Hi All – I really hope that someone can give me some good advice.
My wife is the executor of her late mothers estate which includes a property (built 1950). Whilst preparing the house for sale, we noticed that light was visible through the roof (when standing in the loft space). We engaged with a company who seemed reputable, had good reviews and were an approved member of the Confederation of Roofing Contractors. They attended and conducted an inspection, concluding that the membrane was failing through age, particularly along the inside of the ridge, some tiles were damaged and there were some water leaks adjacent to the chimney - They quoted for the following works:
1, To Strip ridge tiles from the main roof area, also approximately 1 metre of roof area front and
back of ridge line.
2, Supply and fit new breathable felt membrane along with new treated roof battens, to the affected
area to provide a water tight barrier. repeat this work beside chimney stack.
3, Supply and fit new lead soakers to chimney flashing.
4, Re-bed ridges and replace Any broken / damaged tiles.
Total fixed cost £2750
Because of the desire to sell the property and the fact the contractor was able to 'fit it in' as a relatively short term job a week or so later, we confirmed acceptance of the quotation and scaffolding was erected front and rear on Monday. The contractor and his colleague attended site on Tuesday and commenced work by removing the ridge tiles - A short time after the contractor approached me and advised that the roof was in a worse condition than anticipated. He provided images of the battening toward the lower edge of the roof that was clearly rotting and in poor condition, and the roof tiles were very worn.
The contractor suggested that he could perhaps do similar to what he was doing along the ridge at both the front and rear of the property but recommended that a better solution, particularly in view of the fact we were about to market the property, would be to replace the roof at a cost of between 15-20K as this would have their own 20 year workmanship guarantee but, more appealingly, this would be backed by the Confederation of Roofing Contractors 10 year insurance backed guarantee. It was stressed that this insurance backed guarantee was only applicable to a complete roof replacement and would cement the value of the property.
Whilst in retrospect it may have been a poor/rash/hasty decision, because we want to sell the property quickly, we decided that a recent roof replacement was a positive attribute when marketing the property and, as the contractor was offering to try and rearrange other work to enable him to complete the replacement quickly and seemed to be bending over backwards in his efforts to assist her with what we now perceived to be a significant issue with the property. He made a number of phone calls to try and confirm material availability and pricing and then advised the job would cost a little over £18K.
Some materials (battens and roofing tiles) were delivered late that afternoon. He called in the evening to confirm if the materials had been delivered and when we confirmed they had, he advised that he had been able to agree with some of his other clients to juggle their jobs to allow him to put a full team of around 8 onto our job. They attended early on Wednesday and commenced the removal of tiles and battens from the roof on the rear of the property, laid a new membrane, and fixed new battens. Work continued on Thursday (yesterday) to do the same to the roof on the front of the property.
Yesterday evening, a little concerned that I had panicked into this and the cost of the job was excessive (although I was not concerned paying a premium of a quality job done quickly) and that the condition of many of the stripped battens did not look too bad, I did some web research and it was at this point I discovered that if more than 50% of the roof is to be replaced it requires notification to building control and that the site should be inspected.
We immediately contacted the contractor to ensure that he had this in hand but he firstly advised that he had assumed the estate agents had this in hand (we explained that the property hadn't been listed but having thought about this, as we were only anticipating a repair, even if the property was already listed there would have been no expectation or anticipation that regulatory permission would need to be applied for). He then advised that we would be responsible for any application but that it isn't really necessary as the 10 year insurance backed guarantee was more effective and it was just a box ticking exercise.
Having continued to research this today, in addition to checking the quality of materials and workmanship, I understand that one of the requirements that is triggered by the roof replacement is an upgrade to the insulation in accordance with Part L. The contractor has not mentioned anything about additional insulation. I also understand that, when we come to sell the property, a completion of works certificate will be required (although, as the work has commenced without notification to LABC, I assume it may instead require a Regularisation certificate). The contractor was not on site today, but has indicated that he will return on Monday and hopes to complete the job by Wednesday of next week. I am now massively concerned that the work has commenced without notification and I am exposed to potential additional costs and risk.
I am not sure if I have both a Building Control and a Trading Standards issue here but the immediate priority is to address the building control aspect and ensure that any work that is done does not affect the saleability of the property. I have contacted the Building Control department of our district council (via email earlier today as it doesn’t seem possible to get them on the phone) explaining all of the above and asking their urgent advice on how to progress.
I suspect that, in addition to the application fee (which I believe attracts a premium as work has already commenced) there is going to be a need to establish how upgraded insulation can be applied to the loft space (which is boarded) and the costs associated with that. Currently it looks as though the membrane is all in place along with the battening on the rear and around 75% of the battening on the front. I figured there was no point delaying trying to contact building control as at least everything is currently visible (having understood that if its inspected after completion they may need to remove elements, make changes etc) and I would rather face problems now than when we try to sell.
Currently I haven’t paid anything to the contractor (he hasn’t requested anything) but in the absence of any contact back from Building Control today and with the expectation that the contractor will arrive at site at 8.30 on Monday I have no idea what to do.
I am stressed beyond belief, I feel physically ill – I appreciate that I should have known better, things moved quickly, I felt I was making reasonable decisions based on the information I had but I am now worried sick that I currently have no tiles on the roof, the prospect of additional costs (which will be hard to meet) and a house that’s not saleable without a completion certificate.
What would people do in my situation?