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Small Claims Court - Rougue Builder / Drive Guy

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  • Small Claims Court - Rougue Builder / Drive Guy

    Hi all - I have been having a complete mare with my drive. I wont go into the full story as its long winded.

    But April 2022 - new concrete drive laid.

    First part of drive laid using a certain concrete mix looks great but went off really quick and they had to work hard to get the imprint in.. 2nd part of the drive - they had a different companys concerete mix and looked awful and I knew it wasnt right inmediately (but I couldnt walk on to inspect it) but as agreed to the drive guys terms I paid the best part of 7K on the last concrete pour. That was the fatal mistake on my part.

    Back and forth for ages then September 2022 the drive guy said he was taking the concrete company to court for an additive added wrongly to the mix which made the job go all wrong.
    Fair enough he was taking court action. Again back and forth for ages.

    Finally he came back May 2023 - he ripped up my drive - also made me send him photos and videos so he could prove to the concrete company he was taking legal action against that he was back and doing the job and then I assume he would get compenstation off them....it sounded like he was claiming for a lot of stuff off them to be fair too (travel, disposal etc)

    When he turned up I decided to open the wall to my drive up a bit as it was really tight getting in. I did not ask him - just did it. He then said it changed the job dramitically due to the slopes of the ground. OK I agreed to put the wall back up and its back in the same position so he can put his concrete up against now.....just finish it...I will deal with the wall myself again.

    Even though hes said he would come back when the wall was rebuilt I havnt heared off him and hes not responding now.....so Ive paid him 7K for rubble essentially.

    Now Im determined to try and pursue this through the courts - 7K is a massive amount of money for us really

    What makes matters worse is I thought he was getting paid twice for the job. Once from me and once from the concrete company he was taking action agaisnt. So decided to email the concrete company myself to find out what compenstation he has been paid just trying to get the facts together as I could sense trouble comming.

    It turns out it was all lies. They never had any complaints about the concrete and even found the order for me and how much he paid for the bulk of the concrete - about 900!!

    So hes been leading me on all this time. I have all texts from him right from the start and its all there blaming this additive. All nonsense.

    Is it worth taking to court do you think or is it a case of throwing good money after bad.....proper lost sleep thing this has been for me.

    Any help would be really appreciated as Im fuming with myself for paying him when deep down I knew.
    Thanks

    Hes already had two letter before action letters off me and each time he says he will sort it but nothing really happens . I give benefit of doubt as I dont want to go to court at all I just want a drive laid.- do I send another letter before action or just file a claim and start the process going......like I said cant thank you enough for any tips or advice
    Tags: None

  • #2


    Well the first thing to do is ascertain if he is worth suing i.e. does he have the assets to pay you.

    Was he a sole trader, or a limited company?
    If a sole trader do you have his home address, and does he own it?

    Do some research before you initiate any court action
    Good luck

    Comment


    • #3
      If you end up making a court claim make sure you have dated photographs of your drive. This will be the concrete evidence the judge will be looking for.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi all - well the saga is still going on - he keeps saying hes comming but theres no sight of him, he goes on holidays for two weeks and says he will do when he gets back and all promises
        We have some decent weather comming up but he doesnt reply for ages ie until after the decent weather has come and gone

        The last text I sent him I said Ill get tarp to protect any working from sun and rain and still no reply

        The question is really - I have already sent him two letters before action and it doesnt actually get anything resolved for us - just more promises

        Hes just delaying and delaying things

        So do I need to send another letter before action now or can I just open a case now to the small claims court

        My feeling is because he keeps saying hes comming and going to do the job for us - If I then open up a small claims against him it will then be my fault if you know what I mean - dont know what to do

        Thanks

        Comment


        • #5
          My advice is to get a couple of quotes to complete your drive as originally intended that include removing the first builders defective work. If there is any work that can remain these new quotes should allow for it.
          Prices have obviously increased in the last 18 months, so expect the quotes to be higher.
          Your claim should be based on the acceptable quote.
          Did your LBAs state a latest time to start the work?

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks - I did have a single quote last year but that was by text I beleive - thats the other issue- theres not many people who do these types of drives around here hence me going further afield than intended

            Comment


            • #7
              Assuming the builder has broken up the concrete drive he laid and left the rubble. You need to obtain a quote to remove and dispose the rubble.
              Add this quote to the 7k you paid the builder. Hopefully the total will be under 10k so your claim will be allocated to the small claims track.
              After researching the company and the company owner as Des8 suggested, start a court claim.
              CRA 2015 requires a contractor to provide reasonable care and skill when carrying out a service so your claim should be under this statute.
              As disputes with builders are common, Citizens Advice have an article about this on their website.



              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Pezza54 View Post
                Assuming the builder has broken up the concrete drive he laid and left the rubble. You need to obtain a quote to remove and dispose the rubble.
                Add this quote to the 7k you paid the builder. Hopefully the total will be under 10k so your claim will be allocated to the small claims track.
                After researching the company and the company owner as Des8 suggested, start a court claim.
                CRA 2015 requires a contractor to provide reasonable care and skill when carrying out a service so your claim should be under this statute.
                As disputes with builders are common, Citizens Advice have an article about this on their website.
                Awsome thank you - yes just been discussing with my other half now - the problem is he just doesnt reply and tbh hes had plenty of oppurtunity to put right by now anyway ....I think the angle he will try on if it does go to court is that I changed the job by taking a small section of wall down (I have since put this walll backup by the way) .....and he has agreed to come back out to do it since putting the wall up - but he just never does

                Anyway we will have to get breakers and a skip in again to get the remianing drive up now - even though that section looks great other people wont put their name to the job without removing that section first - which sucks but makes sense I suppose too

                So I dont need to send another letter before action then - just start the claim process

                Comment


                • #9
                  No the contractor has had more than a reasonable amount of time to correct the defective work.

                  Did you obtain planning permission for your new drive?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I had a concrete drive already here when we moved in so no planning required

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Unfortunately it doesn't work like that.
                      Any new or replacement drive in the front garden over 5m2 built with an impermeable surface such as concrete now requires planning approval.
                      This is to prevent potential flooding of LA sewers during heavy rain.
                      The whole surface must fall to flower beds and/or a soakaway..
                      Alternatively a permeable surface such as block paving or resin should be used.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Well the drive is completely up now anyway so I will think of planning IF going for that type of drive again - I know a big soakaway has gone in and when it used to rain on the drive it goes down and into acos and off to the soakaway - but to be honest Im not sure what sort of drive Im going to go for now anyway - might just put block paving and do it all myself - just not sure now

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hi again - can I just check - im going to submit the claim against this guy now sometime this week. Do I claim against the company name (he is the owner on companies house) or do I claim against the individual. Reason I ask is I paid him directly to his bank account so wasnt sure if it makes a difference. Thanks.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            This is not something to "just check". It is important, and if you get it wrong you will have lost time and money.

                            Who was your contract with? Look at estimates, any contract documents, order forms, invoices.

                            Why did you pay the individual? Who asked you to do that?
                            Lawyer (solicitor) - retired from practice, now in academia. I do not advise by private message.

                            Litigants in Person should download and read this: https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/..._in_Person.pdf

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Glad I asked - there was no official written contract.....everything was done via txt message and the number I was texting was the number advertised on his website buisness. He asked me to pay the funds into his account in his name - which made sense to me as he is the owner?

                              Comment

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