Bee & Tony's Nightmare Build SOS

£4,281 of £25,000 goal

Raised by 56 people in 4 months
Created July 21, 2018
Hi there - my name is Linda Campbell and I am crowdfunding on behalf of dear friends of mine, Bee and Tony Bennett.

Bee and Tony are in their 70’s and both suffer with significant health issues. Bee’s rare degenerative auto immune condition (mitochondrial dysfunction) leaves her very short of energy and unable to walk any distance. Tony is Bee’s carer,  but for the past 18 months he has suffered from a neurological condition leaving him in constant pain. He is currently awaiting surgery.

When Bee’s father left her a small inheritance it enabled Bee and Tony to plan alterations to their home to make it much more disabled-friendly to meet their needs for the future.

By March 2017 they had appointed a recommended builder to do the work, which involved creating an attic bedroom and ensuite bathroom, handing over a £10,000 deposit. The job was to take 6 weeks at a cost of £28,000. After many months of delays the builder left the site before Christmas 2017 with £25,000 advance payments and has not returned. He has done a fraction of the contracted work, building two dormers with no support, and left the property dangerously structurally unsound, unusable in parts and damaged in others - the roof now leaks causing further serious damage to their home.

Bee and Tony are faced with huge costs to make their home structurally safe. The building inspector has said that no-one should enter the attic until a Structural Engineer has assessed what is necessary to make it safe and prevent a major collapse. They have been advised that this work is likely to cost more than they have already paid out and they simply have no funds left to do this.

Both the Trading Standards Authority and Police are investigating this case but, even if the builder were to be charged, this would neither allow them to recover their losses nor repair their home.

Hence crowdfunding which is a last resort which causes them great distress but may be the only way to make good the huge damage done to their home and allay their greatest fear - losing their home.

The costly floor which Bee and Tony had laid in the attic prior to her inheritance had been removed by the builder,  together with all the loft insulation, in order to do the work but I was shocked to learn he had left this piled up in the garden and it was too damaged by the elements to be usable.  Bee and Tony had to employ someone to clear this and all the other rubbish left strewn around their garden, causing concern both to themselves and to their neighbours.

As you can see from this photo the house has been left in a very dangerous state and Bee and Tony genuinely fear that it could collapse.

URGENT funding is needed to pay for the structural engineer and then employ builders to:

*    make the house structurally sound to prevent possible collapse;

*    make the building waterproof;

*    redo work which does not meet building regulations;

*    repair all structural damage to their home;

*    complete the loft conversion;

*    pay the weekly cost of the scaffolding.

Bee and Tony would be so grateful for any help that might enable them to stay in their home - their already poor health is being seriously compromised by the stress this has caused them.

If you were able to help it could make a huge difference to their lives.

All withdrawals are made to my account and transferred directly to Bee and Tony, protecting the identities of anonymous donors, which are known only to myself.

Thank you for reading Bee and Tony’s story - please share and remember that however small a donation it will make a difference to their lives.
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Good morning everyone - after a rather quiet period Bee and Tony’s appalling cowboy builder is to be named on BBC Wales on Monday 5 November at 7.30 pm and on Tuesday 6 November at 4.00 pm. This will be in the BBC Wales consumer programme X-Ray which will be telling Bee and Tony’s story. Please watch the programme - it will remind you why we are fundraising to help this couple who are in such dire straits through no fault of their own!

If you are not in the BBC Wales area but have access to Sky TV it can be viewed on Channel 952.

The winter storms are fast approaching and it is vital that we can raise the funding to enable Bee and Tony to make their home safe and waterproof. We need at least £30,000 just to undo the appalling faulty and dangerous work and make the house safe, and a much larger sum to complete the proposed works.

Since I last wrote Bee and Tony have seen a succession of builders, structural engineers and surveyors who have discovered a shocking amount of errors and the time, effort and stress involved in all of this is taking a huge toll on their already fragile health.

Hopefully the X-Ray programme will bring their plight to the attention of many more generous people and we can get them safe and secure as soon as possible.

The following is a recent piece Tony posted on Facebook and I think his words are far more eloquent than mine!

Thank you for reading and continuing to support our efforts.


Tony's piece:

Many people have asked if we would name and shame the cowboy builder who has swindled us out of £25,000 and left us with a £50,000 bill to repair and finish the work. That moment is coming as the BBC X Ray program tell the tale on BBC Wales on Monday 5th of November at 7:30 p.m. and Tuesday 6th November at 4:00 p.m.

Professional surveyors and builders have estimated that the value of the work undertaken is between £5k and £8k and he has left us struggling with unsafe, incomplete and badly constructed loft work. Our roof is unstable and leaking badly into the bedroom and living room as we go into the potential ravages of Porthcawl winter storms.

The financial consequences of the combination of incomplete work and incompetence are mind boggling. Many will know we made a crowdfunding appeal and were grateful for donations of £4076 from friends, relatives and even complete strangers but as the scale of the work, just to repair the damage and make safe, escalates to more than £30,000 we still cannot see how we can reach a place of safety, let alone complete the work we commenced.

What happens next? 
Well we are still struggling. As each builder has reluctantly declined the invitation to take on the task of mopping up our cowboy builder’s mess, one by one they have revealed more and more incompetent work. A surveyor, and expert witness for the BBC program X Ray said ‘One more saw cut in the wrong place and the roof would be down on your heads. Another surveyor for Trading Standards told us that we had basically paid someone £25k to *@!* up our roof. To summarise, our ‘highly recommended’ builder had taken on a job he had no knowledge, experience or qualifications to do.

It hasn’t been just a question of picking up where he left off. What he has built has to be ‘unpicked’. A true building nightmare and nearly two years of mess, stress and worsening health as we are both disabled and in our 70s.
We hope to have a builder starting next week to at least do the initial ‘make safe’ work, we have been on the starting block several times before but currently we have no funds to even complete the safety work. To say it is stressful would be an understatement.

We continue fund raising and if you would like to help us out of our building nightmare we have set up a paypal account for the purpose (preferred), or our crowdfunding page is still open at https://uk.gofundme.com/bee-amp-tony039s-nightmare-build-sos
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Our campaign has broken £4,000 for which we are so very grateful and this seems a good time for a proper update.

First of all, thank you to those of you who have so generously contributed to help Bee and Tony in their efforts to save their home. We now need to redouble our efforts to fundraise as it is becoming increasingly obvious that to repair the damage caused by the original builder, make the building safe, and complete the work will cost in excess of £60,000!

However, before I tell you what else has been happening with Bee and Tony, I think I should tell you a little more about the people they actually are, behind the worried and increasingly desperate image that we present.

Both Bee and Tony have always had a wide range of interests and what is significant about them both is the lifelong desire to learn and develop, which is still present in them today. They love the buzz of life and liveliness, their family and friends and have always been there to lend support to others.

Both are now disabled and unable to continue the work they both loved as psychotherapists and hypnotherapists. Bee told me how much she loved this work “it was like being a detective and usually solving the case completely but always leaving people in a better place”.

Bee is a talented artist and rarely able to visit her studio at the moment - she described to me some of the other activities she misses due to her mitochondrial disease:

“I miss gardening, designing, DIY and painting/decorating, I miss designing and doing DIY for others. I miss paragliding/sand yachting/abseiling and all the mad activities I had begun to enjoy. I miss looking after my grandchildren in the way I had expected to be able to, taking them on holiday or having them here for the weekend. I miss helping people and mentoring and supporting .. my brain is too fuzzy.”

Tony was the founder member of the Cardiff Toastmasters Club and loved his mentoring and supporting roles. He loves crafting and making speeches and was very popular. In fact people still ask him for help and it hurts them both when he cannot provide it. Tony misses cooking - and Bee misses his cooking!

At the moment Tony is writing a novel but his rapidly worsening health has taken a toll on this and also prevented him from attending the Porthcawl Poetry Group. His writing talents are never far from the surface however and he has written a song about their cowboy builder (to the tune of Rhinestone Cowboy) which they are hoping a friend will be able to record for them - watch this space!!

This lovely couple who have so many talents and have both had such a zest for life were simply trying to ensure they could continue to live in the home they love by using a small inheritance to employ a builder to make it disabled friendly. Their appalling cowboy builder has possibly robbed them of this future and led to a further deterioration in their health as they deal with the stress of the situation.

They trusted the builder and, although they had some concerns, they paid him when he promised to have the work finished by Christmas 2017. Unfortunately they were physically unable to climb the ladder to look into the attic space and see the disaster unfolding there - they believed that with the payment made the builder would get the job finished. Sadly they never saw him again.

So, now we have to focus on fundraising! An update on the current situation:

Tony and Bee had paid for the steels and just needed to find the money for the installation next week but, as has been the way with this project, they have been told the steels they have are just for the floor. Once they are in the Structural Engineer will instruct the builder on the upright steels for the roof and these will then need to be purchased. Sadly it seems that every week the cost of making the house structurally sound, undoing all the damage done by the rogue builder and making it disabled friendly increases.

The work is likely to cost £50-60,000 (fingers tightly crossed that this won’t rise even higher!) so we need to find more support from the community and if you know a local celebrity who could put their name alongside the campaign, please invite them to do so as this is what the campaign needs!

Once again, thank you to various builders’ merchants and suppliers who have offered items at cost or offered to donate things. There is such a long list of material needed - perhaps you know someone who might gift a suitable shower/bath/tiles/plasterboard/electrics/heating/flooring/windows etc?

As Bee says - they really do need a lottery win!

Please share our crowdfunding page far and wide - we need to keep Bee and Tony in their home!

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Thank you to all you lovely people who have continued to donate to our campaign! Please could we also ask you to share far and wide as we are still a long way from our target to make Bee and Tony’s home safe and repair all the damage done by their rogue builder!!
There are many kind and generous people who have offered help and assistance, such as the lovely timber merchant offering to help with the timbers needed and also to spread the word amongst all his contacts.
Every donation is equally valued by Bee and Tony who remain overwhelmed and daunted by the task ahead but equally overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of others!
Tony has written a song about their rogue builder which a friend is hoping to record & publish on UTube. The problem is that Bee, Tony and I are not very tech savvy when it comes to UTube ... so if any of you are UTube whizzes with a little time to spare we’d love to hear from you!
We are also trying hard to find a celebrity or media person to embrace our campaign ... so, if you know if anyone who could give us a higher profile, please give them a shout!
Once again, our grateful thanks to everyone who has read this, shared the page, donated money, offered help and generally supported Bee and Tony at thus immensely difficult time.
Best wishes, Linda
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Oops - a bit of poor editing in my earlier update implied that, once the steels were in, the funding would be used to complete the works. However, this is far from the case as the monies we are raising are to make good all the damage and substandard work of the original nightmare builder! Linda
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£4,281 of £25,000 goal

Raised by 56 people in 4 months
Created July 21, 2018
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