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AIBU to expect my building contractor not to leave my house uninhabitable? What compensation do you think would be reasonable?

(29 Posts)
helenp2010 Sat 04-Jun-16 00:17:22

I spent over £100K on a building contractor to develop my home in Bedford and instead he has tried his very best to destroy it. Building Control have said that the work does not comply with building regulations or acceptable safety standards. The work carried out bares little resemblance to the drawings that were agreed with planning.

See for videos and photos

Have you asked them to fix it?

helenp2010 Sat 04-Jun-16 00:19:59

The flat roof on the kitchen extension has not been constructed properly and the materials used are incorrect. It has been leaking every day since it was fitted almost 4 months ago. The sewerage drain in the kitchen was left unsealed. There was no surface water drainage so the back of my house is soaking wet. This is just a fraction of long list of faults the building control has left my home with.

I have been camping out in my bedroom with the door shut for almost 3 months as the rest of the house stinks of damp, mildew, mold and sewerage.

Building control have provided the list of defects....
Contraventions of Building Regulations
1. Flat roof incorrectly constructed in that it is not a warm deck or “hybrid” construction and has no airflow which will cause issues of interstitial condensation.
2. Glazed roof-lights on rear flat roof extension incorrectly constructed and detailed with inadequate falls and waterproofing. The flat roof itself also appears similarly substandard including lack of adequate falls and inadequate flashings.
3. Rear flat roof parapet outfalls and guttering are not completed.
4. The junction between the two-storey rear extension and the remaining section of neighbouring property’s rear wing is very poorly finished and waterproofed.
5. FD30 fire doors are required to all habitable rooms opening onto the stairwell or if not certified fire resistant then any door should be reasonably robust and there should be a linked mains-powered smoke alarm in the room which it serves. Currently there are no doors between the ground floor rooms and hallway which is a dangerous situation, particularly to anyone sleeping on the top floor.
6. There appears to be no provision for surface water drainage for the downpipes from the rear roof areas, although site notes indicate that there should be a connection somewhere along the rear wall of the new extension.
7. Many windows have been replaced but do not appear to have the benefit of a FENSA or equivalent certificate and the installation is sub-standard in that there are glazed areas lower than 800mm from floor height which are not toughened, suitably robust or guarded. This is a potentially serious safety issue.
8. A foul water inspection chamber in the footprint of the new extension is not correctly installed in that the cover and frame are of the wrong type and have not been correctly fitted. We will need to have the current frame and cover removed to have a look and decide the best way to rectify this issue. The smells escaping into the house constitute a potentially serious health hazard.
9. The roof insulation to the top floor was not seen by us and unfortunately following a discussion with the flat roofer, it would appear that the insulation to this is probably also inadequate. We will need to have one of the down-lighters in the room removed so that we can see what insulation if any, is in there. It will also be necessary to check insulation in the dormer walls and the sloping roof and creating further small holes should allow us to check this.
Areas of concern:
Patches of damp low down in under-stair cupboard indicate that some remedial damp proofing would be recommended.

Northernlurker Sat 04-Jun-16 00:27:40

Did you pay upfront? Truly shocking work.

helenp2010 Sat 04-Jun-16 00:27:48

Yes. The building contractor does not accept that there is anything wrong with the build. He thinks I am being fussy.

helenp2010 Sat 04-Jun-16 00:29:28

I paid £30,000 upfront and the rest was paid in staged installments. He told me that building control had been passing his work with flying colours which could not be further from the truth.

SpaceDinosaur Sat 04-Jun-16 00:30:08

So take him to court

SpaceDinosaur Sat 04-Jun-16 00:31:23

He has to provide you with certificates for the works done. One from the plumber, one from the electrician.

His work must have a warranty

Who's he registered with, who's his trades body?

Numberoneisgone Sat 04-Jun-16 00:32:10

Do you have any retention sum. Personally I would not let that builder across my threshold ever again and I would pay another builder to put it right. So sorry this has happened.

helenp2010 Sat 04-Jun-16 00:42:25

I have sought legal advice but the process to take someone to court takes time (unless its a small claim of <£10K). My buildings insurance will not cover me for substandard workmanship. The building contractor may or may not have insurance but in any case, he has to make the claim as they will not accept a claim from me. He has not come "from the tools" so he is unskilled in the construction industry, he has therefore relied upon subcontractors to carry out the work. He has asked the subbies to cut many very serious corners and most have obliged.

helenp2010 Sat 04-Jun-16 00:49:08

No retention I'm afraid. There should have been a fairly decent final payment paid on completion but towards the end of the job, he kept telling me to buy my own materials as I could get them cheaper (???) and deduct the cost from the final payment.

He is not registered with a tradesbody and he has not provided me with any warranties at all.

@Numberoneisgone; thanks for your support

Northernlurker Sat 04-Jun-16 08:45:13

The sub contractors must be registered with a professional body etc then. I would go after them too. They've done sub standard work.

froubylou Sat 04-Jun-16 08:51:21

You need to begin the court process. That is all you can do. Is he an individual or a registered company? How long has he been trading? Did you see a copy if his insurance policy, vat registration certificate etc.

We are in the trade and it is vital you do your research before letting someone loose on your most valuable possession.

But you must start legal proceedings immediately, pray he has the relevant insurance and pray he doesn't go bankrupt on you.

kitkat1968 Sat 04-Jun-16 10:15:38

Legally I think if you want to claim compensation, you would have had to have given him a chance to put the work right first .I think you have to send him a letter before action first giving him 28 days.
But you really need to get proper legal advice first to make sure you follow the correct procedure , otherwisehe may be able to wriggle out of it.

MrHannahSnell Sat 04-Jun-16 10:19:31

See a solicitor. Don't waste time getting opinions from a bunch of random, and probably unqualified, people on line. This need proper legal advice.

stinkbombcottage Sat 04-Jun-16 10:46:07

He's a sole trader with, I've seen found out, a chequered past. We had a JCT and he does have insurance. His subcontractors, in the main, are registered with trade bodies but despite this, they've still been willing to cut huge corners.

DaveCamoron Sat 04-Jun-16 11:09:31

You need proper legal advice.

stinkbombcottage Sat 04-Jun-16 12:14:05

I've seen a solicitor and I'm going down the legal route and whilst I have a very strong case, there is every chance that the building contractor will just file for bankruptcy. I was wondering if someone from MN Had been through a similar thing.

JinRamen Sat 04-Jun-16 12:23:23

You started this thread previously, then had mnhq delete it due to privacy. Now you have started the same thread with the same information?

stinkbombcottage Sat 04-Jun-16 12:28:23

That's not what happened. I create the post and straight away realised that I needed to amend the title. I contacted them immediately to request that the thread be dejected but as it was just after midnight, naturally their support team were not working. First thing this morning they removed the incorrect thread.

stinkbombcottage Sat 04-Jun-16 12:30:53

Dejected should read removed. My iPhone thought it would be smart and change my words lol

JinRamen Sat 04-Jun-16 12:31:40

Apologies then, the deletion message must be misleading. I thought they could amend titles without deleting the whole thread.

stinkbombcottage Sat 04-Jun-16 12:33:57

Not to worry, no offense caused.

stinkbombcottage Sat 04-Jun-16 12:43:51


DoItTooJulia Sat 04-Jun-16 12:47:04

Has your name change failed?

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