Builder not showing up

Good afternoon,

I employed a builder to refurbish our two reception rooms.  This guy had done work on my parent's kitchen, and had done a great job, also some very good reviews in Facebook.

Quote for work £5250.

Deposit £500 in Mid August

Paid £2000 for materials on Sep 11th

Paid £1000 for plastering work.  (Happy with this, plastering was good, and it was a fair price)

Plastering work completed last Sunday.  Walls have been dry since Wednesday.  I asked him when was he going to start with the painting "I'll pop across today and start tomorrow".  He hasn't shown up on both days.

As of this moment, I have no idea where the materials I have spent £2k on are.  I want them delivered to me so that I can make plans to get alternate painters and decorators in to paint the walls, lay the floors, lay the skirting boards, put up a fire and TV so that I can get this builder out of my hair for good.

A job that was quoted to take 2 weeks, started on 11th September.  Today is 28th September.  Day 18, and we have unpainted walls, unlaid floors, unlaid skirting, no doors.  

I am a laid back guy - I don't really want to kick up a fuss because I don't want him storming off with £2500.

Every time I see him he is like "We have to talk about money".  I am not going to pay him another bean until the work is completed.  If the materials arrive, I am fairly well intentioned to tell him to stuff it.

With all of your various experiences, can you please advise me of my next steps.

We are now in weekend 3 without a place to sit and eat.  Tomorrow is Friday and I am pretty confident he will not show up.  What is my next recourse of action?

Many thanks

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Comments

  • I don't think you can count 7 days working a week to determine how 'late' he is. Two weeks from 11th would take you to 25th Sep, so 'only' 3 days late in reality.

    That actually sounds like a reasonable tolerance given some of the horror stories I've read about builders, but I take your point that he is still adrift.
  • ad1927
    ad1927 Posts: 83
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    I don't think you can count 7 days working a week to determine how 'late' he is. Two weeks from 11th would take you to 25th Sep, so 'only' 3 days late in reality.

    That actually sounds like a reasonable tolerance given some of the horror stories I've read about builders, but I take your point that he is still adrift.
    No - 2 weeks would take me to last Friday the 22nd because he doesn't work Saturdays and Sundays so he was clear in this taking "10 working days".  Tomorrow we are 1 week over.  Assuming he shows up, we will get no work until 2nd October which is 6 working days over schedule (60% over).  This work will take 4 days, by my calculations.  If work doesn't start on Monday, and if I have all the materials - am I within my rights to tell him I am looking to get other people to complete?
  • user1977
    user1977 Posts: 13,343
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    How quickly are any other people going to turn up?
  • Alderbank
    Alderbank Posts: 2,698
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    edited 28 September 2023 at 3:08PM
    What were the exact terms of your contract with him?

    Date of finishing seems important to you so does the contract specify an agreed date of completion and does it specify what measures you can take if that contract term is breached, eg. that you could at that point engage another contractor and deduct that cost from the final payment?

    'Ten working days' does not of itself guarantee that those days will be consecutive. If he could only do Thursdays they would take 2 1/2 calendar months.

    If time is not of the essence it is assumed that time taken should be 'reasonable'. Perhaps he is short of labour due to sickness. Very possibly he is waiting for materials.

    You don't sound quite as laid back as you claim to be.
  • the_lunatic_is_in_my_head
    the_lunatic_is_in_my_head Posts: 7,319
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    edited 28 September 2023 at 3:48PM
    Sorry to hear OP, most tradespeople should have credit with suppliers and my philosophy is to pay for materials when they are delivered to my house. 

    Is this guy a sole trader or LTD? 

    Perhaps you are too laid back and the other people putting pressure on him are getting their jobs done, not to suggest you should go completely the other way but polite pestering, even if that's to get the materials delivered, might help. 
  • ad1927
    ad1927 Posts: 83
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    user1977 said:
    How quickly are any other people going to turn up?
    I've been making calls and I can have a painter in on Monday, with flooring and doors completed on Wednesday/Thursday.
  • ad1927
    ad1927 Posts: 83
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    Alderbank said:
    What were the exact terms of your contract with him?

    Date of finishing seems important to you so does the contract specify an agreed date of completion and does it specify what measures you can take if that contract term is breached, eg. that you could at that point engage another contractor and deduct that cost from the final payment?

    'Ten working days' does not of itself guarantee that those days will be consecutive. If he could only do Thursdays they would take 2 1/2 calendar months.

    If time is not of the essence it is assumed that time taken should be 'reasonable'. Perhaps he is short of labour due to sickness. Very possibly he is waiting for materials.

    You don't sound quite as laid back as you claim to be.
    A nice little personal attack there - completely unwarranted of course, especially as the start of your post starts with a perfectly valid question.

    My exact contract was based on the work taking 10 days, starting on Sep11th and completing on Sep 22.  This makes allowances for no work on Saturdays/Sundays as per the builder's own requirements which are perfectly acceptable.

    The outline of the plan was thus

    Sep11/12 - Prepare room for plastering
    Sep13/14 - Plastering (2 days quoted)
    Sep 15(Friday)/16/17 - no work to be undertaken as plaster needs to dry
    Sep 18/19 - Painting of walls and ceilings.  This would be complete in 2 days.
    Sep 20/21 - Flooring, skirting, architraves, 
    Sep 22 - Finishing touches.

    Of course, there are allowances to that - what if the walls were of poor quality, or dampness found, or repairs needed.  None were found.

    What has happened is this
    Sep11/12 - Rooms prepared for plastering - paid £2000 for materials which have not arrived.
    Sep 13-19 - No work undertaken (5 working days during which he was working at other clients)
    Sep 20-22 - Plastering work (3 days not 2)
    Sep 23-24 - Plaster drying
    Sep 25 - Painting due to start - didn't, he had another client lined up.  
    Sep 26 - Promised to come to check that walls were sufficiently dried up even though he said they were dry on Sep 25.  Didn't arrive.
    Sep 27 - Promised to pop across - with aim of painting starting on Sep 28.  Didn't appear, was working at another client as per his Facebook posts
    Sep 28 - No sign of him - told me materials will arrive today, they haven't.

    You can quite comfortably accuse me of not being laid back, but frankly this chap has received £3500 and done £1000 of work and we are 60% over in terms of schedule (14 working days have passed, only 5 working days completed)

    The question I am asking remains the same.

    As soon as I receive the materials that I have paid for (and more) can I tell him enough is enough and get others to complete the work.  As intimated in my previous post, I actually have found tradesmen who can complete the work next week.  
  • ad1927
    ad1927 Posts: 83
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    Sorry to hear OP, most tradespeople should have credit with suppliers and my philosophy is to pay for materials when they are delivered to my house. 

    Is this guy a sole trader or LTD? 

    Perhaps you are too laid back and the other people putting pressure on him are getting their jobs done, not to suggest you should go completely the other way but polite pestering, even if that's to get the materials delivered, might help. 
    Thanks - and love the reference to an amazing song!

    He is a sole trader.  When he arrived he was frantic because his suppliers were pestering him for money and his previous job hadn't paid in full - "I need money from you so I can pay them".  Like I said before, he had done work for my parents, I prefer to take people at face value and so I paid him £2k.

    I'll get him to get the materials delivered tomorrow and if there's no paint on the walls or ceilings by Tuesday morning (working day 17 of a 10 day project) I think I am within my rights to get this completed off my own back.
  • eskbanker
    eskbanker Posts: 29,918
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    edited 28 September 2023 at 4:23PM
    ad1927 said:
    My exact contract was based on the work taking 10 days, starting on Sep11th and completing on Sep 22.
    If that's documented rigorously enough, then you can indeed hold him in breach of the contract, but does the contract wording define how that process will be dealt with?
  • Alderbank
    Alderbank Posts: 2,698
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    Apologies for any offence. I didn't intend any.

    The plan you have now shared which he agreed to is very clear about times and dates and does form part of the T&Cs of the contract. He is in breach so you are within your rights at this point to minimise your losses by getting the defaulted part of the job completed by another contractor and deducting those costs from the agreed total cost. I assume your other contractor's hourly rate is broadly similar?

    However a point to bear in mind -
    You chose your first contractor because of the standard of his previous work and you have no complaints about the quality of the present contract, just his time and financial management. As you are aware, there is plenty of demand for good contractors and they are booked well in advance. Are you happy that the contractor who is willing to stand by to finish the work at very short notice will do a satisfactory job?
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