I'm in dispute with my builder - what can I do?

Jul 21, 2015

Choosing a builder to carry out work on your home can be a difficult process. Most builders or tradesmen will tell you that they will do a great job for you but sometimes the reality does not always match your expectations or their promises.

You may be surprised to find that there are steps you can take to try to remedy the issues you are facing, even where you don’t have a written contract. However, it may be best to pre-empt any issues with a written contract that can help you be clear about what you will get for the money you are paying your builder, and they are clear about what they need to deliver and the timescales involved.

Firstly, if your builder has not delivered what you expected you should immediately inform him in writing, giving details of what the problems are, how you expect him to resolve them and by what date you expect this to happen.

Hopefully, your builder will respond to your letter and resolve the issues you have raised in a timely manner. It is important to remember that whilst you should not pay your builder in full whilst you are in dispute, if you do go to court, the judge may find it unreasonable that you have not paid for the work that is acceptable. Perhaps discuss an amount that you feel accurately reflects the work completed and withhold the rest until work is completed to your satisfaction.

You may consider mediation to try to resolve your dispute with your builder. This will cost but is considerably cheaper and quicker than going to court. There are some drawbacks though. Your builder will have to agree to take part in the mediation and the outcome may also not be legally binding. Therefore, consider this option carefully before going ahead.

Your final option is litigation. This may be costly and time-consuming but ultimately may be your final and only option to get your dispute resolved. Talk to experienced disputes and litigation solicitors for advice on your prospects of success.

If you need advice about how to resolve a dispute with your builder or you are considering taking your builder to court, please contact Richard Gregory at 01264 325811 or by email: rgregory@bsandi.co.uk.  Richard will be happy to advise and assist you, based on your particular situation. 

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