Builder Problems/Dispute

Discussion in 'Builders' Talk' started by Ben Ferman, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. Ben Ferman

    Ben Ferman New Member

    A few months a go we appointed a building company that is FMB and Trust Mark registered and provided IWA warranty to carry out a refurbishment of our kitchen -

    1. Remove old suspended floor and replace with concrete flooring with underfloor heating and tiled (we provided the porcelain tiles that costed £1800 in total).
    2, Decorate new kitchen
    3. Provide plumbing for new appliances
    4. Hide all plumbing pipe work behind walls and floors
    5. Install 2 new radiators
    6. Remove and install new skirting
    7. Re-wire extractor fan
    8. Add a new network cable under the floor to the router which is located in the front of the house.
    9. Replace kitchen door and windows

    From the above list the issues are as follows -

    1. Concrete was not left to cure for the amount of days required as per guidelines (few cracks appeared on the screed prior to tiling), Underfloor heating was not commissioned as per guidelines, Decoupling Membrane for tiling was initially left out but when advised was in the contract, was re-added, Tiles have been laid above the original floor level and therefore forming a step into the kitchen (they have added a threshold to create a small slope to avoid an actual step but as we have a wheelchair user in the house hold, a threshold is not ideal!) and lastly the tiles they have laid have multiple small chips due to kicking off levelling clips and the floor is at a small gradient as they did not use a self levelling compound and therefore some of our kitchen units are at a noticeable tilt.
    *The issues with the floor being un-level was mentioned to them when the screed was dry and prior to laying the tiles and yet still the issue was not rectified!

    2. A few areas they have missed out to decorate...
    3. Forgotten to provide plumbing for our new fridge freezer!
    4. Only installed one radiator instead of the 2
    * when issues with floor were mentioned they left odd jobs out and did not return
    5. Skirting not installed - Refund offered and accepted but not paid as of yet.
    6. Did not re-wire extractor due to issues with RSJ in the way - refund accepted but not paid as of yet
    7. Network cable was only half compelte therefore making it redundant.
    8. Initially quote for both windows and door was provided as apart of the overall quote however at the time of work, PM mentioned only quoted for 2*windows and 1 door instead of 4*windows and 1*door.

    The building firm have now created us multiple inconveniences as we are not sure how good the flooring is (any underlying issues) and with the other jobs not done, we are going to have to find new tradesman...

    The owner (who was the PM as well) walked off the job when the issues were brought to his attention.
    He initially said he would resolve them and apologised but when knowing the flooring issue is potentially massive (may need to be lifted) it looks like he took the easy route out.

    How should I go about tackling this issue with the company, how will I know what is an acceptable amount of refund + compensation and should I get arbitration through FMB involved?

    I have spoken to Trading standards and their advise indicate that I may be able to ask for upto 100% of the contract due to the fact that they have broken the terms by not performing jobs and 'not performing some with due care and skill even after a repeat performance'.

    We have our new kitchen being installed in 2 weeks and I sent the building company an email on 7 days ago stating the areas they have performed badly and not carried out jobs. The surveyor has gotten back to have stated they will respond by mid next week.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Jackoftrades

    Jackoftrades Well-Known Member

    First things first.

    Is this all in writing, including quotes, and your complaints.

    Has it all been paid?
  3. KIAB

    KIAB Well-Known Member

    Where is Da, he the legal bod on here.:D

    You would win easily in small claims court.
  4. Ben Ferman

    Ben Ferman New Member

    Contracts are both in paper form and email but the comms/complains since works started are all in email form.
    I was thinking of using the arbitration service via FMB pending this final response from them but I am not sure what will suffice for refunds/compensation?

    Money has been paid up to 95%, as per schedule - £20,500
    1k outstanding
  5. jonathanc

    jonathanc Active Member

    forget arbitration service - waste of effort

    so bring in a building surveyor, commission a report on the faults. Get two quotes to put the work right

    Write to the builder saying you want works corrected as per the building surveyors report and the agreed items above to a good standard, works to commence within 14 days and be complete within 28. say that if works are not carried out you will recover the costs of correcting works from him

    leave it 14 days if no action, issue a reminder letter giving a further 14 days. if no response the issue a 7 day final notice. If that does not work lodge a small claims case for the costs of remedial work and surveyors fees etc. You do not need a solicitor for this, do it yourself. Follow small claims procedure and hope the builder has not made his business insolvent in the meantime
  6. Ben Ferman

    Ben Ferman New Member

    We do not have that
    Thank you for your advise.
    Unfortunately we do not have that type of time to wait and rectify.
    Our kitchen is coming from Germany and due to their holiday period we have already been delayed by 5 weeks for install...
    We 3 children (1 of them bring a new born) and we cannot have any more disruptions...
    According to the trading standards, as I already asked them to rectify the issues with the floor when they were initially laid, that counts as a 'repeat performance' and therefore can go to arbitration and then if that does not work, small claims court...
    What do you think?
  7. jonathanc

    jonathanc Active Member

    the key is to demonstrate you've given them reasonable opportunity to put the problems right and you have had to resort to small claims as last resort.
    if there is nothing in your contract that requires arbitration for disputes go straight to small claims
  8. Mr Rusty

    Mr Rusty Well-Known Member

    This has to be the same as Chris101's thread in Tiling. My take is still the same. You are going to have to accept delay on the kitchen if you want the floor sorting. Compensation won't make it good.
    Devil's Advocate and Jord86 like this.
  9. Jord86

    Jord86 Well-Known Member

    I would look at postponing the fitters asap and putting the kitchen into a secure storage unit until you have sorted out the issues with the floor, and any other areas that will be nearly impossible to rectify once the kitchen is installed. And charge the storage bill to your original builder.
  10. Astramax

    Astramax Well-Known Member

    Claim on the companys Indemnity Insurance by suing them.
  11. jonathanc

    jonathanc Active Member

    sorry, getting involved directly with the insurers will bog the process down. claim in (small claims) court from the company and let them handle the insurance side.

    its the same as car insurance, claim from the individual and let them pass on the responsibility to their insurer ( which in the case of motor insurance they have a statutory obligation to take on)

    I do agree - defer the kitchen fitting, key is to demonstrate you have been reasonable and the other party has not and that court is the only thing you can do now
  12. Astramax

    Astramax Well-Known Member

    You probably have an insurance backing within your building insurance policy that would deal with this.
  13. Ben Ferman

    Ben Ferman New Member

    Would this not be the same as a 'repeat performance' as advised by the trading standards?
    We identified the issues before all the tiles went down and emailed the issues to the company.
    They then took up the tiles and still ended up doing a poor job with most of the issues identified at the time and sent in the email still remaining.
  14. jonathanc

    jonathanc Active Member

    imaging sitting in a court: why did you not explain the problem again and ask them to rectify? if you have and they are ignoring you - fine. The trick to this is to demonstrate that you have been more than reasonable, tried your best to chase them but you are now in the position but having no other option to appoint someone else

    For example did you explain to the builder that you'll have no option but to engage someone else and recover costs?

    another move would be to say to the builder: I need my kitchen fitted but I can delay and cost £X for storage and ask him to pay. if the builder does not take you up then again it works in your favour as he had the opportunity to mitigate your cost by getting the job done
    Devil's Advocate likes this.
  15. Ben Ferman

    Ben Ferman New Member

    The builder is the one, when asked to rectify the issues, advised he is no longer willing to complete the job/rectify the issues - have proof of text messages and video conversion by security hallway cam.
  16. Devil's Advocate

    Devil's Advocate Well-Known Member

    Ben, do you have Legal Protection in your house insurance? If so - sorted.

    Even if you don't, there's a good chance they'll at least have links to free legal advice.

    Seems to me that you are hedging after a discount and will then accept the second-rate work? That seems crazy to me - if you can really live with shipped tiles, uneven laying, and the potential of other tiles lifting off over the next few years, then I find that approach hard to understand; you have paid a small fortune for this work, so how can you live with it being second-rate? How can you bear to have an imported German kitchen sitting of this uneven floor?

    I know it can be hard with the disruption and having small kids and all that, but - bluntly - that ain't an 'excuse' either.

    Simply saying 'it cannot wait' just because a kitchen is on its way ain't good enough; if, say, your pipes burst tonight and flooded your house requiring a month of drying out, then your kitchen simply would have to bludy well wait, wouldn't it? You and your kids to simply have to cope with that disruption, wouldn't you?

    So set aside all that malarkey and get the house that you wanted in the first place - and that's going to involve a lot of work and cost for that builder. He either sorts it, or forks out for someone else to do so.
  17. Ben Ferman

    Ben Ferman New Member

    The unevenness of the floor is not really noticeable unless you notice some of the tall storage units that are angled from the wall and then it can be verified using a spirit level, hence why it is not ideal but we can live with it without disruption. I have had a tiler come out and he advised while the issues are not ideal, he has seen worse...
    As you said we spent a small fortune to get this job done correctly and having to live with minor issues or issues that we can still live with but should not have to.
    We have been reassured by a couple of tilers that came today (by showing the pictures of the works as they happened) that while certain practices should have not occurred, they do not see any massive issues that could cause pipes bursting or our UFH to not work.

    The biggest issues for us is the fact we have a step into the kitchen (not ideal when you have a family member that visit frequently in a wheelchair), the unevenness in areas where we can notice it (tall storage unit), small chips that are noticeable when cleaning and the pipework - no plumbing for fridge/freezer and pipes not concealed (pipe work was clear cut in the contract).
  18. Devil's Advocate

    Devil's Advocate Well-Known Member

    Do you have Legal Protection in your house insurance?

    Let's examine the level of competence of this company... They relaid the whole floor; concreted, screed, UFH etc etc - and they got the final level wrong. And it's uneven. And the tiles are lifting due to incorrect procedure.

    They are supposedly FMB and Trust Mark. I wonder if they'd quite like to retain their affiliation with these organisations? They also issued an IWA warranty, so you are theoretically covered even if they fold.

    What the hell do you want? Make a list - it should cover sorting that floor so that it is level (and the correct height...) and all the tiles relaid - with them paying for any tiles that need replacing. If you don't also add the other mistakes/omissions then you are nuts.

    Construct the correct legal letter (DO YOU HAVE LP?!) and send it to them recorded or hand (witnessed) delivered. Give them 2 days to acknowledge they WILL sort out everything, or explain to them the more expensive consequences. You need to give them this chance.

    Add the rising costs of delaying having the kitchen installed, along with storage costs for these and liability for any damage.

    Investigate where you can have the kitchen safely stored meanwhile.

    Stop procrastinating - sort it ONCE and PROPERLY or it'll hang over you as you try and enjoy your home.
    KIAB likes this.
  19. Ben Ferman

    Ben Ferman New Member

    Just double checked with our home insurance company - Churchill and they have confirmed we have upto 100k and would only take on a case if there was 50% or more chance to win.

    We had some tilers come over yesterday and they confirmed the tiles will not lift and are stuck down correctly but issues with unevenness of the floor and some issues with grout lines even/uneven and the step is not ideal and should not have happened.

    I have now listed to the firm what we want compensation for the floor, tiles and paying someone in to do re-do the job.
    We have also listed the odd jobs that were not complete when he decided to walk off the job and we have asked for refunds for jobs not completed and to compensation for us having to find and pay someone to come in and do it.
    We have not specified a value at this stage as we are waiting to see what they will offer and to be honest we are not sure what the costs of each job would cost as it was not an itemised quote but an detailed overall quote.
    They have responded and advised by text that they will respond by mid next week...

    If I am not happy with what they offer, Trading standards advised me to initially get FMB involved and then as a last resort go to small claims court.
    However I think I will take the route of legal protection instead...
    Devil's Advocate likes this.
  20. Devil's Advocate

    Devil's Advocate Well-Known Member

    Great news about LP. Did you ask them what they thought of the case - the chances of 'winning' (I'd have thought very high).

    Yes, they won't entertain cases where there isn't the likelihood of winning. (IN fact, there are some issues they won't pursue even then - a neighb of my Nan's has a new neighb who moved in beside them - and parked their caravan outside the house, against the terms of the lease - which they had been told about before they even bought! They called up their insurance who advised against going the legal route as it could escalate - and added that they would not take it on either! I was surprised at this since it seems as tho' they would - surely - ultimately win, but nope...)

    Yes, hand it all over to your LP team. Let them sort it all ouit - after talking it over with them. It is amazing what a legal letter can do...

    Are you going to give this company a chance to put things right? I think you should at least offer - always show you are the 'reasonable' one, and that will strengthen your case.

    Keep us posted :)
    KIAB likes this.

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