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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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My builder will not accept our termination of his contract

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My builder will not accept our termination of his contract for rude and insulting behaviour and leaving the site in an untidy state (H&S risk) - he says he has to agree to the trermination. He has started referring his contractors to us for payment even though we have paid him all that is due to him based upon his own schedule of payments less a 5% retention. We do not want him back on site and just want him to go away!!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Do you have a specific type of contract with him, such as a JCT or a construction one?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Please find attached a copy of our contract.The builders walked off site about 3 weeks ago when we refused to pay them further monies which were not in accordance with the schedule of payments agreed (then revised) as part of the contract.Following numerous texts and emails which became more heated (on the builders part) we sent them the following email:"Dear Sonny & Matt
We believe we have reached an impasse on the project as we have at all-times stressed the need for payments against milestones to enable us to ensure that the project was kept on program both chronologically and financially, but it would appear you require to draw money down on a more frequent basis and not in accordance with the twice agreed schedule of payments contained within the contract.
During the whole of the project to date we have extended a large degree of trust over and above that which is warranted. Recently the relationship with L&W and in particular with Matt, has become increasingly combative and many of his communications have been interpreted as aggressive and sometimes threatening. We believe this is sufficient reason for termination under clause 20 of the contract - professionalism towards the client. The following instances can be pointed as examples of this:
Voicemail messages left by Matt on 10th and 13th February 2016,
Text correspondence with Matt on Saturday 20th February 2016, also
Non-payment of sub-contractors on a timely basis and referring them to us for payment when we have paid in advance for the work concerned.
We also consider that the site is not being maintained in an orderly and tidy state and that there are certain aspects of this which may be considered as dangerous for our use of the property (e.g. the protection of electricity and heating supplies) also triggering another termination clause.
Therefore and with regret, we hereby give you notice of termination of our contractual agreement. Consequently, we require that you remove from site within the next 7 days only those tools and equipment belonging to L&W or your sub-contractors. Such removal shall be done only by prior arrangement.
Please note we will not be making any further payments unless in compliance with the schedule of payments agreed within the contract.
Please be advised that in accordance with the contract we consider all building materials for which you claimed within previous valuations as our property and their removal from site is prohibited.
We don't believe that the current stage has been completed (milestone 7: lay brick/blockwork to roof height) and as such once an alternative quotation has been sourced for its completion, and the quality of work completed to date assessed, any balance of the retention less this quotation will be transferred to you under our contract.
Please be advised we hold the right to withhold any further costs including liquidated damages from any further payments.
We would appreciate your response to the above at your soonest convenience to enable us all to achieve a swift conclusion to this matter.Unless we hear from you to the contrary by 3 March 2016, we will assume the contract has been mutually terminated.
Yours sincerely,
Jen & Doug Munson-Montanez"Doug
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Are you private individuals rather than a business in this contract?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes we are private individuals. L&W (the builders) are a partnership
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It is a contract to build a 2-storey extension plus further internal works in a private dwelling
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. It is certainly not a legal requirement that the builder has to agree to the termination, especially if the cancellation o done as a result of an alleged breach of contract by them. The contract you have says that you should give them 7 days to rectify any issues of workmanship but if these issues remain unresolved after that then you can seek to terminate the contract. The builder’s consent is not required. As far as the law stands, when you have entered into a contract for work and materials, where the main focus is labour and skill, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 says that the work must be:· Carried out with reasonable care and skill (to the same standard as any reasonably competent person in that trade or profession);· Finished within a reasonable time (unless a specific time has been agreed); and· Provided at a reasonable price (unless a specific price has been agreed). In addition, any information said or written is binding where the consumer relies on it. This will include quotations and any promises about timescales or about the results to be achieved. If there are problems with the standard of work, or any of the above, you will have certain rights: 1. The trader should either redo the parts of the service which are inadequate or perform the whole service again at no extra cost to you. This must be done within a reasonable time and without causing you significant inconvenience. 2. If redoing the work is impossible or cannot be done within a reasonable time or without causing significant inconvenience, you can claim a price reduction. The price reduction would depend on how severe the issues are and could be as much as the full cost of the work. 3. If the service has been performed so badly that it would be unreasonable to expect the consumer to give the trader a second chance, you may be entitled to claim the cost of remedial work by another trader. So you can certainly terminate the contract if necessary and as long as you have paid them up for works done, they cannot force you to continue using them. I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The main reason for terminating the contract was the unprofessional behaviour of the builder in his communications with us both via text and his aggressive voicemails. Would this constitute sufficient grounds for terminating the contract under clause 20?
Is there a form of words we can use to enforce the termination of the contract?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Given his behaviour the whole relationship between us and the builder has broken down and is not something that can be rectified as we are no longer prepared to have him/them on site
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello yeah you can rely on the contract and clause 20 to terminate the relationship. You are looking at the wording which mentions in professionalism when dealing with the client. No fancy wording is needed to terminate the contract is simply state that you are exercising your right under the specific clause and then provide the specific examples which have led to this and that you are treating this contact as an end. Hope this clarifies?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We have done this but the builder is denying the termination of the contract and telling us not to have any work carried out on the project as he claims it is still his contract - what can we do to enforce it?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
You do not need his consent. If you have serve notice under the contract then you can treat it as at an end. His opinion on this does not really matter, you do not need official confirmation from him
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
So we can safely go ahead and appoint a replacement builder even though we have still to agree a settlement with the original builder?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Yes you can but obviously the settlement will remain outstanding until resolved
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Great. Many thanksDoug
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
You are welcome all the best

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