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Claim from builder - need help working out counterclaim costs

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Hi All,

 

Thanks in advance for any help !

 

We received a claim from from our builder because we have withheld payment of the final instalment as he as breached his contract with us.

 

He sent a claim form asking for the money to be paid (approx 1667.00).

 

 

We are now trying to work out the counterclaim and having serious difficulties in understanding what to do. Any help appreciated. problem outlined here. (ignoring court fees and interest at the moment)

 

 

Final installment withheld by us is 1667.00 BUT this value is incorrect as he is trying to charge us for more expensive tiles than those he installed without our permission.

He is claiming that money is owed on his claim form.

 

What we have already paid him is £3865.

What we paid Wickes for more tiles directly is £248

 

The new invoice from another builder who said that the entire bathroom will need re-fitting £6635 (this includes a tile allowance that are slightly higher than our original builders tile costs ).

 

Should we be basing our claim on the difference between what we thought the original builder would have been owed if the job had been done well, subtracted from the higher cost of the new invoice. Then adding the amount we already paid him.

 

OR should we be just saying pay us £6635. (despite the fact we have withheld the final invoice but we are not sure of the value of that final bill and he has breach contract so technically we dont owe him it anyway !)

 

HELP !

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Please will you post up the claim form in PDF format and also tell us when it was when it was issued.

 

Have you acknowledged the claim? What is the return date for the defence?

 

I think that you need to give us some detail about what has happened here – preferably without too much narrative.

 

I understand that you instructed him to do a job for a certain amount of money but you don't say how much.

 

I understand that the job was either of poor quality or else not completed.

 

Can any of the work or the materials which were supplied by your builder be used or must it all be written off?

 

You will need to get at least two quotes/opinions from professionals as to the quality of the work which has been done so far and the quote for either making good or for stripping out the work which has been done and then redoing it.

 

I'm rather surprised that this wasn't done some time ago. Has there been any exchange of correspondence between you? Maybe you can tell us what it was all about.


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Hiya, In reply to your questions here

 

Attached a sanitised version of his particulars of claim.

The other parts of the claim form really dont say much else.

 

In terms of filings - we filed an acknowledgement of service but the claimant failed to file a Particulars so the judge stayed it till he did.

 

He finally filed it on 26th September so we are now awaiting court directions as to the stay being lifted.

 

Either way, we should have till 24th October to file defence and counterclaim now but its up to the judge to tell us so.

 

In terms of what happened.

Briefly, they did work

- new bathroom, as they were going along we asked questions but they kept saying everything would be fine.

 

When they finished, the work was really bad.

this included poor tiling, holes in grout, misaligned tiles, they used dot and dab so voids behind the tiles everywhere.

 

We subsequently found out they had used cheaper tiles that looked similar to the ones we asked for instead and without telling us.

 

WE also subsequently found that things like the sink and other items are not the ones they said they would supply.

 

They have also installed them but they move and are not securely attached.

 

The same goes for shower head etc.

The shower creeks as well because they havent put in the correct supports for it. ETC ETC ETC. The list goes on.

 

We confronted them in a letter and told them they need to fix everything.

They stalled for ages and finally came in to do their own inspection about 20 days later

- didnt really bother looking at anything, left.

 

We received their response after that and this denied there were problems and also started lying saying we had approved the change of tiles, that the goods were from their own website instead of where we thought and that the painting work wasnt part of the contract.

All can be disproved easily with the paperwork we have.

 

We responded and asked to use an ADR scheme and listed out our response.

Never got a reply and then next thing, he sent us a claim form.

 

There are a few items that can be re-used but because the tiles effectly need to be removed and put back on, everything else will need to be removed and no guarantee it will survive so the quotes we have are essentially for an entire refit.

 

None of the builders we engaged wanted to write any written reports

- they didnt want to get involved as it seems is quite common.

 

So we have taken extensive video and photos.

We have asked if tile association and building surveyor can do inspection BUT claim form came in before we could get it done.

Its expensive also so we really needed to wait till the court allows it.

 

The original invoice was for £5798 however this included an allowance of 25 x21 sq metres of tiles which he was going to adjust for against actual costs in the final bill.

 

He has made an adjustment BUT he has lied about the costs he incurred and refused to provide a receipt for the tiles.

his 1667 final invoice is wrong because of that but we dont know by how much.

 

We paid him 2 installments - one when the contract was signed and one at start date of work.

 

I would note that the new invoice also has their own allowance for tiles of 35 x 19.6sq metres

his particulars of claim.pdf

Edited by dx100uk
merge spacing quote

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Thank you. You seem to be pretty organised about it and pretty much in control so that's good. By contrast, I get the impression that the builder doesn't really know what he's doing – and that's good too.

 

He hasn't numbered his paragraphs and this makes it awkward to respond. I suggest that you begin by converting his particulars of claim into a Microsoft Word document and then number the paragraphs automatically. Then you can refer to the particulars of claim paragraph by paragraph

 

You would start off with a general denial that you do not owe him the sum claimed.

 

I would then put a general statement that the work carried out by the claimant was of such poor quality that it has effectively to be stripped out and rebuilt and because of this the claimant is in breach of contract to the extent that the contract is void.

 

I would then go on to address the points in the particulars of claim paragraph by paragraph – point by point.

 

Make sure your own paragraphs numbered. A lot of his particulars of claim is completely irrelevant course. The fact that he did a job for your granny and her dog are neither here nor there.

 

To save time you could actually identify the nonrelevant paragraphs and then simply make a statement that paragraphs x,y,z are irrelevant to the issues in the claim but in any event they are not admitted nor are they denied.

 

Then move on to the relevant issues and say

paragraph xx of the particulars of claim denied – a brief online explanation of your version

paragraph ZZ of the particulars of claim is denied save that – and then outline part of the paragraph which you admit or else give your angle on what he has said.

 

When you've done all that, turn to the counterclaim.

 

I would say that you should counterclaim for the return of your money.

Plus damages comprised of special losses being the difference in the quoted price for the work by the claimant and the cost of removing the substandard work and replacing it as per attached quotes.

Any particular losses to which you have been put – such as the cost of lost work because you have had to stay in, cost of phone calls cost of communication – any other costs. Costs of getting quotations from other builders – and other costs thrown away.

 

General damages in terms of inconvenience, being forced to do without a bathroom for an extended period of time was not foreseen at the time the contract was made – any other trouble and inconvenience – keep the damages very reasonable don't go on a money grab.

 

Plus interest on the money paid over to the guy so far at 8% until the money is returned to you or the date of judgement.

 

 

Is that kind of thing you're looking for and does that help?


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You will definitely need some corroboration that the work is a poor standard. I

s your builder part of any professional body? Can you contact a professional body and asked them to send somebody out to have a look at the job. This would attract a fee that you will be to recover from the builder in the event that you win the case.

 

It would be sensible to warn the builder that you will be getting an independent inspection and that you will be looking to him for the cost of it.

I would also say that it would be sensible to offer the builder an opportunity to get his own independent inspection which would happen by appointment. Put this invitation in writing so that if he declines or doesn't reply then that is something else to show to the court.

 

I expect you have taken lots of photographs. Document every detail


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Thanks Bankfodder, I agree with you but unfortunately it has gone way past all that.

 

We asked him about his trade associations at the start of the dispute. He declined to give us any info.

 

He has written in his particulars we dont have corroborating info and so it will look a bit weird now while the claim has already started, to go behind the courts back and not do it without court authorisation. The costs are high and it really needs to be a direction of the court at this stage given its already an official claim. We have written in our defence that we have quotes for independent inspection and will proceed on court authorisation.

 

We just need help with the original question i posed and that is regarding what we can claim.

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Given that the claimant filed separate particulars do you know if he filed an ‘N215 Certificate of Service’ with the court within 14 days of the claim being

issued ? The certificate of service confirms to the court that he has sent the documents to the defendant.

 

Andy


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Given that the claimant filed separate particulars do you know if he filed an ‘N215 Certificate of Service’ with the court within 14 days of the claim being

issued ? The certificate of service confirms to the court that he has sent the documents to the defendant.

 

Andy

 

Hiya, Thanks for replying.

 

What happened is we got the claim form with date of service 4th Sept. No particulars and no indication one was to follow so we had a fit and told the court that they shouldnt have served it in the first place. Judge on the 6th Sept order a stay and told the claimant he had to file a PoC for the court to lift the stay.

 

He didnt do anything until we wrote him a stern letter telling him to file it or we would get it struck out. So he ended up sending a copy to us on 26th September and the court the same day. So yes - he filed it late...but technically it was stayed anyway.

 

Anyway I've now told the court that they need to review again and lift the stay given he has now filed it. Just awaiting their response now.

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Hiya, Thanks for replying.

 

What happened is we got the claim form with date of service 4th Sept. No particulars and no indication one was to follow so we had a fit and told the court that they shouldnt have served it in the first place. Judge on the 6th Sept order a stay and told the claimant he had to file a PoC for the court to lift the stay.

 

He didnt do anything until we wrote him a stern letter telling him to file it or we would get it struck out. So he ended up sending a copy to us on 26th September and the court the same day. So yes - he filed it late...but technically it was stayed anyway.

 

Anyway I've now told the court that they need to review again and lift the stay given he has now filed it. Just awaiting their response now.

 

I would say, had we not phoned the court ourselves to tell them verbally we have a particulars now, they wouldnt have any idea we had received it as the claimant has not filed any n215 .... he seems to be a bit clueless on the process. But unfortunately the court is the County Count Money Claims Centre and they arent much better in all honestly.

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So you received a blank N1 with no particulars...and MCOL allowed it through.....and not separate particulars but the only particulars.If he hasn't filed N215 Certificate of Service it may well be struck out anyway.


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So you received a blank N1 with no particulars...and MCOL allowed it through.....and not separate particulars but the only particulars.If he hasn't filed N215 Certificate of Service it may well be struck out anyway.

 

In all honesty, i really hope they don't strike it out and the reason for that is because we want to counterclaim BUT it looks way better for us that he brought the claim. It also means we can highlight him not following correct preaction protocol. My preference would be it is not struck out. His incompetence is to our advantage so to speak.

 

In any case, we are ready with our counterclaim and defence. We just need help sorting out the amount to claim for.

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My experience of money claims so far is that apart from the judge and one of the call centre people, the rest of them dont seem to have a clue on what court process is . It's effectively a call centre which is ridiculous.

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