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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 45315
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I started a major property extension in October 2012.

Customer Question

Hello,
I started a major property extension in October 2012. The builder employed was the husband of a friend of my wife. He had done previous work for us in a flat and this was all great.
There was no specific contract signed with the builder.
About 18 months ago it was clear things were not going right. Mostly the work was not progressing to the finish, (he was elsewhere), but the builder was also dogging providing information to planing control.
With planning control running out of patience i started toi try and independently find answers to the questions they are seeking, and i have discovered the following:
My underfloor heating is faulty, both electrics and inappropriately laid.
My fencing has been left unfinished.
I have no Part P certificate; and most alarming,
It is has come to light that the builder did not lay the appropriate foundations - he did not construct a proper ring beam.
There are many other defects.
The builder has taken 300K or more of me during the past three and half years.
he says he needs to stop work on finishing my property because he is going to build an extension for himself soon.
It seems i am going to be left to pay out a fortune to put things right.
I have no idea about building, but i did know that a much higher spec extension would have cost me 300K from a very reputable builder, as per tender offers.
Do i possibly have a case against the builder or his mother who is also part of their team. i dont know how the builders wife would fit into this, but she has certainly been a beneficiary of the money handed over.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Have you enquired to see how much it would cost to rectify the faults?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
It depends on how much work the foundations require. This is to be determined after Easter - but I would expect 30K minimum. perhaps 10 K minimum for other matters. Worst case is that the foundations cannot be fixed and no completion certificate can be issued.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.
So I presume the current builder will not be able to rectify these issues?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
The foundations will require a specialist. The structural engineer is shocked at what he saw. Equally, the builder has taken three and half years - he now keeps dodging questions etc, latest thing not providing Part P certification despite having been asked for months.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.
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:{C}· Carried out with reasonable care and skill (to the same standard as any reasonably competent person in that trade or profession);{C}· Finished within a reasonable time (unless a specific time has been agreed); and{C}· 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 do have rights. In these circumstances the most appropriate option would be to get someone else to do the remedial works and charge them to the original builder. I do not expect that he would just happily agree to pay you for this but if a dispute arises you do have you statutory rights you can rely on and take matters further if necessary. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the next steps you should follow to progress this, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there I no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 45315
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.
Thank you. In order to resolve any problems that have arisen, it is generally recommended that you follow these steps: Collect all documents relating to the work (e.g. estimate, contract, correspondence, etc.). Contact the trader and explain your problem. Ask them to return to fix the issues if you wish and set a reasonable time limit for them to respond. In the meantime find out if the trader is a member of a trade association with a mediation service that can help resolve your complaint. If the matter is still not resolved, write to the trader repeating your complaint and how you would like them to resolve the issues. Say you are giving them a final time limit of 7 days to resolve the problem or you will have to consider taking legal proceedings to recover your losses. If the trader fails to respond or refuses to resolve the problem, you could potentially get a different trader to complete the work and consider suing the original trader for all or part of these extra costs. Remember that court is your last resort, however 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. Finally, make sure that you send all correspondence by recorded delivery and keep copies. If you wish to take the matter further and issue legal proceedings, assuming you will just be claiming financial compensation, you may issue your claim via the Court’s online portal at www.moneyclaim.gov.uk.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I did not have a written contract as I explained. There are lots of mails though. To be honest, I don't see how I progress with a builder who has taken such high sums from me (300 Thousand!) I personally would suggest his actions where deliberate. Not using a ring beam would have allowed him to pocket many many thousands as these are incredibly expensive due to them being uniquely manufactured for each construction.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.
Sorry when I said contract I meant anything in writing in relation to this as that would really form part of your contractual relations. If the trust has broken down you do not ave to use him but by using someone else you are risking having to pay out extra and have no guarantee of getting these costs back so there is a risk
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Alas, that's what I fear.Many thanks.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.
You are welcome, best of luck

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