How to sue a cowboy builder?


P

Postman Pat

Hi All,

We had a large house extension built 2 years ago.

The whole job was a nightmare, with the builder pulling every trick
possible to make it look like they were working on it, but in reality
they worked at the slowest possible speed, with one or 2 men on the
job, while putting people on jobs whose customers were screaming
louder.

In the end, after about a year, it was done OK but only after a lot of
supervision from myself, checking for bodges, etc.

Now, we have noticed that there is a lot of damp/mould at the base of
a large window. The window itself is (I know) sitting in a lead tray
so hopefully the problem is not caused by the usual "replacement
window" bodge where a window has been installed badly and water ending
up in the frame base runs out of the bottom corners. But somehow water
is still leaking into the wall (plasterboard) at the two bottom
corners of the window.

I have faxed them twice, and one of the faxes was copied by Royal Mail
Special Delivery. I requested them to come and fix it otherwise I will
get somebody else to do it and then recover the cost from them through
the Courts.

2 weeks later I sent them a letter, stating much the same, again sent
by RMSD.

What is the most cost effective way to go from here?

Shall I just get another firm to do it, or do I need to take another
step? In the past, this kind of letter has always worked (and in fact
I did have to use such letters to get the builder to finish off the
job originally) and I have never had to sue anybody before.

They don't appear to be a limited company.

Thank you for any tips.

I think the fix will involve ripping off the plasterboard at the sides
of the window, and seeing where the water is coming in. There is 50mm
Cellotex in the cavity wall and they should have used proper modern
methods of sealing off the end of a cavity. It's going to cost £100s
minimum to get it sorted, probably into 4 digits.
 
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R

Richard Bird

Postman Pat said:
Hi All,

We had a large house extension built 2 years ago.

The whole job was a nightmare, with the builder pulling every trick
possible to make it look like they were working on it, but in reality
they worked at the slowest possible speed, with one or 2 men on the
job, while putting people on jobs whose customers were screaming
louder.

In the end, after about a year, it was done OK but only after a lot of
supervision from myself, checking for bodges, etc.

Now, we have noticed that there is a lot of damp/mould at the base of
a large window. The window itself is (I know) sitting in a lead tray
so hopefully the problem is not caused by the usual "replacement
window" bodge where a window has been installed badly and water ending
up in the frame base runs out of the bottom corners. But somehow water
is still leaking into the wall (plasterboard) at the two bottom
corners of the window.

I have faxed them twice, and one of the faxes was copied by Royal Mail
Special Delivery. I requested them to come and fix it otherwise I will
get somebody else to do it and then recover the cost from them through
the Courts.

2 weeks later I sent them a letter, stating much the same, again sent
by RMSD.

What is the most cost effective way to go from here?

Shall I just get another firm to do it, or do I need to take another
step? In the past, this kind of letter has always worked (and in fact
I did have to use such letters to get the builder to finish off the
job originally) and I have never had to sue anybody before.

They don't appear to be a limited company.

Thank you for any tips.

I think the fix will involve ripping off the plasterboard at the sides
of the window, and seeing where the water is coming in. There is 50mm
Cellotex in the cavity wall and they should have used proper modern
methods of sealing off the end of a cavity. It's going to cost £100s
minimum to get it sorted, probably into 4 digits.
Employ (at your cost initially) a quallified building surveyor to check THE
WHOLE job for faulty workmanship and items not meeting building regs then
send a copy to the builder via your solicitor, charging the builder for the
survey and the solicitors bill get the solicitor to put a charge on the
builders house and property if the fault/s are not rectified to current
building regs in 28 days that should givehim enough time as a decent builder
could almost build a house in that time
 
P

Postman Pat

Richard Bird said:
Employ (at your cost initially) a quallified building surveyor to check THE
WHOLE job for faulty workmanship and items not meeting building regs then
send a copy to the builder via your solicitor, charging the builder for the
survey and the solicitors bill get the solicitor to put a charge on the
builders house and property if the fault/s are not rectified to current
building regs in 28 days that should givehim enough time as a decent builder
could almost build a house in that time
Why is this necessary?
 
S

steve robinson

Peter said:
If it works it means there is a much better chance of recovering the money.

Peter Crosland
This of course assumes that

a) the builder is not a limited company
b) The builder owns his home
c) that the home if owned by the builder has any aset value
 
A

AJH

Hi All,

We had a large house extension built 2 years ago.

The whole job was a nightmare, with the builder pulling every trick
possible to make it look like they were working on it, but in reality
they worked at the slowest possible speed, with one or 2 men on the
job, while putting people on jobs whose customers were screaming
louder.

In the end, after about a year, it was done OK but only after a lot of
supervision from myself, checking for bodges, etc.

Now, we have noticed that there is a lot of damp/mould at the base of
a large window. The window itself is (I know) sitting in a lead tray
so hopefully the problem is not caused by the usual "replacement
window" bodge where a window has been installed badly and water ending
up in the frame base runs out of the bottom corners. But somehow water
is still leaking into the wall (plasterboard) at the two bottom
corners of the window.

I have faxed them twice, and one of the faxes was copied by Royal Mail
Special Delivery. I requested them to come and fix it otherwise I will
get somebody else to do it and then recover the cost from them through
the Courts.

2 weeks later I sent them a letter, stating much the same, again sent
by RMSD.

What is the most cost effective way to go from here?

Shall I just get another firm to do it, or do I need to take another
step? In the past, this kind of letter has always worked (and in fact
I did have to use such letters to get the builder to finish off the
job originally) and I have never had to sue anybody before.

They don't appear to be a limited company.

Thank you for any tips.

I think the fix will involve ripping off the plasterboard at the sides
of the window, and seeing where the water is coming in. There is 50mm
Cellotex in the cavity wall and they should have used proper modern
methods of sealing off the end of a cavity. It's going to cost £100s
minimum to get it sorted, probably into 4 digits.
To get disreputable builders to sort out poor workmanship you need
some leverage, many small builders ask for cash payments, and if this
is the case with you then you have some, so go back to them and tell
them what the problems are and that you want things sorting out
quickly and properly. If they refuse just remind them how you paid and
that you will be taking matters further if they don't. If everything
was invoiced do the same, but if they refuse to rectify the problems
tell them that you intend to contact Trading Standards for advice on
how to further your complaint. Incidentally whether they gave you a
written guarantee or not, I think TS will tell you that the builder
will be liable for faulty workmanship.
 
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