A perennial problem in any building project is finding who is responsible for fixing a fault. I am working on a self build project where this has arisen once again. A trussed roof was ordered and delivered, erectors erected it and we find that the eaves overhang on the trusses varies by 20mm. So someone has to go around and trim every truss to provide a straight line for the facia boards. Not a particularly big job, maybe one to one and a half days for a competent carpenter (it’s a big roof – lots of trusses). But the row it has provoked between the supplier, the erector and the client is out of all proportion to the size of the problem.

It is highly likely that the same problem will re-occur with every sub-contractor and it seems to come when people point the finger of blame. Typically the cost of dealing with the problem is relatively trivial but all parties seem prepared to spend more time, effort and money on arguing about it than it would cost to fix it.

Building a house, or running a business come to that, is a stressful affair. We all have an eye to the bottom line and are quite rightly reluctant to take on more cost than we absolutely have to. But cost comes in many forms: it may well be that fixing the problem today with no expenditure of effort or anxiety is cheaper than fixing it next week at no financial expenditure.

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