Spanish Workmen

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Brigitta
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Spanish Workmen

Postby Brigitta » Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:18 pm

Since we only tend to voice our opinions when we have something to complain about, I figured it was about time I gave credit where it is due.

We just returned to New York (alas !) from an all too short stay at our house in Olvera (Provincia de Cádiz). This time the reason for the visit was to oversee the installation of our new kitchen (ordered back in April during our last stay). After arriving (on Thursday), we went down to the local Electro-Domestico shop to make sure everything was on schedule. Juan told us that the workmen would show up Monday morning. Next stop was the local plumber/general contractor (Paco) to see that all was in place as far as his end of project was concerned and to ask him to send up a guy who was familiar with pools and were promised that someone would show up the next day before 9 am. We returned to the house, had a celebratory drink (or two) and discussed the likelihood of all the promises being fulfilled ( we did have some doubts, being from NY and all...)

Friday morning arrived. 9:05 am, I am barely dressed, and there is a knock on the front door. "Hola, soy Fernando, fontanero" by way of introduction, and off he went to crawl under the pool, make a lot of noise, fiddle with some dials and levers, and voilá ! the pumps are running and and the pool comes to life. Not having been used in over 2 years, the water looked more suitable for growing reeds and waterlilies than swimming so it was decided to empty the pool and give it a thorough cleaning to remove the limescale and dirt before refilling it. After some instructions as to how to clean it (patiently repeated at a slower pace when yours truly had a little problem with the lingo and wondered where all the consonants had gone in Andalucía ), he promised to be back Monday morning around 8 am. Saturday morning, another knock on the door. Antonio shows up to chips a hole into the wall for the pipe of the ventilator to be mounted above the stove.

The rest of the weekend was spent cleaning and refilling the pool which involved, appropriately, lots of fluids by way of sweat, agua fuerte, and copious amounts of Cruz Campo.

Monday morning, 8 am, the pool is filled with pristinely clean water, and we are having breakfast admiring our handiwork. Fernando knocks on the door, gets the pumps started, and lo and behold, the water feature comes to life and I have visions of turing into Esther Williams frolicking amongst fountains of water. Then he informs us that since he was here he might as well see to some of the plumbing tasks involved with getting the kitchen installed and he gets to work. 10 am, and a truck arrives with little men running to and fro and unloading lots of boxes all wrapped very carefully in foam and bubble wrap. By 11 am, they leave and tell us that Pedro will be here shortly to start with the installation. Pedro shows up within 30 minutes and sets to work. He breaks for lunch at 2 and returns at 4. We take advantage of the lull in activity and try out our pool. Pedro works until 7 and tells us that the granite guys will be here within the hour to make sure that all is in place for the countertop which is to be installed on Tuesday morning. Sure enough, 3 dusty guys appear and after some muttering and measuring they leave with the promise of returning the next day -early, temprano, by 7:30 am. Tuesday morning arrives and with it the granite workers. Several hours of dusty work later, the countertops are installed with the cutouts for stove top and sink in the appropriate places. Pedro returns and installs the glass stove top. When I ask him when I will be able to use my kitchen he tells me that probably Wednesday eveing, but it would be better if I waited until Thursday morning to give the sealants time to dry properly. Wednesday morning Fernando shows up again to complete the installation (sink).

Thursday am - I am cooking breakfast in my new kitchen ! It took basically 3 days, the workmanship if first rate, the workmen cleaned up after themselves, and all appliances work (and their functions were patiently explained to us ). This would NEVER have happened in NY !

I apologize for the length of this posting, but I am still amazed. Kudos and thanks to all the guys involved.

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chrissiehope
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Re: Spanish Workmen

Postby chrissiehope » Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:24 pm

How nice to read such a success story - congratulations :thumbup:
Alexandr for President (Squire for PM !)

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hiker
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Re: Spanish Workmen

Postby hiker » Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:43 pm

The "Great Depression" appears to have seperated the wheat from the chaff.

Silver linings abound.....
putting the "ANDA" into Andalucía..:)

Lavanda
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Re: Spanish Workmen

Postby Lavanda » Tue Aug 24, 2010 3:53 pm

Great story, Brigitta, and pretty much my own experience! I guess we found the good guys! :clap:

KarenD
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Re: Spanish Workmen

Postby KarenD » Tue Aug 24, 2010 7:51 pm

Hi

We bought a house in Olvera at the end of May and we've used Paco to instal an ensuite showe room in our bedroom. He couldn't find a drain to connect into and what should have been a simple job turned into a major job. He was so professional and helpful throughout and even opened up the shop yesterday when he was closed for holidays so our workmen could buy another bag of grout for our floor tiles downstairs. We've found everyone in Olvera to be very friendly and helpful :D

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gus
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Re: Spanish Workmen

Postby gus » Tue Aug 24, 2010 9:24 pm

We bought our house in Torreblanca a little over 8 years ago (new build) and have never had any problems with Spanish tradesmen since then - locksmith, window fitters, painters, plumbers, kitchen fitters.
You name it and they have always been punctual, courteous and provided a quality end product.
We have managed to avoid the Brit workers, usually because their quotes seemed too high and their attitude was less than professional.

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Julie
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Re: Spanish Workmen

Postby Julie » Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:29 pm

I also can not complain about any work we have had done here and that has been extensive, all done by Spanish workmen and they were prompt and reliable, as well as very competitive, maybe we should recognize there are lots of great Spanish workers out there, but like other things, you generally only hear the bad bits, so well done Spanish workers !!
No soporto ver la casa sucia, ahora mismo me levanto y apago la luz.

Beachcomber
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Re: Spanish Workmen

Postby Beachcomber » Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:40 pm

My own experience of Spanish tradesmen has generally also been very good, including Telefónica and Sevillana technicians! It is their professional counterparts ie. lawyers (especially lawyers), architects and some gestors that let the side down.

markwilding
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Re: Spanish Workmen

Postby markwilding » Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:28 pm

I've had two new bathrooms and a new kitchen put in over the 7 years I've lived here without hardly any problems. Anything we weren't one hundred per cent with has been put right quickly.
I have to say I've not had any problems with our limited experence of the legal experts either

ajtg1952
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Re: Spanish Workmen

Postby ajtg1952 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:22 am

We had a new kitchen installed by a small local Spanish firm in Velez Malaga. They spoke no English, we spoke no Spanish, but by trial and error we got exactly what we wanted.

There was a section we were not happy with, though it was what we asked for; he took the section down, changed the layout and charged us no extra. Our bill was exactly what he quoted us. He even hand made a plate rack for us and would not take a Peseta for it.

However, I would not like to work for him, he spent most of his time shouting at his employees; I suppose that's the Spanish way.

oliveview01
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Re: Spanish Workmen

Postby oliveview01 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:52 am

We have had both British and Spanish workmen- I know who I prefer..... The Spanish workman worked faster and was cheaper, shame we didn´t know about the Spanish man before we employed the Brit!

ScamBuster
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Re: Spanish Workmen

Postby ScamBuster » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:27 am

I had some Spanish workmen round to change the flexible orange gas pipe on my cooker. The job was done in record time (45 seconds to be precise) and they only charged me €80.

I was so chuffed I gave them a €20 tip.

You wouldn't get that in the uk...

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gerryh
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Re: Spanish Workmen

Postby gerryh » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:30 am

If that is a true story, then more fool you.
This is a well known scam and nothing to do with the quality of Spanish workmanship.
Cheers
Gerry
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masterob
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Re: Spanish Workmen

Postby masterob » Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:28 am

I think it was written with humour and tongue firmly in cheek! :lol:

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spanish_lad
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Re: Spanish Workmen

Postby spanish_lad » Wed Aug 25, 2010 5:51 pm

you´d hope so !! (i´d do it for €20 ;) lol!! ) :shh: :shh:


anything ive needed, or couldnt do myself, ive had spanish in to do. the english "tradesmen" (hahah i use the term loosly...) always overprice. Why do you think that 90% of them can always do it straight away, but you have to wait in line for a spanish worker / company? because the spanish companies have loads of work on.

this is what i base myself on. dont be greedy, do a good job, word of mouth is the best advertising.
Alhaurin el Grande since ´99, working at the airport since 2011.

frank
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Re: Spanish Workmen

Postby frank » Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:11 pm

So to sum up, can we say, all Brit builders overpriced and rubbish tradesmen, Spanish builders, cheap and efficient? :? Seems a bit of an over simplification to me.
Regards, Frank

No soy residente, simplemente un turista, ¿qué sé yo?

katy
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Re: Spanish Workmen

Postby katy » Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:59 pm

Please don't shatter the happy clappers illusions :) Being a realist I have seen good and bad with both nationalities. I don't think the spanish are good at fitted kitchens, maybe a basic DIY job and according to a large English company who supplies to spain they (the spanish) can't fit woodburners. One large British company supplying upmarket kitchens went into liquidacion because of finding decent fitters. My spanish neighbour had some wood floors laid by a spanish company...they all had to be taken up and they called in a British co.

The problem is that many of the British tradesmen aren't really skilled, they are just plonkers who invented themselves when they came out to spain and wanted to earn a living, they will say they can do anything to get the money. Years ago I got a Brit in to sort out some issues on my computer, saw the ad in sur. Going through the issues I quickly found out that he knew about as much as I did which is practically nil. :roll:

Frank your emoticon facility is back :mrgreen:

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Campo Steve
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Re: Spanish Workmen

Postby Campo Steve » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:44 pm

I have had no complaints about the British builders I have used. They worked hard, did good work, did not charge excessively and were reliable.

My only complaint about Spanish builders is that they seem to use standards that are the norm in Spain but not as high as in UK. In particular I am talking about water proofing buildings. I may be opening a can of worms but it seems to me that, from my experience and that of friends, it is Spanish built houses that leak when it rains.
I've got an inferiority complex, but it's not a very good one!

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spanish_lad
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Re: Spanish Workmen

Postby spanish_lad » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:48 pm

yes, but you are east of malaga. not yet "infested" by the brit brigade. the "west" is rife.
Alhaurin el Grande since ´99, working at the airport since 2011.

frank
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Re: Spanish Workmen

Postby frank » Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:31 pm

Please don't shatter the happy clappers illusions :) Being a realist I have seen good and bad with both nationalities.
Well,that's what I would have thought. I know a Spanish friend of ours has just spent six months, and a huge amount of money, having remedial work done on a job that was originally done by a Spanish building company. He has also lost several months worth of rentals as well.
The problem is that many of the British tradesmen aren't really skilled, they are just plonkers who invented themselves when they came out to spain and wanted to earn a living, they will say they can do anything to get the money.
True, many people that failed to make a living in UK reinvented themselves in Spain, but there must be some reliable Brit tradesmen about
Years ago I got a Brit in to sort out some issues on my computer, saw the ad in sur. Going through the issues I quickly found out that he knew about as much as I did which is practically nil. :roll:
I had a problem last year with a laptop whilst in Spain for a month, so took it to some Brits in Nerja. He wanted £35 minimum fee, and was talking about wiping my HD, saving all the info, reloading etc, could be around £100!!!!!! I did without it, took it to my normal guru when we got home, all fixed for £20.
Regards, Frank

No soy residente, simplemente un turista, ¿qué sé yo?


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