Series following tradesmen and looking at cowboy contractors. A tree surgeon comes to the rescue when Eric's giant beech tree puts his house - and people's lives - at risk.
Browse content similar to Episode 6. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
'When a crisis strikes your home...'
-PHONE OPERATOR: How can I help?
-I've got a bit of an emergency.
-'..or you want major work done...'
-It was our dream.
It is a total mess.
'..you need one of the good guys.
'But you don't always get them.'
I've never seen anything like this.
Potentially, I stand to lose the house.
We'll hear the stories of devastation and despair left behind
when building work doesn't go to plan.
He didn't put the foundations all the way around,
-so the front bit didn't have any...
'And we'll tell you how to avoid becoming a victim yourself.'
Did you have a comparison price?
'But most tradesmen are there to help,
'and we'll follow the response teams who are there for you
'24 hours a day...'
Eventually, the ceiling would have come down in the kitchen.
'..seven days a week.'
It ain't everyone's cup of tea,
but most people are pleased to see you.
From plumbers to roofers, electricians to locksmiths,
we meet the men and women who help you out in your hour of need.
Coming up, a tree surgeon comes to the rescue
when a man's giant beech tree is putting people's lives at risk.
OK, slow, whoa, whoa, whoa! Down, down, down, down!
A locksmith hurries over to a pensioner's house
when his home is at threat from burglars.
You don't want to leave it to chance.
And a rogue roofer's dodgy workmanship
leaves one woman in peril.
Going to bed thinking to yourself,
looking at the ceiling, it could collapse any minute now.
And I witness just how upsetting that can be.
Look, we all get tearful.
Let me give you a cuddle, it's all right, don't worry. Don't worry.
When you book tradespeople into your home,
you hope they'll do a good job, and generally they do.
But sometimes things go horribly wrong.
In Bristol, house-proud Kim Waxman does all she can
to maintain her home.
At the end of 2013, she decided to pay for a new roof
and thought it would be all sorted
before the bad winter weather set in.
There was no way she could have known back then that this one job
would end up costing her her savings and her pension money
when she had to pay twice to put it right.
My whole world collapsed about the whole situation.
The whole roof had to be redone again.
The roof itself was on the verge of collapsing.
'Well, I've come to talk to Kim about her ropey roof
'to see if I can understand exactly what went wrong.'
-Is it Kim?
-It is indeed, yes, do come in.
Now, tell me about this situation.
What was the reason you chose the contractor that you did choose?
He was quite friendly.
He came in the house and obviously sat down,
had a cup of coffee with us, sort of jolly in himself,
making jokes, making us feel at ease.
And, as well as making the couple feel comfortable,
the roofer seemed a very thorough.
He was going to take off their solar panels,
then remove the whole roof covering.
The repairs would include new roof felt, battens and tiles,
and the contractor would then put the solar panels back safely in place.
How did the price compare with all the other prices that you had?
It was about £1,000-£500 cheaper.
OK. Now, what about the payment schedule?
Did he ask for any money upfront?
Not at first, no.
-He didn't ask for a deposit?
-No, not at all, no.
Gave us a figure of £3,750, which we were quite happy with.
-That's a pretty reasonable price.
-Not bad, yeah.
Did he stick to this process or did it change?
It changed, very slightly,
cos obviously being Christmas he said to us, "It is a very large job, Kim,
"all I need is a little bit of money upfront for materials."
-That old chestnut again.
Kim had done things correctly.
She'd got several quotes and then gone for what looked like
the best price with Russell Lloyd and his company.
Kim had then got a contract and agreed a work schedule -
another golden rule.
But she couldn't have foreseen then what was going to happen
when the builders began work in December, 2013.
Everything was fine, the guys started work for us.
Three or four of the men came down, obviously with him,
and he disappeared and scaffolders put scaffolding up and everything.
-So he didn't actually do any work?
-So he was the man in the suit?
-And he had four men working.
-So they stripped it all off?
-Was the weather good?
No, it wasn't. It was bad, yeah.
So they tried to put the roof on in the bad weather.
Did they take the battens and felt off and put new felt and battens on?
They didn't, they actually put new felt over the actual old felt,
-and ripped all the felt inside the roof.
What about the battens, then?
-Did they change them? No?
Ah, now we have a slight... Now we have a different story altogether.
Did you get the local building inspector involved?
Not until afterwards, not until actually afterwards.
-Cos you weren't aware?
-No, we didn't realise.
Because they didn't initially inspect the work,
Kim and her husband didn't realise the roof hadn't been stripped back
and had all the parts replaced
until the evening after the workmen had finished.
When they did realise,
it was obvious that the work was completely unsound.
Well, I was actually coming home one evening from work
and I could see the solar panels on the roof didn't look quite straight.
So my husband went and had a look on the actual roof itself
and we have actually got a picture of Steve
where he's got his hand underneath the panel just lifting it up.
Not only did the solar panels look wrong,
the new roof was leaking badly into their back bedroom.
Going to bed and thinking to yourself,
looking at the ceiling, it could collapse any minute now,
and so frightened we had to sleep in the front room
over Christmas, we couldn't sleep in the bedrooms upstairs.
It was awful, absolutely horrendous for us. Absolutely horrendous.
'By December the 30th, when a text from Lloyd made Kim realise
'he wasn't coming back, she busied herself collecting evidence,
'taking pictures of his work.'
-Yes, that does look unattractive, doesn't it?
Where this has all fell down is because they did it in poor weather.
-But they could have got round this by putting a temporary
scaffold higher, and then tarping over the top of that,
so that you would have had what we call a temporary roof
to cover this while you're doing it.
-So, here we have the solar.
-We do indeed.
When they took the actual solar panels off, what they actually did,
they cut all the actual wires, they didn't put it back properly.
They only plug into each other, that's what they do.
It's a simple junction, they plug in so you link them altogether.
-Yeah, they just cut all the wires.
-They cut them?
-That would have been a difficult one to resolve, that.
Did you try and contact the contractor and say, you know, "What's going on?"
Yeah, we tried contacting them several times by phone and by e-mail,
text messages, everything, and we got a couple of responses back from them.
As far as they were aware, the work's been done,
basically go away, stop contacting us.
-Did you write to them?
-We did write to them, yes.
Me and my husband actually wrote to them,
gave them 14 days' confirmation to return back to us.
Not once did they come back to us.
To add insult to injury, the scaffolders who worked on the house
were also hassling Kim, claiming that Russell Lloyd hadn't paid them.
It seemed that Mr Lloyd had become elusive,
and after he'd been paid for the work on Kim's house
he just wasn't interested in putting it right.
She had no option but to call in help in the form
of Trading Standards and the local building inspector's office.
So, when you got the building inspector involved,
did he come round and have a look at it and make an appraisal?
He came down, had an appraisal, looked at the whole situation,
everything else, and got a new company in to fix it for us, yeah.
The new company had to completely strip Kim's roof
and use new felt, tiles and battens to get it back in shape,
In addition, they were able to show Kim that the wires
to her solar panels had been cut,
and she had to find an extra £600 to put that right.
On top of the original £3,750 price,
that makes a grand total of £8,450.
You know, don't feel bad, because you've been a victim,
there are a lot of people who have been victims.
I always try to say to people,
there's only one real bad mistake you can make,
and that's one that you don't learn from,
and I think you've learned from this.
Oh, look, we all get tearful.
Let me give you a cuddle, it's all right, don't worry.
I know he's taken...
He's run off with some of your pension fund,
but, you know, you've got the roof back in place, OK,
and it's an experience that you can put behind you.
And, hopefully, he might surface somewhere
and then, you know, the authorities can take him to task
for the misery he's causing people.
Just the fact that you feel so stupid...
No, that's what I'm trying to say, listen, it happens to everyone.
It's happened to me.
You know, I've been taken advantage of
by not preparing properly and taking someone's recommendation,
and when they did the work it wasn't good enough.
Anyone can be taken advantage of,
and my team were interested to find that Kim Waxman
wasn't the only victim of Russell Lloyd's ropey roofing.
We'll discover later how Michael Clarke fell foul of Lloyd
after handing over £7,500 for a new roof.
We counted 65 places where the roof was leaking.
While some contractors seem to take what they can
from their customers and leave very little in return,
others go above and beyond to do an amazing job,
like David Myers.
He is a tree surgeon and today he's been called out to deal
with a dangerous and very large beech tree.
Every year, at least five people are killed in the UK
by falling trees and branches.
Tree branches can also knock titles of your roof
and their roots can seriously damage the foundations of your house.
It's something home owner Eric Briggs knows all about,
thanks to the 80-foot tree in his front garden.
Over the course of time, the retaining wall
that was stood behind here, that started failing,
the foundations were failing due to the roots
and the whole area here was sinking,
and potentially a problem with the house, as well, at some points.
His Stockport home is on a main route into town
and his dangerous tree has been causing concern.
When Hurricane Bertha or the remnants of it came through in August,
we had a major limb come down, it crashed into the roof
and since then we've had a new roof, so we thought
maybe it's time now, we have to get rid of the tree, it has to go.
It's taken months to get everything in order
to finally get rid of the tree threatening Eric's home.
It was subject to a tree preservation order,
meaning he needed permission from the local council to cut it down.
And the day has finally arrived.
For tree surgeon David Myers, it's back to basics -
expert knowledge and strong arms.
It is very tiring on your body.
I started in the industry when I was 17 and they told me
I'd last till I was 25, 30 maximum.
I'm 41 now, so I've not done so badly.
It's a bit of a standing joke, really,
but I do feel it some nights when I get home.
As a former European pole climbing champion,
this tree climber still has the knack.
If you see any arborist or tree surgeon, they're triangular,
upside down - they have a very thickset upper body
which is where a lot of your strength is needed,
and then, lower down, your legs aren't as powerful.
But it's not just about David's skill.
Planning the removal of a tree this size on a busy road
is a very big deal.
Right, so we're just getting set up now,
we've got the crane down there, traffic management out.
As you can see from up here, it's quite a big tree,
but it's not very thick, and that's because
it's been thinned excessively by a previous contractor.
Because there's quite a lot of broken branches occurring
because the weight is out on the ends of the branches.
So when the wind comes they're swaying around
and then they're breaking off.
The excessive thinning has destabilised the tree
and the potential for more falling branches has worried Eric for weeks.
I'd hate to think what would happen
if anybody was walking underneath, if something happened, if a limb
fell then, especially as we've got a young family next door,
a primary school across the road and, obviously,
the parents and kids walking past quite frequently,
so it's one of those things that's had to happen, I think.
For David, this particular beech is far from a routine removal.
It's a bit tricky, this one, because all the branches are twisted
and there's no real form to the tree, which makes it easier.
Especially if they're upright, it's a lot easier to lift them
out in one, rather than them being tangled like they are.
So we need to take our time in getting these branches out
so we don't snap any.
Because if we did we'd have an uncontrolled fall to the ground,
which we don't want with all the people underneath
and the property, as well.
The job of removing the branches is planned with military precision.
The crane operator needs to be in contact with those on the ground,
who relay information to David, now nearly 70 feet up in the tree.
Just tell him to send it back up again then and bring it down,
because the shackles caught up.
We'll get these cleared, you see, then it will be easier.
Keep going down, over.
Need another three feet, over.
Find out later if David manages to remove the large
and dangerous tree, and if Eric's new roof will stay intact.
OK, whoa, whoa, whoa! Down, down, down, down!
Not every tradesman takes as much pride in their work.
Some leave you realising they're not specialists at all.
Back in Bristol, we discovered another disgruntled customer
of Russell Lloyd's roofing company.
Michael Clarke paid £7,500 for a new roof.
The reason for doing the roof was that I discovered
that there were seven leaks in the roof and it was starting
to show in my daughter's ceilings.
But my next-door neighbour also said that there was a leak coming
through onto his side of the wall, so something had to be done.
When Michael's late wife died two and a half years ago,
she left an insurance policy and Michael felt
that this would be just enough to cover the repairs.
Michael ran into Russell Lloyd,
who seemed to be doing a great job on a neighbour's property,
and he arranged a meeting on the spot.
He struck me as a rather cocky and pushy man.
He was very full of self-confidence and he sold himself hard.
I wouldn't normally like that, but I wasn't troubled
because I thought I'd seen the quality of his work.
The pair came up with an agreed timescale and price
and Lloyd supplied Michael with a handwritten contract for £4,500.
It was for new felt, battens, tiles and lead on the roof.
There would be an additional £3,000 on top of that for extra work.
The job started well but, after ten days when it wasn't finished,
Michael began to feel very uneasy.
After two weeks I went up onto the roof to have a look
at what had been done, and it was pretty horrifying.
By that stage he'd started introducing other men to the job,
and I assumed that these were men who were skilled roofers.
But, in fact, when I looked at the work the felt had been laid
very poorly, the battens had been laid very carelessly,
and I asked him to do them again.
He said he would. He was very pleasant,
he was very courteous, he said he'd redo it at his own cost.
Somewhat reassured, Michael left Lloyd to finish the work.
But, a week later, Lloyd started complaining about ill health
and took time off, saying he needed heart surgery.
The first rainfall occurred, and when I went into the loft
I discovered the roof was leaking in at least a dozen places.
I called his partner to have a look at the work
and, together, we counted 65 places where the roof was leaking.
Flabbergasted, Michael contacted Lloyd again,
who said he needed at least two weeks to recover from his operation.
Michael gave him that time,
and, in fact, he was never to meet him again.
So no tiling had been done, no lead work had been done
and, of course, the felting was leaking in 65 places.
Michael began chasing Lloyd,
but when he did some online research he discovered that the roofer
had numerous complaints and a poor health and safety record.
He was forced to find another company
to repair his badly botched roof.
The initial quote was £4,500.
But, including the additional work that I paid the contractor to do,
I ended up paying about £7,500.
To get the work done properly cost £12,000
on top of what I'd already paid.
So, having thought initially I could get a cheap job for £4,500,
I ended up paying nearly £20,000.
When I look back, I can't believe how silly I was.
Michael and Kim both said the same thing -
Russell Lloyd left them feeling foolish, but it wasn't their fault.
Back at Kim's house, I've come to have a look at the new roof
she had to put on to rectify the work done by Lloyd and his firm.
We had another company come in and, as you can see,
the actual roof now is absolutely fantastic.
The solar panels are back on now
and the house is so hot it's unbelievable.
In the end we had a good job done for us by the new company, so, yeah, well pleased now.
You had to write off the first people's money completely,
so how much has the roof cost you in total, roughly?
It's about 8,500 in total.
-And a large chunk of that was your...?
-My pension money, yeah.
I had to sort of dip into that and, obviously,
the second time around I had to put some funds towards it myself, yeah.
We can't let him get away with it,
so we've been in touch with the Health And Safety Executive
and he's got three convictions for bad practice -
one of his employees, I think, fell off a scaffold or through
the roof where it was dangerous -
and he was also banned for two years from being a director,
so he might be in contravention of his conditions.
Lloyd's two-year ban started in February, 2013.
But, although the company who carried out the work for Kim
and Michael carried his name, he was not a director of it.
But, with so many marks against him for unsafe practices,
it's amazing he's still working in the trade at all.
So we know now that he's done this to other people, you're not unique.
-So we've got to try and bring a stop to this.
You get in touch with HSCE, and go that way round,
and we'll try it this way round,
-and see if we can do a pincer movement on him.
-It all helps, doesn't it?
-Yeah, well, don't worry.
-It's all right up there now.
So what can we learn from Kim and Michael's mistakes?
Always check out your tradespeople before employing them.
You can do pretty thorough checks online.
Even a quick search on their name
should bring up any complaints from any other customers.
Don't pay upfront even if it's a small job.
Pay in stages, when each bit of the work is done
to your satisfaction.
Even if the work is difficult to get to - like on your roof -
do make sure you check the work
that's being done yourself.
If you're concerned, speak out.
And if you ever think people aren't working safely
on your property, get in touch with the Health and Safety Executive.
Over in Greater Manchester,
locksmith Chris Walker has been called out by a worried pensioner.
-It's Chris come to do a job for you, yeah?
Which... This one, and...
-The one round...
-The back one.
Have you got the key for this?
Right, no problem. Is the key in the other one?
-I've just got it on the...
-Right, no problem. That's fine.
George Clark has called Chris out to change his locks
after an incident the day before
left him feeling very vulnerable.
I was in the local library yesterday doing a bit of family history,
and my car was in the car park.
I put my coat on the chair
while I was looking at the film reader,
just went to do something else,
went back, got my coat,
put my hands in my pockets,
my keys had gone.
Got outside, the car had gone.
Anyway, they've got it on camera.
And they see the fellow... put his hand in my pocket,
get the keys and go out.
And losing his trusty car has scuppered George's plans for the weekend.
Gutted, really. It's, er...
It's just the inconvenience, really.
His house keys were also on the bunch stolen,
so it's left the 84-year-old in fear that his home may now
be the target for burglars.
I don't think there's anything in the car that would indicate
where this house was,
but you never know.
There might've been something there
and you don't want to leave it to chance.
As a locksmith with 16 years' experience,
it's only a matter of minutes before Chris has changed the first lock.
Three new keys for that one.
You'll have the same to the side door when I've done that one.
If the customer hasn't got a key then we have to be a little bit longer,
because I'd have to actually open them
to get the cylinders out.
But if the customer's got a set of keys,
it's only a couple of minutes a door.
-Right, that's one done, so we're all done now.
Three keys for that one.
I'll just get your key rings out of the back of the car,
and I'll sort your receipt out for you.
OK, then, sir?
New door locks can cost around £40, but you'll pay extra
for the locksmith's call-out charge or labour.
But, whatever the charge,
feeling safe in your home is priceless.
I feel a lot more confident now.
Happier now the locks have been changed.
He could have a bit of peace of mind now for the weekend, at least,
that his house is secure.
Hopefully, he gets his car back.
See you later.
Down, down, down.
Keep going down.
Go, go, go.
Back in Stockport,
Eric Briggs is concerned about the safety of this house
because of a huge 80-foot beech tree
shedding branches onto his roof.
So tree surgeon David Myers is cutting the whole thing down.
But sawing through the branches is just half the job.
The team now have to get them safely to the ground.
There we go, so the first one's out.
My aim now is to clear the section here, all the way up,
and then I can get good communication lines with the driver
while the lads deal with that.
The first branches are safely down to the ground,
but it's going to be a long day for David.
Can I catch it? Yes, I can!
Just as well he likes his work!
A little boy's dream, this job.
OK, take up the tension.
Got to make sure there's enough on it. OK.
The key is getting a good driver, as well.
If you put too much tension on,
it'll end up flying out of the tree
OK. Let's go again.
And down on the ground,
the team are making light work of chopping up
the tree's massive branches.
This timber goes to one of the companies
who we supply on a regular basis.
They do firewood and they do coal,
so they will now convert it into logs,
stack it over the winter to let it dry,
and next summer it'll go out to customers
all over the south Manchester area.
David's tree-surgeon team have hit their stride,
and the huge beech tree's branches
are coming down quickly and methodically.
Specialist work like this really needs to be done by an expert.
If you're hiring a tree surgeon,
look for one who is ARB approved,
carrying the Arboricultural Association mark.
Check with your local authority
if your tree has a preservation order on it,
or if you need permission to remove it.
The cost of taking down a tree this size
can be anything from £600-£3,000,
depending on where you live,
the type of tree,
and the equipment needed.
A few little problems at the end.
Just getting a bit too tired for the job, really.
It's been an exhausting job,
taking David's team more than three hours
to fell the large beech tree.
It's gone very well indeed.
The lads have done a great job, the communication's been good...
We did have some interference on the intercoms, erm...
slightly frustrating, you know.
That's my only grumble of the day, really.
That, and a sore arm.
Homeowner Eric is more than happy.
As instructed, David's left a 12-foot stump
intact for him, because his wife wants to have it carved.
Final designs to be agreed yet, but she's got her eyes
on something like a Hobbit house, or something like that.
So... Not one of the owls
like everybody else has got, so, hopefully in the new year,
things permitting, we'll get something sorted, and get it carved.
Any one of us could be in a situation such as we've seen today.
Whether it's an emergency in our own home,
or falling foul of rogue workmanship.
So, follow my top tips,
and, hopefully, it'll be home sweet home.
We put both Kim and Michael's experiences to Russell Lloyd,
but he has not responded.
We also spoke to the Health And Safety Executive
who are keen to hear from both customers
if they witnessed unsafe working practices.
Tommy meets two victims of the same rogue roofer. Both were left feeling ripped off after he took all their money but left them with leaking and shoddy roofs.
A tree surgeon comes to the rescue when Eric's giant beech tree puts his house - and people's lives - at risk.