How to proceed with negligence claim against builder

(7 Posts)
whatsthatnow74 Mon 24-Aug-20 12:49:10


I'll try and be succint, so here goes! We had a loft conversion done three years ago, creating a bedroom and en-suite. There is a large flat roofed dormer which accounts for perhaps half of the overall space. In the months after the build was completed, we had issues with the flat roof, including the fibreglass top layer coming away and having to be repaired, leaks coming through etc...
On Friday last week, we experienced high winds where we live and a very large section of the roof came away and was flapping around wildy, making the most awful racket and also being highly dangerous. The fire service had to be called to go up there (third storey) and remove the loose section and make it safe. It was awful!
I managed to find a flat roof specialist who could come out in an emergency and secure the area and they are now carrying out the repair (well, it's a full replacement of the flat roof). It is costing over £7k part of which was the charge for scaffolding to be erected at short notice.
The new company have told us that the roof was fitted incorrectly originally and that the wooden boards had rotted which had caused the top layer to peel away over time and then detach in the high wind.
We are pretty sure that our insurer will not pay out for this reason and so we are looking to pursue the builder who installed the loft three years ago. I'm thinking to approach him informally intially, to outline what has happened and request that he cover the cost of the repair. I will clarify that we will proceed with a legal claim if necessary, but would rather not let it get to that stage.
Has anyone got any advice on how bese to move forwards here, does my idea seem reasonable?

OP’s posts: |
WoolyMammoth55 Mon 24-Aug-20 15:41:53

Hi OP, sorry you're going through this.

I'm no expert but before approaching the builder I'd do two things:
1) Call your insurers to explain the situation and ask if you can claim (would be much the simplest way forward I suspect);
2) Speak to someone at building control to find out at what stages the work was signed off and what the implications are of that. We're extending at the moment and local building control are signing the work off at regular intervals as "safe and competent" - just be interesting to know if the roof was signed off by them?

Then if you feel that pursuing the builder is the right thing, go ahead - you might be lucky, I hope you will be!

whatsthatnow74 Mon 24-Aug-20 18:30:19

Thanks @WoolyMammoth55.

The insurer has confirmed that they will not pay out, so that's that.

Re the building inspector, they did attend at various stages and signed the work off and this did cross my mind, however, the evidence speaks for itself - the roof was rotten and came flying off and this could only be due to poor workmanship when it was installed.

I'vr spent the afternoon drafting a letter, gathering photos and video footage, I've been given a letter from the roofing company who are replacing the roof outlining the faults and defects so I think we have a comprehensive set of documents with which to get the ball rolling. Deep breath...!

Good luck with your project!

OP’s posts: |
weepingwillow22 Mon 24-Aug-20 18:33:16

I am no expert but I think you can use the small claims court for cases up to £10k. You probably need evidence of the repair costs, i.e quotes from other builders or an independent assessor as evidence.

whatsthatnow74 Mon 24-Aug-20 18:37:30

@weepingwillow22 thanks. Yes, I think that's right re the small claims court, but I believe that is generally the last port of call.

I've already gathered together the evidence you mentioned, so that's a good start!

We are asking the builder to compensate us directly to avoid having to go down a legal route, but have also advised that that would be the next step if required.

OP’s posts: |
Pipandmum Mon 24-Aug-20 18:41:14

Did the builder issue a guarantee of any kind? I would have expected him to.

whatsthatnow74 Mon 24-Aug-20 19:06:08


Did the builder issue a guarantee of any kind? I would have expected him to.

No, we just got the building regs certificate thing at the end

OP’s posts: |

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