Are you having builder problems?

Problems with builders is nothing new. Here is what you can do about it...

Stewart Patterson - Barrister, building & construction expertiseHome owners having problems with builders is certainly nothing new, and it seems to be a situation that persists.

So if you have a problem with your builder, you are not alone.

At the end of the day, you may need to take legal action, and if you do, the best course of action may be to use the services of a specialist barrister. More on this later.

Consumer Direct had 65,000 complaints related to home improvement in 2011. Only second hand car sales had more. The top 3 were: 1st – Timing issues, 2nd – Cost more than original quote & 3rd – Poor quality job

Typical builder problems

There are a whole raft of troublesome issues that revolve around building projects, many of which are down to the builders or subcontractors themselves. These can be issues with…

  • Project completion
  • Payment schedules
  • Client and builder expectations
  • Health and safety
  • Rubbish left on site

  • Builders disappearing off site
  • Quality of work
  • Sub contractor problems
  • Additional costs
  • Communication issues and much more!

Under law, you have entitlements…

Keep in mind, that normally irrespective of contract, in Law you are entitled to:

  • The work to be carried out with reasonable care and skill
  • For it to be finished in an agreed time
  • The work to be provided at a reasonable cost or one that has been previously specified
  • The goods and materials must match descriptions and be of satisfactory quality
  • They must be fit for normal use or for any use previously specified to the builder

If these criteria are not met you are definitely entitled to take action.

Do the right things…

builder problems, get good legal adviceThere are standard and reasonable procedures that you should follow in order to give your builder the opportunity to correct any problems.

For example, unless you have good reason to not want them to come back (such as they have left the property in a dangerous condition, or the builder is abusive} do give them the opportunity to resolve any problems.

Also, keep written records of everything that happens. This includes guarantees, promises and quotes. Be prepared to supply copies of these to the owner of the company carrying out the work.

Building expertCheck whether the builder is a member of a trade association that has a mediation or arbitration service. If this is so, you can contact them.

If there is a dispute over work done, with the agreement of the builder, you can invite an independent third party expert to supply you with their findings in writing.

You can agree in advance to split the costs and make the findings binding.

If this does not resolve the issues, you can give the builder a letter stating that within a certain time frame, 14 days for example, you will invite another builder to make good any deficiencies.

State that if necessary you’ll take court action to recover the costs.

Next Step: What to do and when to do it?

Once a dispute becomes seriously problematic or your builder becomes unavailable, you need to take your action to a new level. In these cases you need the best advice quickly.

Get the right property and construction legal advice faster

In the past you would have contacted a solicitor first, they would then refer you on to a specialist barrister. Rather than following this process you can now contact some barristers directly yourself.

This way you will have the help that you need almost immediately. Avoiding unnecessary delays, you will also avoid the extra expense that is incurred when being referred by a solicitor.

You will want a barrister on your side who has years of experience in dealing with property and builder matters. Also by taking action now you will relieve some of the worry and uncertainty that can grind you down. This action will save you time, money and more problems in the future.


Contact Stewart Patterson Barrister


Contact Information

We wholeheartedly welcome you to contact us regarding any legally related issues or concerns. We're easy to talk with and will very quickly steer you in the right direction.

Stewart Patterson
Barrister, Mediator & Arbitrator

Pump Court Chambers,
31 Southgate Street,
SO23 9EB
Tel: 01962 690061
Fax: 0845 259 3240
DX: 2514 Winchester