A developer nightmare comes good

JCA Team:
Michael Clark
London W1

Our country client needed a London base and had identified a particular mews and property he wanted.

The trouble was the developer seller insisted on finishing his scheme despite it not suiting our client's taste - or frankly - anyone's taste before he'd part with it.

Bathrooms were plain ugly, the new staircase was a slippery nightmare and the kitchen was simply off-the-shelf and downmarket Magnet.

But the piece de resistance was the electrical system designed to control the heating, lighting and sound system which was plain bonkers. It even required two floor to ceiling racks in the basement to hold the routers and electronics and half a wall of Wickes DIY switches to isolate it when things went wrong - which of course they did from day one.

Naturally no one could work out how to predictably use any of it.

The experience was a portend of other problems which quickly manifested themselves.

The most obvious was the mighty roar and grinding that emanated from beneath the basement kitchen floor anytime anyone dared to use a bathroom.

It turned out a sewage pump was installed there - no doubt so the local plumber could handily make his tea while servicing the system.

Not only was the noise irritating, but it meant that should anything go wrong, you would have a workman going about his smelly job and interrupting your breakfast. More serious was the potential for a catastrophic leak flooding the kitchen and that would definitely ruin your breakfast.

Our simpler-said-than-done solution was to reroute and move the pump to the outside courtyard.

Shortly afterwards, the walls in the top floor bathrooms started to fester - despite perfectly adequate ventilation.

The three year old new roof was suspected to be the culprit.

And what a criminal job had been perpetrated. It turned out that a vapour barrier had not been installed, so moisture simply rose until it hit the fiberglass roof covering, condensed and rapidly rotted the roof deck beneath and then ran down the interior walls.

Suffice to say, we fixed the roof by completely replacing it - ensuring proper ventilation to the voids, installed new staircases throughout the house, replaced the kitchen floor, remodelled all the bathrooms, refaced the kitchen cabinets to save costs (but making them look good) and then built sets of cupboards throughout the house as required.

After all that unnecessary, but necessary work, our happy client settled into his mews house.

We just hope he's managed to work out the electrics.