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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71140
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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i have a yacht which need some skilled boat building work.

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Hi i have a yacht which need some skilled boat building work. I engaged a boat builder and the work by the boat builder was started in October of last year and was promised to have been completed at Christmas. Despite many reminders nothing is happening and its unlikely the work will be completed by Easter when the boat was scheduled to go back into the water. The boat builder is very busy working on other boats ahead of mine. He did a bit last week and then took his team off it again. What is my legal position here please?
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Did you agree that time was of the essence?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo. Yes the boat was brought out of the water in october earlier than normal so he could start work. The work wasn't done by christmas, and then it wasn't competed by end of january as we subsequently agreed.

Yes, but did you specify the words 'time is of the essence'?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes, that would be a phrase i would use but i did not know the importance of exactly saying "time is of the essence". He is in know doubt however that time is of the essence in so much as he knew the dates i required it done. Plus he knows the boat goes back in the water at Easter, i have told him this.

Yes, I realise time was important.
What I need to know is whether or not you could say on oath that you are sure that the actual words 'time is of the essence' were used?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

At the time of awarding him the work? No i could not say that. I could say on oath that i have said that in follow up conversations when i have been concerned about the lack of progress

In that case, you are in difficulty at the moment but you can make time of the essence.
Come what may, you didn't agree that time was of the essence at the outset and so, although he may be in breach, it is not a breach of a material term striking at the heart of the contract.
Given the protracted delays, you could still argue that he is in breach of a general duty to complete within a reasonable period of time but that is more dangerous.
What you need to do is write to him giving him 14 days to complete and quoting a specific date. Make clear that time is of the essence and use that specific wording. If 14 days is not reasonable then elongate the time period.
Then if he does not complete, you can cancel and complete with another and sue him for any additional costs.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks Jo. Thats clear. I will do that. Actually i will give him 7 days, which is the time that "she" is supposed to go back in. It can be quite costly craning a 7 tonne yacht back into the water and i dont want to cancel the crane. Please clarify what "additional costs" are in this case?

Have you paid her anything yet?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Him. boats are "She's" boat builders are "He's" mainly. . No i haven't but i must have spent 30K with him over last few years on other jobs. Hey i was going to send this. you think ok?

Hi Nick

Please complete the work on Damian B by Easter. It was started in October and as you know was forecasted to be completed at Christmas. Then when it wasn’t, we agreed that is was to be completed prior to my return from the World Championships in Australia in January.

Time is of the essence here and Easter is only a week away. The work needs to be done by then.
Just add a sentence at the end to the effect that you will instruct another person to do the work if he does not.
If it comes to it you can get another to complete but you wouldn't have a claim against him because you have not paid him anything. You would just have to give the work to another.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks Jo, you've been great. Seems to me theres little point in threatening legal action to get work done as i originally thought might be effective as all he will loose is the income from my job. i will have to find another way to make him complete the job, no problem. Don't you eat? its dinner time! ciao