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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 44414
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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We are unhappy with our building contractor. He is not delivering

Resolved Question:

We are unhappy with our building contractor. He is not delivering on-time and is not meeting promises and commitments repeatedly.
We have tried friendly conversations - to no avail.
The delays cause us financial damage
what is the best legal remedy - next step?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Ben Jones : Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Do you know what is causing the issues?

he has gotten busy with bigger and more lucrative contracts elsewhere.

Ben Jones :

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:

  • Carried out with reasonable care and skill – i.e. to a proper standard of workmanship;

  • Finished within a reasonable time (unless a specific time has been agreed); and

  • Provided at a reasonable cost (unless a specific price has been agreed).

In addition, any materials provided as part of the work must:

  • Match their description

  • Be of satisfactory quality

If there are problems with the standard of work, or the materials used, 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:

  • The work was not carried out with reasonable care and skill, or finished within a reasonable time;

  • The tradesman has been negligent in their work;

  • You have accepted a repair, which turns out to be unsatisfactory;

  • The services are unsafe and someone has suffered injury

  • 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.


many thanks


should we as a next step go to trading standards or court?

Ben Jones :

You can go to TS at any point, even if you are pursuing a court case. How much they will help remains to be seen as they may not always get involved to a great extent with individuals like in this case but you have nothing to lose by contacting them



Ben Jones :

you are welcome

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 44414
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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