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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 61283
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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We employed a building company to replace the guttering &

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HiWe employed a building company to replace the guttering & soffits to our house. The workmen knocked steel brackets into the outside wall to support the guttering but unfortunately neglected to trim the steel to length and so knocked straight through the wall into 2 of our bedrooms – moving bricks and knocking (considerable) holes into the plaster in 3 places and causing cracking and bulging in 4 places (we have pictures of the damage). The builder immediately accepted responsibility and promised to put right the damage.
The bedroom walls have been repaired – the plaster patched up - we would have preferred the whole wall to have been skimmed but agreed to ‘patching up’ on the understanding we are happy with the finished result.Having patched up the plaster the builder then, within a few hours, sent us his bill taking £50 off the original quote. We were not expecting the bill so quickly especially as we have not yet discussed re-decorating the damaged areas!The original guttering work has been completed satisfactorily but we would like advice as to whether we are within are rights to take the cost to us in money & time that the damage has resulted in off of his billTo date we have incurred costs for:Materials to prepare for workmen repairing damage to plaster such as carpet protector, plastic sheeting (a very messy, dusty job!)Costs we expect to incur:Materials to prepare areas for painting (sandpaper, PVA to ‘prime’ the new plaster etc)
Paint, brushes & rollers to redecorate 2 walls and 2 ceilings.Also, is it reasonable for us to charge labour costs? We estimate that the time we will have spent preparing both rooms for plastering (moving furniture, removing curtain poles, protecting carpets, beds etc.) and clearing up afterwards and also the time we will spend preparing and painting 2 walls and 2 ceilings and then putting everything back will probably be around 25 hours.We would also like to withhold a portion of the bill until the damaged areas have been decorated and we are satisfied with the finish.Thank you
JA: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: Not yet, we wanted to seek advice before contacting the builder
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer about this?
Customer: no
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: no

Hello, I’m Ben, a UK lawyer and will be dealing with your case today. Firstly, I need to ask some initial questions to determine the legal position.

How much do you wish to have taken off?

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
ok

also, how long ago eactly was this?

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Damage was done last Thursday (31.10.19). Repair to plaster carried out Monday 4.11.19

thanks and how much are you hoping to have taken off the bill?

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
no thanks

No problem re the phone call. I will get back to you with my answer as soon as I can, which will be at some point today. The system will notify you when this happens. Please do not reply in the meantime as this may unnecessarily delay my response. Many thanks.

Many thanks for your patience. When a person enters into a contract for work and materials, where the main focus is labour and skill, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 says that the work must be:

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

 

In addition, any information exchanged in communications between the parties, whether written or verbal, is binding if the consumer relies on it. This will include quotations and any promises about timescales or the results to be achieved.

 

If there are problems with any of the above, the customer will have certain rights:

 

In the event of substandard work, the trader should either redo the parts of the work which are inadequate or perform the whole service again at no extra cost to the customer. This must be done within a reasonable time and without causing significant inconvenience. If this is not possible, the consumer can claim a price reduction, based on the severity of the issues. If the trader refuses to resolve the issues, the consumer can consider getting someone else to do this and either deduct these costs from the total owed to the original trader, or pursue them for any extra costs that have been incurred.

 

You are unlikely to be able to charge out anything for the time and inconvenience in trying to resolve this, but any direct costs/losses incurred as a result of their negligence can be charged back to them. So you have to look at it from the perspective of ‘had it not been for their negligence, would I have incurred these costs’ and go on that basis.

 

Does this answer your query?

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Thanks for your reply. Just to clarify, bearing in mind that the builders have left us with two rooms to decorate when they weren't even working inside the house, are we able to charge them for the labour involved in actually carrying out the decorating?

you could try but not necessarily something they would agree to. Also it would likely only include labour for the damaged walls, rather than the whole room

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