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Builder's liability

(8 Posts)
fumanchu Sat 03-Sep-11 14:33:46

If a builder I employ causes damage to a neighbour's property (ie their house) during the course of work who is liable?I am particularly thinking worst case scenario of having an extension built and damage to foundations of neighbour's house. Have obtained planning permission and building regs approval. Any advice welcome.

isitmidnightalready Sun 04-Sep-11 03:19:23

You need ot make sure that the plans he will follow are good and detailed and tell him how to construc tthe foundation safely next to the neighbour's property. If they do not seem clear to you, ask him how he intends to go about it, long before he actually starts. The you coudl talk to the architect or engineer you used to draw up the plans, and last port of call woudl bethe local coucil Bulding Control depratment who woudl be able to give you some basic advice and tell you what to look out for. It's all about having a decent contractor with a good reputation who has done this kind of work before,and having good supervision to make sure that he follows the agreed plan.

It would be best to take photos of the neighbour's property before the work, so you know the initial condition and can't be blamed for any existing cracks. If there are cracks, then get the photos signed and dated by the neighbour to show that you both agree they were already there when work began.

Don't know so much about the legal side though. You should at least mke sure the builder has insurance, so that there is something to fall back on in principle.

etiquettegirl Fri 09-Sep-11 15:51:48

I must tell you that a builder having indemnity insurance is worthless. It is an optional requirement (not compulsory, like car insurance). I am not even sure why any builder has it, as we have found out to our cost.

If your builder says he does not wish to put the claim through on his indemnity insurance, it won't happen.

We've been victims of a dodgy builder who is refusing to allow a claim on his indemnity insurance, despite having caused damage on our home through his incompetence. We have details of his insurers and they have told us that, as long as he continues to block the claim, there is nothing we can do to force him.

The law needs changing so that builders have to have prof indemnity insurance and if and when they are guilty of dodgy work, the onus is not on you, the consumer, to do something about it.

Of course, your builder may not be dodgy. We've just been very unlucky with this builder who was recommended to us sad

isitmidnightalready Fri 09-Sep-11 23:19:06

what a shame - i am sorry to hear about your dodgy builder. It seems that builder's hold most of the cards most of the time. Good luck putting it all right.

elphabadefiesgravity Fri 09-Sep-11 23:26:08

I would ask to check that he has both public liability and professional indemnity insurance (PI only really needed for design & build I think).

My Dad's firm has both. He would not be able to choose whether to claim on it or not if a client took him to court unless he was mega rich and could pay out privately.

Ettiquettegirl, do you have legal cover on your home contents to help sort this for you. Of course they will try to block it but they can only go so far. Someone tried to claim against Dad and he had to write several time and provide all sorts of evidence that he wasn;t neglligent (he wasn;t the leak was caused by free issue parts fitted.

WhatTheWhat Sat 10-Sep-11 19:26:57

Use a Building Surveyor to spec and manage the works and ask them specifically to ensure that this point is covered in the documentation.
I am fairly sure that there is legislation that covers works that are adjoining your neighbour's property, so you need to be careful before starting, if you have not jumped through the hoops. Again a surveyor will know what to do.
Also, it might be worth shelling out for expensive, but high-quality home and contents insurance and making sure that you have high levels of legal expenses insurance cover in place, just in case!
Good luck!

said Sat 10-Sep-11 19:32:10

You need to consider if the Part Wall Act applies.

mousymouse Sun 11-Sep-11 09:08:35

take out self builder insurance.

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