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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71133
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I asked a builder to give me a quote new one storey room

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I asked a builder to give me a quote for a new one storey room and was quoted figure. A few weeks later, following a visit by a surveyor, the builder increased the cost by £2,000. I also obtained further quotes from other builders to compare with the original builder,to ensure I was getting value for money. Subsequently, I applied for Building permission and sent the first builder an e mail stating I would accept his quote. The builder has been very elusive and difficult to communicate with. He has not sent any text, letter or other communication to say that he has agreed to my acceptance of the quote and will carry out he building work. Yesterday, I received a text from the first builder to say that he has found out that I had asked for other quotes and he said that he wants to collect his tools from my property. He had done some previous work and I was storing some equipment for him.
I wrote back to explain that although I had asked for other quotes, these were for comparison and I had not accepted any other quotes to this date.
I have not signed a contract governing the matter as to conflict resolution, time scales for cancelling contracts etc. I have not been granted planning permission and did not expect the work to start till the end of October or early November. I feel that the first builder has lost trust in the relationship and I no longer wish to proceed with him.
I understand that there is such a thing as a verbal contract etc, but am I within my rights to say to the builder, I do not wish to proceed with the project?
I also want to know what the position is if the builder has bought doors, bricks etc for the project without my express permission and before planning permission has been granted.
Does the builder have any right to sue me and if he does, what could he sue me for? Loss of earnings etc? I do not think the builder has bought any materials as yet.
Yours sincerely,
Mr Davies
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
I presume he hasn't done any work or bought any materials?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
as far as I know no
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have not got building permission yet, so assume he cannot presume it will be granted
Was your acceptance conditional upon that?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
it was implied verbally
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I do not doubt I will get building permission
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
i did not get any confirmation that he had accepted my acceptance
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
the builder is a small local one who does not issue contracts, schedules of payment etc or clauses governing disputes or cancellation
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
can the contract be frustrated by the lack of trust on his part demonstrated by his text and request to collect his tools from a previous job?
What I need to know is whether, when you emailed him the acceptance, you said it was conditional upon getting permission?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
i did e mail and send a hard copy of the email.
i did not state it was conditional on getting acceptance, but i did say that during a previous converstaion
Realistically it was not conditional then. The other problem with that is that even if it were there is no expectation that permission will be refused and it certainly hasn't been at this stage.
Therefore, I'm afraid you are locked into a contract on this information. He made an offer and you accepted it.
He would only have a claim for the sum of his loss though and he hasn't done any work or bought any materials. I suppose at an outside he could sue for lost profits but he isn't likely to do that. Also, realistically he will be working elsewhere so isn't really losing profits.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
he did say that I should let him know, once permission had been granted. I therefore assumed that he would not do anything till that notification as it would be unreasonable
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
i assume he would be under a duty to limit any loss and as it is 6 weeks till the projected start, he should have enough time to do so
Yes, I don't think he could have suffered any actual loss. The only debate is over lost profits.
Jo C. and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
thank you Jo

No problem and all the best.

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