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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 44876
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have a builder that initially said work could be completed

Customer Question

I have a builder that initially said work could be completed in 6-8 weeks. That was at the beginning of May. There has been some additional work requested by me, which has added 2-3 weeks extra weeks. The work has still not been completed, the builder fails to pitch up on numerous occasions. I run a holiday let business, the fact that the work is not completed has directly affected my income from holiday lets. There is no written agreement/contract. What is my best course of action?
Thank you
Marie
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is Ben and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. When you have entered into a contract for work and materials, where the main focus is labour and skill, the law says that the work must be:

a) Carried out with reasonable care and skill – i.e. to a proper standard of workmanship;
b) Finished within a reasonable time (unless a specific time has been agreed); and
c) Provided at a reasonable cost (unless a specific price has been agreed).

If there are problems with the standard of work, you will have certain rights.

If work has already started, and there has been some breach of contract by the other side, you would usually be expected to give them the opportunity to rectify the problem. However, if you can justify why they should not be given such an opportunity, for example, if work has been left in a dangerous condition or their work is obviously below-par, you could refuse to do so.

In terms of potential compensation, you may be entitled to that in the following circumstances:

a) The work was not carried out with reasonable care and skill, or finished within a reasonable time;
b) The tradesman has been negligent in their work;
c) You have accepted a repair, which turns out to be unsatisfactory;
d) The services are unsafe and someone has suffered injury
e) You have incurred additional expenses or suffered inconvenience because of the tradesman’s breach of contract.

In order to resolve any problems that have arisen, it is generally accepted that you follow these steps:

1. Collect all documents relating to the work (e.g. estimate, contract, correspondence, etc.).
2. Contact the tradesman and explain your problem. Ask for a refund, a repair, or compensation and set a reasonable time limit for them to respond (7 days is reasonable).
3. In the meantime find out if the tradesman is a member of a trade association with a mediation service that can help resolve your complaint. If they are not, you may wish to obtain an expert opinion from an independent tradesman specialising in this field to back up your position.
4. If the matter is still not resolved, write to the tradesman repeating your complaint and how you would like them to fix this. Say you are giving them a final 7 day time limit to resolve the problem or you will ask another tradesman to carry out the work and you intend to recover their costs from them. Advise them that you will not hesitate to issue legal proceedings to seek compensation.
5. If the tradesman makes an alternative offer, you can either accept or continue to negotiate. Be reasonable and realistic in what you will accept. You may not get an improved outcome by going to court.
6. If the tradesman fails to respond or refuses to resolve the problem, you can get a different tradesman to complete the work and consider suing the original tradesman for all or part of these extra costs. Remember that court is your last resort and you will need sufficient evidence to prove your claim. Nevertheless, it can be a good negotiating tool because it shows you are serious about resolving this and may prompt the trader to reconsider their position.
7. Finally, make sure that you send all correspondence by recorded delivery and keep copies.

Hope this clarifies your position?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I see you have accessed and read my answer to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? I just need to know whether to close the question or not? Thanks

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