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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Please can you advise on the following problem. A few years

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Please can you advise on the following problem.

A few years ago i had sliding folding doors installed. One builder knocked door the doors, created the space and the window company installed. Unfortunately water came through the terrace under the doors and caused substantial damage to the bedroom over many months. The window company refitted the doors which fixed the problem at one end but not at the other. They returned to the property and accepted the problem was that the upstand was too small. They said they would remake shorter doors , build an upstand and reinstall the doors. After much chasing they are now blaming the builder and refusing to help. It is not the builders fault as they measured the doors and should have requested larger upstand. The upstand is tiny and i'm sure not consistent with best practice or building regulations. I think they just changed their minds when they realised the cost to make good.Can i sue, refer to trading standards, FENSA or complete the work and invoice them.

What would you recommend as best course of action.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

Whats the cost of putting this right please?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

whenever i give full reply i get this message can i email?


You don't have permission to access "" on this server.

Reference #18.14c9183e.1395590040.141dfc00

That might be a site bug.

You can email customer services [email protected]
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

thanks i have sent email, hopefully you received ok

I havent' seen anything.

Do you want to try responding again?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

hi Jo,


I am not sure how much it would cost if i had to replace the doors and create the upstand myself as i have not had a quote as the window company had until last week accepted responsibility and had even measured up the new windows and said they had ordered them. I would think cost if i had to pay myself would be about £7500. It is 4 days work plus materials. I know the cost of the damage to the bedroom would be about £2000.


I have copied below the letter i sent on friday. I fear i won't get a response hence my question so i am prepared. I hope this helps give a better picture.


best regards







I received your email and do not understand why you are now changing your mind on the problem, solution and agreed way ahead.

I copy at the bottom of this email ,for your convenience ,the correspondence confirming what we had agreed and your email confirming verbal commitments of when i could expect an installation. Nothing has changed.

Please confirm

  • When the doors will be ready. You repeatedly advised that they had been ordered and should be available for install w/c 25th .

  • A date to prepare the upstand , install the doors , repair and redecorate the damage to bedroom and kitchen.

In meantime i have answered your points below in red.

best regards



Dear Sir,

Further to are most recent communication in respect of the doors installed at your property, we advise that our doors have not been shown to be at fault.

The fault as you know is with the installation of the doors.

Our instruction was to install doors into an opening created by your builder.

It is apparent following our site inspection that your builder did not create an upstand for the doors to sit on and instead the request was for the doors to sit flush with the existing roof deck.

This is not correct.

Prior to the installation of the folding doors we had 2 traditional doors and solid walls. Your company measured the doors and agreed requirements with the builder before the wall was knocked down. There was no request to fit onto the existing deck. Indeed the terrace was replaced when the wall and doors were taken down. If you had wanted a bigger upstand you should have asked. It is your responsibility to be aware of all relevant building regulations. If you were not happy with the upstand you should not have installed the windows , taken my money and provided a Fensa certificate.

The doors installed have not leaked and are not leaking, there appears to be a defect with the roof deck and / or the substrate beneath.

The builder who carried out the main construction works which included the opening for the doors to sit in should be assisting you with resolving any defects, however we are aware that your builder will not return to site.

This is also incorrect.

The problem is ,as you agreed earlier, the lack of a sufficient upstand.

The major leakage was clear and visible , initially at the end by the drain. The leakage in this area stopped when you refitted and sealed this end so clearly the installation was the problem . Unfortunately the water visibly entered at the other end where the upstand is at the smallest point. As you know it is less now as paid for a builder to add more sealant before christmas.

The fact that i cannot reach the original builder is irrelevant. Even if we replaced the roof it would not create the upstand required to solve the problem and meet building regulations. The problem can only be solved by making smaller doors as doors cannot be raised. This will allow space for the upstand.

As a client focused family business, we are happy to assist you with identifying the entry source of the penetrating water and will arrange for an independent Chartered Building Surveyor to visit, investigate and make recommendations.

This would be waste of time and money the source of penetrating water is clear as you know.

Your suggestion is contradicting your acknowledgement before and indeed in this email that the problem is the upstand.

If we are to have independent audit it would have to be from Fensa to see if the installation is compliant with building regulations and trading standards to see if installation is fit for purpose. I hope we do not have to go down the legal route.

We understand that you are frustrated by the current situation, though must stress that we are not at fault here

Yes i am frustrated . Our bedroom has been badly damaged and unusable for about six months due to the window installation. I do not accept you are fault free.

and would appreciate it you would refrain from the level and intensity of calls to our office.

I will call less often if you return my calls when you say you will. I will stop phoning when you successfully complete the job.

I have already apologised if you were upset that i aired my frustration but i am sure you would be upset if your calls were not returned and it seemed like you were being deliberately avoided. I was also unhappy with the comments you made in our last phone conversation. I hope we can put this behind us and move forward.

Please confirm by return when it would be convenient for the Surveyor to visit?

I think it would be better if we met ourselves to sort this out . I can meet on wednesday 26th at 11am or Tuesday April 1st at 8am or 9am.

If you want to bring your surveyor let me know in advance so I can arrange appropriate counsel to be present.

Please confirm which date works best.



Copy of correspondence

On Tue, Mar 11, 2014 at 4:23 PM, Henry and Sons UK Windows <[email protected]> wrote:

Dear Sir,



I would like to advise you that as per your conversation with Peter, Paul will be contacting you either today or latest tomorrow to advise you of a date.



Kind Regard’s,






Henry and Sons UK Windows LTD


721 Tudor Estate Abbey Road


London, NW10 7UN


Tel.0208(NNN) NNN-NNNN/span>


Fax: 0208(NNN) NNN-NNNN/span>



The fact that the builder may or may not have been responsible is a non issue. He was their agent and acting at their instruction.

Unless they are going to try to argue that he went off entirely on a frolic of his own, the fact that he may or may not have been to blame for this does not mean they are not liable.

Obviously they may well have a claim against him which can be pursued separately.

You can sue at the small claims court for any sum under £10k now. The amounts have increased.

You can always complain to trading standards and indeed to FENSA although they do have limited powers.

The likely result that you want is payment for the cost of putting this right and thats most likely to be available at the small claims court.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Jo, Thank you for the reply.


Assuming they do not agree to meet/resolve problem following my email response to their denial of responsibility can i instruct other builders to complete the work before resolution at a small claims court.


Do i need solicitor for small claims court?





Yes, but you should really send them one final letter giving them 28 days to put this right and making clear you will instruct another and sue for the cost in default. Get two quotes and choose the cheapest. Then issue against them here

No need for a solicitor. You can self represent.
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