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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71040
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hi, Ive been put in a difficult position by a plumber/heating

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I've been put in a difficult position by a plumber/heating engineer who was brought in to do a fair bit of work in the house: change boiler, reconnect heating pipes, change bath to a walk in shower cubicle with heavy duty thick glasss. The biggest job was to convert an understairs cubpoard to a cloakroom by getting connections for water and waste from the kitchen and understairs. Before work started, I said that we needed our oven repaired and he suggested that if we got a new oven, he would reconnect as part of the job. Unfortunatley things have not gone well. I had verbally instructed on first day of the job that he must check if the new cooker will fit, othewise we may have to re-think and return the cooker and maybe the cloakroom job would have to be reconsidered. I assumed since he did not say anything that it was fine until on last day he told me the new oven I bought was too big to ft in the old oven space and he removed and discarded the oven from the house on first day. Then also when I went to see the oven that day, I saw that the connection for the cloakroom were made directly behind the oven and has compromised the space a little but even despite this, he should have checked that my new oven would fit before going ahead with the cloakroom work. As well as this, another problem was that he did not fit the thick heavy duty glass that I had asked for but a flimsy thin one and the fitting was poor. The cloakroom does not have a sink and tap as he was waiting for this to arrive. I was going to pay him £7620 gross to do all this work. Now as he has refused to do the work, i have to get multiple tradesmen to finish off the work and its going to cost me around 1770 gross. This involves remedial work in the kitchen and cloakroom. I have had quotes to do the work. I am doing this on behalf of my elderly parents who now have no washing facility and no working oven in the house for over 2 weeks! He is being stubborn...what are my rights and am I right to withold this payment? He is theatening to take me to court. Thankyou for your help in advance.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Why is somebody else finishing this off?
Is he refusing to return?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes thats right

What reason has he given please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

He is making a case that I was abusive towards him that is not the case! He said he would deal with another family member. I agreed but said that Iwould have to be there also at my parents request who are paying for the work. He got angry when I didn't like the glass enclosure for the shower that he fitted on last day and started to complain about me to his employees that I'm so hard to please. He has made a judgemental error with the cloakroom fitting also and refusing to accept any responsibility for not checking the space for fitting the oven first. He was also in a squabble with my neighbours over parking his van. He is qiute short tempered. Can you please tell me what my rights are.

The difference of opinion is likely to be ignored by a court.
There are two issues here really. The first is the uncompleted work and the second is the remedial work.
The uncompleted work is simple enough. He has not done it. Whoever is to blame for that, he has not done the work and cannot seek payment if he has not. The very worst that would happen is that a court would say that you should have allowed him to return to do the work and then he may have a claim for any lost profits. Its not even likely that a claim for materials would succeed as he could always use those elsewhere.
The remedial work rests fundamentally upon whether or not you can show that his work fell below the standard required. He has to take reasonable care. The oven measurements will come down to which of you is blame for that. Its slightly surprising that the measurements were not set in stone but I suppose I haven't had full vision of this case. The glass is simple enough. If its a different glass from the one you ordered then he has to pay for that to be remedied.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for you reply. The issue about the oven is that the old oven was a shallower depth by about 2.5cm compared to new ones that are on the market. I cannot fit a min depth oven in the existing space. I had relied on him to keep me informed of any issues so could make decisions accordingly. No oven will fit in that space now without me having to make adjustments elsewhere in the kitchen......this is a major job. My other issue with him is that I've asked him for a detailed breakdown of his invoices and he is refusing to do that. Can I insist on these?

Surely that isn't down to him though? Even if he had kept you informed you would still have the problem with the oven size?
You can ask for a detailed breakdown but failing to provide one isn't a trial issue. You agreed X amount for the work and that is the due sum unless there are breaches.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes understand but we would possibly have cancelled the downstairs cloakroom to be made as too inconvenient a job perhaps. But now we are lumbered with a toilet which we may have to redo as well as the kitchen!?

That could go either way in court really. He will almost certainly argue the fault does not lie with him.
The glass point is a better one as is failing to finish the work.
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