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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50161
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I had a loft conversion built back in 2014. I was unhappy

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I had a loft conversion built back in 2014. I was unhappy with the builder as there was substandard work, no senior builder or project manager on site to oversea. Builders were turning up for a couple of hrs at a time. I took photos and had another builder come in to advise.
It ended on bad terms, he was very aggressive and mean. We agreed to part ways, job unfinished and final payment outstanding. The new builder's work would be deducted off the final installment.
I sent him a list of the work the new builder had done and the final price I was willing to pay. He disappeared. Every 6 months he reappears and when I try to deal with it he disappears again. Now he has given me a final price to pay.
I have since moved properties and he never came back to see that the project was completed or to inspect the work the other builder had done. My question is do I have still have to settle the outstanding balance if he has a) failed to have a senior builder on site as agreed b) failed to act with reasonable care and skill and c) he has disappared for too long? Surely there must be a cut off point?

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.How much do you owe him and how much are you deducting for the remedial works?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben,Thanks for helping me with this matter.I have already paid £31,900 till he left the job.The outstanding balance is £5,528.I have deducted off £2,185 for the second builder to complete the work, leaving £3436.25 outstanding to pay.Do I have a case to refuse to pay?ThanksNikki

Thank you. When you have entered into a contract for work and materials, where the main focus is labour and skill, the law says that the work must be:

· Carried out with reasonable care and skill (to the same standard as any reasonably competent person in that trade or profession);

· Finished within a reasonable time (unless a specific time has been agreed); and

· Provided at a reasonable price (unless a specific price has been agreed).

In addition, any information said or written is binding where the consumer relies on it. This will include quotations and any promises about timescales or about the results to be achieved.

If there are problems with the standard of work, or any of the above, you will have certain rights:

1. The trader should either redo the parts of the service which are inadequate or perform the whole service again at no extra cost to you. This must be done within a reasonable time and without causing you significant inconvenience.

2. If redoing the work is impossible or cannot be done within a reasonable time or without causing significant inconvenience, you can claim a price reduction. The price reduction would depend on how severe the issues are and could be as much as the full cost of the work.

3. If the service has been performed so badly that it would be unreasonable to expect the consumer to give the trader a second chance, you may be entitled to claim the cost of remedial work by another trader.

So there are certainly grounds to try and argue that you should not pay the full remaining balance because you have been forced to get another builder to finish the work. You could still be liable for part of the remaining costs though. In terms of a cut off point, they have 6 years in which to make a claim so there is still plenty of time for them to pursue this if they wanted to.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of an option you have to get them to accept a settlement, which I wish to discuss 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, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

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Thank you. What you can try and do is send them payment in the form of a cheque and attach a note stating it is ‘in full and final settlement’ of the money owed for the works they carried out. If they go ahead and cash that then they would be giving up their rights to claim further against you for more. It is worth trying as some cash it anyway without necessarily realising what they are agreeing to