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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47426
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I have hired a local tradesman for an extension project at

Customer Question

I have hired a local tradesman for an extension project at my house. The project has already gone over budget (about 10%) and over the original estimated timeframe (estimated 10-12 weeks, now over 16 weeks), and the contractor is working to a poor standard, causing an awful amount of distress and issues to our life. All the attempt to communicate with the tradesman seem to have sorted no effect. Is there anything I can do?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today. Is he still returning to work on the project or has he failed to do so recently?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
The contractor is still working on the project but is going pretty slow as far as I can see and sometimes very little progress is made in some days, and some days they don't work at all (for no apparent reason).
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.

Thank you. 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.

So if the delays are now becoming unreasonable and beyond what was initially agreed, with no apparent end in sight, you can consider taking this further. You can for example give them a final chance to resolve this within a specified (and reasonable deadline) failing which you can terminate their services and get someone else to finish the work, charging the original builders for the extra you had to pay to do this.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you need to follow to progress this further, 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

Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Hi Ben, thanks for your help. Let me ask you a quick question first: is this thread publicly visible or is it just visible to you and me?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.

It is a public forum but so far I cannot see anything to identify you or the builder so it should not be an issue, f course do not post anything you do not want others to see

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Is there a way for me to share any documents with you privately?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.

Everything needs to be in the 'open' so to speak, at least whilst we converse, then once we have finished I can lock the question for privacy if needed

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Ok. I'll try to give you a few more details just to understand the context. First of all the original schedule was 10 to 12 weeks, allowing two extra weeks for unforeseen circumstances. We are now 15 weeks in and I can't see any way for them to finish before 3-4 more weeks. Also as I said the quality of their work is poor, when I argued about some of the errors they made, they gave some sort of technical explanation for some (not convincing at all), and for something else they admitted they "f**ked up". I tried several times to agree a plan and schedule with them but they first agree with me and then do whatever they want.
Our contract says only 10% of the total amount should be paid upon completion, and after the final payment they will provide all the warranties and certifications (electrics, gas safety etc). However I've already paid some of the "extra" (about 15% over the original quote) without having signed any agreement.
We are quite in a rush and keen to get everything done, but at the same time we are not happy at all about the overall result and their way to conduct the works.
How would you suggest to proceed?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.

In order to resolve any problems that have arisen, it is generally recommended that you follow these steps:

1. Collect all documents relating to the work (e.g. estimate, contract, correspondence, etc.).

2. Contact the trader and explain your problem. Ask them to return to fix the issues and set a reasonable time limit for them to respond (7 days is reasonable).

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.
What would be the best procedure to hire another tradesman to finish the job and then recover my losses? Would that just be a claim via the Court's online portal? I will give the builder a final deadline (which is the one they already agreed) but I strongly believe there is a concrete possibility the works will not be finished by then. How would you suggest me to proceed?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.

I certainly recommend that you outline your plans to the current builder when giving them a final chance to resolve this, so be clear that your next step would be to engage someone else. After that it is indeed the moneyclaim route to pursue the compensation for the difference in price for getting someone else to finish the work.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Should I consider communicating only via post? Is an e-mail acceptable too?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.

An email is absolutely fine