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Haste makes waste as families rush into pre-Tet cleaning spree

Update: January, 15/2015 - 08:40
With just a month before Tet, many families in Ha Noi are scrambling to have their houses spruced up to celebrate the most important holiday of the year. — Photo

HA NOI (VNS) — With just a month before Tet, many families in Ha Noi are scrambling to have their houses spruced up to celebrate the most important holiday of the year.

This means it is peak season for those providing renovation and repair services; and such firms are enjoying a surge in work orders.

However industry insiders warn that many firms are taking on tasks they are not equipped to handle. Many firms lack the manpower and skills, and faced with the pressure of holiday deadlines, may deliver work of substandard quality, they say.

While the Internet makes it easier to find firms providing renovation and repair services, house owners should be careful in selecting them.

"Many companies do not have the required manpower to carry out many contracts. It is not uncommon for them to secure the deal first then find a sub-contractor to do the work," said Nguyen Viet Chien, a sub-contractor who has a 20 plus strong crew.

He said candidly that since sub-contractors do not get the full amount mentioned in the contract, the quality of their work or even the construction materials used may not meet expectations.

"Home owners may be upset but we cannot do anything about it. From a legal point of view, we only honour the contract we have with the company that signed us on as sub-contractor," said Chien.

A few house owners have found to their chagrin that Chien is telling the truth.

Truong Huy Hiep hired a company to renovate his house in Ha Noi's Hai Ba Trung District last year, just two months before Tet.

He was utterly disappointed with the quality of work.

"I had to call almost every day for them to send someone and some days, they did not even show up. And it was not always the same group. There were at least three different groups who came to work on the bathrooms," he said.

The bathrooms later had a bad odour coming up every time it rained heavily and the shower water collected because the floor had not been done correctly to have it flow down the drain.

When he informed them about the problems, he had to wait for almost three months before workers were sent to fix the bathrooms' floors, because "they said there were simply no hands to spare during such a busy time," Hiep said.

The stench issue was never addressed, he added.

In some cases, owners are not sure of what needs to be done to improve their homes, so they have to rely on experts' opinions on the need for repairs or redoing their wiring, said said Nguyen The Nam, who runs a firm providing electrician services mainly for houses in the capital city's Ba Dinh District.

"I often advise home owners on what brand (of electrical equipment) they should get and what quality they can expect. It is very important in the long run, since most houses nowadays embed the wiring in their walls and replacing it would involve digging into them," Nam said.

Companies and contractors who lack experience and skills will not be able to advise their clients properly, and when this happens, large expenses are incurred and great inconvenience experienced later in fixing problems.

Nam said home owners should carefully study the contract terms before signing, and withhold part of the payment for three to six months as an insurance policy in case something goes wrong. — VNS

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