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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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As a builder of a Bespoke Oak Conservatory we discounted quote

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As a builder of a Bespoke Oak Conservatory we discounted quote by half in order to showcase this building in our portfolio. The owners agreed that this was a very attractive propostion. However 4 months into build and about 4/5th complete they have not paid the last stage payment and we have had to stop all work. Since then we have made claim to small court and they have responded with a larger counterclaim to complete the works with another builder. Where do we stand with Breach of Contract in terms of the investment we clearly put into this project build?

Alex J. :


Alex J. :

Thank you for your question and welcome. In your terms and conditions are you entitled to suspend works for non payment? Kind regards


We had a verbal agreement based on a fixed quote. Regarding payments we rely on honesty as we are a small company

Alex J. :

Hi, Thank you. Can you telling me anything about what you discussed. Did you agree that they would pay for materials in advance? How much do they owe you?


We agreed that they should pay for the Double Glazed units in advance as this would take 4 weeks to build from the manufacturer.

Alex J. :

Hi, Thank you. Have they provided evidence of the costs they incurred. If you are going to appoint an expert witness you will have to agree how much of the build you had completed before the works were halted because of non payment. Do you photos or evidence of the works completed at that point?


Glazing was £3650 in adv and Oak materials at £2500 of which we received £2350 from them to date. Nothing more. ie nothing towards the 3 and half months labour. In early Dec we asked for a stage payment of £1200 to commence work and to finish final phase


We have completed the build to 4/5th. Have not been able to get further due to the non-payment of £1200 to commence final phase

Alex J. :

The problem is you have issued your claim so at this point you will need to agree a settlement with the other party to stop the matter going to a full hearing.


they hav


they have taken out a counterclaim of £7000 against us. Saying this is what it would cost them for another builder to complete


we have absorbed over £15000.00 in loss income and cost of materials


and we have only asked for £2100 in small claims court

Alex J. :

In order to have a successful counter claim they have to prove what these repair costs will be?


We are waiting Expert Witness report on the value of what we have already built them


They have not proved anything other than to give us one quote from an unknown company who we have never heard of. The quote basically said very little of what they were to do, but it did spend a lot of time saying how bad our work was

Alex J. : So is the issue that your claim is actually for more than £1200 has you have suffered additional losses?

but giving no specifics of course

Alex J. : if that is the case you could potentially amend your claim. Before doing this it maybe worth seeing what the expert has to say.

we've always caried a loss on this project but it has really gone haywire with all the changes they were making that had major impacts on our time and resources.


granted. That is what we are waiting for and have asked for a stay of 4-6 weeks in order for us to prepare our defence and to get our expert witness report to court

Alex J. : Hi. Thank you. If you can prove you incurred these losses then you can include them in the claim.

I want help with Breach of Contract as regards XXXXX XXXXX have breached our contract.


my simple view follows and is not intended to be legal..


We strongly believe that the Defendants are in Breach of Contract for the following reasons:


  1. They have misled us to believe they were going to honour our agreement. It transpires that towards the end of the build, they began to treat us quite differently and in a negative way. This caused unrest amongst two of our workers, who felt they were being unfairly bullied into doing things that were not assigned to do.

  2. They have continued to ignore their obligations and have made it almost impossible for us to continue with the final finish of this important Project.

  3. They have not indicated in any way whatsoever that our agreement to build them their new Conservatory had clear caveats attached to the attractive quote which was given on the premise of receiving help in using the conservatory as a showcase for our work and expertise, and by accepting to show potential customers by way of a simple tour their new conservatory.

  4. We have demonstrated our commitment to the agreement. We have clearly paid for and contributed to the overall Bespoke Build costs. This can be seen by the level of contributions made in terms of our efforts and of the costs we’ve absorbed, which are currently running higher than that of the Defendants contribution towards the build of £2350 to date. The Total losses we have incurred to date amount to and are not less than £15000.00

  5. The Defendants original Brief has been changed totally from ‘Like to Like’ of a Victorian Style Conservatory to what is a fairly Modern, Contemporary Style. The two distinct styles couldn’t be further apart

  6. They have failed to make payments on time and they have ignored all requests for a stage payment to commence work and finish the build to completion

Alex J. : one of the key elements to this is without a written agreement it is going to be decided on fact. If you can recall specific details of your verbal agreements and can put this into a witness statement that will help the court to determine what are the correct facts.
Alex J. : If they have breached the contract it will be because they have unilaterally terminated it and breached the payment obligations.
Alex J. : Hi thank you. Let me review this

I have written a statement which describes in context how we were able to bring the original quote down to the current agreed quote. Its quite long so not sure whether you want to read it

Alex J. : Thank you. I will review this and write a response and post it in the morning at the latest.


Part of the Defence to the Defendants Counterclaim



In around Jul/Aug 2012 Mirek Radziszewski visited the property of Mr & Mrs Linehan to be shown a fairly dilapidated timber [Soft Wood] conservatory, which was in disrepair and needing attention. He was asked to quote for a rebuild of the conservatory, using the existing foundation and supporting brick walls. Mrs Linehan was keen to get a rough ballpark that day and Mirek had said it was difficult to be accurate as there wasn’t a plan already drawn up for him to work from. Mrs Linehan said she needed to have a rough estimate based on replacing ‘Like for Like’ keeping to the original structure and style wherever possible. Mirek then carried out measurements of the building [215m2) and told Mrs Linehan that in his opinion it would likely cost around £15,000 - £17,000. Mrs Linehan responded ‘this is far too high’, and asked if there was any way Mirek could come down in his estimate. Only if you build it in PVC replied Mirek. Nothing further was agreed that day. A couple of weeks passed with phone calls from Mrs Linehan who tried to negotiate the price downwards. She also sent a few texts asking to bring the price down. Mr Linehan phoned Mirek once, also negotiating on price. After further discussion it was then proposed by Mirek that we could possibly do it for less, on the condition that they were prepared to use their conservatory as a ‘showcase’ for our marketing purposes and to show it to future potential customers. Mirek said that they would have to accept a work-around to his working schedule as this was the only way of bringing the price down. He quoted verbally a figure of £10,500. Mirek offered to supply Mr & Mrs Linehan with European Oak as he was expecting a delivery of seasoned oak around the end of December.


In June 2013 Mrs Linehan phoned Mirek to say that she wanted the work started, but she also wanted the price to come down ‘a little, she suggested £850 less’.


On the 10th July 2013 Mirek was called back to Mr & Mrs Linehan’s property to formally present his final quote on this basis (primarily offer reduced estimate in return for marketing and showcasing our work, with the caveat that all work done to the build was carried out on a work-around basis to existing or priority client work). Mirek explained that as a small company we were looking to create a small selection of building structures that potential customers could view before undertaking our services, so this offer was something already considered by us, but that it had to take 2nd place to any preferential and staple work as these jobs were supporting us and therefore had to take priority over any other discounted work. We know from experience that nothing is better than an existing customer’s recommendation. The offer to build a bespoke oak conservatory in return for these valuable marketing services was fully understood and agreed by Mr and Mrs Linehan. We would build their new Conservatory to be showcased as a demonstration of our work for around £9650.00. Mr & Mrs Linehan asked Mirek if he could complete their conservatory before Christmas 2013. Mirek again reiterated that his quote was based on a work- around basis and he could only offer whatever time he was able to give. He additionally said that he would try his best but could make no guarantees as now we were entering into the winter season, and the prevailing weather conditions were an unknown. Mr & Mrs Linehan agreed verbally to these terms and this was shown by their acceptance of our final quote of £9650.00 dated 10/07/13.


The first Cheque we received from Mrs Linehan was dated 28/07/13 for £3500.00. We then ordered the Roofing Glazing panels from Polycastle and which was later invoiced in full to us on their Invoice No: 38029 dated 07/11/13 for a total of £2792.90. We paid Polycastle on account two Cash payments of £1000 in October 2013 and £1500 in November 2013. A further order was made for the Side & Gable DG panels and Polycastle invoiced us No: 38142 dated 18/11/13 for £730.07. We asked Mrs Linehan to pay the outstanding balance to Polycastle direct, which she did with a Cheque for £1150.00. dated 28th November 2013. Polycastle Statement. Annexed Hereto CLA5


A second Cheque from Mrs Linehan for £1350.00 was paid to us on the 28/11/13 and was used against labour and materials already carried out in the previous 3 months building phases.


Of the Total £6000 paid from monies received to the project; Polycastle have received a Total of £3650.00 and we have received a Total of £2350.



will leave this for tomorrow. Thank you Alex


my email [email protected] if I cannot log on here for some reason. thanks

Alex J. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you

Thank you.

The breach of contract on the part of your customer is the fact that they have not paid for the goods and services. You can rightly sue them for the goods they have not paid for and for there service they have not paid for.

What you need to demonstrate is that your written invoices and quotes and payment of the same are consistent with acceptance of your arrangement. You also need to show what the normal cost of this type of build would have been so you can demonstrate that you had this alternative arrangement to justify a discount.

Will your expert be able to evaluate what the total cost should be?

Kind regards

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi you've been very helpful and your opinion is exactly where we are, but we just needed to know that we were doing the right preparation for our defence. Our expert witness has to survey the works and will write his estimations of works including independent assessment of the standard of our work and materials in his report to court.


Many thanks for your time. I will no doubt come back if I have any further questions.



Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Alex how do I pay you?