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Defective building work - builder disputing


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Hello there, recently had an extension built, took builder an extra 4 months to complete over the 4 month agreed timescale, huge inconvenience to us and impact on our family, we raised concerns about workmanship throughout, some issues fixed, others he claimed ‘that’s how we do it’.

 

He’s an FMB and Trading standards Buy with Confidence member. He denies defects so we’ve had an independent expert witness report undertaken which lists lots of issues: defects, non compliance building regs, not to plan etc including the fact some of his ‘fixes’ haven’t fixed the issues. We’ve sent him the report, stating we will be getting another contractor to quote to undertake the work and will claim back cost from him.

 

We have one last invoice from him due, this will not cover the cost of remediation work. We’ve issued a notice of not paying final amount and that unless we can agree a resolution we will be raising a dispute with FMB.

 

Anybody has any similar experiences? It’s so stressful.  Anything I need to be mindful off? We haven’t engaged with a solicitor yet, feeling we might have to.. thank you in advance for any advice. 

Edited by Mrs ABC
Paragraphs added for ease of reading. HB
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Hello, welcome to CAG.

 

I expect people will be along to advise how to handle this and if you look at other threads about builders in this subforum, we can help you with the legal stuff too. Please bear with us until the advisers can get here. :)

 

Best, HB

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Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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What is the value of the contracted work?
What is the value of the remedial work intended to address the defects?
Have you incurred any other losses because of the delays all the independent assessment? Maybe you could list them out.

What is the name of the builder?

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Hi there, thank you for responding.. 

 

- value is £80k

- desperately trying to get quotes for remediation from others , difficult due to time of year.  
- Independent Assessment £1500,

- £200 septic tank emptying as they routed ground water to it & clogged it up with soil and it blocked the system just 2 months after it was last emptied, normally emptied annually 

- I work from home as a therapist, have had to limit my biz growth, not advertise or offer day sessions as they’ve overrun, need to quantify how many appointments I potentially have missed

- have had to delay trades, flooring, decorators etc prices may have increased

- had to pay £500 for muck away, because they bought the muck from another job to level our garden rather than using the muck  from the soakaways they didn’t want to dig but we’re made to by building control 

 

think that’s most areas of costs..  

 

Name is Maple Builders (Hampshire) ltd. 
 

thank you 
 

 

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This is from Companies House. Is it the same people?

 

FIND-AND-UPDATE.COMPANY-INFORMATION.SERVICE.GOV.UK

MAPLE BUILDING SERVICES (HAMPSHIRE) LTD - Free company information from Companies House including registered office address, filing history...

 

HB

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Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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So the value of the contract was £80,000

You had an independent inspection which cost you £1500 you had no quotes yet for the cost of remedial work.

I think there is very little you can do until you understand what is going to cost you to put things right.

I understand very well that this time of year it may be difficult but you better move this along as a priority.

In the meantime, keep a close detail on the expenses you incur and also the amount of time that you spend dealing with this – even learning about it or visiting this forum.

If the remedial cost is less than £10,000 then you would be looking at a claim which goes onto the small claims track – assuming that it has to go to court. The small claims track means that even if you lose you won't be liable for the other side's costs. However if the claim exceeds £10,000 then it would normally go on to the fast track and this means that you would be liable for a substantial amount of the other side's costs if you lost.

Even if you win your case – which on the basis of what you say seems pretty likely – you then have the problem of enforcement and so you need to make enquiries as to the assets of the company.

They seem to be very well established – 2007 – accounts up-to-date – but the strange thing is that there only seems to be three reviews available and for a company which had been going that long, one would expect several hundreds – a mixture of good and bad.

I always treat good reviews with scepticism and I'm always more interested in the three star reviews, the two star reviews and the one star reviews – but here there is very little to go on.

You say that you are considering going to a solicitor. I would hold off for the moment and let's see what we can find out and advise here. The more work you do for yourself than the less money you will have to pay to a solicitor – but don't imagine that if you win, you are going to have all your solicitors costs covered.
It doesn't work that way. You simply get reasonable costs covered and the rest you have to bear yourself.

Also, solicitors aren't very agile in their approach and you could end up in several months of exchange of correspondence before finally your solicitor decided that maybe it was time to bring a claim.

You will find that we tend to take a rather more assertive and aggressive approach once we are certain that you have got a substantial chance of winning.

You had better set about getting quotes for the work – and of course in the end you may even have to get another independent assessment. But not yet.

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Quote

Thank you both for your prompt responses.  Totally agree ref reviews. We went with them because they are FMB and Trading Standards members, little did we know this counts for little, they were also highly recommended by neighbours over the road and were mid priced out of the 3 quotes we received.  We thought we were making a good choice. Ref assets, sorry to be naive but how can I ascertain?  I know they have 2 vans, a digger, tools etc but no idea if they own or lease etc  I’m working on chasing builders for quotes etc. To date we’ve spent a huge number of hours on this liasing with the builders & then trading standards etc it’s consumed our life.. but press on we must.  

Thank you both for your prompt responses.  

 

Totally agree ref reviews.

We went with them because they are FMB and Trading Standards members, little did we know this counts for little, they were also highly recommended by neighbours over the road and were mid priced out of the 3 quotes we received.  

We thought we were making a good choice.

 

Ref assets, sorry to be naive but how can I ascertain?

 I know they have 2 vans, a digger, tools etc but no idea if they own or lease etc  I’m working on chasing builders for quotes etc.

 

To date we’ve spent a huge number of hours on this liasing with the builders & then trading standards etc it’s consumed our life.. but press on we must.  

 

10 minutes ago, honeybee13 said:

Mrs ABC, could you confirm I posted a link about the right company please? The name you gave us didn't come up when I googled.

 

HB

Yes that’s them! 

Edited by BankFodder
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Please will you notice that my site team colleague has had to restructure your first post to introduce spacing to make it more readable and I have just had to do the same thing with your most recent post.

We would prefer not to have to do this

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Thank you.

 

Yes it’s residential. Owned by the builder & his wife who are both company directors. 

12 minutes ago, BankFodder said:

Please will you notice that my site team colleague has had to restructure your first post to introduce spacing to make it more readable and I have just had to do the same thing with your most recent post.

We would prefer not to have to do this


Huge apologies. 
 

 

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Although they own the property, it doesn't mean that it is a company asset.

 

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  • 1 month later...

Hi there. an update for you

 

1) independent surveyor report was sent to builder on 13 Dec.

 

2) builder only responded yesterday. They dispute the majority of the issues identified. Claiming for example: that we have influenced the expert witness surveyor, that we have caused some of the issues by undoing work, that that the surveyor is wrong, 

 

3) through trading standards we gave them the month of nov to finish plus put things (known) right, at no point did they say a month was unreasonable, they were onsite for less than 10 days of nov,  early nov building control initially visited and highlighted issues, they claim building control have now signed off their work at the end of nov

 

4) building control visited last week at my request, there are still issues with their work, it has not been signed off and never was at the end of nov 

 

4) builder now says there they didn’t have time to put known things right in nov (they are always contradicting themselves) and that they should be allowed to return to site  to fix these ‘minor snags’, the majority are not minor snags, they are building regulation contraventions 

 

5) we have quotes from 3rd parties to do the work. We do not want the original builders back because: 

 

a)quality of their workmanship has been called into question by ourselves, building control and a 3rd party surveyor 

 

b) lack of trust in what they tell us - for example they’ve deviated from the plan, used different materials, refused to fix items saying nothing wrong and it’s how they always do it, refused to give deadlines, knowingly cut corners, have said work is signed off when it isn’t etc 

 

c) their behaviour:  smoking weed on site, urinating next to my garden office, swearing, smoking, leaving the house with doors wide open and unlocked, leaving site unsafe with scaffold boards & materials lying across/over paths at end of day/week, all these things were raised with them verbally & in emails 

 

d) they repeatedly said they hate working for us, they can’t wait to leave, none of them enjoy coming here etc

 

so, my question is.. do we have to allow them to return or can we say that we want a refund or for them to cover 3rd party costs? 
 

im feeling that they have had enough opportunities to do the right thing and put things right, I’m also feeling that we aren’t being unreasonable by not wanting them back..

 

they say they can’t understand why we are rushing to get 3rd parties to finish the job and that the job is ‘live ‘ with them.  

my feeling is that this job should have been finished in July (at no point have they provided a revised completion date despite us asking numerous times), they were given nov to finish & go, we’ve not heard from them over past 2 months so how could it still be live, and that we’ve spent 2 cold months living in a half finished house which doesn’t have heating completed, is damp & draughty, Ofcourse we want to get it finished asap!


Any input would be appreciated, thank you.

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Looking at our contract we can refuse to let them return if we have enough concerns about their work / competence, which I believe we do.

 

 I have raised a dispute with the Federation of Master Builders. I’m not expecting much support from their mediation / ADR process but understand it’s a process we need to follow if we want to proceed with this. 

 

So, if unsuccessful I’m assuming the step after would involve a claim, quotes coming in over £10k, although I think there are some items that we would not put in the claim and just have to put up with (like cladding material not being what was verbally agreed) so potentially it could be under £10k.

 

We owe the builder nearly £4K which we’ve held back, as per contract where we gave them a pay less notification for final monies owed. 

 

Am I right that they could have raised a dispute  with FMB if they had a desire to resolve? In any case we’ve just raised one, and that they could now put in a claim against us for monies outstanding? 
 

Final question, we’ve held back neatly £4K, cost estimate of work we want fixing (I.e we can’t live with as non compliance building regs, really unsatisfactory work etc), probably about £12k, would our claim then be for £8k so could go through small claims court? 

 

thank you for any advice/support, I’ve never been in this situation before, it’s making me very anxious and scared tbh. 

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Hi

 

One question, during all of these issues and faults picked up by yourself during the works you did take photographic evidence of all these issues as I see no mention of this so far could you lets us know?

 

Also could you give us a bullet point break down of all this from the start till now with dates and please make it as brief as possible so we can see exactly what has went on. 

 

 

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I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

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Hi there. Yes I do have some pictures. The independent surveyor also took extensive pictures. 
 

I do have a document with bullet points on that gives an overview. It’s not brief though. I will try to shorten it down and post a summary on here later today. 
 

thank you for replying. 

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ok, really sorry, its not brief, concerns about behaviour, quality of work, non compliance, pricing,  so heres a long list of events, Ive condensed it as much as I can,  its in attachment, found i couldnt paste into here, hope that ok....

consumer action notes.docx

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For info QASSS Alternative Dispute Resolution link:

QASSS.CO.UK

QASSS provide CTSI approved industry-leading alternative dispute resolution services for the home improvement sector. To find out more, call 0161 676...

 

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

FORUM RULES - Please ensure to read these before posting **FORUM RULES CLICK HERE**

I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

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  • 4 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Well, after 30 days mediation has ended, with no resolution, FMB saying me leaving honest reviews in Google & trade directories as causing toxicity, kind of grates as today we found significantly more non compliance issues which are going to cost more to fix.
 

Now to decide next steps. Feeling time for legal process. Claim is for circa £15k, we owe builder circa £4K, so would my claim be £9k, can I count the amount we’ve held back as covering remedial work? I’ve been hearing advice not to split claim into multiple <£10k claims to get through small claims, any feedback?

 

I can’t afford the risk of fast track ;(.  Thank you for any advice. 

Edited by Mrs ABC
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Hi, I could really do with some advice please.

 

I’d asked for a copy of his insurance & warranty provision (he’s on the trustmark register)  he’s refusing to give it unless my solicitor sends a letter.  

 

is this right?!! 
 

thanks 

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