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A question of ethics, I'd like your opinions

Discussion in 'Personal' started by physicsfanboy, Mar 27, 2020.

  1. physicsfanboy

    physicsfanboy Occasional commenter

    We are currently in the middle of some building work. We are having an extension built (just about out of the ground now). I do not know if I need to tell the builders to down tools or not because of the shutdown.
    Some germane facts:
    1) Two builders on site, and they are maintaining 2m distancing.
    2) The build is to accommodate my disabled mother-in-law. Her condition is deteriorating.
    3) It is very noisy and dusty, which is annoying to neighbours who have no choice but to be home.
    4) The noisy / dusty bit is about to end as they are about to start on blockwork and brickwork above ground.
    5) The builders are adamant that they want / need to keep working, as they do not like the look of the governments plan for 80% wage payments. They are especially concerned it doesn't kick in until June.
    6) We are maintaining strict separation from them.
    7) The government has not ordered the shutdown of building sites, so some are closed some are not.
    8) The builders tell me that the majority of their friends in the trade are still working, albeit on smaller projects like mine.

    We feel a strong ethical need to do our part in stopping the virus. We also have a moral duty to my MiL and the builders. I do not feel that this one is at all clear.
    Opinions?
     
    HistoryEducator likes this.
  2. Ivartheboneless

    Ivartheboneless Star commenter

    Carry on. If it was a "vanity project" for aesthetics, extra space or whatever, you might be right to stop, but your reasons seem valid.
     
  3. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

  4. HistoryEducator

    HistoryEducator Occasional commenter

    Totally agree with what has been said.
     
  5. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    I had finally got a builder to come and see to my kitchen. I had a serious ongoing water leak, unknown to us, over months, an external water pipe behind kitchen cupboards. It soaked underneath the kitchen hall flooring til sponge like it could absorb no more and seeped out. Nov3 rd it was discovered and fixed. Since then I have had huge fight with insurance company and 2 assessors and attempts to dry all out. It is apparently still damp but within the 20% figure of assessor no 2. ( a complete ****)

    I have not given up the fight completely but settled on a preliminary sum from Ageas. This covers new cabinets L shaped containing the sink, drainer etc. and flooring to kitchen (22') and halls. They would not include the other part of the kitchen even though all the units were a rich cram colour (more pale lemon cream than ivory) a colour proving impossible to match. Builder no 2 said he could start April 27 but now it seems he could maybe start earlier....

    My problem is as he found..... a huge amount now of black mould..... furry.... all over interior wall and floor behind the cabinets. He said his chest felt bad after several minutes in there.... when he got down on the floor to look underneath he was horrified. My terrible cough of last sept and recently is now explained. I self isolated in case it was Corona but as I didnt have any other symptoms and no raised temp I blame the black mould and am really worried about it. So if the builder can come and start removing units to scrub, treat, replace the plaster etc on that wall and put the new sink etc units in I can hardly wait. I would rather have that stuff treated and gone.... plus with no kitchen floor in there and furrows where the old concrete parts of floor perished... I have difficulty using my wheeled sit and push along in there.

    So.... I need them to come and work and am quite happy for them to do so.
     
  6. physicsfanboy

    physicsfanboy Occasional commenter

    Thank you all for your replies. I think on balance we shall keep going until the government advice changes.
     
  7. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    We are so glad we got our kitchen extension finished in november. One word of warning is the knock through stage. We were only saying the other day, how awful it would have been if we were open to the elements when a full lock down occurred.
     
  8. rooney1

    rooney1 Occasional commenter

    Our builder has nearly finished some outside work. After discussion with him he is coming back next week to finish off what he has done but can't do the final bit because he needs a machine to tamp the base down and the hire places are shut. At least we will be able to pay him for most of his work. He is outside - not sure I'd be so keen of it was inside work.
     
  9. ROSIEGIRL

    ROSIEGIRL Lead commenter

    We've just had the kitchen revamped, including a wall knocked down. This time last week, I really thought we might be left in a bit of a pickle - no actual kitchen, no water downstairs.I was really worried we'd be left like this for the duration.

    Our fitter has worked miracles this week and the plumber came on Friday, so we now have a sort-of finished kitchen. Still no electrics but we can run appliances one at a time using an extension lead. I never thought I'd be so happy to have a sink!

    To the OP, good luck. I really feel for you. Be sensible with precautions - I took towels out of the bathroom and cleaned every time one of us went to the loo! Likewise with cups and keeping a distance too.
     
  10. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    The advice I've been given is that only essential work is allowed on my estate. The housing association I work for, is obeying government and PHE advice to the letter, but our residents are in the most vulnerable age group, so it's likely that different advice is given. What it means so far as I'm concerned is is a resident's electricity supply packed up for example, that would be need to be sorted, but if they wanted a replacement kitchen, under the terms of their leases, they would need authorisation for the work to go ahead, which I can't currently give.
     
  11. dumpty

    dumpty Star commenter

    Seems every effort is being made to comply with the law so yep, carry on.

    What you could (and should do in my opinion) is try to put dust catchers and even boards up to at least appear to be showing some respect to your neighbour's right to some peace and quiet.

    Such a move, even if essentially futile re the actual dust and noise, can make all the difference between calls to the police when the builders get within 199 cm of each other or fail to wash their hands.
     
  12. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    We were due to have roofers start next week but their suppliers have closed up. I couldn't face the idea of 4 or 5 men all over the roof and scaffolding up all round our small house with us not being able to go out and about freely so I was glad they said they couldn't do it. It's a hard decision I agree. Our neighbour's builders worked all last weekend to make her extension waterproof but now they have given up because of supply problems.
     
  13. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    Two of my neighbours are having extensions built at the moment. One's a loft conversion and the other a one-storey extension to the dining room into the garden. Both seem to have two builders, who each arrive in the same van, so social distancing whilst on the job seems a bit futile. They've mentioned some problems with suppliers and deliveries but it all seems to be moving forward.
     
  14. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    Daughter was having a small building project done, starting last week. She had none of the family issues of the OP but had re-organised her home and made various arrangements for the work to take place. She felt in the same quandary and eventually decided to be guided by the builder, who was working alone. He came, kept his distance (refused all offers of tea or coffee) and completed the job by Friday. There are a few small snags which he's coming back to fix when daughter is out.

    Daughter says she would've put him off if he was starting this Monday - I guess we've all moved on a long way from where we were a week ago.

    For what it's worth, OP, I think your reasons for carrying on with your project are sound and hope you are able to get it completed quickly.
     
  15. WB

    WB Senior commenter

    1) Two builders on site, and they are maintaining 2m distancing. Fine
    2) The build is to accommodate my disabled mother-in-law. Her condition is deteriorating. Fine
    3) It is very noisy and dusty, which is annoying to neighbours who have no choice but to be home. That's building - Fine
    4) The noisy / dusty bit is about to end as they are about to start on blockwork and brickwork above ground. Fine
    5) The builders are adamant that they want / need to keep working, as they do not like the look of the governments plan for 80% wage payments. They are especially concerned it doesn't kick in until June. Fine
    6) We are maintaining strict separation from them. Fine
    7) The government has not ordered the shutdown of building sites, so some are closed some are not. Fine
    8) The builders tell me that the majority of their friends in the trade are still working, albeit on smaller projects like mine. Fine

    There are no ethical issues here as long as the builders are OK to carry on.
     
  16. rachel_g41

    rachel_g41 Established commenter


    I'm on the other side of this. My upstairs neighbours have been doing something involving drilling and hammering which disrupted my first two weeks online teaching. (After a few days of peace and quieet they've started again today). I have found myself wondering why, in a situation which is already fairly stressful for many, they would add extra stress to their neighbours.

    I'd say, given your work is in some ways necessary, at least make a gesture. Maybe you can't knock on the door and have a chat with them in these days of social distancing, but if you know their number, call them. If you don't, stick a note through the door with your number on it. Maybe you can agree to stick to particular times so that they know, when the noise starts, how long they have to endure it for.

    I'd find the noise here far less stressful if I knew when to expect it or if they would make some effort to take my online teaching and need for quiet at times into account.
     

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