My street property was subject to external works in 2014. I had the same estimate as you of £34000. I was told at consultation that this was a generic estimate and not specific to my property. Camden said that my bill would be much lower and that I would get a more accurate estimate when scaffolding went up. I never received the revised estimate.
To cut a very long story short, what was supposed to be a 10 week job took 2 years.The quality of the workmanship was the worst I have ever seen. I documented the whole job with a daily diary and hundreds of photographs.I made my first complaint the day that the works started.
Trying to get Camden and Lakehouse to perform properly was like having a second job. It took up all of my spare time. Over the next 4 years Camden continually lied, bullied, threatened and intimidated me. Camden organised a totally crooked survey of the works which found the job to be ‘without fault’.
I had meetings with numerous Camden officials, gave a deputation to the Housing Scrutiny Committee, filed several freedom of information requests and had my MPs (both Frank Dobson and Kier Starmer) write to Camden on my behalf.
In the end, after 4 years of fighting, Camden finally referred me to Dispute Resolution. This resulted in another survey taking place which found fault with every aspect of the job. My half of the bill was reduced from £12000 to £3000.
I wrote to Georgia Gould asking why the two survey’s findings were so contradictory and asking for an apology for the behaviour of the Camden officers involved. Ms Goulds secretary contacted me and said that the best way forward would be a formal complaint which would take about a month. That was 6 months ago and no answer has been sent despite my chasing Camden for it several times.
My advise is as follows:
1) Don’t let work start until you have a revised survey which is fully itemised and costed.
2) Document the work with photographs and a diary (I was told by Dispute Resolution that without this evidence, I would not have had a case).
3) If and when the works go wrong and costs spiral, gather as much information as possible, forget about tribunal as they are pretty toothless and push for Dispute Resolution as soon as possible. The Dispute Resolution officer that was appointed to me was the only honest person that I came across during the whole sorry affair.
4) Be prepared for a battle.
Sorry I can’t be more positive, it is very depressing to hear that the £34000 estimates are still being handed out. Clearly nothing has changed!
All the best and good luck…