If I were a betting man, I’d bet you wanted to know more about how things ended with roof guy (now that we’re back). Maybe I’d win, maybe not, but that’s what this post is going to be about (feel free to disagree with me in the comments below).
We have a new roof, yay!
We also have quite a lot of wood now, to burn in our future stove. Everything came down in pieces, after which I sawed everything in pieces. You know, that made storage a little easier.
Where to start? Obviously the guy is completely clueless when it comes to communication.
He clearly didn’t have any experience with the sandwich panels we wanted, even though he claimed he did: the first few panels he lifted up without any kind of protection, just a hoisting belt around the panel and that’s it. Since the inner panel is only 3mm thick, it’s no surprise it cracked sometimes.
His solution? “We’ll cut that part out, then we’ll just install another roof window, don’t worry.” Yeah, well, we didn’t really need a roof window there… Luckily after a few panels he did put some insulation at the sides to prevent this from happening again.
Another one: masonry. Turns out the standards for that are a little bit different back in Poland than here.
That communication problem from above? Well, that turns ugly if it takes 5 weeks to hear back from someone.
It also turns out that taking down a chimney and then let Mother Nature go at it for a couple of months isn’t exactly fine either.
Or removing a gutter and then let all the precipitation come down over the wall for even longer. Turns out that pretty soon the water gets through the wall…
While we’re on the subject of precipitation, we’ve had our fair share of it. At some point I even thought we’d end up with an indoor swimming pool…
One evening there was some storm coming. They had tensed some sails, but only with tie wraps to the scaffolding. I believe it only took 5 minutes before the sails were waving all over the place, and the place getting soaked. I ended up on the scaffolding myself, with enough rope to tie the whole thing down decently.
Luckily it all dried out over time.
Something that didn’t recover over time was the damage they did. We had just replaced the windows for a few months, and one evening I found them pushing a ladder back indoor. Shoving it over the window frame. Only they didn’t take into account that our new windows were PVC with a little foil glued to it on the outside. Part of that foil they scraped off while pushing the ladder, and I believe they did so more than once (if I count the places where there’s foil missing).
We repeatedly told him we wanted to preserve the old wooden floor. Then I found out he screwed a piece of scrap wood onto the floor, most likely to be able to set a ladder against it. So now I’ve got some holes in the floor to fix.
But that’s not all! We’ve got more on offer!
They also shoved bricks inside across a board from the scaffolding through the window they already damaged, right onto the floor. BAM! End result: dents in the floor. A lot of them.
The end game
One day I came home to a house without scaffolding. The crane was still there though, so we still couldn’t use our driveway. Roof guy was gone again, and we were still missing some roof windows, the exhaust for our heating, and all the finishing around it.
A little later we received a call from him. He wanted to talk about how he wanted to proceed to get things finished. Basically he only wanted more money. Under the table. A few days later, while talking to our neighbour, we also found out why. He went bankrupt.
Needless to say we never heard from him again. I did file the paper work to claim he owes us, but I’m quite sure we’ll never get anything back. He left us with an unfinished roof and a lot of his garbage to clean up. Like the coward he is.
In the mean time I also had some time to do some digging. I had found the name of several companies on his gear, so I Googled. Too bad it’s something I just could not have done before contacting him, things would have been totally different.
What I found out was the guy had already had several companies. His oldest one went bankrupt about a year or five ago, after being in business for a decade or so. Shit happens. But when shit happens, you don’t do as this guy and sell your company to make some kind of shell of it and try to fraud your way out, like our guy did. Oh yeah, I found an old article on a news site that he had been convicted for fraudulent bankruptcy, and he actually had to do time for that. He later created another company, which survived little over a year. Then another one, same story. Then the one we signed up with, basically same story (it even didn’t last a year this time I found out). The last time he came by he already had a new logo, phone number and company name on his car.
The worst part is that it didn’t really take me long to find it all, except that in order to find it, you needed the company names. I found his very first company name on the scaffolding, and Googling that gave me the article about his fraud. There are sites like the web archive, which showed me that the sites for company 3, 4 and 5 were all the same, except for a slight variation in colour: from yellow/orange to orange/red. There are other sites (like data.be or faillisementsdossier.be) which can give you more or less information about a company and/or its bankruptcy (but only for Belgian companies). Oh, and you need to check with your bank, they can do some kind of background search if the company doesn’t have any debt. Not that it would have mattered in our case, as everything was still perfect when we signed our agreement…
I also found one guy that paid an advance well before us, who went to court because roof guy just never showed up, ended up getting a ruling in his favour but never saw a dime. Or another guy that paid an advance a little after us, that came by our house several times in hope of just being able to talk to roof guy, and also never saw or heard from him again after the bankruptcy.
So if you’re looking for someone to work on your roof, I know who not to recommend. Unfortunately I can’t name him in public, but I’m sure if you really want to know there are ways around it.