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Where do I stand with my builder?

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  • Where do I stand with my builder?

    So in July last year (2020) we accepted a quote for a builder to come and take down a conservatory and replace it with a proper extension, take down some internal walls and fit a new kitchen. The builder took down and removed the old conservatory, and starting digging the footings for the foundations. Unfortunately, the existing house foundations turned out to be about twice as deep as we thought, which meant getting a digger in to finish the excavation and liaising with the structural engineer to update plans, which all took time. (In actual fact, the builder kept saying for 2 weeks he couldn't get a digger operator to come and have a look at the site, we got one out the same afternoon and he was ready to start in 2 days time. Plus, the builder never established the depth of the existing foundations either, we had to do this ourselves).

    By November, the structural engineer had updated the plans and we were ready to get started again, but by that point it was clear the builder wasn't interested in doing the work. He refused to answer calls, voicemails, emails or messages on his business Facebook page. In January he finally responded and basically said (reluctantly) he can continue with the work if we wanted, but has pulled 2 big projects forward and so doesn't know when we would be able to start, and then says he understands if we want to look for alternatives to complete the work. So now he's basically abandoned the project.

    Unfortunately, we paid just under 7k (20% of the total project) a few days before all the issues came about. We asked for a breakdown of the work and individual payments. He has overcharged by 500 for the labour, is witholding the RSJs, and cancelled an order for windows and doors without out instruction and has kept that money. We have emailed him seeking a compromise basically asking him for a refund for the above items. If he doesn't respond or if he refuses to pay, I'll look to other means to recover the money. Question is, from a legal perspective, what could I actually claim?

    Could I go for a full refund as he didn't complete the whole project, even though he did do the conservatory removal work, or can in only claim for the individual items as mentioned above?

    Thanks in advance!

    Tags: None

  • #2
    What does the contract state?
    Is this builder a limited company or an individual?
    Has he sufficient assets to pay your claim if successful?


    • #3
      Hi Des8
      There was no specific contract as such, but we had a very detailed invoice which had all the work that was due to be completed for the price quoted. This was accepted through email.

      Looking on Companies House it seems the builder is registered under his own name, and so must be trading under a different name. (Address checks out from Companies House and the address on the quote). I'm not sure if he would be able to pay it back he told us he's taking on big projects now so would assume he would be able to pay.


      • #4
        If listed on Companies House register he must be a limited company
        Have you examined his filed accounts?

        If you name him we can try checking him for you

        Ignore what he says about "big projects"... words mean nothing!


        • #5
          Hi Des8,

          Sorry for late reply! So the builders name is Scott Paton and is listed on Company House as Scott Paton Ltd, but trades under Tain Joinery & Carpentry.

          Have had a quick look through but maybe they make more sense to you?


          • #6
            As you are in Scotland the law and your approach to the problem might well be different from that in England and Wales

            With that caveat in place:
            1) whom did you pay? was it the ltd company or Tain Joinery?
            2) if it was Tain Joinery did it state they were Scott Paton Limited trading as Tain Joinery?

            It depends on your answers as to whom you send a court claim.

            The ltd company has assets, and looking at his Bookface Tain Joinery probably have some valuable equipment (unless it is owned by Scott Paton Ltd). He might own his own house?

            You can claim for all your losses, but I don't know how you initiate a claim in the Sheriffs courts
            I think you use the simple procedure for claims up to 5000 and probably won't need a solicitor.
            Over that limit you need to use the ordinary cause procedure


            • #7
              So the invoice says all payments to be made to Scott Paton Ltd.

              Can I claim for all losses even though he has done some work (like taking down the conservatory), as in, would that count against the claim in any way? Also, we had materials (concrete blocks/cement etc) on the front lawn for over 6 months as he wasn't going to pick them up, which we used when the new builders came round. I'm guessing that these costs would have to be deducted from any claim we make. Would this also count against us in any way?


              • #8
                You would deduct from the money paid any work done, or materials paid for and delivered.
                however you might be able to add to your claim any extra building costs over and above the quoted price that your new builders may be charging you


                • #9
                  Thanks for all the help Des8!


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