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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I accepted a quote from Henry to construct decking and landscaping

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I accepted a quote from Henry to construct decking and landscaping services at my home. He gave me a schedule of work and payments, start date etc but the work has not been finished. He is saying he is unable to finish due to personal reasons and is sub contracting the remainder of the work out. Henry took a long time to reach this conclusion and in the meantime, we had a local builder look at the remander of the work for their estimate/views etc. His proffesional opinion was the work undertkane to date was very poor quality. The subbie Henry instructed (Steve) is also of that same view. I have asked Henry on many occassions to meet me here to view his work and comment on this, he will not come down (no reason given). Steve has started work yesterday to finish the items not done and to do the snagging we have listed (which were the obvious faults) and Steve is saying that the whole frame the deck has been built on is not level and that is why so much of the woodwork is poor and warping. He will go through and fix the items on our list but he believes it needs to be started again. When these issues are pointed out, I can totally see what he means. However, Henry is only paying Steve what was left in the 'pot' plus a little extra for some snagging, and allowing 10 days to do the work. Steve needed to be paid today by Henry but Henry has sadi he has cshflow problems and could I pay Steve direct. I am relauctant to do this as our contract is whith Henry, not Steve but Steve was going to walk off site if he didn't get paid from someone today. So I agreed, after Henry requested, to pay Steve £250 cash today and I emailed to Henry:
"Will do but please be clear, our contract is with you, not Steve. I will make this payment on your behalf as it does not help anyone if he walks off the job but payment does not constitute our acceptance of the work done to date"
I ahve also stressed to Henry that he needs to come to site to agree sign off. Have had no response. This has been going on since February and we have been left with an unsafe decking structure and an unusable garden. Where do I go from here? I have plenty of emails and photos plus 2 independent professional views of the workmanship to date. The original quote was c£14k of which we have paid c£11k to date
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you for your question and welcome.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will assist you.

How much is it going to cost to finish the work?

Will Steve finish the remaining job?

Did you sign and terms and conditions with Henry?

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Steve quoted £4500 excl materials but Henry negotaited a reduction in labour days which brought this down to £3000 plus materials, c£500. This is to deal with the items on our list which, as previously said, would still leave us with a poor quality deck.
If Steve gets paid, I believe yes he will finish the job
No terms and conditions provided, just acceptance of the quote via email
Thanks
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
.
Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you.

The legal position is as follows:

1. The builder is potentially in breach of contract. You have paid him and he has not completed the job. He has now constructively terminated the contract by refusing to continue you work.
2. Under the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 s.4 and s.13 - there is an implied contractual term that the services are provided with reasonable care and skill and the goods are of a satisfactory quality and reasonably fit for purpose.

As a result of these breaches you are entitled to sue for all losses that are a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the breach i.e additional works, materials and labour.

You do however have a legal obligation to mitigate your loss as soon as possible so you would be entitled to appoint a new builder and seek to recover the additional cost.

Normally I would suggest you bring a money claim (www.mcol.gov.uk) to recover your losses if the builder won't repay. As you have said he has cash flow I would suggest you first complete the decking with the new builder. Keep receipts for the additional costs. Then you can demand from him payment for what you have over paid and what your losses add up to.

If he still does not pay you could consider making a complaint to Trading Standards www.tradingstandards.gov.uk - I would then think carefully before commencing Court Action as if he does not money then there is not much point in suing him.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you Alex, so you are saying we are ok to pay he builder direct without it affecting a future court case?
Also, do we say anything to Henry or just make sure that Steve finishes the work to our satisfaction and we pay him to do that, even if it exceeds the remaining money? Won't Henry have an issue if we get Steve to work additional days over and above what he has quoted to Henry? He will say he hasn't approved anymore work? At the moment, Henry is waiting for a response from me as to what money is left in the pot because we have had to deduct money for work that was part of the quote but which is now not eing done as we waited too long, we started doing it ourselves, I.e a small section of front garden, plus some turfing. Do I respond to him to say what we believe is left in the pot after the adjustments?
Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you.

Has Henry not cancelled your agreement? he said he could not finish it for personally reasons?

If that is the case then you are perfectly entitled to engage a new builder to finish the works. If that happens to be Steve make sure you get him to draft you a new quote and invoice to pay directly.

If the cost of employing Steve exceeds what you agreed with Henry then potentially that is a loss you can recover from Henry.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

AJ
Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
My apologies - I just have to go offline for 20 mins. I will be back shortly.

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Henry said he was unable to commit to finishing the job so would sub contract it out or we could get a new tradesman to do it. We thought it better to stick with Henry subbing the work so our contract remained in tact with Henry with him paying the subbie.

Should we let Steve continue working through the list of outstanding works and hopefully Henry pays him but we'll step in if Henry can't/won't pay and then recover costs through the courts, keeping receipts etc?

Do I advise Henry of the adjusted figure left in the pot - Which will likely result in him not paying Steve and therefore work stopping. If I do advise him of this figure, are there some legal terms I can use to hopefully get him to se that he has to finish the job to an agreed satisfactory standard. Also, he has given us no guarantee of his workmanship, despite me asking several times. I understand a deck should last 10-15 years but the wood is starting to warp already.
Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you.

I am just writing a response I will post it in the morning at the latest.

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hoping to hear from you this morning on this Alex? Am out now for about an hour so I'll heck back in with you when I get back. Txs
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.Also, expert offline so unable to get response
Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.
Hello my name is XXXXX XXXXX I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return You do not need to wait here as you will get an email when I reply.

I see you have relisted this - do you still need help?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Yes, I still need help please. In the absence of a response today from the previous solicitor, I have emailed Henry and advised him of the remaining money in the 'pot' which will be paid on satisfactory completion of the works. So essentially what I need answers to as follows:
-what I should do if Henry is unable or unwilling to pay Steve to complete the works
-Where do I stand in the absence of a formal guarantee, all I've got is him using words like 'professional' and long lasting construction
-if Henry does not come back on site, how do we agree on what is an acceptable standard of work? At the moment, we have highlighted areas which are obvious to the non expert

Thanks
Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.
In short Henry didn't do what was promised which is why you had to use someone else?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Henry didn't return to site and said he was unable to so he has sub contracted the reminder of the work out to Steve. But the remaining money will not be sufficient to finish the works as much of it has to be redone so Henry has said he will pay the additional but he has also said he has cash flow problems and has already asked me to pay Steve direct yesterday for part of his money
Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.
Do you have this in writing?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Part of one of his responses was "I can either suggest taking of (sic) the following amounts in order to pay another contractor who I can get to " take over " .

This followed periods of him being non responsive. He mentions 'either' but there was not an alternative at that point. I responded along the lines of our preference is for him to sort it out/sub it out, so the contract remains with him, rather than us find a new contractor.
Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.
-what I should do if Henry is unable or unwilling to pay Steve to complete the works

That is a matter between Henry and Steve, it is nothing to do with you.

-Where do I stand in the absence of a formal guarantee, all I've got is him using words like 'professional' and long lasting construction

The guarantee will still be with Henry. If there is a fault and he does not honour it, you can sue for breach of contract.

-if Henry does not come back on site, how do we agree on what is an acceptable standard of work? At the moment, we have highlighted areas which are obvious to the non expert

You get a surveyor to come in to say what needs to be done. Then you give Henry an opportunity to finish or say you will pursue him. You then get a quote for getting the work finished. If this works out you have paid more than the original quote you sue Henry for the difference.

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Alex

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
When you say a surveyor, is this another tradesman or do I have to go to a qualified surveyor-not sure how I go about that?

As Steve is due back on site on. Monday to continue, would you recommend getting a surveyor down whilst he is doing the work or should I get Steve to do me a quote to remedy the work? Or is it better to get a new Independant person?
Thanks
Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.
You need a qualified surveyor in case it goes to Court. You just need to look in yellow pages.

Allow Steve to remedy first. You may not need a surveyor if he does the work.

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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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