ADVISE PLEASE? reporting dangerous building work

Discussion in 'Builders' Talk' started by If it was easy..., Sep 1, 2017.

  1. If it was easy...

    If it was easy... New Member

    Bit of advice if possible?

    I'm a tradesman and have been employed to install two bathrooms in a domestic property.
    The owner is having a lot of other building work done, including two knock throughs and other structural work.
    The other builder responsible for these works is a mutual friend, however as the job was dragging on the client asked me to price for board and plastering the downstairs as he has paid the other guy up to date,and just wants it finished.

    I agreed to take on the plastering if he was positive he wanted to use someone else, and would get it done while he is on holiday.

    However now I have cleared the site and had a proper look at the structural work, it's apparent that what I knew was maybe a bit shoddy is actually shocking, and dangerous.

    No building control insolvent,and another builder I showed it to has condemned it,and is willing to put it in writing that the property is unsafe and the work dangerous.

    I've cleared the site and shut down the job, but am now in an awkward situation where I have to inform the client, whilst on holiday that work has stopped, and worse still his pal has basically ruined his house,and will potentially have to remove everything he's paid for and start again...

    I'm not going to inform building control, but I'm also not going any further or rectifying any of the other guys work.

    I'm going to inform the client of my concerns, but wondered if I am duty-bound to report dangerous work to building control or face liability if he doesn't rectify it?
    BMC2000 likes this.
  2. KIAB

    KIAB Super Member

  3. jonathanc

    jonathanc Screwfix Select

    i don't think you have any duty to notify building control. i would suggest you put something in writing but all you need to do is to protect yourself. Just make it clear what you have any have not done. No need to make statements about other peoples work, just make sure they don't turn around and try to say you did the shoddy stuff
    KIAB likes this.
  4. KIAB

    KIAB Super Member

    Take some photo's of the faults.
  5. BMC2000

    BMC2000 Active Member

    Report to client. Give examples of failings. Let them. Move it from there.
  6. stevie22

    stevie22 Screwfix Select

    You are a professional: I'm with Kiab, you have a duty of care. Report it. This is how people get killed!!
  7. Hi iiwe.

    If you truly agree with the other builder that some of this work is genuinely dangerous, then you have a duty of care to report it.

    If you know the customer well enough to have a private word instead, then perhaps you can take that route - but be prepared to get bogged down in almost certain recriminations from the original builder (and expect the second builder to stand back and say "It's nothing to do with me - he's the one saying it..."

    If you do not know the customer at all or aren't happy to tackle this issue with him yourself, then there's only one other option I can see - involve BC - and that's the best option in any case.

    What will happen if you involve BC? I dunno - it could go either way. The customer could (should) be genuinely grateful, thank you profusely, sack the first builder and then let you and the new builder complete the work. Or he could throw a tantrum and say "It would have been fine - now it's going to cost me more money!" In which case you are out of a job.

    Are there other building/renovation jobs taking place in the area? Especially if so, another solution is to contact BC anonymously and ask them if they're aware of major work taking place at this house - they can then pop in 'in passing'. That's the coward's way - and probably the route I'd choose...

    When I was renovating my bro's house many decades ago, I didn't involve BC as I wasn't carrying out any structural alterations (and didn't understand the requirements anyway), but a guy did still turn up at my door one day and have a look around. I don't know if he was 'passing', or whether I'd been shopped.

    What should happen here? Should the original builder 'get away' with it if this is his typical and dangerous standard of work, so he can go on to another job unmolested by BC? Or should BC have his 'number'? (Because, most BCO's do have a pretty good handle on which builders can be trusted in their area.)
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 2, 2017
    KIAB and If it was easy... like this.
  8. vivaro man

    vivaro man Active Member

    If it was easy, this is a problem not of your making but as a responsible member of the building trade it is your responsibility to notify the authorities. Explain the situation and ask a BCO to attend. Something along the lines that he was in the area, saw a skip outside and asked to look at the site and what was being done.

    Make sure you have taken photo's and have a written statement from your mate who agrees with your view. Give the folder to the BCO and WALK AWAY. You have done everything possible and acted in a professional manner. No one likes a grass but in all honesty that could be a member of my family that's being ripped off. It has no place in today's industry, not now not ever.

    You know what? Word will get around that you're a serious builder with good standards and it will do your rep no harm at all. Do the right thing.

    KIAB and If it was easy... like this.
  9. KIAB

    KIAB Super Member

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  10. If it was easy...

    If it was easy... New Member

    OK just thought I'd thank everyone for their advice.

    Got a structural engineer friend to cast an eye over it all and finally got hold of the client who was really rather blasé about it!

    Had an official report from engineer detailing remedial work required, my builder pal who condemned it has taken the job on,and finally been back in today to make safe and start exploratory work ready for building control inspection...

    Put me out of work pretty much as had nothing else booked in and cost me a fortune, but hopefully now we'll get it safe and sorted, although customers looking down the barrel of £10-15000 and his ' friend' who did the job has stopped answering his phone...
  11. KIAB

    KIAB Super Member

    A good result in the end, & thanks for update, always nice to get a progress report.:D
  12. Thanks for the update.

    That's the risk you take - you have an unconcerned customer (when usually they are over-pedantic...) and someone else has benefited from the job... :(

    But, you def did the right thing.

    It's a shame the original builder got away with it, tho'... He's off to 'cowboy' another day :rolleyes:
  13. stevie22

    stevie22 Screwfix Select

    I suspect BC will have the original cowboy's number and be all over him like a rash next time they see a job of his.
    KIAB likes this.

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