Botched home renovation leads to demolition threat

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The property

A home in Battenhall, Worcester, was supposed to be renovated and extended. However, a series of mistakes made since work started last year have all-but destroyed the six-bedroom home. At one stage the council even had to threaten to knock it down - at which point the owner knocked down a significant part of the property.

What makes things even stranger is that he's actually a town councillor.

Botched

The home is owned by the daughter of ex-mayor and Worcester City Conservative councillor Allah Ditta (59). According to the Worcester News, it received planing permission last May for major renovations, and Ditta is handling the work. Unfortunately things haven't run entirely smoothly.

At the outset, the developers made a hash of the work - knocking down a wall that made the property unsafe. The council stepped in last September - sent in its inspectors - and the developer made the site safe.

The newspaper then revealed that earlier this month a neighbour on Timberdine Avenue contacted the council again to say they were concerned about more work that had gone on at the property. The council investigated and discovered that this time an entire wall had been removed - which meant the whole building could collapse at any minute.

They informed the owner that they would have to demolish it unless it was made safe - so the owner knocked down the back of the property and demolished the roof until the building was no longer on the brink of collapse

Now the half-demolished house is a blight on the quiet residential street, with no roof, and rubble where there were once walls. Neighbours told the Daily Mail about their concern about the state of the property - and said that cars driving past actually slowed down to stare at its sorry state. However, Ditta told the Mail that there was nothing out-of-the-ordinary about the site - it was just under development.

Cost of botches

It's an impressive level of destruction to be brought about in the process of renovations. However, enthusiastic amateurs can do a surprising amount of damage to a property. Last year Halifax Home Insurance recorded over 32,000 accidental damage claims, many of which were DIY-related such as spilling paint or drilling through pipes.

In total the insurer paid out over £11 million for accidental damage, with each claim costing an average of £339 - and the May Bank Holidays brought in a bumper crop of claims as people broke out their toolboxes. In all Halifax discovered that 5% of people had done some damage to their home in the pursuit of beautifying it.

And its not just DIYers, a survey by the TrustMark accredited trader scheme found that incompetent tradesmen have cost UK homeowners an estimated £1.9 billion over the last year. Almost one in five (17%) of the 18 million homeowners who have employed tradesmen in the last 12 months had to have at least part of the work redone at an average cost of £600.

Part of the problem is that a quarter of people don't know where to find impartial information about tradesmen, and 6% selected a tradesman based on the cheapest quote.

The experts warn that it's vital to check the qualifications and references of any tradesmen before you employ them - and if you don't have any qualifications or people wouldn't speak highly of your past efforts, it begs the question of whether it's a terribly good idea to get stuck in yourself.

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