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Poor building works, not rectified, next steps?

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Hi. this is a long one, please forgive me.


I had extensive works on my home in Oct 2018 which included a loft dormer.  pursued builder for some snagging issues but nothing major (windows sticking, grouting racks and plaster cracks etc.) to no avail, builder gave me lots of excuses, illness, family issues which I was sympathetic to.  All of which came to heads in Oct 2019 when the dormer roof began to leak very suddenly and severely.  He came back to 'rectify' it a few weeks later and either ignored a lot of the other things or did them very poorly. the roof began to leak again May 2020  with damp patched appearing and then building up to an active drip in October 2020.  I tried contacting the builder which was ignored and instead I contacted my insurance/CAB and tried to gather evidence and quotes to rectify which was difficult given the pandemic.  My insurance has since said they wont help under my legal cover (this is with the FOS) and so I'm trying to resolve this by myself.  I contacted the builder with all the evidence in November 2020, he said he would put a claim into his insurance.  I asked for the details, timescale to be expected and asked him to arrange a temporary roof to mitigate his losses as well as reduce further damage to my home, he ignored these requests and  seems to have blocked my calls, only contacting me by text to say 'no news from inrsurers, they will contact you in due course.'


He is not a limited company, that apparently matters. 

I have since sent him this letter, it is a huge amount of money, I've asked for full refund of the works, but in actual fact I'm aware that if he engages, he will likely barter with me to get me down, I know that and only hope that if we can agree on something, it is the cost of rectification as well as temporary accomodation whilst the roof is being replaced. 


Do you think I can do this on my own?


Dear ___________,

I have discovered the following problems with the work you have done for me: 

·         The roof of the dormer/loft room is leaking again, despite your attempt to fix this in October 2019, causing water to trickle into the ensuite shower room as well as the bedroom through the ceiling light, window and door fixtures.  Following heavy rain, the leaks are bad enough to fill buckets and there is water running down walls around the windows and also soaking into the wooden structure causing water marks in various areas of the loft room, loft landing and downstairs rooms.

·         The water ingress has affected the electrics in the house and has caused them to trip several times.  There are several double sockets in the bedroom which cannot be used due to watermarks around them, meaning there are more extension plugs being used which is not only inconvenient but higher risk.

·         The tiling in the bathroom was an inadequate job: the floor is uneven and the tiles have become loose there, again, despite your attempt to rectify in October 2019.  The tiles behind the shower are bulging, indicating there is water behind them.  The grouting has gaps and hairline cracks all over it which you were supposed to fix in October 2019 but did not.

·         The resealing of the shower in October 2019 was a very messy and uneven job, you did not even match the colour silicone, nor did you use an anti-mould silicone.  The shower continues to leak.

·         The shower does not drain properly, you ‘wet vacuumed’ this in October 2019 and this did not make a difference.  There is not a big enough fall on the drainage system, something I asked you about at the time of installation and which you dismissed.

·         The joints on the plasterboard under the plaster are showing, as is the edging to the window frames, which means the plaster is bubbling and bulging indicating water ingress.

·         The windows in both the ensuite and the bedroom stick and do not open or close properly, nor do the locks work.  You used WD40 or similar in October 2019 to try to rectify this, but it is still an issue.  The windows have not been installed correctly. 

·         There is a crack from the window frame in the bedroom to the floor where the window has been poorly installed.

·         During the original work you completed in 2018, your workers fell through the bedroom below ceiling 3 times and failed to waterproof the house adequately when there was no roof during the building works.   This resulted in a great deal of water ingress in the bedroom below causing the existing plaster to delaminate and blow on the walls.  I have since had to have this whole room re-plastered at a cost of much more than the £300 you permitted me to retain. 

·         The back porch which was leaking:  you undertook and charged me to seal this off and make the room watertight.  The waterproof sealant you used washed off and you recoated in October 2019.  This is leaking again.  The board you used to overboard the old back door is not sealed correctly and is letting in water, causing the boards to swell.  I have tried to resolve this myself but have been unable to and therefore need this to be done by a professional.

·         The back double patio doors have not been sealed correctly at the sides, this lets water in to the plaster about 2 foot off the ground when the weather is stormy.

·         The patio doors do not seal at the bottom and again, let water in at the bottom of the doors.  They also allow a draft in and hot air out which make the house less energy efficient.

The patio doors do not close or lock properly, especially in summer. Despite you attempting to rectify this in October 2019, this has not resolved the issues with the doors.  They are not level, do not close properly and are not water or airtight.

I have given you several opportunities to rectify these issues and you either did not attempt to or the attempts you made failed to resolve them.  As I have given you opportunities to rectify this work already, I do not wish for you to attempt again

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 says that reasonable care and skill must be used while working.  In my opinion, you did not use reasonable care and skill when you carried out the work on my home and you have broken your contract with me.  

I am therefore seeking a full refund on the works you carried out on my home in 2018. I ask that you pay me the sum of £46,000 so that I can have your mistakes rectified.

You have informed me that you have submitted a claim to your insurance company, from whom I have not heard.  I have tried to contact you for more information about this and the timescales involved and have given you ample time to contact and address my concerns as well as to try to agree on a temporary resolution which might have mitigated your losses.   However, you have either ignored my communications completely or have responded by saying that there has been no news from your insurers.  At no time have you provided me with more detailed answers to my queries.

The liability for work carried out lies with you and not your insurer and I feel I have been very understanding and patient on these matters over the last two years.   However, it is over 2 years on from the original works and I wish to have the habitable space I paid you for.

You admitted your error whilst on a telephone call with me on 26/11/20 citing that you used the wrong type tape for the roof and you have never disputed error on the other matters, therefore I hope this situation can be resolved with ease and rapidity that will prevent further damage to my home.

Please contact me as soon as possible, and no later than 10 days from the date on this letter, i.e. no later than 26th January 2021, to agree a date by which I can expect the requested payment.

If I do not hear back from you in the time suggested above, I will be instructing my solicitor to pursue this claim.  Should you be a member of a dispute resolution scheme, I am willing to consider this as a means of mediation.


yours sincerely, 





Any advice on what to do should he ignore this letter or refuse to engage is very much welcome, I cant afford to mess this up again (the first mess up being choosing this individual for the works in the first place). 

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It would be helpful if you could simply produce a skeleton – bullet pointed – chronology of your letter because it's rather a lot to go through.

I do understand that you are asking for a refund of the entire cost of the works.
If this is correct then I think that this is unachievable. Presumably some of the materials which have been supplied and some of the installation is useful and at the very least you would have to pay for those.

The starting point here would be to get an independent inspection – maybe two independent inspections – of the quality of the work and to make a report as to the problems.

You would then need a couple of independent quotations for the costs of repairing the defects to the standard which was expected when you first commissioned the work.

If you could get loans, then we can take it further.

The fact that the builder is not limited liability company is important to the extent that they are not able to phoenix themselves – meaning that they not able simply to go into liquidation and then reappear under a similar name but escaping their legal liabilities.

On the other hand, if you find that you're going to have to you bring the claim then you are going to have to identify the builder – and any assets – and preferably any property that they owned. Can you do this?

Also, it will be in your interest to keep this issue to a figure less than £10,000 in order to keep you within the small claims limits for County Court claims – otherwise you risk a fair amount of costs if you happen to lose the case

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Thank you for your very quick response. 


I am asking for (almost) a full refund, in that I am asking for monies paid to him ( I paid over this due to directly paying for certain materials eg steel beams, planning applications, engineering calcs and drawings etc)  however, I anticipate that I won't get the full refund and am realistic about this.  I just did not want to ask for the amount to rectify and then him bring it down so that I am having to pay a lot of that too. Ideally he will cover the cost of rectification, plus consequential losses plus some to cover inconvenience.


I have had 3 independent quotes for the rectification of the works, coming in at £22-26, 000 including VAT.   The main issue is the roof in the loft, the windows and patio door replacement and the ensuite shower room needing taken out and replaced due to lack of water tight-ness and drainage issues.   I anticipate that the whole roof will need replacing and possibly some of the wooden structure of the dormer due to water ingress. all the decorating will need redoing which isn't included in the costs and I will also likely need temporary accommodation.   


I have not got the kind of money to fix this, all the money I had was spent on this works. I am not covered by my insurance as they say this is a consumer issue, they also aren't permitting me to use my legal cover, which I am pursuing with the financial  Ombudsman service.  


I don't believe a loan to be an option for me as I will be seeking one for IVF.


From speaking to him whilst he was doing the job, he does have money- kids in private school, nice house, flats they rent out, decent cars etc but whether the assets are in his name I do not know, how would I find this out?


Do you know what the type of inspection would be or who I would approach to do such an inspection?



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If you know where the man lives, you can find out who owns the house on the Land Registry website for £3. Same for properties he rents out.


Cars can be leased of course, he may not necessarily own it.



Illegitimi non carborundum




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I don't know the details for his rentals.  I just checked and his home is in his wife's name. 


I don't know what to do, are there companies or websites who do asset/background checking that I could check that all? 

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You can start off making searches on the land registry website to check the owners of properties. However, if property belongs to his wife then I can imagine that this guy has already protected himself by making sure that he has no assets personally.

Also, starting off by trying to claim a larger sum in the hope of getting a smaller sum – won't work. I think is extremely important that you are realistic about the situation immediately.

In other words, find out exactly what the cost of repairs are and then set that gets the money you've already paid/money not yet paid – and then come up with a figure.

There's no point in setting yourself completely unachievable targets which will simply have the effect of discrediting your claim.


When you come up with a proper figure then we can start to discuss options.

I see that apparently he says he is still insured that he has either refused or he has failed so far to contact his insurers.

Also, I asked you for a clear bullet pointed chronological breakdown of what has happened – and you haven't provided it

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I have obtained 3x independent Quotes, the average of the quotes was 24,000 including VAT but not including things like sanitary ware if that is damaged trying to rectify his works or new tiles.  In addition I have already spent £1000 and anticipate needing temporary accommodation for at least 1month but it is hard to know how long the works will take. 

I need to to exact calculations, and it is difficult to predict all costs but I believe in total I am looking at between £28,000 and £30,000


Here is a chronological bullet points of events, which I have sent to the builder and attempts at communications, it is still not short. 


  • May 2018- works began
  • October/November  2018 Original work completed.
  • 19th April 2019- first contacted builder with regards to patio doors; said he would get back to me.
  • May 2019- apologised for the delay and said he had hurt his knee 
  • 17th June 2019-  I chased him and said there were further issues I wanted to discuss and asked for him to arrange a walk through- we were unable to agree to a suitable time due to him only being available whilst I was at work.  My lodger then was ill and I suggested waiting until after his trip to glastonbury, . 
  • 4th July 2019- he contacted me to arrange times which responded to. I didn't get any further response.
  • 26th July 2019- I chased him- no response.
  • 31st July 2019- bumped into him in the street and he said things were tricky at home with his child and would be in touch.
  • 9th August 2019- had heard nothing so chased again.  Further conversation.
  • 18th August 2019- he contacted to ask if I was free on 19th august, we arranged that would be ok for you to come for a walk through
  • 19th august 2019.  he came to look at the issues- patio doors, bathroom grout behind shower, shower seal (it was leaking), bubbling& cracking plaster in the bathroom, joins of plasterboard buldging, loose floor tiles, sticking windows in the loft (unable to lock or close with ease) , leaking back porch , cracks on joints of plaster, gaps in frame of doors, gaps around and under fire doors, staircase looking not straight.   We arranged for him to come on 3rd September.
  • 2nd September 2019- he messaged to say that he was no longer able to attend the following day due to meetings regarding his child. Asked for key to let himself in and do it when he was able to whilst I was at work. I responded and suggested some local services to help with his family circumstances.  Also outlined priorities and said I wasn't willing to leave a key as I wished to be there. I suggested he propose another suitable date. 
  • 4th October 2019- he got in touch with a proposed date of 15th. 
  • 5th October 2019 I agreed and asked if the back bedroom plasterwork (outstanding from completion) could be done then too.  I got no response.
  • 6th October 2019- I contacted him to alert him to the face that the roof was leaking through the bathroom light. I said i felt it needed to be resolved before the 15th October when he planned to be here as it was an active leak.   
  • 11th October 2019- he messaged to say that you contacted my partner when unable to get in touch with me,  he no longer wished to speak via my partner as he mentioned reporting him if he didn't start resolving things. 
  • 11th october phonecall- arranged 16th October  instead of 15th to come over to do things. 
  • 15th October 2019- i contacted again to say that the bathroom leak has worsened.  he responded to say that he would be there on 16th as arranged.  I responded to say that this was for information purposes to let him know it wasn't an isolated incident.
  • 16th October- he did not come to the house. he texted to say that his day was consumed by his daughter and he would come the following week (w/c 21st). 
  • 21st October- he messaged to say the ladder he needed had not arrived and he wouldn't be coming until Wednesday 23rd.
  • 23rd October- I messaged to ask what time to expect him.  he replied to say not until saturday or sunday. 
  • 26th October- he messaged to say he was off to merchants and would be here at 9 and he planed  to start in the shower room. he then messaged to say nearer 9.30. I said ok. then he said 10.  I messaged to ask what the hold up was as I had to go out to get something.  he arrived around 10.30.
  • 26th October2019 -  Bathroom-he was to regrout shower, floor , fix the silicone seal and fix the fall on the shower drainage.  He did the sillicone, in white (not clear as previous) and although sealed, the silicone is extremely messy .  The grout is still cracked or missing from between the shower tiles.  the floor- he removed and redid a tile but this was not flat to the floor and the tiles are loose once again.    I also raised the bubbling of paint and the plasterboard joins etc and he suggested this was due to me not doing a proper mist coat (which I did) when decorating. he wet vacuumed the drain in the shower which didn't resolve anything. Back porch- he was to rectify this as it was leaking- he coated this in something rubbery I believe. On this day he also went onto the loft roof and was to recoat and reseal. patio doors- adjusted, UPVC windows upstairs adjusted.  he left saying he would check warranty on the UPVC glazing items and would  be in touch to see how things were but did not get in touch. 
  • 31st October-  I had the back, lower bedroom replastered by someone else to fix issues caused by him not weather proofing the loft when the roof had been removed and his men putting their feet through the ceiling 3 times. 
  • 16th february 2020- I contacted him to let him know the patio doors were leaking at the joins, the bottom as well as part way up the frame at the join to the wall.  I let him know there were still issues with other things such as the shower, drain,  etc and I got no reponse.  (At this stage the roof was not leaking again) 
  • 18th february-  I emailed to the same effect as 16th Feb.  I included photographs.  I got no response. 
  • May 2020- my roof began to leak again. 
  • 28th May 2020-  I contacted my insurance legal helpline who suggested I get quotes from independent builders to find a middle quote. This took some time- many builders in the area were either not working due to covid, had long waiting lists or did not wish to take on the job because it was rectifying mistakes. 
  • June 2020- I began to  collate all information regarding this situation, printed and filed all original communications, quotes, estimates and invoices. 
  • September 2020- had the final quote, submitted a claim for legal assistance to my  insurer.  
  • October- 2020- claim denied by legal cover.  complained.  Ongoing. 
  • October 2020- contacted builder again (from another number, he answered!) with all information,  including other quotes, photographs. Said I was looking for refund/partial refund to cover the cost of rectification of works plus consequential losses and inconvenience.  Asked if he was willing to engage to try to rectify.  He said he had lots on and wasn't able to fix it and I said I wasn't looking for him to do this, I was looking for refund to cover the cost of fixing.  he said he had insurance and would contact his broker. 
  • November2020- admitted fault and says he used the wrong tape on the roof.  Says he has submitted a claim through his broker, he asked me for a timeline, which I provided as above.  I have asked for a claim reference number, the insurance company details or any info he has about the process and expected timeline.  He ignored this request.
  • December 2020- I contacted again  several times , asking again for the insurance details and if he would be willing to organise scaffolding and a temporary roof to mitigate his losses and prevent further damage to my home.  He ignored any information and the request to weatherproof the house, he just kept texting to say 'no news' then told me he was going on Annual leave until January 4th 2021. 
  • January 2021, he has not contacted me and so I sent the above letter which I included in my OP. 


Edited by unhappy83an
didn't bullet point or answer one question properly.
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On the basis of what you say, you will have no difficulty bringing a successful claim against him.

The problem is that first of all, bringing a claim of this size – even if you win will incur costs for yourself and it seems to me that you may have problems enforcing the judgement.

It is never worth beginning a claim unless you know that you can identify assets belonging to the defendant so that you can enforce the judgement. If you can't enforce judgement then bring any claim is simply a waste of money.

The second problem here is that your claim exceeds the £10,000 small claims limit and this means that costs will be even greater. Also, in the event that he starts to cause problem and resists the claim, you could find that your costs are escalating and once again even if you win, you will not be able to enforce the judgement and you will lose everything. If you happen to lose, then it would be catastrophic because you would have to pay a substantial part of his cost as well.

If you want to proceed with this at all then I think that you are going to have to look at away of dividing the claim up into smaller parts so that you can identify a particular aspect of it which is less than £10,000 to deal with. A claim of £2000 or £3000 would be much easier and much cheaper and then if you won that, you could attempt the enforcement and see where that got you. On the basis of that, you could decide to proceed with further claims – attempting each time to keep the value of the claim to less than £10,000.

At least if you had a successful claim for £2000 and you are unable to enforce it, you would have kept your costs to a minimum. Also, it would have the effect of impacting on his credit file which he might find rather difficult to deal with. You can even bring a number of smaller claims if you simply wanted to hit is credit file and causing a great deal of difficulty over a long period of time. That might persuade him to start dealing with you.

He says that he is insured – but you aren't able to get hold of his insurance details. If you got a judgement against him then you might find some way of persuading him/forcing him to supply you with his insurance details – if they exist.
However, I can imagine that his insurance will not cover him for bad work. It will only cover him for accidents.


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Thanks for your response. 


Is there a way for me to find out if he has assets? 


I looked at small claims court and dividing the issues, but I read somewhere (maybe citizens advice or GOV. website?!) that you cannot claim against the same person twice for matters arising from the same incident so I'm not sure that it would work out as surely it would be seen that these issues have all arisen from the same incident (his original work)? 

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My personal view is that if you break down the work into various parts and treat each one is a breach of contract then each claim would refer to different set of facts.

However, I take the point you're making.

In terms of tracking down his assets – I'm afraid the only thing I can suggest which I think I've already suggested above is that you get the addresses of any properties fees associated with and run them through the land registry website and see what that brings. There is a small fee for each search.

If you find that all of the properties are in the names of his wife or other relatives, and I think that you had better understand that you are dealing with somebody who knows their way round, and is very calculating about what they do and how they can avoid liabilities.

Do you have any kind of bank details for him? You might be able to get an order against his bank account – assuming that it is still live.

At the very least, if you wanted to cause a bit of discomfort then if you tried running a few very small claims simply to get judgements which would then remain unsatisfied and which would at least impact is credit file. Not a very nice way to go about things – but but at least it's another way of bringing some pressure to bear.

It's too late now but I think that you may be didn't embark on this in the best way. I would certainly wanted to see his insurance documents and also to contact the insurers to begin with to make sure that they would cover these kinds of problems – although as I have said, I don't expect they would have done.

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