It's a long post so apologies in advance. I've tried to keep everything in order but proved difficult.
We have recently had an extension 'completed' on our semi-detached house. The extention is two-story out to the side and then a single story garage on the side of that. The initial quote for works was £80,000 which included a new roof, plumbing and electrics.
Works were started mid-June and we were making bank transfers to the builder upon request for materials/labour. It should be noted at this stage that the contractor is the owner of a small limited company and he employs a small number of lads to complete the work on his behalf.
Part-way through the job, the builder identified that our house wasn't level so additional work was required on the roof. This cost £1,200 but he stated that he was able to recover this elsewhere so wouldn't need to pass on the cost (as an example, the initial quote included a new garage door but the old one was refitted).
Everything was going well with the project until the knock through around the end of September at which point things took a turn for the worse. Work slowed down as the builders started a new job on the other side of town and we were seeing more and more instances of them being careless in and around the house.By the end of October, we had already paid over the sum of the original quote and according to the contractor, still owed around £4,000. At this point, he deemed remaining works to be snags which we disagreed with. Our contract stated that we were entitled to keep back 5% of the contract value until practical completion so we refused his final payment request. He responded by saying he will not be sending anyone to finish the job until we made further payment. I suggested we make an initial payment for work completed that week and then piecemeal payments as we see the outstanding works being completed to which he agreed.
Nobody turned up until a week later on 14th November when a few hours work were completed by one of his builders. He insisted he'd be back the next day so took a key for the back door. Needless to say, he never showed.
At this point, we were being led on by the contractor as to when he would be able to get people here to finish. at the end of November, I suggested that we use our remaining balance of around £800 to get someone else to complete the works to which he agreed.
We asked another contractor to come and review the outstanding items. He'd not been in the house 2 minutes before he said how 'disgusted' he was with the work that had been completed and immediately suggested contacting trading standards. What we had been led to believe were snags is actually a large list of works either incomplete or executed poorly.
I'll try and keep the issues with the actual work together by type..
We had arranged a company to complete the electrical work and they had told the contractor they required two weeks notice before they were due on site. The contract gave a weeks notice and said if they didn't commence work by X date, it would hold up the project. The contractor offered us another electrician who could start immediately. As we didn't want the job being held up, we went with this. The electrical work was completed and we were asked for a payment of over £4,000 for the electrician. The quote stated an estimate of £2,200 so we challenged this and he said 'he just threw a figure in' for the quote. We consulted our original electrician and he said the cost wasn't excessive so the money was paid.
As of now, we are still to receive an electrical safety certificate and have started to experience issues with the lights and plug sockets in the new kitchen. We have attempted to contact the sub-contractor however there is no record of him online. We can see his company registered with companies house but that's it. He has no online presence and doesn't appear to be registered with any recognized bodies.
Upon being told that internal work had been completed bar a snag list, we asked a decorator to come and paint the new downstairs rooms. (He'd already been out to quote prior to completion). Upon arrival, he basically said that the walls and woodwork were not in a condition to be painted and that no amount of prep work would get them looking acceptable after painting. He also observed that none of the windows had been sealed internally.
I challenged the contractor on this and he said that it's a decorator's job to seal windows and for them to do it would be 'like asking a plumber to skim a wall'. As the contractor had not visited our property for a number of weeks, I suggested he come and look at the quality of work which he declined to do.
The new contractor has suggested he re-plasters around 75% of the new walls and in order to get the woodwork to an acceptable standard, the only option is to rip everything out and start again. The initial quote for the woodwork alone is around £2,000.
The new contractor also highlighted from an external perspective that none of the windows or the garage door had been sealed externally, none of the brickwork had been pointed at the rear of the property and no joints had been fitted to the new fascia boards leaving visible gaps.
There has been a new radiator to fitted to existing pipes that does not work. The contractor stated that they could look but any additional works would be chargeable as the rad was fitted to an existing system (there was a working rad there previously).
New rendering was put on the front of the house to match the existing property that looks awful. The contractor actually agreed that this looked poor and said he would re-do it.
Finally(!), they've left lots of building materials and waste around my property which has resulted in rats.
Steps I've taken so far are sent a letter by recorded delivery in December quote the Consumer Rights Act 2015 asking to be reimbursed for the costs of getting the work re-done/finished. I allowed 3 weeks for response and have had nothing back. I sent a second letter today asking if he is part of an Alternative Dispute Resolution scheme as well as giving him 7 days to clear the driveway of waste.
I have spoken to Citizens Advice but they seemed to be a bit woolly in responding to some of my questions so was hoping someone can help:
- Given the waste is now causing health/environmental issues, am I within my rights to dispose of his materials if he doesn't collect within the 7 days stated on the letter? There is nothing overly valuable, wheelbarrow, wooden boards/planks, structural support poles.
- I'm trying to establish what the likely outcome of this is. Everyone who has seen the work has said there's no way the contractor has a leg to stand on but my concern is if it costs us for example £5,000 to correct/finish everything, what's the chances of us actually getting that back? If he was to bankrupt his limited company would he be off the hook?
- If I was to take him to court, am I likely to incur significant legal costs or be liable for his legal costs if by some miracle he was to win?
We've still got all of our paperwork in terms of contracts and payment requests and we paid via bank transfer so have evidence of that also.
Again, apologies for the very long post but just wanted to give as much detail as possible! We've got a baby due in 4 weeks and could really have done without all of this.