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Damage caused to exterior of property by workmen

(9 Posts)
herethereandeverywhere Thu 18-Apr-13 15:14:34

I wonder if anyone can help - I was a solicitor myself back in the day but this isn't my area and my brain is scrambled egg since I had kids

Workmen came to fit a fireplace last week. During this process the workmen went outside and used the area at the front of the property (within my property, not on the highway) to work on the fireplace.

When they left it was bucketing with rain, the exterior looked a bit grubby (I assumed dust/soot). Over the weekend as the weather dried the marks dried orange - they are rust stains from iron particles where they have cut the fireplace. They have stained the Victorian-stye tiled path, grey slate paving and white painted wall, all of which are less than 12 months old and cost c.£6.5k to install.

I was told by their gas fitter on Monday to rinse with water but this has not shifted any marks. I have called and written to complain. There is £850 of their invoice outstanding which wouldn't cover a fraction of having to replace the damaged flags/tiles/paint.

What should I do? I assume I have to give them a chance to fix it to mitigate their loss? What if they make the marks fade but not go away, ie: it's in a worse condition than before they did the work?

I am so stressed about the disgraceful state of the front of my property and the thought of the cost of fixing it. Any advice gratefully received.

LaurieFairyCake Thu 18-Apr-13 15:21:35

I'm not a solicitor.

I would offer them the chance to clean all the marks off. If they didn't come off I would obtain quotes to have it restored to how it was. Then I would offer the company the chance to pay for this work. If they didn't I would take them to small claims court for the money.

I may or may not withhold payment and I would check if it's legally ok to do so. I would withhold payment if they werent a really legitimate company ie. likely to pay up.

herethereandeverywhere Thu 18-Apr-13 15:38:32

Great advice (thought about becoming a solicitor? wink) I think that I can't legitimately withhold payment but you end up in a claim/counterclaim situation where you do withhold. I've already paid 50% upfront.

They are supposed to be coming round to clean it today but so far no show. However I'd be amazed if it came off. My DH managed to stain the paving at the back with rust just by washing the BBQ in it, has been jetwashed, scrubbed with various products but didn't shift one iota. I can't BELIEVE I didn't know it was rust (or that I should clean it up) I could have done it last week before it turned to rust. Grrrrr!

herethereandeverywhere Thu 18-Apr-13 15:39:46

*washing the BBQ on it!

LaurieFairyCake Thu 18-Apr-13 15:41:59

click here for how to remove rust

There's warnings about certain acidic compounds that make the problem worse but the above article says lemon juice, vinegar, and oxalic acid work. Scroll down for the RUST stains bit. smile

LaurieFairyCake Thu 18-Apr-13 15:43:46

It's their problem if they don't show up, you're the one with their money and the recourse to courts if they don't do anything.

It's dead easy to sue online, think the limit is 5k for small claims though so you're going to need quotes first. And registered letters giving them a time frame to get it cleaned.

herethereandeverywhere Thu 18-Apr-13 20:29:28

Update! To their credit, they appeared during a torrential downpour with some acid-based chemical. The worked about an hour and it looks clean. The problem is being able to see it when the weather is wet as it might dry rusty again but they've promised to be back and clean again if it does.

Thanks so much for the advice, may well come in handy for other purchases!

herethereandeverywhere Thu 18-Apr-13 20:30:09

Oh and you obviously spent time searching about cleaners. Thanks so much for that, will try it on the marks at the back smile

LaurieFairyCake Thu 18-Apr-13 20:33:07

I'm so glad they sorted it!

Really hope it's fine in the dry smile

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