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    • Marklondon
    • By Marklondon 9th Sep 17, 3:44 PM
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    Marklondon
    Cowboy builder?
    • #1
    • 9th Sep 17, 3:44 PM
    Cowboy builder? 9th Sep 17 at 3:44 PM
    Hello all, not sure if I'm posting this in the right forum, apologies if not.


    2 years ago I had a loft conversion done by a "builder", and last year he built an extension for me at the rear of my house as well. We have since fallen out over the extension, because he hasn't followed the plans. One of my walls are right on the boundary of my neighbours property, so they cut the lip off the edge of my roof. The other wall is wonky, visibly wonky, out around 100mm from one end to the other. We have also found out after getting someone else to look at the plans that he hasn't carried the ventilation under my house through the extension either. And he never used engineering bricks underneath the damp course. We bought all these issues up during a mediation process through the federation of Master builders, and their recommendation was that an independent surveyor come around and look at the extension, and for the "builder" to then pay 50% of the cost upfront to whoever was going to rectify it, and 50% upon completion. Obviously he hasn't agreed with this and the Federation say that that's the end of the mediation process and there's no more they can do about it. Now I'm not happy about this but I'm unsure of what me next course of action should be. Obviously I want him to pay for the wrongs to be righted but I'm not sure how to go about this. Has anyone had a similar experience, or can point me in the right direction with this situation?


    We also now have issues with the floor in the loft conversion creaking and dipping quite badly when you walk into the hallway and into one of the bedrooms. It has also caused the grout lines and some of the tiles in the bathroom in the loft conversion to crack. The "builder" has turned around and told me that my loft conversion only has a 1 year warranty? Is that right? I thought it was 10 years on new builds?


    Thanks in advance, one stressed out person!
Page 1
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 9th Sep 17, 5:18 PM
    • 23,969 Posts
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    Doozergirl
    • #2
    • 9th Sep 17, 5:18 PM
    • #2
    • 9th Sep 17, 5:18 PM
    It's not a new build, it's a loft conversion. New build warranties are for new build houses. If you want a long term insurance backed guarantee for building work, you need to ask the builder for one and pay for it. They're not cheap and will not be included as a standard product.

    I would think that results of your mediation through the FMB would be taken seriously by a court if you were to file a claim with them. You've done the right thing so far.

    Perhaps you need the same sort of report for your loft conversion?
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • Furts
    • By Furts 9th Sep 17, 6:06 PM
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    Furts
    • #3
    • 9th Sep 17, 6:06 PM
    • #3
    • 9th Sep 17, 6:06 PM
    If the builder is not following the FMB mediation i would have thought the FMB would expel him. The next stage would be court, but what chance is there of success? You could be throwing away money to legal sharks who will convince you of victory but are just intent on ripping you off.

    The engineering bricks are hardly a serious matter - countless homes do not have them. so one has to be pragmatic here. One also has to ask the obvious questions - why did you allow this to happen? Why did you pay for defective work?

    You have not commented on Buildings Regulations. Did you have a Full Plans Application on both sets of works? Were Inspections undertaken? Was a Completion Certificate issued? Are you going after these folks for redress?

    If you keep your claim within the Small Claims type approach it is worth a punt. If you are exceeding this then I rate your chances as slim and suggest you put matters down to experience. Here you have to make a judgement. Is the builder honourable? Is there a reputation to protect? Can you harm that business by adverse publicity?

    The flip side is this. If you went into the works in an unprofessional manner, or paying cash, or without due care or without due diligence then I suspect the builder will run circles around you. The fact that you have no grasp of the concept of guarantee, and are quoting ten years suggests you really are on the back foot here.

    Your next stage is to do an honest appraisal on your actions and your role in all of this. Then decide if there is any benefit in trying the court approach.
    • Marklondon
    • By Marklondon 11th Sep 17, 4:57 PM
    • 3 Posts
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    Marklondon
    • #4
    • 11th Sep 17, 4:57 PM
    • #4
    • 11th Sep 17, 4:57 PM
    If the builder is not following the FMB mediation i would have thought the FMB would expel him. The next stage would be court, but what chance is there of success? You could be throwing away money to legal sharks who will convince you of victory but are just intent on ripping you off.
    **Yes I think court is going to be the next stage**

    The engineering bricks are hardly a serious matter - countless homes do not have them. so one has to be pragmatic here. One also has to ask the obvious questions - why did you allow this to happen? Why did you pay for defective work?
    **I wasn't aware of the issues until they were pointed out to me by someone else. Once we found out about the wall being badly out, we looked into it further and found more issues.

    You have not commented on Buildings Regulations. Did you have a Full Plans Application on both sets of works? Were Inspections undertaken? Was a Completion Certificate issued? Are you going after these folks for redress? ** Full plans on both sets of works, Completion certificate hasn't been issued because its not completed. I'm still awaiting re-rendering and indoor skirting but because of the issues I raised via the FMB he's refused to come back to my house, saying that he is scared, even though I've not threatened him in any way shape or form. I've asked the building inspector to not call it complete yet.

    If you keep your claim within the Small Claims type approach it is worth a punt. If you are exceeding this then I rate your chances as slim and suggest you put matters down to experience. Here you have to make a judgement. Is the builder honourable? Is there a reputation to protect? Can you harm that business by adverse publicity? ** I'm not willing to be ripped of for over 30k so I guess court will be the next option. He did initially offer me 13k but its not enough to rectify all the wrongs he's done. I've been told it needs to come down completely and start again except for the footings.

    The flip side is this. If you went into the works in an unprofessional manner, or paying cash, or without due care or without due diligence then I suspect the builder will run circles around you. The fact that you have no grasp of the concept of guarantee, and are quoting ten years suggests you really are on the back foot here. **He told me my loft warranty was ten years, then changed it to one year during the mediation process

    Your next stage is to do an honest appraisal on your actions and your role in all of this. Then decide if there is any benefit in trying the court approach.
    Originally posted by Furts
    My actions? All I did was pay him to build according to the plans I paid for!
    • Furts
    • By Furts 11th Sep 17, 7:45 PM
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    Furts
    • #5
    • 11th Sep 17, 7:45 PM
    • #5
    • 11th Sep 17, 7:45 PM
    My actions? All I did was pay him to build according to the plans I paid for!
    Originally posted by Marklondon
    We do not have the full picture, but this response sets further alarm bells ringing. Your actions should have been to check out the builder in detail before engaging them. The usual, that is visit previous jobs, check out previous clients and so on. Then have a contract and stage payments based on satisfactory work being done. This work would be inspected by you to ensure everything was spot on. Hence any financial risk on your part is minimised. I do not know what you did here, but if you go to Court these fundamentals are likely to be discussed. Basically, you should never have been in the position you are, and a Judge will scrutinise you on why all this has occurred.

    More worrying still is having had a defective loft conversion you invited the builder to do more work for you. You have then waited for this work to be substantially complete and now you are condemning it. Any reasonable person would have done this long ago. The builder has somehow offered you £13000 but you have rejected this. This is truly alarming. The builder claims you are scaring him which is almost as alarming.

    I reiterate my earlier comment. You should look closely at your role in all this before deciding if court is likely to be successful.

    Remember a golden rule here. Your thread is titled cowboy builder. Perhaps this is a cowboy scenario, and it certainly sounds like it. However for a cowboy builder to succeed as a cowboy there has to be an ample supply of cowboy clients. Judges are not fools, so be careful if you are going to court.
    • Marklondon
    • By Marklondon 17th Sep 17, 10:28 AM
    • 3 Posts
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    Marklondon
    • #6
    • 17th Sep 17, 10:28 AM
    • #6
    • 17th Sep 17, 10:28 AM
    We do not have the full picture, but this response sets further alarm bells ringing. Your actions should have been to check out the builder in detail before engaging them. The usual, that is visit previous jobs, check out previous clients and so on. Then have a contract and stage payments based on satisfactory work being done. This work would be inspected by you to ensure everything was spot on. Hence any financial risk on your part is minimised. I do not know what you did here, but if you go to Court these fundamentals are likely to be discussed. Basically, you should never have been in the position you are, and a Judge will scrutinise you on why all this has occurred.
    **basically I struck up a sort of friendship with this guy, and he came recommended. I visited his home, which he built himself which looked great, and I even went to two of his projects, which again looked great. I even did a job with him, moving some air conditioning units for him. I think I got too trusting with him and he's took advantage of me.

    More worrying still is having had a defective loft conversion you invited the builder to do more work for you. You have then waited for this work to be substantially complete and now you are condemning it. Any reasonable person would have done this long ago. The builder has somehow offered you £13000 but you have rejected this. This is truly alarming. The builder claims you are scaring him which is almost as alarming. **The defects with the loft started just as they were nearing the so called completion of my extension, and initially he was going to sort it, but then U turned on his word. And with the extension he initially offered me money or a rebuild, when I opted for the re-build he then changed his mind again, and wanted to mediate through the FMB. My guess is he told them he was scared to come round as a way of getting out of coming back and actually finishing the extension off. I was upset over the workmanship when these issues were pointed out to me, but I have not threatened him in any way shape or form.

    I reiterate my earlier comment. You should look closely at your role in all this before deciding if court is likely to be successful.

    Remember a golden rule here. Your thread is titled cowboy builder. Perhaps this is a cowboy scenario, and it certainly sounds like it. However for a cowboy builder to succeed as a cowboy there has to be an ample supply of cowboy clients. Judges are not fools, so be careful if you are going to court.
    Originally posted by Furts
    **He's on check a trade and has had a couple of bad reviews on there too, something we only found out afterwards. We are first time owners, and this is our first build project, total novices at this type of thing.
    I have no other option than court, I am going to write to him and offer a last chance to resolve this without court, and without his reputation getting tarnished via social media, but I think it will go the distance. At the end of the mediation, they were going to appoint a surveyor to come and look at all the issues with it. Would you have any idea as to what type of surveyor I would need for this? I'm totally in the dark on this and really need help.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 17th Sep 17, 3:59 PM
    • 23,969 Posts
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    Doozergirl
    • #7
    • 17th Sep 17, 3:59 PM
    • #7
    • 17th Sep 17, 3:59 PM
    Google 'arbitration surveyor'
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • Furts
    • By Furts 18th Sep 17, 6:27 AM
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    Furts
    • #8
    • 18th Sep 17, 6:27 AM
    • #8
    • 18th Sep 17, 6:27 AM
    I think you have two separate cases - the loft conversion, and the extension. but since they are both against the same builder perhaps you can lump these in one case? You need to check and seek guidance - these are different issues from different times.

    The flaw with court could be do you have a water tight technical case. What are you trying to rectify? What were the faults? Plus what will it cost to put it right? I sense you need professional help here to sort this out, then you need quotes to put it right.

    Your court case would then be ...these are the issues, these are the quotes to put them right, the original builder has refused to do anything, please make a judgement.

    I am not optimistic you will achieve a satisfactory outcome going to court, and you may be incurring large costs. But if you are to get your building work put right you will still need the professional help before seeking quotes for repairs. If you fail to do this it is almost a certainty that you will fail totally the next time time round dealing with a builder and you will end up with an enormous mess.
    • Cardinal-Red
    • By Cardinal-Red 18th Sep 17, 11:15 AM
    • 643 Posts
    • 144 Thanks
    Cardinal-Red
    • #9
    • 18th Sep 17, 11:15 AM
    • #9
    • 18th Sep 17, 11:15 AM
    Unfortunately the small claims court, while tempting, can be just as frustrating. We had an issue with a builder, could not have been more cut and dried, had a full judgement entered against him, by this point we were £500 down or so (albeit added to the claim)....

    What did he do - just refused to open his door when the bailiffs knocked.

    When they gave up after 30 days we were faced with the prospect of giving in or paying more money to re-issue the warrant.
    The above facts belong to everybody; the opinions belong to me; the distinction is yours to draw...
    • LandyAndy
    • By LandyAndy 18th Sep 17, 11:42 AM
    • 23,952 Posts
    • 50,684 Thanks
    LandyAndy
    Unfortunately the small claims court, while tempting, can be just as frustrating. We had an issue with a builder, could not have been more cut and dried, had a full judgement entered against him, by this point we were £500 down or so (albeit added to the claim)....

    What did he do - just refused to open his door when the bailiffs knocked.

    When they gave up after 30 days we were faced with the prospect of giving in or paying more money to re-issue the warrant.
    Originally posted by Cardinal-Red

    Probably would have been worth paying the extra to escalate it to the High Court. HCEOs may well have had more success than toothless CC bailiffs.
    • Cardinal-Red
    • By Cardinal-Red 18th Sep 17, 12:01 PM
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    • 144 Thanks
    Cardinal-Red
    Probably would have been worth paying the extra to escalate it to the High Court. HCEOs may well have had more success than toothless CC bailiffs.
    Originally posted by LandyAndy
    Did consider it - however no bailiff in a civil matter has the right to do anything if they don't open the door (or correct me if I'm wrong!)

    No vehicles in the builder's name, except his van (which could not be taken) etc. Self employed so on attachment of earnings order.

    In the end we just had to give up, unfortunately.
    The above facts belong to everybody; the opinions belong to me; the distinction is yours to draw...
    • kaya
    • By kaya 18th Sep 17, 12:27 PM
    • 2,346 Posts
    • 2,725 Thanks
    kaya
    It's not a new build, it's a loft conversion. New build warranties are for new build houses. If you want a long term insurance backed guarantee for building work, you need to ask the builder for one and pay for it. They're not cheap and will not be included as a standard product.

    I would think that results of your mediation through the FMB would be taken seriously by a court if you were to file a claim with them. You've done the right thing so far.

    Perhaps you need the same sort of report for your loft conversion?
    Originally posted by Doozergirl
    no, its an extension, please don't pay too much notice to the nice folks opinions on here, I had a similar episode last year and came here seeking advice and most of it was a load of old bull! if I had listened to the people on here I would have wasted a fortune in time and effort as well as a good few quid. As it happens I decided to ignore them and take my builder to court and he stumped up 11k for the repairs a few months back after I got a ccj against him. If he hasn't followed the plans supplied then the work isn't as described and by the sounds of it of a reasonable quality. you have done the correct thing using mediation but if he isn't playing ball send him a letter before action stating that your next action will be court proceedings, I am assuming you have some paperwork to back up what you have paid him and when? and a written quotation? If there is a survey needed the court will ask for a surveyor to be appointed. You need to decide if he has assets worth chasing before beginning legal action and a land registry search will cost a couple of quid and tell you if he owns the property. As for hiding behind a door and ignoring the bailiffs the next option is a charging order against his house or you can force bankruptcy against him. There is loads of information on the internet from government sites which we followed. If he did not provide you with a quotation stating his terms and conditions he has already broken the law and it is automatically assumed that in law that you have a 6 year guarantee unless stated otherwise on his Terms and conditions , and yes it is very important to use engineering bricks below the Damp proof to stop damp from penetrating!. Please feel free to PM me as I have just been through this and I'm happy to offer any help based on what we found out and did (facts not opinions) , however I am not prepared to spend a day or two on here publically arguing with the "opinions" of people who think they know what they are on about but really have no clue! ( as I found out when I successfully took my builder to court) :-)
    • Furts
    • By Furts 18th Sep 17, 5:14 PM
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    Furts
    I suggest kaya is being harsh to all who post and offer suggestions. Everybody knows the fundamentals here. It is a forum, where those offering suggestions do it with goodwill and obviously it is FOC suggestions. A typical scenario is only a limited synopsis of facts will be posted, these are frequently incomplete and regardless will only give one side of the story. If the person posting a query wants an in depth answer with all facts investigated in an impartial manner then they have to pay for professional advice. A simple statement of the bleedin obvious.

    Everybody tries to give accurate advice. Even kaya, despite the comment about engineering bricks being light years from reality. I have given the correct answer in my post, but this is a forum so anything can be posted. It is back to my earlier comment. If definitive advise is required, backed up by PI then professionals have to be paid for.
    • dellboy102
    • By dellboy102 18th Sep 17, 5:39 PM
    • 532 Posts
    • 95 Thanks
    dellboy102
    no, its an extension, please don't pay too much notice to the nice folks opinions on here, I had a similar episode last year and came here seeking advice and most of it was a load of old bull! if I had listened to the people on here I would have wasted a fortune in time and effort as well as a good few quid. As it happens I decided to ignore them and take my builder to court and he stumped up 11k for the repairs a few months back after I got a ccj against him. If he hasn't followed the plans supplied then the work isn't as described and by the sounds of it of a reasonable quality. you have done the correct thing using mediation but if he isn't playing ball send him a letter before action stating that your next action will be court proceedings, I am assuming you have some paperwork to back up what you have paid him and when? and a written quotation? If there is a survey needed the court will ask for a surveyor to be appointed. You need to decide if he has assets worth chasing before beginning legal action and a land registry search will cost a couple of quid and tell you if he owns the property. As for hiding behind a door and ignoring the bailiffs the next option is a charging order against his house or you can force bankruptcy against him. There is loads of information on the internet from government sites which we followed. If he did not provide you with a quotation stating his terms and conditions he has already broken the law and it is automatically assumed that in law that you have a 6 year guarantee unless stated otherwise on his Terms and conditions , and yes it is very important to use engineering bricks below the Damp proof to stop damp from penetrating!. Please feel free to PM me as I have just been through this and I'm happy to offer any help based on what we found out and did (facts not opinions) , however I am not prepared to spend a day or two on here publically arguing with the "opinions" of people who think they know what they are on about but really have no clue! ( as I found out when I successfully took my builder to court) :-)
    Originally posted by kaya
    Might be worth posting what process you went thru anyway as I'm sure it'll be useful, theres a lot of cowboy builders about.
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