being no QS, I am none the wiser. I did eveen question whether all was ok and offered for him to revise costs if he felt that parameters had changed. Gerry McGrattan didn't take up that offer.

I am now painfully aware as his walkout and spoiling actions has cost me signifcant further time, expense to remedy and has continued our lodging for a further two months on top of six already endured. I only hope others have a better experience. It is a minefield especially when trying to avoid the pricey corporate builders who evidently have bigger overheads to support.

 

Robertgarrett81
 
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Re: Gerry McGrattan - COWBOY builder

Post » Wed Mar 06, 2013 12:08 pm

Thanks for the infil. Sounds as though you just hit really really bad luck on all counts. It also happened to me during the cowboy years - deposit paid, windows installed (not to planning fire spec and wonky), complaint procedure initiated but company went into voluntary liquidation midway through the process, taking my money with them. They set up again as a "new" company three months later. I had to pay a further £1,500 to have job completed but had made sure that the original contract had a guarantee backed by Lloyds of London - therefore all promises offered by the original company had to be upheld and costs refunded to me.

It's so sad when other human beings do this to each other.

Little solace for you right now - but I do believe that what goes around comes around. ;)

 

Hattie Weeks
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http://www.hattieweeks.co.uk
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Re: Gerry McGrattan - COWBOY builder

Post » Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:24 am

Hattie, I am really interested to know which builders or tradespeople you have had agree to your terms? I have tried to negotiate similar terms with tradespeople before but got nowhere. Most will ensure they are always ahead in terms of amount of money received relative to amount of the job done so if they walk out or go bust part way through a job the customer is the loser. I would love to do business with tradespeople who would work to the terms you describe!

 

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Re: Gerry McGrattan - COWBOY builder

Post » Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:06 am

I've PMd MGMidget with my reply.

However, this link is a good example of the kind of contractual things you can insist on before starting works. Not all builders will agree - many will run a mile - but it should help you end up with someone more reputable that the original poster's Midnight Cowboy. ;)

http://www.compactlaw.co.uk/builder-ter ... tions.html

 

Hattie Weeks
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Re: Gerry McGrattan - COWBOY builder

Post » Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:00 am

robertGarrett81 sorry to hear of your bad experience. We too have had a nightmare with a cowboy builder and I agree with robertGarrett81, the police do nothing as they consider it a civil matter. Even when our builder did a runner an later entered into our garden and took our tools from our garage the police said it wasnt trespassing or theft as he could still think he was doing the job. I too went on other forums and Twitter to warn people to avoid this man. I wasn't being malicious, more like frustrated that we we're taken advantage and swindled and the police could do nothing. I just wanted to warn people beware of this man. Incidentally, my posts uncovered at least 3 other of his "victims.". Btw, we found him on a reputable site, paid in installments and even saw an example of his previous work. Even that was a lie as he the house he showed us turned out to be his mum's! My husband jokingly asked if they were related because she couldn't recommend his work enough. Of course, she lied and said they were not related.

 

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Re: Gerry McGrattan - COWBOY builder

Post » Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:50 am

I am not sure what trading standards role is supposed to be but in Wandsworth borough I have always found them quite dismissive about reports on builders/tradespeople. I wonder if this is the same in other boroughs? I seem to remember Surrey County Council having an active campaign on cowboy tradespeople a few years ago (including going 'under cover') which was the subject of a TV programme so I guess some councils have sought to crack down.

 

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Re:- COWBOY builder

Post » Tue Jul 02, 2013 11:49 am

Hi all having read your post I completely agree there are a lot of nasty people out there with no morals. I too have been ripped off by a Polish builder called Rafel Charuk form RCH Constructions.

They have no idea what it does to people's lives why don't the government have do anything about cowboy builders?

There were originally based in Wandsworth they have since closed down and opened up again at an different address. 8 Norfolk house road, streatham London.

If you come across theses people stay away from them, I have posted about them before and again not because I'm spiteful in any away but I don't want them to ripped other people off.

These are Hard earned money with many sacrifices ,tears and sweat along the way ( I'm no professional where money is easily earned by using their intelligent).

When they failed to finish the job it was very very hard to find someone else to finish the job off as 'builders don't like to take on jobs that other people has done'

Good luck all

 

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