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My Builder has run away!!! What can i do?


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Hi guys, please can anyone help? I am really unhappy and stressed as we've had a major extension done on the house and the work has been foing on for almost a year and a half now. It is mostly finished, however, the 2 ensuite bathrooms are empty with no appliances or radiators, which we have paid for already. :mad: And also whenever there is a heavy downpour, the skylight in the kitchen leaks and another area of the same roof leaks in one corner causing the wall to be constantly damp. We have paid a lot of money to have a full extension done, almost £70k but now have to pay an additional £4000 to get the roof sorted, the bathrooms fitted and a whole array of other things he hasnt finished!

So my problem is this. What action can i take?? I have already written to him and he hasn't even called.:mad: What should i be looking at doing next? He is a sole trader so i am apprehensive about taking him to court. Becos if i do, will i realistically get anything from him??


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Is he a member of a trade body? If so, contact them (if he has given you any documentation, it should be stated on there).

Secondly, write to him again (recorded delivery) stating what it is you want. Also contact Consumer Direct (or see if your local authority has an advice centre drop-in).


Court action may be a necessary step, as much as you dont want it, but it should be a last resort.

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run after him

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One person I know not unlike your story followed the builder all day at other jobs repeatedly asking when he was going to finish the job he started, this didnt put him in a good light with his other customers but it did result in him getting his job finished.

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70 Grand is a lot of money..for this most people would be doing checks before getting a builder in.

The 4k you are needing to spend is well within the small claims threshold...you have another grand to throw in there if you feel.

You will need to make sure that you lodge the claim in the name he is using ..you should know this...is likely to be in the same names as you wrote out any cheques to.

Big Mac made a good suggestion but obv this relies on you knowing where his work is likely to be.

The small claims route is the same as bank reclaims...you should put your requests in writing that you want either some money back to have the work completed or else the work completed to your satisfaction.You could do this with a 14 day LBA

Within the letter you can say that you will be contacting trading standards,a route you can go down anyway.

The fact that he is a sole trader makes little difference.

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Thanks you guys are very kind taking time to reply. Yes he is a sole trader and i do believe he owns his own home. I'd love to follow him round all day but unfortunately i work during the day.:| I don't think he is a member of a trade body. Yes 70k is a lot of money. Unfortunately my father was in charge of the monies, if it was in my hands, i would have made sure everything was perfect before i paid him a penny! But hey, in hindsight there is a lot i would have done differently. :D

The building work he has done really is excellent though, but he should stick to just bricks and mortar and thats it. :-x

I will go down the court route now i think. i've had enough of trying to call him everyday and him not answering. any other tips are welcome as always. THANKS GUYS!!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Take your mates round to his local and do an Eastenders on him.I can only imagine how angry you are,A friend of mine did this however and the locals were polishing their weapons- backfired big time.Did not get sorted out till the mother in law stepped in.Hope everything turns out ok- sounds like he has over stretched his skills.GOOD BRICKY tell him to stick to brickwork- and give him the bill for making job right. good luck

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  • 2 weeks later...

In my case the builder walked off the site when he realised he couldn't complete the job. 18 months later he sued me and we initially went to Adjudication, which I lost and was asked to pay him £67,000 plus fees. I refused saying the adjudicator had no right to adjudicate. The builder must have realised that this was true and so he took me to Court. In this case it was the Contruction and Technical Court, part of the High Court. Solicitors charge something like £180 per hour, barristers also. Judges seem to be a law unto themselves and even if we won there was no chance that all our costs would be paid. It was also unlikely that we would even see any money.


We therefore settled to pay the builder a small amount despite the fact that the Expert Witness (another £4000) ruled that the builder owed us £35,000. Eventually the builder went bankrupt.


The Courts may seem to be the answer, but I have no faith in the English legal system which is simply designed to make the lawyers rich, so in my view don't go there.


You might be better off to kiss the money goodbye, finish the work and enjoy it.

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