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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
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I have an issue with the final account of my builders who are

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I have an issue with the final account of my builders who are chasing me for the retention monies.
I had a quote which included a number of PC sums. I appreciate that normally pc sums are included where the client may be nominating a particular person, other than the main contractor, to do the work. In my case, I think that my contractor meant many of the items to be provisional, because at the time of the quotation they felt unable to give a fixed price – they did a large proportion of the work . I have to acknowledge that I was stupid to not tie them down to a fixed price contract, indeed a contract never got signed but at the time (June2013) I was hoping to have the work finished by Christmas (2013) and wanted to get a move on.
I paid invoices on the assumption that I would receive a final account. My builder has billed me the amount of the pc sums but refuses to give me a detailed breakdown to justify the charges.
There were additions to the original quote which were done on a day works basis. While checking the invoices I noticed that I have been billed an hourly rate, for 8 hours per day. However, the builder did not work 8 hours per day, at least 40 minutes of breaks were religiously observed each day, and although people were on site at around 8:00am, work never started until 15 or 20 minutes later, while people made tea and gossiped. I reckon that I have been billed about £1,800 for hours that were not worked. I appreciate that workers are entitled to breaks but at my expense, as this was not a fixed price contract? I asked the Master Builder’s Federation for advice but they refused to answer me.
I have been trying to reconcile invoices against the quotation, without much success. The retention amount is about £1,650 plus vat. I am trying to decide whether or not it is worth employing a quantity surveyor to review the drawings, check quantities and costs but am wondering if that is worth doing.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you.
What is it you want to achieve please? Why does the builder refuse a breakdown?
Alex
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Two things. One is that I would like the builder to provide me with invoices and time sheets to justify the round sum amounts, billed as pc sums. Second is, do I have to pay for rest breaks taken by the builder's employees as I have been charged at an hourly rate of £20 for those breaks.
lawrence
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
It depends on what you have agreed. If you are being billed for actual time worked then no. If you are being billed for time on site then yes, this is because the builder would have to pay them for breaks.
You are entitled to invoices. If he refuses then you can apply to Court for specific disclosure.
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Alex
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you Alex. What was agreed is the issue here. I was given a draft of the Federation of Master Builders standard contract. Neither party signed the contract but it is probably the best guide to the parties' intentions. Hourly labout rates have been manually entered by the builder "During our normal working hours", which were not specified. There is no specific mention of whether that means hours on site or hours worked. The people were emplyees of the builder, they were not directly employed by me.
lawrence
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Indeed, but the employer will have to pay the employee for a break, the law requires that. So if that is the case then the builder can pass on that charge. You can argue the point and indeed if any dispute is £10,000 or less it would be a small claim anyway.
Does that clarify?
Alex
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. To summarise, I am entitled to supporting detail concerning the pc sums but probably have to pay for rest breaks.
lawrence
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Correct Lawrence.
Alex
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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