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The consequences of getting it wrong - A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

My dad had a saying – “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing” and he was not wrong.

Part of my job is working to avoid problems, hence me writing my two books aimed mainly at self-builder who are embarking on their project. The other part is advising people when they find themselves in a situation where they have a problem and feel lost.

What most elements fundamentally boil down to is; do you have enough knowledge and experience for the job in hand, and equally important do the others around you.

Lets face it, you put your faith in others, especially if you are paying them, and expect them to know what they are doing.

Let me give you an example:-

I have recently been involved in a substantial sized project involving both refurbishment/renovation and new build elements in the form of two large extensions.

There was a Building Contractor and also a well-respected architect involved. The architect had drawn a particular detail which unfortunately showed the vertical DPC in the wrong places on the new works. The building contractor, whilst proficient in renovation works, had limited experience in new elements and built the works as per the drawings, not at all understanding the important job that the DPC’s had to do.

Fortunately, I noticed the issue and the works were corrected before too much had progressed, avoiding what would have been a serious damp issue in a couple of years time, resulting in many thousands of pounds worth of remedial works. The builder blamed the architect and it was the architects opinion that the builder should have picked up the problem and not simply constructed to the drawing. Both to an extent were right but both were definitely in the wrong. My point? Construction works, whilst not an exact science, need people who truly know what they are doing no matter what the size of the works, and although not every job warrants a Project Manager/Consultant, when you employ professionals or builders, do not assume that they all know what they are talking about.

Vince Holden MCIOB

+44 (0) 7815 144959

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