05 October 2008

Andrew Halliday... the fastest builder in the west!

Norwegian Builders are famous, at least amongst the expat community, for their very high prices, lack of urgency and general slackness...

So to reward their supreme efforts I have decided on... the "Oscars for Bergen’s Worst Builders", which are presented below, as always in reverse order.

Third place goes to:
The team of guys who agreed to line the outside of my basement and then rebuild the steps down to the house. One of them (not Norwegian) was very keen and worked super hard, rushing about doing all the work, while his mates either didn't show up or when they did, stood around smoking and chatting. Unfortunately, he had a family holiday booked and disappeared before the job was finished, promising that the slack bunch would be in next week to finish up and build the steps.
It should be noted that at this stage the only route to the house was down a steep gravel covered slope and I was on crutches! I was also planning a summer party and had several visitors coming from the UK who are not exactly agile. Predictably, the guys didn't show up despite repeated calling. The job was eventually completed by some mates from the UK who came over, and polished it off in a week doing a grand job.
One months later the slack crew reappared and then got angry that someone else had down the job. It then took them another 3 months to collect their tools. They finally tried to tell me I owed them money.
So they make the list, but because one of them was actually keen to work and did a good job on his part of the project they only get the brozen medal - there is better to come...

The silver medal:
Second prize goes to the builder who turned up at Mark and Tanja's house to fix the bathroom, disconnected their only toilet and then disappeared for 6 weeks summer holiday. After repeated calling he popped around with a bucket to tide them over. They have an 8 year old daughter!
Fantastic effort but still pales behind our final winner...

The gold medal for Bergen's slackest builder goes to:
A man who is in a league of his own...
Mr Andrew Halliday
After claiming to be "the fastest and cheapest carpenter in Bergen", he turned up at Katharine's place to fit some wardrobes. He only ever showed up at night and did a few hours here and there. Generally making more mess than anything else. Then he stopped showing up all together.
She called him repeatedly but he never came back. We actually thought he might have died or moved away, so I fixed some of his more immediate botches and eventually she got someone more reliable in.
Ten months (yes 10 months!) later he texted to ask, "when do you want the work finishing?"
She said that she had waited a couple of months and then got someone else to do it, at which point he got very arsey and sent her a bill for 6500 nok that was all itemised - the bill is fantastic because:
1. It is written in Norwegian despite the fact that both the contractor and the client are British - me thinks he is trying to hide something.
2. The bill includes 2 hours to remove 1 m of liste (ceiling skirting boards)
3. Four and a half hours to fit a cupboard door (the manufacturer says 2 hours)
4. One hour to fit a clothes rail
5. Half an hour to fit some liste that contains 20 nails - working out at 1.5 minutes per nail

And to just to re-iterate this is the self proclaimed "fastest and cheapest carpenter in Bergen"

So he gets our Gold Medal but the the most embarrassing thing is that he is not even Norwegian, he is a Scot!

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