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Problem with builders

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Hi there, I'm hoping somebody might be able to give me a bit of advice on a situation I'm in that I need to get resolved.

 

We own our own house and the next door neighbours house is owned by the Housing Executive, recently the local Housing Executive decided to modernise most of their houses which involved knocking down concrete sheds, fully refitting the inside of the houses and building an extension to the kitchen, fair enough, I don't begrudge anybody decent living conditions but the problems started as soon as the builders arrived. I'll keep this brief and to the point.

 

  • We have a shared alleyway which is joined to our driveway, the builders have dug up half of the concrete so they can drive a dumper truck up and down the alleyway causing problems with access to and from our back garden, can't get the wheely bins out etc.
  • They keep driving an immense JCB up onto our drive and have caused substantial damage to it, it wasn't built to hold that much weight repeatedly and now the front step and entire driveway needs completely re-concreting.
  • They have knocked a large hole in to our wall when trying to remove a small metal peg that held the washing line up.
  • They have damaged the wall (scraped most of the plastering off the foot of the wall and lots of paint from the rest) with their dumper scraping it continually.
  • They reversed their JCB into my car which now looks to be a write off, will know for definate tomorrow but based on the details I gave the bodyshop they don't think the builders third party insurer (Quinn bloody direct ..) will pay for a repair. It also took me nearly half an hour of arguing and threats of getting the police to get them to give me their insurance details
  • They've continally caked the car the cement dust where they've not bothered damping their concrete cutting equipment with water.
  • When I asked them to move their JCB so I could get my son to the baby sitter both me and wife were verbally abused in the street by the builders foreman.
  • They repeatedly block my car in the drive and have now taken to coning off most of the street so nobody can park on it (most of the houses are privately owned and there's normally quite a few people that park in front of their own houses as there are no garages or driveways, we cut away most of our garden to facilitate our car)
  • They've knocked our garden wall with a mini-excavator and appear to have damaged it quite substantially.

The list goes on an on, we've contacted the person at the Housing Executive who deals with the refurbishments to their houses and we've been told that the builders will fix the damage when they're done with the refurbishment work (probably in around 5 months time).

 

To me this is unacceptable and I wondered if I'm within my rights to demand either they fix their damage within a set period of time or employ my own builder to fix the damage properly and sue them for the cost, assuming they have public liability insurance, would I approach their insurance company directly or have to (unfortunately) deal with the building company directly.

 

Thanks for reading.

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Take lots of photos of what is being done.

 

You could demand that the damage being done stops now and that repairs are carried out, however, I think it would be the wrong move and you could well benefit from the repairs being done as informed.

 

I know its not the right thing, but if you alienate the company and make life difficult for them, they could well deny any liability or grossly reduce any admitted liability.

 

My thoughts only.

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Important!!! First thing to address. Judging by your description, the work is not being performed in a controlled manner and is putting the public in danager. This has to be corrected immediately. Contact the Housing Executive again and inform them that unless the area is properly demarcated (i.e. fenced) and the public protected with immediately effect, you will report the incidents to the HSE. If the HSE get involved, it will most likely result in most/all parties being fined in court, so the Housing Executive should pay attention.

 

The list goes on an on, we've contacted the person at the Housing Executive who deals with the refurbishments to their houses and we've been told that the builders will fix the damage when they're done with the refurbishment work (probably in around 5 months time).

Have you got this statement in writing from the Housing Executive?

 

Much like anybody who has ever bought a new build house will find - whilst the contractor is still around doing the lions share of the work, things are proactive, but as soon as the tail end comes or even worse if the contractor demobilises the site, then getting things done and finished becomes a protracted nightmare.

 

Also, 5 months time is November / December and not the best time to get a civils building contractor to do work (cold & wet :rolleyes:), especially in the current economic downturn.

 

Your keeping a list of things that need doing, which is good, but you also need to get the Housing Executives assurance in writing that the work will be made good to your satisfaction (or at least to the condition it was before construction work began). Keep in touch with the Housing Executive, maybe once a week to report any additional damage and get them to acknowledge the ongoing damage in writing. The more you bother them, the more effort is most likely to be made (to get rid of you).

 

 

This work falls under the Construction Design & Management Regulations and is notifiable to the HSE. You therfore have several responsibile parties depending on how the contract is set up.

  • The Client - He has overall responsibility for the works, including ensuring the works can be performed safely.
  • The Designer - Repsponsible for design of the works, including ensuring the works are designed in such a way as to mitigate or remove danger in execution.
  • The Principle Contractor - Overall responsibility for controlling the works including implimentation of the Health & Safety plan.
  • The Contractors - Responsible for their displine or scope of works, including maintain Health & Safety as per Principle Contractors H&S Plan.
  • The CDM Coordinator - Responsible for notifying works to HSE and ensuring execution is performed as per the H&S Plan.
  • The HSE - UKs Heath & Safety governing body.

NB: Some of the above roles can be performed by the same company/person.

 

Ask the Housing Executive for a copy of the F10 (Notification to the HSE). This will contain the names of all the responsible parties who you can later badger if needs be.

 

Is there a site office for the main contractor (i.e. where the Site Manager can be found). Pay them a visit to ask to speak with the Site Manager. (Don't just wander onto site though, ask one of the workers to escort you or show you the safe pedestrian access route). The Site Manager holds the legal responsibility for Health & Safety on the site and that H&S extends to protection of the public from his works.

By law, he must display his Third Party Liability insurance and this is normally on the wall in the Site Managers office or reception area (if one exists). See if you can get a copy or at least note down the details (Insurance company and policy number as a minimum.)

 

Have you spoken to your local council planning department on the subject?

Check planning permission and building regulations has been approved for the work and enquire if a temporary works (assuming the blocked road/path is a public road) order is in place and what it stipulates. Express your concerns to them.

 

If nobody seems interested in giving you written assurances of the repair work, then it is time to shift tactics. I'll advise further on that if required, but you need to go down the amicable route first.


Disclaimer...

All advice, information, views, opinions or statements, etc. offered by '
Turtle1000
' is taken at a readers 'own risk & responsibility' and 'Without Prejudice'.

 

Should a reader wish to undertake action following advice, information, views, opinions or statements, etc. by '
Turtle1000
', it is recommended that full & proper legal consulation be first made before any implimentation or undertakings.

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