Aug 17, 2018
When it comes to residential and commercial building projects, a few hiccups along the way are to be expected. It might be a cracked tile, or the delayed delivery of windows. Or it might be something that poses a more serious risk to the project’s completion in line with your expectations, and to your relationship with your building contractor.
The key with any sort of building-related problem, small or large, is to address it sooner rather than later. Things can sometimes be put right there and then, avoiding a downward spiral of blame, denial, and escalating cost.
It is so important to have written terms between you and the contractor that at the very least set out (a) the scope of the work, (b) the agreed price, (c) any other aspects of the job – timescale, for instance – that are particularly important to you. Those terms must be honoured; failing to do so would be a breach of contract. And where the contractor doesn’t come up to scratch, you should then have a firm basis on which to force them to put things right, or for you to recover money you have paid to them, or to be reimbursed the cost of engaging a replacement contractor.
Problems that we typically encounter when acting for homeowners and property developers include shoddy work, projects dragging on for many months longer than planned, planning issues, an incomplete job, rising costs, disagreements about what was and was not within the scope of job. In many situations, we’re able to resolve these things either through correspondence with the contractor or through Alternative Dispute Resolution methods such as mediation and arbitration. However, it is sometimes necessary to involve the courts.
Whichever path is taken to sort the situation out, there are two things that are hugely influential in enabling the right outcome to be achieved. The first is involving specialist disputes lawyers at an early stage so that the right action is taken at the right time. The second is a detailed record of everything that has happened, from your written agreement, to your conversations with the contractor, to notes of exactly what went wrong and when. Regardless of how friendly and relaxed things are between you and your contractor at the outset, you won’t regret keeping a detailed account of the project as it progresses.
You can do this by calling us on 01264 353 411, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or completing our Online Enquiry Form and we'll be happy to help.
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