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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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I done a small loft conversion (labour only) before starting

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I done a small loft conversion (labour only) before starting I asked the customer gets a architect so I have plans to go off. He suggested just doing the job and getting it signed off with building control in 5 yrs time when they have a extension built , which I said holes would have to be cut to inspect what can't be seen. Anyway 3/4 of the way into the job the customer got a structural engineer and building control, building control says it as to all come out to inspect and done to regs. I need to know if this is all my fault , and I should pay the thousands of £ doing this
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.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

How long ago did you do the job?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The job started 01/02/16
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

OK, thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and laws and will get back to you in a short while. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Also, please do not responded to this message as it will just push your questions to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Many thanks for your patience. Whilst ultimate responsibility lies with the owner of the property on which the repairs are being undertaken, there is joint responsibility with the person who carries out the building work. They will also be responsible for ensuring that the work is compliant with the relevant Building Regulations.

So as far as the law stands, enforcement action for breaches of the Regulations will be taken against the property owner as that is who Building Control can prosecute. However, at the same time the owner can consider taking separate action against you for negligence, if they can show that you were negligent in the process and that you should have obtained the necessary consent before starting the work.

I think the issue here is that you knew that there were going to be potential requirements for satisfying building regulations but you decided to proceed without checking these. You would be compared to a reasonable and competent builder in your position, one with the same knowledge and expertise as you and would be judged as to whether you should have known better and taken the necessary steps to ensure it was done as per the requirements. If you ignored these requirements and did so negligently then you could be made liable for the costs insured as a result of your negligence. Saying that, if the property owner knew that what they were doing was wrong and they also decided to proceed with that knowledge, they would likely have contributed to these costs and should be held partially liable. So the liability will be split in some respects. It means you may not necessarily get away with this scot-free but also not be responsible for the full costs of resolving this.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the options that you have now and what could happen next, 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 is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

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Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. In the circumstances it is for the client to decide whether to take this further. At this stage you cannot be forced to pay anything or the extra work. You can advise the client that ultimately it is their responsibility to endure that the regulations are satisfied and that the necessary consent has been obtained so as you proceeded with his instructions on the matter, he should be the one who is liable for this work and the associated costs.

Therefore, the ball is in his court. If he wanted to pursue you then he has to make the decision to take formal action to do so and only a court can force you to pay anything. It would be for him to prove that you had acted negligently and that you should have liability in this case

There is of course no guarantee it will get that far and whatever threats he makes, that is all they are until a court decides in his favour.