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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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A builder working on my neighbours property has damaged a

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A builder working on my neighbour's property has damaged a reddish brown painted cast iron down pipe (part of the guttering system). Whilst partially admitting they are to blame - it is quite clear that the top of the pipe has been pushed across by their scaffolding causing a fracture lower down, they are saying that they should only replace with a black (or possibly brown) plastic down-pipe, which would not match the colour or materials of the rest. The 'rationale' is that they claim the current pipe is old and rusted and would have broken anyway... This happened around 3 weeks ago and discussions have been slow to take place, but should I just inform my insurers and let them deal with it? Or perhaps take my own legal action of some kind?

Alex Watts :

Hello my name is XXXXX XXXXX I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply as this is not an ‘on demand’ live service, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return. There is no need to wait here, you will get an email when I reply.

Alex Watts :

What is the value of the repair please?


I don't really know. If it was a cast iron replacement and had to be fully painted by hand and fitted then I assume £2-500 would have to cover it.


£200 - £500

Alex Watts : Ok. Does your neighbour dispute that this happened please?

No, although she did also refer to the 'rust' mentioned by the builders in one conversation.

Alex Watts : Given the value of this dispute you could handle it yourself. You would be able to take the neighbour to court who could then counter sue the builder for negligence.
Alex Watts : The value means it would be a small claim and you could represent yourself. However you may wish to consider the neighbour reactions.
Alex Watts : relations
Alex Watts : If the item was quite old then it may have been life expired or not far from it anyway,
Alex Watts : You could ask them for £200 and pay the difference.
Alex Watts : If not then you would be able to issue proceedings in the county court for a small claim which you can do online at
Alex Watts : But I would not go through insurance given the low value.
Alex Watts : Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Ash and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Alex, the position has become more complicated. Last year I understood that the builder had offered a plastic replacement instead of cast iron and I communicated to my neighbour that I would agree this as a compromise. Then 10 days ago I spoke directly with a representative of the builder who seemed to want to do a repair only. I explained that this was not acceptable and that I understood that this was all agreed before Christmas. Three days ago I received a message on my phone from the builders to say that 'they had decided to do the repair and you shouldn't have any more problems'. In other words they had accessed my property and done exactly what I told them not too. I contacted the neighbour who has said she will look into it, but no response yet. Does your previous advice stand or does this change things?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Alex,


Please can you respond to 24th Jan update. Thanks.