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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 12067
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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Our builder (also Friend) started replacing our kitchen, plus

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Our builder (also Friend) started replacing our kitchen, plus some building works on the 7th December 2015. Ar the time he had just bought a property to renovate, this was to be a life style business for he and his wife. At the time I enquired if we should be looking for another builder; would he have time to do our job? He aadvised he would do our job and should get it finished by the end of February. He was supplied with detailed drawings my husband had drafted. As my husband was around at the time, instead of studying the drawings he constantly asked my husband. The job was bigger than he anticipated and three weeks ago he walked off the job two thirds of the way through. He was under pressure to start his own job (which he had been constantly sorting whilst working on our job, being distracted).
We have been left in a total mess, trying to find another joiner/builder to step in and do the work at short notice and also pick up where he left off. We have found that some of the utility room cupboards are not right and he has also ordered a cupboard too many. The company the builder bought them from will only deal with him which we do not want any more dealings with. We have to sort all the mess out. My husband is reluctant to pay the builder Approx £2,500 we owe hime because of him breaking off the contract (this was a verbal contract) and leaving the job in a mess. Where do we stand legally.
Kind regards
He is in breach of contract of course for 1. Failing to complete and 2. Not doing the job to a proper and workmanlike standard. Once you find a replacement tradesman and have the work completed to your satisfaction, whether your friend is entitled to any further payment depends on the costs to complete. You have to take the contract price and deduct any payments already made. From that you have to deduct the costs to complete charged by the second tradesman. If there is a negative value, that is the extent of your claim against the first tradesman. If there is a positive value left over then technically the first tradesman is due that. Typically, however, if there are remedial works and over ordering, like your additional cupboard, it's unlikely that the first tradesman would be due anything further. I hope that helps. Please leave a positive rating so that I am credited for my time.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello thank you for your reply. Just to clarify the bulder's work was to an acceptable standard. What wasn't, he did not spend any time callculating or working out how long the jonb would take,or managing how the work would be carried out, hence he advised us the job would be finished by the end of February. He walked off the job mid March when it was two third's completed. We were paying him £175 day rate. Some of the days he would be on the phone for long periods of time. Sadly we did not comment on this at the time. The cost to us is: the time it is taking to compelte the project; the house being in a mess; he cost of finding a new builder who is available; the cost of the new builder picking up and interpreting what he has done and taking over. (we have found one now and this is taking him some time) Theses costs are hard to work out. There is the cost of the unit over ordered and possibly some materials which he has purchased for himself on our account.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sorry I didnt finish. The overall question is, does the fact that the job is taking twice as long as was roughly estimated and is therefore costing us more on a day rate. He did not properly work out how long the whole job would take. With it being only two thirds of the way through and a month over schedule, we are finding ourselves with much higher bills, not withstanding the delay and upset that comes with this.
That is why the likelihood is that you will have a damages claim against him. You may have to get a quantity surveyor to work out what the job would have cost you under the initial contract and compare that with the finished cost. It is also the case that you should have steered away from a daywork rate to start with for the reasons you now narrate but I suggest that you will have to get calculated the estimated contract price had the contract proceeded to plan and use that to ascertain what damage you have suffered financially.
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