Do you have a query on how to get things done in Andalucia, where to find things, who to call? Find out by posting and hear about others experiences.
User avatar
waterlily Amigo
Posts: 65
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2005 4:32 pm


Postby waterlily » Wed Oct 19, 2005 11:26 am

Hi all

Running the risk here of starting a riot, lol but I need to ask. Can someone please tell me exactly what the problems have been with British Builders in Spain. I understood prior to us moving here that work would not be easy to find etc etc and of course we accepted that, as you do when starting anything new. But.........the comments and rudeness we have encountered when replying to peoples questions regarding my husbands trade, have been astounding.
My husband has worked for over 35 years in the building trade and established a successful business with all his clients regarding him as 'one of the best'. He has carried out work for numerous large companies, including a huge company that specialises in complete restoration of heritage buildings. He has been an honest and fair man in all aspects of the trade (Unusual I know) and would rather turn work away if it was not cost effective for the client.....sorry, rambling there.
However, since moving here, any mention of being a builder, roofer or Carpenter, seems to bring forth a spate of uncalled for remarks or downright sarcasm.
I know its a bit of a joke within Spain that everybody who moves here is a builder...but what happens to the plain old 'proper' builders who just want to earn a living from an honest and long term trade!!!!!
Will he ever get any work or am I being unfair, I dont mean to be but its pretty frustrating when all he wants to do is carry on with what he is good at. ss if I have upset anyone, apologies if I have


sherlock holmes Amigo
Posts: 53
Joined: Sat May 07, 2005 1:02 pm

Postby sherlock holmes » Wed Oct 19, 2005 11:49 am

dear waterlilly,

I think you answered your own question :oops: the majority of "builders" on the CDS are just cowboys and overcharge and take advantage of the Brits here. I engaged both Spanish and UK builders and guess what it was the Brit which ripped me off. The Spanish guy took it all very seriously and did the work conscientiously but it took months ! The Brit turned up for 3 days practically demolished my kitchen, after the first day I stood there watching them they where total cowboys not tradesmen, and then they announced they would have to stay in my house overnight as he wasn't paying for the petrol and time to go home and come back? Then after 3 days he disappeared never to be seen again - got a local guy to finish it up and he even sent in a guy to clean the house after he finished and hose down the yard to keep the brick dust down.

I'm still waiting for the Brit to finish a year later, called him he doesn't answer, called his boss, who assures me its under warranty - they have managed to delay it all so that strangely its out of warranty now.

Something about this area that attracts cowboys and liars - your husband may need to get some publicity locally doing small jobs and business by word of mouth.

Also there are loads of regulations if you do the job properly - which he would have to have a Spanish speaking people assist him with - that's another problem with the UK cowboys everything is done illegally and without the paperwork, basically they are cowboys who wouldn't do it in UK and none of them have any word of Spanish so they would be unable to fill in forms and go to town hall.

User avatar
ian.wilson Amigo
Posts: 238
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2005 8:15 am
Location: Marbella Town since 1979

Postby ian.wilson » Wed Oct 19, 2005 11:54 am

Hi Waterlily,

The facts are that your husband is in the minority, over the 26 years I have lived in Spain there have been many british builders that play on the fact that they are british so as the saying goes "A Brit should trust a Brit"

Would you trust the first builder you came along in England (you may want references b4 you do). It´s just unfortunate the honest pay for the crimes of others.

Personally I know more trust worthy Spaniards than I do English people here in Spain (Sadly).


User avatar
Andalucia Guru
Posts: 2939
Joined: Thu Oct 07, 2004 12:53 am
Location: Estepa, Sevilla

Postby hillybilly » Wed Oct 19, 2005 12:32 pm

Spain does seem unfortunately to attract some of the worst of the British building industry. I suspect many of them had no option but to leave the UK!
I’ve worked in the building and construction industry all my life and have to say that most problems that arise are due to a lack of communication between client and builder. This is true the world over, nothing to do with nationality.
Nobody should go with the first builder who comes along, always try and get 3 quotes for work, agree things in writing and never pay up front.
There are dodgy builders, Brit and Spanish, here. I know of gross overcharging and shoddy workmanship by both factions but it seems to be that the Brits get the worst reputation as they are the ones most employed by fellow expats and therefore talked about. Also I think it's a lot due to estate agents "recommending" their own Brit (usually somehow related to the estate agent) builders to their clients who blindly trust them. And then get ripped off big time.
But….we were let down by a Spanish plasterer and will now be using an English guy (who comes tried and tested by others) to do our ceilings. Friends have been let down twice by Spanish window fitters who simply fail to turn up.
Unfortunately even the best British builder can’t bring their reputation with them and the old adage you’re only as good as your last job stands true. So I wish your husband well and hope he starts to build himself a well-deserved reputation and client-base here.

spanish hopes

Postby spanish hopes » Wed Oct 19, 2005 1:23 pm

Unfortunately the builders getting the worst reputation are the ones who have burned out their bad reputations in the UK. They are like the 'diddycoy' ittinerents who offer a deal and price too good to miss.

They often give a 5 minute written guarantee or a lifetime guarantee on a handshake.

Your husband will have their reputations to overcome before his own will be allowed to surface and build.


Postby Guest » Wed Oct 19, 2005 1:35 pm

I think hillybilly has said it all, your husband may be the patron saint of bricklayers, but sadly he, like many others will have to pay the price for the deceit and unprofessionalism of those who came before him.
Most, but not all british "tradesmen" probably decided what they were going to be on the journey over here, and, as has been said by others they play on the fact that they are british and therefore to be trusted, it would be interesting to know how many spaniards employ brits, the answer is probably very few, ergo they (the brits) really have only one market left which sadly they appear to abuse.

The house I live in belongs to my parents but I spend a lot of time down here and therefore deal with many of the day to day domestic problems involved in running the house, one thing that stands out to me is that the brit builders seem to think that they can charge UK prices, they do this in order to spend a couple of hours a day working and the rest of the time going round telling everyone how well they're doing.

We have twice used english "tradesmen" to do small jobs here both times were a disaster requiring correction by local spanish tradesmen, there won't be a third time.

Regarding your husbands situation I wish you well but you need to focus on reality, charge realistic prices and do a good job in the time promised, perhaps after a few years you will have established a decent reputation, good luck for the future!

mike507 Amigo
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2004 10:13 pm


Postby mike507 » Wed Oct 19, 2005 7:41 pm

I have to add my name to the list. One builder came to me and quoted £9000 to do a job. I enquired at my local builders merchant and they sent a Spanish guy around and I got it done for - wait for it £1200! The English builder was slagging off the Spanish builders saying how bad they were! but they were fantastic efficient and knew what they were doing. I heard later that this guy said to someone I know, quote " He's a rich BAST--- lets rip him off and share the profit! The best way is to find a goodly person that speaks both languages fluently and employ the Spanish you'll get a much better deal and people who know about the building materials.
These cowboys are relying on your vulnerability in not being able to communicate with the Spanish. By the way I have met some decent English builders too! but only by recommendation. You will find they will have a reputation in the area then it's ok but they always want more than a Spaniard will ask.


Postby Guest » Wed Oct 19, 2005 7:58 pm

So there you have it a pretty consistent level of opinion eh "Waterlily" :wink: :wink: :wink:

User avatar
waterlily Amigo
Posts: 65
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2005 4:32 pm

Postby waterlily » Thu Oct 20, 2005 9:00 am

Yep, guess I have .

Thanks anyway, hopefully it wont be too long before people realise that at least where we live, there is at the very least, one builder with a sense of honesty and damn good at his job to boot.
Love this forum.

Thanks you guys


Andalucia Guru
Posts: 13092
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 3:45 pm

Postby katy » Thu Oct 20, 2005 10:37 am

Its a shame that all UK builders get tarred with the same brush, we have had some dodgy ones, Spanish as well! One Brit carpenter we stopped him working after a couple of hours when we saw how he was "working" but we did have a UK brickie and our Spanish neighbours were stopping him and asking him for his card he was so good.

ALL Spanish builders are not good, just buy a house from a spaniard and you will find that out unfortunately. As a general rule I would not employ anyone who only has a mobile no and no known address and is not an official resident.

User avatar
meseta Amigo
Posts: 88
Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: Malaga, Spain.

anyone heard of .....?

Postby meseta » Thu Oct 20, 2005 10:52 am

Lee Wilson is a so-called builder we used. He just left half way through the job, taking his British partner's tools and their van with him !
Honour amongst thieves ?

The work he did on an extension ( which caused a leaking roof for months afterwards etc ) cost us thousands to complete properly !

If he's working on your property, make sure he is paid as you go along !

User avatar
Posts: 311
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2005 8:57 am
Location: channel isles and Cortes de la Frontera

Postby Bandy » Thu Oct 20, 2005 4:36 pm

:shock: i've got a superb builder doing work on my property at the moment including a reforma.
excellent standard of work............takes a real pride in it. very fair and reasonable price for the job. he is a brit and started life in a different profession then reverted to building when he moved to spain.
i would recommend him wholeheartedly to anyone.............that is, after he has finished my place of course! 8)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 2 guests