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building min contractor has locked us out of our home, and refuses to carry out the job

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Hi my okd friends

I need an EXTREMELY URGENT advice from you good people.

Wished to refurbish the old house after 30 years which meant change of everything including wiring and water system etc.

 

I employed a firm of archirects who with a QS sent tenders out and as the result we instructed a firm of contractors to do the job.

 

After a while architects left the scene so we employed a building controller in their replace to interact with builders.

 

There was to be a contract drawn by QS for "minor work project". Unfortunately a copy of it was sent to me last week! As I had signed a Letter of Intent, I assumed that all terms and condictions in darft of contrcat which I has seen would suffice.

 

The builders went throught demolition phase, and should start on construction. The payment is as the follows:

 

The builder gives a list of work and expenditure to QS. He without checking to see whether is adequate or the work is carried out, accepts the payment due and forwards builders' invoice.

 

The building controller we appointed acts in place of architect but her responsibilty has been limited to signing the stage Cetrificate - meaning that the work was done accordingl to existing plans and drawings!.

 

Despite all those safe guards at a lot of expense we now find ourselves in a very bad posiotion. Builder has not followed an iota of terms and conditions in contract, yet keeps naming it as a tool to ex-communicate us and carry on mis-leading the QS and the Controller.

 

The very first part of construction has run into big trouble that he wants through his "uknown to us" sub-contractor charge us for electrical works BUT...he quoted a figure of nearly £50,000.00!(should be max £10k with most expensive products in market)) for a job including rewiring of 5 bedroom very average and meduim size house.

 

They do not specify the products listed nor correct number of products to be used.

 

The list I provided keeps being thrown away. Thus has been going on for past 2.5 months.

 

Meanwhile I amconcerned that they have started to attempt with same approach with other tasks within project.

 

 

Because of us trying to get a proper & accurate quote to give them the go ahead, they have shut down the site for past 8 days, because of health & safety regs we are not allowed to go in.

 

We finally persuaded all those involved to have a meeting at the site in 2 days time.

 

Obviously we can not work together. We have paid 2 invoices so far which partly may be a loss to us - no hope of getting some back.

 

BUT WHAT AM I TO DO WHEN AT THE TABLE, WE REACH THE END.

 

CAN THEY KICK ME OUT AND KEEP HOLDING THE HOUSE UNTIL WHEN?

 

IS THERE SOMEONE, AN EXPERT I CAN TAKE WITH ME TO PROTECT ME, ASSESS WHAT THEY HAVE DONE ON THAT DAY?

 

I AM SO WORRIED THAT THIS MAY TAKE A LONG COURT BATTLE.

 

I JUST WANT TO PAY FOR WHAT THEY HAVE DONE FAIRLY. OR RETRIEVE PART OF MONEY I HAVE UNJUSTLY PAID.

 

 

THE MAIN QUESTION IS: WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN AS THEY ARE THUGS. AND HOW CAN I GET THE HOUSE BACK TOMORROW?

 

I do hope there is someone out there who can urgently advise me. Really can not afford to go to lawyers - lost a lot on architects and builders and so forth already, and I am currently left with a shell of the house living in a mice infested flat somewhere else.

Please help.

Sophie


she!

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It's your house, go there, change the locks and agree with the contractors a mutual convenient time for them to collect their tools and material.

They will surely tell you that you own money, but they can only sue you.

I would video all contact with them and at first sign of stupidity (aggression) call the police.

Kick them out of your house and employ a proper contractor who should give you a quote to stick to.

Having an open ended estimate and charging £50k for electric is just criminal (not literally but it should be)

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thank you ever so much for your fast response.

 

 

They have not been at work in our house for some 8 days.

 

 

Our several requests to get in because we still have possessions there have been turned down.

 

 

So by now they have taken all materials we paid for.

 

 

Legally we are told that due to insurance regs, only they can be there and can refuse us entry!

 

 

My sheer scare is when we get to the point to say "contract is off".

 

 

Of course they will attempt to get some money out of us which possibly we can appoint an expert to asssess all they work, however i need that person who inspects and assesses work on that very day as well as somwhow get the keys off them - kick them out!

 

 

Where can i find an inspector or expert within one day to be present on wednesday?

 

 

I shall record everything as you said but hate to be kicked out of my place for one more day!!!!!!


she!

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Don't you have your own keys?

If you don't, It's your house so surely you know how to break in.

Usually there's an easier entry in every home and the owner knows about this.

If your house is secure, get a locksmith to drill the lock or, just break a small window panel.

It would be a small price to pay compared to £50k for electric.

The story about h&s and insurance is cow manure.

Remember, this is your house and you can enter it whenever you want.

Get in and change the locks.

Any claim they would submit would be hilarious considering they asked for £50k for electric.

The judge would not need to be an expert to know that this is a clear rip off price based on the unclear terms of your quote.

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Health & Safety rules dictate to me that I am not allowed to go in without having a representative of theirs at the house, and they have not attended for days and have refused my requests to go in. I am 100% sure I can not break in. They have put up a fence with chains and bolts, yes as you say I can get someone to break them but possibly with presence of police who do not exist!

 

I need to find three things:

- How to write a letter to formally terminate the contract or should I drive them to admit to having terminated the contract by their actions

 

- Find couple of impressive looking guys to accompany me. Last time builders swore at me, intimedated and took their tools and my materials all because they were fully paid and wanted to go to another job - the police told me to buzz off.

 

- Find a construction expert to asses and record the state of the house before they leave (if they do). They may remain in control until they exorted unjustifiable moneys or for eever if it goes into legal actions

 

- I need all those TODAY to be ready for tomorrow's meeting, where do I find EMERGENCY assistant guys?


she!

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Where are these rules being sourced?

 

 

Is this something they told you?

 

 

Somebody has to go in at some point if they don't come back at all.

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Up to now, our QS, Project Controller and main contractors have been the source. I just found someone up north from Internet.

 

I spoke to him and he said "rubbish"!! "you write to them, say you have H&S helmet & jacket, and you are going in. If they do not unbolt chains and barricades then you should call the police in". Too late, after nearly 10 days!

 

Question remains however as this man can be here with me on 11th April the earliest in the capacity of an advisor and project manager at the meeting.

 

He suggests to cancel tomorrow's get together because we might make mistakes in talking to them and end up in courts and soforth.

 

I really don't want to go to court, don't owe them money, and if one takes a week could figure out that I may have over-paid them as well.

 

I just want to get rid of them, kick them out but do not give them grounds to take all the materials left here that I have been charged for.

 

Also prevent them from falsly claiming that they have ordered/arranged this and that to make me pay more.

 

Contrcat is not signed despite them referring to it at all times, so legally one could call it "Void", "terminated by their actions" or "terminate it by myself"....all these words have implications that I am not familiar with and in choosing one tomorrow might dig myself in deeper trouble.

 

I don't know if anyone is familiar with these terms and approaches to help me go there tomorrow and end it all?


she!

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Hi and welcome to CAG, sorry to hear about the tough situation you have found yourself in.

 

It is your house, not theirs. Demand entry and if that fails just walk straight in.

 

I think the first thing you need to do is to make sure you understand your contractual position. You need to read the paperwork you have to try and work out what contract you have entered into. This will tell you whether you are entitled to terminate the contract or not.

 

In practical terms, perhaps the best way to get the builders to leave would be to stop paying them? They won't stay on site if they aren't getting paid. Of course it could be expensive for you to find another builder to fix the mess.

 

If you like, it would be a good idea to upload the contract documentation you have (with personal details obscured). I will take a look and try to explain what it says in simple English.

 

He suggests to cancel tomorrow's get together because we might make mistakes in talking to them and end up in courts and soforth.
This is nonsense, the best thing to do is almost always to speak to people to see if a solution can be found.

 

I really don't want to go to court, don't owe them money, and if one takes a week could figure out that I may have over-paid them as well.

 

I just want to get rid of them, kick them out but do not give them grounds to take all the materials left here that I have been charged for.

 

Also prevent them from falsly claiming that they have ordered/arranged this and that to make me pay more.

In order to understand your liability, you need to tell us what the contract says (it seems that you do not have a clear understanding of what the contract says, which is why I think you need to upload a copy if you want to get sensible advice).

 

Contrcat is not signed despite them referring to it at all times, so legally one could call it "Void", "terminated by their actions" or "terminate it by myself"....all these words have implications that I am not familiar with and in choosing one tomorrow might dig myself in deeper trouble.
You can accept a contract by your conduct in asking the parties involved to proceed with the work, so the contract is probably binding on you even though it wasn't signed.

 

You need to understand what the contract actually says before arguing about it. It may well be that the contract helps you and supports your position. For example there is likely to be a "termination" section. You need to understand what the contract says before taking drastic action.


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Just go to your house and gain entry by any means.

They are builders, not csi!!!

Get into your house and lock them out.

Then tell them to jog off because the material belongs to you.

Nothing they can do apart from swearing and threatening which you will duly video record and report to police.

Also make sure that any telephone conversation is recorded.

Make their life a misery like they have done to you, report any stupid behaviour to the police and remember that to gain the old bill attention you need to use these precise words: "I now fear for my life and that of my family".

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I would have thought that making untrue statements to the police exposes you to prosecution for wasting police time, or perverting the course of justice. I don't think it is a good idea to say this, unless it is actually true.


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From op's words it seems scared of the builders attitude.

Anyhow, I would really see the cps prosecuting someone for not being in fear.

How would they prove someone's emotions?

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I think a good idea to ring building control at your council where you got planning permission. Request a visit to the site as soon as possible as you need urgent help with your situation.

 

BTW I presume you could get back in when they go home. Change lock or put a chain on or both.

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you can do anything necessary to gain access to your own property unless a court order says otherwise.

 

 

So, when they have gone home cut the padlock on the gate and gain entry.

(or have the door lock drilled/picked by a locksmith if only front door stopping access)

 

 

If you need to leave you change the padlock and leave a note telling the contractors that they are fired.

 

 

When they then send you an invoice for works done but not paid for you can offer to either pay what you think is reasonable or go to arbitration vis the Federation of Master Builders or any other trade organisation they belong to.

 

 

If that doesnt yeiled a satisfactory outcome you should b prepared to tak the matter to court.

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Thank you for your very useful advice. I have read the conteract. Technicall they were suposed to provide list of things within 2 weeks after acceptance of tender - they did not.

 

No Plans, no schedules other than 26 weeks fixed.

 

In addition they should have provided further technical on weekly basis which they did not.

 

No weekly report or schedule.

 

No warranty collaterla for sub-contractots.

 

First problem started when the electrician, against terms of conteract was told by main contractor not to provide a plan,diagram, schedule, and the several quotes they have provided is vague, incomplete, no product Id.

 

So they have made us doing around thissubject for such long time, refusing to allow us resolve it. This is one of the main games, "you do not accept our nearly £60k quote? we will make ou then, We use that as excuse; and similar with other items, to shut down the site as we can not progress further until you agree".

 

There are no termibation clause by them or us within contract.

 

And meanwhile today, they suddenly stated emailing us tio inform they are engaged in a number of other tasks whilst the site remains shut down. So they already have very professionally created false evidence of expenditure.

 

I have no info regarding legal terms of contract other than it is "minor work type"!!


she!

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OK then, so they have breached the contract in several respects.

 

Are you completely sure that there is no clause in there regarding termination of the contract? Have you read the whole thing? Does the contract say that it incorporates the form of an industry standard contract (such as the JCT Standard Building Contract)? It would be extremely helpful to see if a PDF if you are able to upload one, I will be able to tell you pretty quickly where you stand.

 

If there is genuinely no termination clause in the contract - this would be unusual - the basic legal position would be that you can terminate a contract if the other party has breached a fundamental term of that contract. It does have to be a fundamental term (not something minor). I don't think failing to provide for example weekly reports is enough to justify termination; but refusing to do work they are required to do under the contract would be fundamental.

 

If you have a right to terminate, you can terminate by sending the builder a formal letter which should (1) specify that the builder has breached a fundamental term of the contract - and identify in your letter the fundamental terms they have breached, (2) state that you are exercising the right to terminate the contract with immediate effect as a result, (3) state that the builder is not to access your property unless you are there, but you will agree to make reasonable arrangements for the builder to remove any materials or other items which belong to them.

 

I have no info regarding legal terms of contract other than it is "minor work type"!!

Do you mean the JCT Minor Works Building Contract? If so, that is an industry standard form contract, which may be incorporated into your contract by reference. If so, there will be a termination clause in the JCT Minor Works Building Contract which you need to comply with.


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When you ring Building Control to arrange a visit, tell them you are being forcibly kept off your property and can't check what the builders are doing. They'll soon be round to see what's going on.

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Thank so much for your advice. I will scan the conteract tomorrow and upload it for you

 

found one ref: " the articles of agreement and contract with contractor's design 2016 issued by the joint contracts tribunal" . I note that Adjudicator's nominators names by Employer or Contractors are left blank.

 

If JCT is mentioned that what am I to do? - in case my scanner does not work!

 

By the way, today I went to my house, they have even barricated me from acess to my mail - it's box is just behind their baricades - All my bills have been sitting there now for more than 2 weeks, is that right? can they do it?

 

All door, windows have now also additional baricades preventing me from breaking windows. Even front door is boarded up ---all without a single word of notice? can it be done?

 

One thing I am certain of is that there no clear mention of exit clauses there.

 

I hope I can scan them for you. Many thanks, I am grateful.

 

soph

 

I tried to speak to the council about it but they ignored me, said talk to Citizen Advice Bureau!

 

Problem is that because there have not been a fight over money, how can they stop work without notice, refuse to provide a man to open the door and due to insurance and H&S regs just keep an eye on me to let me do my measuring , my post et?.

 

Builder refuses to reply to my emails. He sent an indirect message telling me to "get l.." when I requested that!

 

They are not just there. Place has been deserted for more than 2 weeks now!!

 

Besides, now I have to break chains, metal locks, baricades, as well as all "nailed" boarding to entrance door and other blockades in case I go up the ledder and enter through the balcony.

 

Quite honestly I find this very offending too.

 

One strange thing I have noticed on contract - in most areas they mention "approval of architect" !!! but we had to sign as employer and we

 

have been paying 2 certificates approved by either the previous architect or new project manager (as well as the QS) who proved to be working for whom??? I wonder.

 

I have to get that scanner to work before you running out of patience or I myself go any more crazier than I am now. Thank you all


she!

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Hi Mrsshe, you have been advised by several members to get into your house and change the locks.

What are you waiting for?

A court order to enter your own house?

The h&s rubbish is just that, rubbish.

Get a locksmith and break in, otherwise it will be months before you get anywhere.

It's your house, only the courts and emergency services can stop you from entering.

Break in.

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I have the contract in PDF format, how can I upload and send it?????

 

How can i upload my contract to cag?


she!

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How can i upload my contract to cag?

 

Click on the "Go Advanced" box at the bottom of the "quick reply" box. Scroll down a bit and you should see a click-box to "Manage Attachments". Follow the instructions for uploading a file, and it should append the PDF to your post.


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No... you can't eat my brain just yet. I need it a little while longer.

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Have you received my uploaded file?

 

Unfortunately, personal information is showing so I have had to unapprove the file. Site team members can still view it, so expect a response shortly.


PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING

EVERY POUND DONATED WILL HELP US TO KEEP HELPING OTHERS

 

 

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No... you can't eat my brain just yet. I need it a little while longer.

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Whatever it's in the contract, a builder cannot lock you out of your own house.

I say it one last time, then I'm out: BREAK IN!

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PDF in post##21 approved now


How to Upload Documents/Images on CAG - **INSTRUCTIONS CLICK HERE**

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have you reeived my uploaded contract?

 

 

what do you think

 

got your message thank you.

 

 

Couldn't get rid of personal details sorry.

 

 

I can't wait to hear your thoughts.


she!

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