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Scaffolders not taking away the scaffolding.


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I have recently  finished a first floor extension.  I told the scaffolders we no longer needed the scaffolding and it could all be cleared from site. They said they would take it down in  7 days, then end of following week, then "Soy we couldn't make it will collect it soon". Four weeks later they have still not collected it. When they erected it in December (for a fixed fee) , we  had no discussion about how long it would take them to remove it. I gather we are now storing it for them free and they will just leave it here until they need it for another job. One week ago, I  wrote to them telling them if it is still here by this Saturday (two days time) I will treat it as abandoned. I expect they will have just laughed at that threat. I am concerned the scaffolding will not be collected for weeks yet.

 

What is my next move if the scaffolding is still up after this weekend? Do I charge them a storage fee (which of course they won't pay)?  Do I tell them it's listed on ebay for £1 buyer to collect...........actually that's stupid. They will get a 'buddy' to buy  it for £1 and be employed by the buddy to take it away on Monday,  then sue me for its full value. I doubt another scaffolding firm will touch it and in any case I don't want to pay out more to another firm. Do I take it down myself so at least we can get out the patio doors and start tidying up (although somehow I guess that would be unlawful).

 

Somehow I feel there is little I can do except hope it is removed sooner than later. 

 

Any advise greatfully received.

Its WAR

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You could start by telling us the name of the company. Have you checked around to see if people are complaining about this kind of behaviour from them?

What you could do is you could get a quotation from somebody to dismantle the scaffolding and to take it away and store it.

You could then write to them and give them short notice that this is what is going to happen and they will then have to deal with the company which is storing it.

However, you might be dealing with some fairly heavy duty people!

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"Heavy duty people" hah, yes. Why is it all scaffolders always  appear to be feral?  Anyway, just had a text saying they will be here on Monday to remove. So maybe the threat worked. We will see. 

Its WAR

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Well, that was interesting. They arrived first thing this morning and started loading up a few loose poles. I went out happy to see them and thanked him for being early. His reply was a bolshy request for another £80. I refused. He got angry saying along the lines of,  "I don't work for nothing, time is money". I stayed calm and said he was paid in advance to install and remove and I had paid him the price in advance. He argued he had to come back 8 weeks ago to do a small amount of work for the builder (who needed a few poles and planks moved to get to some pointing). I replied that he hadn't mentioned a cost for this at the time or asked for payment then. No bill in the post has requested payment and no mention of it in the trail of texting. He got argumentative and said he would not take the scaffolding down unless I paid him,  and he started to pack up the lorry, as if to leave. I said any extra charges would balance a cost that I would apply for storage and that he really should just take away the scaffolding as he promised 3 times in the past month and that it really should have gone a month ago and I wasn't prepared to act as free storage.  I said again he had been paid to do it, and this was what I expected him to do today and if he didn't remove it I would reinforce my position that I would assume, if the scaffolding was still here by the end of today, he was abandoning it and things would have to get legal. He mentioned how he didn't respond to threats.

 

Then in quite a mood, he started (with a colleague) to remove the planks etc so I just left them to it. After 30 minutes of work they sat in their cab  with the engine running, which lasted 10 minutes and have just now, driven off. Nothing further was said.  The scaffolding poles are still up  (all the planks, the ladder and the loose stuff, ie anything I could easily move, has gone) .

 

This happened 20 minutes ago. My initial thoughts are not to respond and wait for his next move. I expect this might be a text later today, or I might hear nothing and he doesn't come back until he needs the poles. I am really tempted to get them removed by another firm (although I doubt another firm would want to be involved), but this would cost way more than £80 and seems disingenuous to pay out more money to escalate an argument rather than to have been forced to pay more. I believe it would be illegal for me to take them down myself as I am not certified.  

 

Thing is , we were looking forward to tidying up outside and being able to open the bifolds. But I have a feeling the scaffolding might be here to stay for a few weeks or months yet.

 

 

 

Its WAR

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Scaffolder has ignored my requests to ascertain his intentions. So I have sent this today.

Dear Mr …………..,

In order to comply with HSE legislation you are liable to ensure the scaffolding installed at my property is safe. Regular checks and notices need to have been applied since it’s installation on 16th December 2020. It is my view the scaffolding is now unsafe as you have failed to properly apply this legislation with the regular checks and notices and have removed planking and parts from it rendering it less safe as it now stands and for others to dismantle. My inspection also identifies some loose uprights which appear not to take any weight.

In order to remove further continued risk of harm I require you to immediately dismantle and remove the scaffolding. I expect this to occur within the next 48 hours.  In order to mitigate continued risk should you fail to remove the scaffolding by Saturday 22 May 2021, I shall arrange for the dismantling and storage of the items. Storage costs of £20 per week will apply along with the costs incurred in dismantling.

In order to avoid escalating this matter, I therefore encourage you to arrange via text message, to remove the items. Please text to…………………... I suggest you to do so without further delay. If there are further costs due to you relating to any extra work you have done which has not yet been  invoiced or for which you have not been paid (referring to the £80 you alluded to on Monday), I will take the pragmatic view in order to bring this matter to a speedy conclusion,  and will be happy to take care of that once you have dismantled the scaffolding and are ready to leave site. 

Further should you fail to remove the scaffolding, the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977 allows me to sell goods left at my property.

The Act states I must serve notice stating my intention to dispose of the items, how you can arrange collection, and that disposal of the items will not begin until the notice has expired.

I am now also giving you notice in accordance with the Act to remove the abandoned scaffolding from my property within the next 28 days of this letter. For the avoidance of doubt, I will also issue a summons in the County Court on 15th July 2021 to recover any costs incurred in dismantling or any other amount I incur should the items not be sold or are sold for a lesser amount than the fees incurred.

Should this matter remain unresolved on Saturday 22 May 2021, I will also report the matter to the HSE. However, I remain hopeful none of the above escalations will be required and I expect you will agree your removal of the scaffolding by that date will settle these matters subject of course to the additional £80 you alluded to the other day.

Yours sincerely

Its WAR

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