The renovation project 2004 - 2005
Like mentioned, we developed plans to do a simple renovation together with our architect Andrew Shore from Évora. That resulted in a job description with drawings that was submitted to two potential builders. After their quotation we selected Climaco Construções from Freixo as our builder when we were at the Herdade in October 2004. We signed a contract with Sr. Climaco in which we decided to pay monthly after verification and checking of the submitted bill on the building site by our architect, Andrew Shore.

Sr. Climaco started the renovation in October 2004. Our intention was to return to the Herdade in December and spend the Christmas time there. But there were no doors and windows in the house, no toilet, no shower, no electricity. And the temperatures were quite low, so we decided it would be better to wait for the spring. The next possibility for a visit was in February 2005 with Carnaval.

leaking roof

water leaking through new roof

When we came in February, it was nice weather, but still there were no windows in the house, new doors were placed, the roofs had been done for the major part. They were working on the roof of the 'children's room'. And on a lot of the roofs the tiles still had to be finished and connections to the walls had to be made.

Still we found some discrepancies, which we could not explain: the kitchen top was much too high, the window was too high, we could not find the armoring steel of the floor besides some chicken wire. We talked with Sr. Climaco, but he could not explain what the reasons were.

When we returned home, we started an e-mail discussion with Andrew Shore, who in turn questioned Sr. Climaco again. It turned out despite all our precautions (signed drawings, signed description, a monthly witness visit of Andrew Shore to verify the progress), the builder Sr. Climaco had intentionally deviated from the description and drawings. Not only had he misinterpreted the drawings and made everything in the renovated appartment 20 cm too low, also he had changed the stack of the floor and replaced the steel armoring indeed by chicken wire. The floorstack was also much thinner than intended. Sr. Climaco had not communicated to our architect nor to us that he wanted to make the floor differently and cheaper, he just did it without prior information or information afterwards. Also Andrew Shore had not noticed this discrepancy during his monthly visits.

We wanted Sr. Climaco to adjust the floor stack to our original intention, but he refused because that was too expensive and floors were 'always' made like this. This was not acceptable to us, so we halted our payment. Now Sr. Climaco stopped working at all. This happened shortly after our February visit. We tried to persuade Sr. Climaco to bring up a solution, we tried to apply some pressure from others, but in the end nothing of this worked. Sr. Climaco reacted very unprofessional and in fact rather childish. After 6 weeks it was clear to us, that the only thing that would work, was to be present at the site and draw conclusions there and then. That happened in May 2005. So the work had been laying idle for 9 weeks. And when we arrived in May, the situation had not much changed from February. When we met Andrew Shore for a pre-discussion, he told us that he just had thought of a possible solution, he just had to check with his engineer, and after this consultation, it indeed turned out to be a 'viable' solution (also Andrew started only to really think about a solution when we were standing on his doorstep). We arranged a meeting on-site with Sr.Climaco and Andrew, where without much discussion the suggested solution was accepted. For us it was unbelievable that this point that had seemed impossible to solve, only really got the attention with the intention to solve it when we appeared on the scene (and we lost 2 months with that).

chicken wire

floor stack with chicken wire at front door appartment