Getting married, having a baby and getting the builders in - three of the most stressful things in life! We reckon the first two are a doddle compared to the third. If you've ever had any building work done, chances are you'll recognise the following...

1. The exciting bit

On the first day when your builders first rock up in their van, it’s all extremely exciting. Progress seems very quick at this stage and it doesn’t take them long to knock down a few walls and make a great big mess. The trouble is, the great big mess stage seems to go on forever.

2. Sahara desert

You won’t believe the amount of dust you’re going to have to live with.
Even the smallest building work will produce a mountain of dust vastly disproportional to the size of the job you’re having done. And it gets everywhere… In your pockets, in your car, in your friend’s car… basically your whole world will be covered in the stuff. And NO amount of Hoovering makes any difference.

3. A nice cup of builder’s!

Builders like tea, with sugar… Lots of sugar. And they like a biscuit… Expensive biscuits!

4. The job price

What ever they say, it’s going to cost double it.

5. The timescale

However long they say, it’s going to take double it.

6. Radio

All builders love to listen to the radio when they work, so be prepared for a disco. And they like to sing and whistle, too. Some even like to dance. Whhhoooo!!

7. All other builders are muppets!

‘Who built that? I’m surprised its not fallen down and killed you! That’d never get signed off by building regs these days.’ Standard mantra

8. Sharp intake of breath

Builders all seem to suffer from asthma (it must be all the dust). These attacks seem to come on strongest when you talk them through the job you want doing.

9. New best friends

As the job gets underway and you spend more of your time with your builders, you get to know them and their routines. It’s like they become a part of your dysfunctional family, telling you about their kids, football, holidays and how their wives don’t understand them.

10. You might learn a new language

Lots of builders are Polish – and very good builders, too!
Masz ochotę na filiżankę herbaty?

11. You’ll try to fit in

When your builders start talking builder-speak, going on about RSJs and lintels, chances are you won’t have a clue what they’re banging on about. Best thing to do is nod and call them mate and swear a lot as you chat to them. ‘Er, yes mate!’

12. Fancy a takeaway?

If it’s a new kitchen you’re having, then you won’t be able to cook for a while as your old one will be ripped out and chucked in a skip. ‘That’s not a problem,’ you say… ‘we’ll eat takeaways…’  After 2-3 weeks of eating curry, you’ll never want to touch another madras again.

13. It’s OK, we’ve got a microwave

Fortunately, you kept the microwave in the front room. Let’s have a microwave meal you say… again! It’s not long till you feel like you’ve tried every possible supermarket readymeal at least twice and your new kitchen’s still not going to be ready for another four weeks – at least…

14. It’s summer

‘Let’s get the barbeque out?’ Good luck with the weather forecast.

15. DVDs

When you’ve got a skip outside your house and the builders in, it’s like a calling card for every passing dodgy salesman in the area. You’ll open your door to find some bloke standing on your doorstep offering you the latest film on DVD or some power tools he wants to sell. Wink! wink!

16. Where do they go?

As your job comes to an end, your builders will suddenly disappear.
They’ve nearly finished with you, so they start moving on to the next job… leaving you with a very nearly finished house. All you want them to do is clear up and go and let you get on with your life.

17. On the plus side…

Once your job’s finished and your builders have left, you’ll find you’ve acquired a few extra tools. Builders always leave the odd hammer or screwdriver behind. Along with the dust and biscuit wrappers…