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don't want to see the bloody builders ever again

(2 Posts)
snowdrop2011 Thu 08-Sep-16 15:42:57

I'm looking for some objective advice....
We had a major house extension done recently. I say recently, it began in July 2014, in the JCT contract we agreed with the builder we had an end date of mid-December 2014. The build was awful. They abandoned us half way through for a more profitable contract and just left our family living in a half-finished house for months on end (including things like open spaces in the brickwork while they waited for windows to be delivered). The builder was vile, fell out with EVERYONE, was basically out of his depth on some of the build aspects and we had to compromise on lots of elements of the design when he screwed up - but nothing was ever ever his fault. We spent all the time trying to keep the peace with him with the reasoning that if we were nice to him, he would do the work. What numpties. Finally we negotiated with them in around May 2015 that we would curtail the project so that we could get another firm to come in and do the last external bits (patio, retaining walls etc). That was done fairly amicably, we just took the quoted cost of that section off the original contract. We were careful to get this all in writing. Throughout the process the builders never chased us for payments for things they hadn't yet done. In fact they didn't get any money from us for about 6 months at one point.
The practical completion certificate has been issued by the building inspector and we have paid the bulk of the contract, but we haven't paid the 5% retention yet. Because I got pregnant and had a baby (in May 2015 - hence some of the stress of the build phase) while they were busy working elsewhere, we agreed that they would give us some space and we would get in touch about the snags. Earlier this year we emailed them asking if they were intending to do the snags, they replied asking us to send a list through. We never replied to that. The thought of having those horrible people back in the house is so awful that we have really just tried to forget about it and make our house feel like a home not somewhere which has been invaded by fat arsey blokes making a mess of things.
So I'd just like to get a sound out about what our position is now. The snags in question are things like settling cracks (quite a lot of them), retouching paintwork, a drippy tap, some scratches on windows....things that we can and have lived with (there is also a major defect in the form of a wonky lintel, but I guess we will have to live with that one). We would rather live with those snags, rather than having the builders back even for a day. And in the spirit of honesty, those snags (excepting the defect) are not worth the value of the 5% retention which is around £6k.
We know the builders have a contractual right to the opportunity to do the snags. But we haven't heard from them for months and they don't seem interested at all in chasing us for the completion funds. Is there a time limit on how long this gets drawn out, and might it go against us, i.e. is there any way that they might be able to claim the 5% without doing any more work at all? Is there any way we can avoid having that £6k liability? Should we just man up and get them back in, or should we go into battle and say something like they have to fix the lintel before they get the £6k?
Honest and frank opinions much appreciated - thank you

Bobochic Thu 08-Sep-16 15:52:38

I had to answer your thread to sympathize, even though I have no advice to give, just flowers.

I am about to kill the solicitor/executor of my father's estate, who is a pompous twit who seems to think I work for him rather than the other way round. Grrrrr.

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