How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • Go back-and-forth until satisfied
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask SolicitorRM Your Own Question
SolicitorRM, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 4320
Experience:  Director and Principal Solicitor. UK
Type Your Law Question Here...
SolicitorRM is online now

I entered a contract with a building firm for a loft

This answer was rated:

Hi, i entered a contract with a building firm for a loft conversion, expected to take 6 weeks. With almost all the money paid, and after 14 weeks they have abandoned the project and will not commit to when they can complete , nor will they refund. They have ignored all the letters we have sent with respect to consumer rights acts. Our grievance is that they the had been unreasonable delay to the service and general lack of skill and care. We have found two other victims in the same situation. We are now at the stage where we would like to start the court process to claim our money back and compensation. We had no choice but to hire an alternative contractor to resume the project. We would like advise on how we can proceed to make a claim in court.
JA: Where is this? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: London, UK
JA: What steps have been taken so far?
Customer: We wrote to them and asked them to commit to a completion date, this was ignored . This was followed up with a request for a refund, which they refused.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: We have reason to believe this is their business model and they are willfully going around, giving competitive quotes with no intention of completing the jobs. Suppliers and subcontractors are not paid, hence materials stop arriving and work stops, to profit. We have also filed a fraud complaint with Action Fraud. The proprietor appears to have form in this kind of practice and there is information on line for fraud conviction

Good evening, thank you for contacting Justanswer. I am a solicitor in England and Wales and happy to guide you. If the time for completion was agreed and not simply estimated then you will be able to rely on the express terms of the agreement to claim that delay was in breach of the contract. If there was simply an estimate and no commitment to complete by a specified date then you would be relying on the CRA 2015 which provides that completion would have to be within a reasonable time. Reasonable is not an objective assessment it will depend on the specific circumstances and with the covid-19 pandemic at the moment most traders are relying on it to justify inability to complete.

Now should you believe that they could have completed on time or if late not as late as would have happened had you not engaged alternative contractors you will have to send to them a letter of claim in compliance with the pre-action protocol on construction and engineering disputes. You could look to agree with them not to comply with this protocol but if they do not agree you will have to use it. You give them 14 days to acknowledge receipt of your claim and 28 days to provide their substantive response. If they do not engage with you and you are therefore not able to arrange the required meeting to try and resolve the matter amicably within 21 days of receiving their response, you will be within your rights to submit your claim in the County Court Money Claims Centre. You would have to download and complete form N1, attach you particulars of claim and all your evidence. You will be able to claim damages and therefore it would not be full refund if not all their work needed to be redone. If their work was ok but they have just not completed you will be able to claim for the cost incurred to contract the alternative contractors. I would strongly recommend that you get an independent surveyor to assess their work and to write a report on the work and the outstanding work and if possible to confirm the value of the outstanding work. you will attach this report to your claim. You will need to download Form EX50 to check on page*****issue fee applicable for the value of your claim, the higher you claim the higher the fee. If your claim is for less than £10,000 you will be able to file it online on moneyclaimsonline website. If I can clarify anything further please do not hesitate to send me your follow up questions, I will be more than happy to assist you. All the best.

SolicitorRM and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Good morning,
Thank you very much for your response. Very useful. We have had to proceed with the work as soon as possible to secure the site as we have very small children, damaged ceilings with rainwater and debris coming into the house, acro supports with sharp edges sticking out and exposed electrical work. We contacted a couple of the subcontractors to help us complete the work to a reasonable place. They had stopped the work because they had not been paid. The builder had even failed to submit building regulations notice to the local authority after 13 weeks of the work starting and no party wall agreements to my neighbours as agreed. I have also obtained 3 separate quotes for how much it will cost to complete the work. My current cost are high trying to resolve the building as soon as I can as we are a family of 6 now living in an abandoned building site. . My question is can I rely on my receipts for completing the work myself and the quotes I have obtained as cost evidence instead of surveyor as money is tight and my priority is to put a roof on the house with winter approaching. I am buying all the materials and my new builder is only charging me for labour. I have had no trouble buying materials . I also need to rehire an engineer and architect as parts of the firms build was not compliant with building control. Is a surveyor's assessment an absolute requirement to support my claim, or can use all the other evidence I have to demonstrate the cost of getting this completed?