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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10955
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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In August 2008 I hired a local builder to excavate and lay

Customer Question

In August 2008 I hired a local builder to excavate and lay block paving at the front and rear of the house at a cost of £6462. In the last couple of years the paving at the front of the house has started to 'heave' -- at first slightly but over the last winter it has become very much worse. There is now a pronounced 'wave' in the surface with the pavers at the crest opening out and showing their edges. A local paving specialist I have met recently has told me that there is no good excuse for this, especially on a sloped site, and that the movement was probably due to insufficient 'ballast' under the paving. To test this, he took up a few blocks in the affected area and showed me about 2 inches of hardcore under the sand layer -- he insists this should be a minimum of 4 inches (and probably more in a car parking area) and should also incorporate a membrane (which is not present). While my researches have shown a mix of opinion on the membrane issue, the almost universal assertion is that 4 inches of well-packed hardcore foundation is a minimum. Before I contact the builder informally, I'd like to know what my legal position is at this remove. Does the builder not have a duty of care not to supply works which, by all accounts, would inevitably fail sooner rather than later? Best Wishes Ken XXXXXX

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Buachaill replied 3 years ago.

Buachaill :

1. A builder has an obligation not to carry out works which are inherently defective. Here whilst the builder carried out the works, there is an inherent defect in that the foundations under the paving were not sufficient to ensure the paving was properly carried out. Accordingly, the builder will have a liability in law to cure the defect. In practice this usually means that some sum in compensation be paid to remedy the fault. You certainly won't get the full value of the works back. However, you will get a rateable proportion of the sum it takes a new builder to put in the necessary foundations under the paving and ensure that there is no more "waving" of the paving.

Buachaill :

2. If there is something on which you require clarification I will be happy to help further.