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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69359
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hi, I would appreciate your advice and guidance on a matter

Customer Question

Hi,

I would appreciate your advice and guidance on a matter which has , with friends, on the completion of some work for them.


In November 2012 my Ltd company, AG Garden Design and Construction Ltd, provided friends with an estimate for work to be carried out in their garden. As per the Estimate the works to be carried out were as follows:

“To remove the shrub area near house and down left hand side of the drive. Build sleeper wall to retain grass area. Excavate drive for electrical work, underground cabling to garage and also gates. Hang new gates and install electrics to gate. Excavate area for summerhouse and retain with sleepers and build step to lawn area. Top soil area to existing lawn. Cover driveway in new stones and seating area. Remove shrubs from brick wall & dispose of rubbish off site.”

At the end of the summer I had a call from Gareth and Sarah to say that the gates were no longer hanging straight and that the posts had moved. A company called Speedwell Automation attended site to look at the gates and provided Sarah and Gaz with a written assessment of the issue. In this assessment it was said that the gates had been incorrectly installed, this I feel is an unfair and an incorrect statement. Advice was sought from a local wood yard, who provided the gates, on the best way to hang such solid gates. They advised on having 3 braces which is why an additional brace was welded. In the assessment Speedwell Automation commented on not only the gates being installed incorrectly but that the electrics not conforming to the required health and safety regulatory requirements.

The electrics for the gates were chosen and supplied by the customer and I had an electrician carry out the wiring and installation. The electrician recommended an electric kit but the customer decided it was too expensive. See attached email ‘FW: gates’ from the Electrician regarding this, in this email my Electrician states the following:

“Just replying to your email you sent Danny regarding the electrical gate installation. A little disappointed you didn't contact me directly regarding your concerns.

Firstly you supplied the gate automation kit yourselves after declining my quote of a turnkey installation due to the costs, ironically the CAME make was one of the makes I recommended to you the other being BFT, CAME being the one you would like your existing system replaced with.

Secondly regarding the safety issue, I made you well aware of the additional sensors and a keypad for pedestrians to exit but again you declined to purchase them for your kit due to the cost at that stage. Certainly with the keypad I believe you said 'you might fit one at a later date'.

With this in mind and the fact that you provided the gate kit yourselves I cannot be responsible for the quality of the kit supplied. If you wish to purchase additional sensors and have them fitted to your existing system then I would be more than happy to do this. If you want to take out your existing system and put in a completely different one because you are not happy with your original purchase then that would have to be at your cost.”



Attached is the email correspondence from Gareth where he is insisting that I pay for everything to be righted. As a goodwill gesture, as these were friends, I said I would be willing to pay for the posts to be replaced with metal, as advised by Speedwell Automation. I would pay for the posts and associated Labour to install these but not anything to do with the electric kit. I had nothing to do with the choice of electric kit and Gareth and Sarah ignored the advice from the electrician when they purchased the kit, surely my Ltd company is not liable for this? I asked that the posts and associated labour be split out in Speedwell Automations quote as the initial quote was for a complete job, on receiving the breakdown I am astonished at the amount they are expecting me to pay, see ‘untitled attachment’ pdf. I have been in the Landscape industry for many years now and feel the cost is completely unreasonable, I am getting independent quotes to support what I believe to be a fair payment offer.

I am not sure if this impacts anything but due to changes in circumstances my Ltd Company is in the process of being closed and has no assets. From 1st September 2013 I started trading as a Sole trader.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Hi.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this

What would you like to know about this please?.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

were I stand on this matter and what I need to do to move forward on this matter??

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
How much are they asking for?

What are they alleging is wrong with the electrical installation?

What else are they now saying is wrong?

I understand that you did not supply the parts and therefore I am only concerned with the installation and not the hardware

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Danny,

Thanks for your response and proposal. I have attached the breakdown of the costs received from Speedwell Automation as requested with the installation of the new posts only, coming to £4080


 


However, I would like to be clear I am requesting you cover the complete cost to rectify all the issues with the installation at £5187.84 which includes the requirement to fit the replacement automation system due to the initial configuration not meeting health and safety standards and regulations.

With regards XXXXX XXXXX electric work and discussions with Barry, none of the independent reviews highlighted any issues with the electrics, and the work carried out was not to remediate any electrical fault as far as I am aware. However if this was the case I would expect the resolution and my communication line to be direct with you, as you quoted for the electrical installation of the gates. Therefore any issues you may have with your sub contractors I would envisage you would deal with separately and independently.

Please let me know how you would like to proceed..


 


Regards,


 


Gareth

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

That we didn't fit up todate underground mechanism...I believe a new law was introduced after a child was killed by some motorised gates.


 


This is what they are unhappy with..!!


 


Nothing wrong with installation of electrical installation as done by a professional, just not happy with the kit not conforming to the new legislation.


 


I do believe this came in after we installed the kit.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
There are two issues.

The first is the posts.

The second is the electrical installation.

You appear to accept that the posts were defective although you followed on the yard guidance in that respect.

Do you consider that the wood yard advice was incorrect?

What exactly is wrong with the electrical installation? Not the equipment, just the installation? To what exactly is it that does not conform?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

As they were friends I gave them two options on the posts, they could have either soft wood posts or iroko posts.


 


There was a huge difference in costs as iroko is a hard wood and a lot stronger and softwood half the price. I showed them my costs upfront and they thought that iroko were so expensive and wouldn't pay for them.


So my only option left was softwood as I wouldn't cover the costs for iroko.


 


The yard only advised on the brackets that hang the gates...they advised two braces one at the top and another in the middle with an additional plate I had made which was welded to the arm of the mechanism.


 


Nothing wrong with the installation all done to high standards just that the system we put in doesn't stop if someone walks outside the sensor area.


 


My electrician gave advice for having child sensors fitted but they came in quite expensive and they said will put them in on a later date.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

This is the email from my electrician to Mr Evans on the subject??


 


Hi Gareth



just replying to your email you sent Danny regarding the electrical gate installation. A little disappointed you didn't contact me directly regarding your concerns.



Firstly you supplied the gate automation kit yourselves after declining my quote of a turnkey installation due to the costs, ironically the CAME make was one of the makes I recommended to you the other being BFT, CAME being the one you would like your existing system replaced with.



Secondly regarding the safety issue, I made you well aware of the additional sensors and a keypad for pedestrians to exit but again you declined to purchase them for your kit due to the cost at that stage. Certainly with the keypad I believe you said 'you might fit one at a later date'.



with this in mind and the fact that you provided the gate kit yourselves I cannot be responsible for the quality of the kit supplied. If you wish to purchase additional sensors and have them fitted to your existing system then I would be more than happy to do this. If you want to take out your existing system and put in a completely different one because you are not happy with your original purchase then that would have to be at your cost.



I hope this clarifies things and I look forward to your prompt response regarding this matter.



regards



Barry

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thanks.

Are they now saying that although they didn’t want the better posts, the post you put in are inadequate?

Are they also saying that whilst they did not want to pay for all this safety equipment, it should be fitted and you should pay?

Surely when you provided the estimate for the work it should have estimated for adequate posts and adequate safety equipment.

I cannot immediately understand why when you provided the estimate they started changing the specifications.

Are you saying that you estimated to do the job and if you had done it as estimated, it would have all been satisfactory but they didn’t like the price and therefore they cut back on various things and as a result of their cutbacks, the job is now not satisfactory? Is that an accurate summary?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

yes - when we left site I have four men on site I had a welder, carpenter, me & also the electrician.


 


Those gates were all accurate and got the customer too it as well. The gates were all level and welded to a professional level.


 


The reason the posts are bending our the weight of the gates and also we had a very warm summer and also has been very wet, causing the wood to expand and contract.


 


They are asking me to pay the full amount, which I think is very unfair as I wasn't involved in the electrics just supplied the contractor as I work with him all the time and we work well together.


 


I also think that what they are asking of £4080 for install of posts only supply and fit is very expensive. I spoke to my welder and he can supply metal posts and install for know more than £1500 so there price is extremely over the top.


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Would it be possible to give me the information I asked for?

I understand what they are claiming. What I am trying to establish is whether you have failed to do the job properly in the first instance, or rather, whether they have any grounds to maintain that.

Why did you not quote for steel posts in the first place?



Customer: replied 3 years ago.

in 10 years of landscaping never been asked for them.


 


My issue was if he didn't want to spend money on Iroko wooden posts how would I convince him to go for metal posts which would have been more money and something that I shouldn't have to pay for.


 


Mr Evans also had a issue that he didn't like metal work, I had to have all the brackets sprayed black and plates.


 


hope this helps?


 


Danny

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
We appear to be going around in circles and I am anxious to try to assist.

For what posts did you quote originally?

For what electrics did you quote originally?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I didn't quote for any posts as I just priced for the labour to hang them & install. The customer bought the gates from barlows of hermitage direct and they asked me to get prices for softwood and iroko posts to which I showed them the quote and they made a decision based on those prices.


 


electrics I quoted to install from gates up to garage and installation of the motors and all sensors.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thanks.

If your quote was just to hand and install them then you are not responsible for any material shortcomings and that seems to be the basis of their claim.

However, if the electrician did something wrong then you are liable for that.

That said, if you went ahead regardless and installed inadequate posts and electrics without warning them then they may still have a claim against you but they would have to show that you knew what you bought was inadequate.

They do not seem to be willing to negotiate with you so this may well be decided by a Judge at Court.

It will be under £10k so small claims court and the worst that can happen is that they win and you have to pay what they are claiming plus a very small amount in costs.

They will not recover solicitors costs if they use solicitors even if they win

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

all the electrician did was install what we quoted and too a high standard...Mr evans did buy additional equipment like intercom for letting people in from gates and internal intercom but that was dealt with them direct.


 


We told them and if we didn't gp ahead and install them, then we would not have been paid for all other work completed on site.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you.

These facts would not change my answer above.

Do you have any more questions surrounding this that I can answer for you?
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69359
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for the positive rating and remember that I am always available to help with your questions. For future information, please start your question with ‘FOR JO C’

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