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Mysterious leak, builders don't know, single joint expert?

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I hired a builder about 7 years ago to build an extension, shortly after this date the roof began to leak and I took the builder to Court and won the price to fix the gaps in the exterior flat felt roofing causing the leak. (gaps in the felt allowed rainwater to enter into building)


Years later, there is a mysterious latent roof leak/drip with visible damp marks, many builders have come to quote and could not find the issue. One builder stated they could attempt to find the issue by opening up the ceiling, causing damage, but there is no guarantee.


I am almost certain that this is a condensation leak as the leakage occurs only when it is warm inside and cold outside. This has caused significant damp marks and the roof to sink in when stood on so I believe the roof wood is all rotten due to condensation/damp.


Strangely one builder commented that the roof had soffit vents all around so it shouldn't be condensation. I believe the roof has been built in a way not to allow air to circulate and is fundamentally defective (even with air vents the build of the roof prevents air circulation) therefore the whole roof should be rebuilt properly, especially as roof is all rotten internally effecting the structural stability.


Am I right in suing the builder for the full price to replace the roof, and applying for a impartial, single joint expert so I can get permission to incur the costs, damages, and find the fault? I plan to mention the above in my Claim - that the fault is unknown and want expert to find this.


The flooring is gradually falling apart as well. I am relying on the Latent Damage Act to bring the claim as limitation period has passed. (and Henderson v Henderson to bring a second claim as these two latent defects did not exist when I previously sued)


Thanks everyone

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The latent damage act is certainly the way to go. Have you told the builder that you are proposing to do this? Have you had an independent expert assess the problem for you so that you have some evidential basis for proceeding?

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Thank you BankFodder for your help


I think I may have left it a bit late as the leak began around 2 years ago. Although I don't think this would effect the cost of repairs as my belief is the roof was built in a way which prevents air circulation - it would have to be replaced in any case.


No I haven't told the builder anything about this. I haven't had any inspection, isn't requesting a SJE better as if I get an inspector I may not be able to recover fees and builder could argue inspector was acting in my interest as I was directly paying him. What would happen if I just sent my claims to Court and requested an SJE to back me up?



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I would have thought that the prudent thing to do would be to carry out your own research, establish your case so that you are confident about what you're going to do – and then begin your attack on the builder.

This means that you should carry out your own independent assessment. If the independent assessment confirms your suspicions you can then approach the builder and disclosure independent assessment and give the builder an opportunity to carry out their own independent assessment.

If the builder declines to carry out their own independent assessment and that itself is significant and you will then be in a better position to understand what action you should take.

Apart from anything else, if you are going to begin a claim then you need to know how much you are claiming for. In order to do this you will need at least one independent assessment which identifies the problems, solutions – and gives you an estimate for the remedial work

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks again BF


I am suing for the quote/price to redo the entire roof based on my suspicion that roof is built in a way which prevents air circulation - condensation resulting from this has caused a leakage, cosmetic stains and the entire roof wood is rotten which is evident when the roof is stood on as the roof sinks under my weight.


I see it as a gamble either way, either I can get a damp surveyor for £300 which offer no guarantees to find the issue and only provide their speculations. Then I would have to get another damp surveyor and keep gambling.


Last time a surveyor gave me an incorrect survey for a different issue, took him to Court and he only said it was a "visual" survey. This means they have legal immunity and no guarantee.


I think the worst case scenario if I sue the builder based on my suspicions is that a SJE will be appointed and their findings will say my suspicions are incorrect. I doubt a Judge will strike out my claim because I have only provided my suspicions without backing this with an assessment?


If the Judge asks me why I didn't get an assessment, I'll tell him damp surveyors offer no guarantee to find issue for £300. 


It is so stressful for me to choose between the two approaches on bringing the claim, but I think the worst option is to go with surveyors which offer no guarantees.



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Okay well keep us updated as to how it goes.

If you have any questions then of course ask them here

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