I have been a reader for a while, but I am now posting for some reassurance and advice. I signed a contract with a roofing company to erect a roof of 15 degrees on my rear extension. It was agreed via a written contract that the pitch should be 15 degrees and velux windows should be within manufacturer specifications of 15 degrees. The work was scheduled to be completed in 4 days but the roof is still incomplete 29 days later today. The company erected the roof at a pitch of 13 degrees and as a result all three windows have started leaking. Furthermore they have not removed all their waste which was agreed in their contract and they have damaged my windows, flashings and tiles in the process.
The owner of the company became involved after his workers did not turn up and we later found out one of his employees had subcontracted some work to people he had met in the pub. This employee had damaged a window of ours and had been very rude and aggressive with us. It was because of this worker that the roof was erected at the incorrect pitch. The owner of the company then apologised and personally guaranteed that he had done rooves at this pitch with velux windows with no problems at all. This employee had agreed extra work to be included but then went back on his word. The owner of the company then arranged for all the extra work to be done within the agreed price and apologised. The next day the roof was leaking heaily and the owner of the company sent a roofer to replace some screws. The next day all three windows were leaking. I tried to contact him but he would not answer. After eventually contacting the elusive owner, he stated that he was going to charge us a call out fee to look at the roof and that I had deliberately tampered with the roof. He came to inspect the roof and said we had sabotaged the roof and that was why it was leaking.
The building inspector inspected the roof and confirmed that the pitch was not appropriate. He did say he was willing to issue a certificate if the company guaranteed the work. How a company can guarantee an inherently faulty product I do not know. The owner of the company is basing his entire argument on the building inspectors word.
A few days later after email exchanges, when we stated that we were only willing to accept a roof of 15 degrees (as confirmed by the manufacturer to be the bare minimum) the owner said he was only willing to repair the flashings around the window or take off the whole roof and walk away. We told him neither was acceptable, especially as we were not willing to accept a faulty roof (as per manufacturer specifications and contract) or walk away without any sort of compensation. Since then we have received stamped county court papers showing a claim amount plus an administration charge.
I have had the roof inspected and my brand new velux windows have dents and scratches. Tiles have been cut in situ resulting in circular saw marks and damage. Hammers have been used on the flashing and whilst the windows have been installed correctly (according to another roofer) there has been no care in their installation. In the roofer's opinion and Velux themselves, the low pitch is the culprit.
I have some basic knowledge of the law. I believe this comes under the sale of goods act and contract law.
I now have to prepare my defence in the county court and I am a bit worried that I may do something wrong. Do I definitely have a case here?
How am i supposed to word the defence? Will it go against me if I do not quote law, or does the judge interpret the law after reading the facts?
What happens next after I submit the defence? Will it definitely go to a hearing?
Any help is much appreciated as this is my first experience of court and I am very worried about losing money to this horrible company. May I add that this is a very large company with contracts for the council and housing associations.
I have attached a copy of the drawing which accompanied the written contract
Thank you in advance.