Couple bar council-house workmen

PUBLISHED: 11:00 13 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:05 06 May 2010

A COUPLE have barred workmen from refurbishing their council home after they claimed that the standard of work was unsatisfactory. Catherine and George Mergounis, of Lybury Lane, Redbourn, were looking forward to their kitchen and bathroom make-over but t

A COUPLE have barred workmen from refurbishing their council home after they claimed that the standard of work was unsatisfactory.

Catherine and George Mergounis, of Lybury Lane, Redbourn, were looking forward to their kitchen and bathroom make-over but they say they have been extremely disappointed with the work carried out by the council contractors, the Apollo Group.

They say that faulty wiring caused their heating and hot water to break down twice and that leaks in the bathroomw damaged the floor there and the ceiling in the kitchen.

She arrived home one day to find the workers had left the house unattended with the front door wide open while they were seeing to another property down the road.

She said: "I got out the car to find the door wide open with nobody around, anybody could have walked in and taken anything."

"It got to the stage that I did wonder what disaster I would find each evening, when I returned home from work. In fact, I had to take six days holiday leave to try and sort out all these problems."

Catherine, who works for an exam board, also said that the bathroom door, handle and lock were all painted which, had her husband not have discovered in time, would have dried and become stuck.

They eventually asked Apollo not to return to make any further repairs and her husband, a cabinet maker, is now patching up the work.

The couple are also pursuing a claim against the council for a replacement glass hob for their cooker which they say was scratched.

A district council spokesperson said the workman who left the door open had been reprimanded and he admitted a "minor" leak and a mistake with the wiring had occurred.

He said that the tenants changed their mind on the pre-arranged location of a sink which caused disruption and over-running work because the contractors had a strict programme to work to.

He said a visiting council surveyor had been satisfied with the installation but noted four items of minor "snagging" that needed attending to.

The spokesperson added: "We are currently in the fourth year of a five-year partnering contract with Apollo London Ltd and to date they have completed over 400 hundred installations.

"We have a tenant satisfaction of over 93 per cent. Clearly things can go wrong when carrying out work of this type but the important point is how you deal with them and sort them out.

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