Poor Quality Work By Builder

The Builder Has Not Done A Good Job Or It Is Poor Quality work. What Can I Do?

A robust building contract will set out the terms and state how the workmanship has to be carried out by the builder. In particular, the specification will cover the type of contract to be used, performance criteria of the asset, the description of the materials to be used, methods of installation, design of work, which standards are applicable and how they should be executed, quality of the systems and products to be used.

Top Tip: Where there is no standard stated then one adopts the best practice as described in national British Standards.

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 states that every contract to supply a service will include a term that the builder must perform the service with reasonable care and skill.

If the builder fails to do what was agreed for example a wrong product or lower standard of fitting has been installed then the builder is in breach of contract. If the work is not satisfactory you are entitled to repeat performance of the service or a price reduction.

1. You are entitled to ask the builder to perform the service again as it is their responsibility to put things right. This is requesting the builder to correct any of the work which has not been done properly.

Top Tip: If you have any concerns it should be put in writing and then to meet and discuss them with the builder. It may be the case that you feel have lost faith in the builder’s ability. If the matter proceeds to the court it will be expected for you to show that you have made efforts to resolve the dispute with the builder.

2. Any repeat work to be done by the builder to fix the problem it should be at the builder’s expense and within a reasonable amount of time. If the builder fails to address the problem by a deadline set by you then you may be entitled to instruct a third party to do the work and claim the cost from your original builder.

Top Tip: Before you do this, you should obtain quotes or estimates from other builders and let your contracted builder see how much you will be claiming if they do not put the problem right.

3. If the builder cannot or refuses to fix the problem such as poor workmanship then you can ask the builder to reduce the price of the service dependant on the work that needs to be undertaken. It can be up to the full amount of the price.

4. Any refund or price reduction must be provided without undue delay and in any event within 14 days of the builder agreeing that the homeowner is entitled to the remedy.

5. If the matter is not resolved or remedied, you may wish to withhold money from payment and request the builder to stop any more work and obtain a refund within 14 days. Once a contract is signed, you cannot ask the builder to stop work. The only remedy is to say the work is not correct specification and do it again. If it of safety concern only then you can stop new work until it made safe and work done properly. This is why it is important to pay only for work which has been carried out.

Top Tip: You need to inform the builder that you are unhappy with the work and dissatisfied with the quality of work.

1. The costs of someone else putting the work right (see above 2)

2. Repairing or replacing items that have been damaged.

3. Taking time off work to oversee the repairs.

Did you know that under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 that all products and even materials used in building work need to be of satisfactory quality (well-made and in good condition), fit for purpose (items are suited to what they are being used for) and as described (fit the description you were given e.g colour or style).

• A pipe being installed which is cracked and leaks water (not of satisfactory quality).

• The material used on your roof not being waterproof and letting the rain in (not fit for purpose).

• A fireplace being installed which is not the one you selected (not as described).

Who exactly is responsible for fixing problems with building materials depends on the situation. If the builder you hired purchased the materials themselves, believing them to be appropriate for the job, they will need to sort out the issue themselves. On the other hand, if you bought the materials and paid someone else to install them, then you will need to handle the problem yourself. If the problem cannot be fixed, you may be able to negotiate a discount or even a refund.

Altion Law are specialists at advising and representing parties in a Contractual Dispute relating to a Construction Project.  If you would like to have a confidential discussion with a member of our team, please complete our Contact Us Form, and we will call you back at a time that is suitable for you or you can contact us directly on 01908 414990.

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