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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50148
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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We are having building work done which is now way over time

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We are having building work done which is now way over time on completion. We sent the builder a letter making "Time of the essence" on the 25 January that he finish the work on the 19 February. He agreed to this. Work has still been sporadic. He is likely to ask for more time to complete the roof. The 19 th is this Friday. If we agree to another, say 7 days for him to complete does this weaken our position to take him off the job, if the work is still not complete within the 7 days.
I can provide a copy of the letter sent to him if required.
We are also looking for a draft of a letter to take him of the job if it comes to that.
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. What would you specifically like to know about this?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Ben. Would you like a copy of the letter sent to the builder making time of the essence first-this might clarify the position.
If you can attach it here, yes please. Also please note I am just due in a meeting so may not be able to reply fully until later on, thank you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Dear *****.I am writing to you about your delay in finishing the following work at Yew Tree Cottage.We feel its important to set out our position in writing.The outstanding work is:1. Roof replacement and repair.2. Original contract work including, replacement of internal window, balcony balustrade, external skylight window fitting in the kitchen, internal electrical cupboard door, making good damaged paint work in the kitchen where leaks have occurred due to the incomplete window and other sundry work.The original contract was due for completion in April and we received further promises it would be complete by the end of July. This work is still not fully complete. We agreed in December for you to carry out additional roof replacement work which you advised was necessary and would be completed soon after the christmas break. You advised the work would involve ten working days. We advanced money to you before christmas of £8500 on the understanding work would be done quickly to completion. You advised that you would be “straight on it” after the christmas holiday but we have seen very limited activity since then. You have now given us a completion date of the 19 February 2016 which is longer than we had originally been led to believe. Our garden contractors will soon be held up if your work is incomplete. You have promised us a written work schedule, but this has not been received. Its difficult for us to understand why the work will take until the 19 February.You are now requesting more money, which you advise if we do not pay, could result in still further delay to work being completed.Building work on our modest annex has now been going on for well over a year and we cannot accept any further delay. We have been promised previous completion dates previously and none have been met. We are happy to pay you for the work but will need it to be completed before we pay you any further money.We are therefore, now making time of the essence in this agreement. This means that if all outstanding work is not completed by the 19 February 2016 we will treat our agreement as at an end and take your company off the job. We will find another trader to finish the work. This also means if we are involved in additional costs to complete the work we will recover these from you.It would be much easier for everyone if you would just complete the work, with good faith on both sides as soon as possible, we can pay you and we can all move on.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The main question is: we understand from talking today with his roofer there is a further two weeks work to complete the roof. If we agree to a further extension for two weeks and the job is still not complete, does that weaken our legal position if we take the builder off the job then. The problem is, although there is two weeks work left, we have no guarantee that Richard will keep his workers on our job for that time if other work comes up. Things could drift on for many weeks. We have no trust now in his word after many failed completion dates previously during the project. But to make life easy for us we might consider to a further two week extension.
When the project is complete we will owe the builder around £8000. We have already paid him £8500 for the roof so far. Hope this makes sense.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
NB-Richard has previously agreed to a completion by the 19 Feb 2016 by email.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Ben. Are you able to respond this evening?
Hi, thanks for your patience, I could not get out until a few minutes ago. If you had inserted a time of the essence requirement but then decided to grant a further extension, a one off exception would not really affect your position. It may reduce the importance if you had given numerous extensions because that could imply that time was not really of the essence but a one off opportunity to finish the job, assuming it was a short extension (2 weeks is not long) would be acceptable as long as you are firm afterwards and stick to your position of removing him if there has been no progress and no reasonable explanation for it. You can terminate the contract now, once the deadline has been reached, but as you said you do want to make things easy for yourselves, which is understandable, so this one off extension after the TOE clause is not really going to pose any legal issues. However, after that I would suggest you seriously consider terminating his services to ensure you are still the one with the advantage in terms of your strength of argument. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the template letter you can send the builder if you wish to terminate his services, which I wish to provide so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks Ben. If we do give two further weeks extension and there is no progress I can see that would be fine to take him off the job. But what if there is just some progress-say the work is half or two thirds complete by then- would we still be fine to take him the job then.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
A template of a termination letter would be great.
If he is clearly getting here, although not within the specified time limit, then you will have to consider whether it is worth leaving him to do it and just monitoring closely any progress (or lack of). Ad to a letter you can use, please find attached template below (subject to your own tweaks of course): Dear X, The Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 (as amended) On [DATE] you entered into an agreement to undertake the following works:· [DETAILS OF WORKS] However, since then the following issues have occurred:· [DETAILS OF ISSUES] I have given you the opportunity to resolve this by providing numerous extensions on [DETAILS OF EXTENSIONS OR OTHER CONCESSIONS MADE]. As of the date of this letter the following works still remain outstanding:· [DETAILS OF OUTSTANDING WORKS] May I remind you that The Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 (as amended) requires all work that is carried out to be done so with reasonable care and skill and within reasonable time. It also states that materials used must be of satisfactory quality i.e. free from defects. In the light of the above faults, and the fact that you have not adhered to the reasonable extensions given, including the specific instruction that time was of the essence given to you on [DATE], I have now lost faith in your ability to continue the work or to rectify the matter, and am therefore terminating the contract with immediate effect. I will employ an alternative contractor to complete the job and any monies outstanding to you will be used to pay for this work. Should the repairs cost more, I will look to claim the difference from you. I look forward to your response on this matter, at your earliest convenience. Yours sincerely X
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks-one further point. If we go with a two week extension then do we just need to provide a further letter advising we still continue to make time of the essence but agree for a further two week extension.
Yes, you can state that whilst you gave the initial extension, in the circumstances you are agreeable to extend it slightly but still retain the original conditions that time is of the essence
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for your help Ben-have a nice evening.
Thank you, ***** ***** All the best for now