It is important to get advice at an early stage if you find yourself in the unfortunate position where work has not been carried out properly during a building project by your builder, contractor, or other tradesman.
At Eric Robinson Solicitors our expert lawyers have experience with building dispute claims.
If you would like to proceed with a claim, it is important to obtain an expert report at an early stage of the case before any remedial work has been carried out. We know various experts that we can instruct on your behalf to assess and provide reports on the quality of the works.
Building disputes commonly require a breach of contract claim against your builder either under the specific terms of your contract with them, or with reference to the breach of your statutory rights under the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982. Such claims can concern issues with the quality of the work through to more serious matters such as structural damage being caused to your property.
Example issues include:
- Defective double glazing and conservatories
- Issues concerning the design element of the project
- Flawed patios and driveways
- Problems with tradesmen including builders, plumbers, electricians, carpenters
- Self build or renovation disputes
- Structural problems caused by defective workmanship
We also have experience dealing with claims against builders who have been paid for the works upfront but then walk off the project before it is complete.
At Eric Robinson Solicitors our specialist lawyers can provide a no-obligation, fixed-fee one-hour interview for £150 plus VAT (£180) to help you establish and understand your legal position. If you decide to instruct us beyond this initial meeting then we will discuss with you the various funding options that may be available and we will help you find the one to suit you.
What can you do to resolve a dispute with a builder?
If you have concerns regarding your builder’s standard of work, there are steps you can take to resolve the issue. Where there is an agreement between a trader and a consumer to supply specific services, consumers are protected by various laws, including the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which applies to work carried out by all traders, including builders, plumbers, decorators and electricians. However, even with consumer protection laws in place, it can be highly stressful when things go wrong, and many might need help to understand their rights and handle the dispute.
Can I bring a breach of contract claim against my builder?
Yes, resolving a dispute with your builder over a building or construction project commonly requires bringing a breach of contract claim either under the specific terms of your contract or concerning the breach of your statutory rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (or for projects prior to October 2015, The Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982). However, building disputes can be complex, and the rights and remedies available vary, so you should seek independent legal advice at the earliest opportunity.
How do you resolve a dispute with a builder?
Ideally, the aim should be to avoid court action where possible and resolve issues using pre-action protocol procedures. Our specialist dispute resolution lawyers can help resolve builder disputes by using various methods, including negotiation, mediation, or, where needed, formal court proceedings. We will review your case and advise you of the most appropriate method for your dispute. When bringing claims against builders, it is essential to act quickly, get expert assistance as soon as possible, and then obtain an expert report early in the matter before any remedial work has been carried out.
Disputes for overcharging and unexpected costs
A carefully drafted and signed agreement that sets out agreed costs and exactly what it covers can significantly reduce future disputes over charges or unexpected costs. Your builder must also supply services within a reasonable time. Ideally, you should also agree, in writing, on other elements, such as who is responsible for clearing rubbish and building waste, as costs for this can quickly spiral out of control if there is no set agreement in place. If you believe your builder has overcharged you, raise the issue with them and take legal advice if you cannot resolve a dispute over charges or unexpected costs. If you need expert legal advice regarding drafting or reviewing contract agreements or costs disputes, we would be happy to help advise you on your rights and available options.
Is there a time limit to claim against a builder?
Certain strict deadlines apply to these cases if you are considering pursuing your builder for negligence and/or breach of contract. Known as ‘limitation’, the typical time limit to bring a claim for breach of contract and negligence is six years from the date of the breach. There is an exception to this six-year rule that can arise where a defect only becomes apparent after the initial six-year limitation period has expired. In certain circumstances, a limitation period of 3 years will be deemed to run from the date that the defect is noticed. However, it is a complex area of law, and you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. We have many years of experience in bringing builder dispute claims for breach of contract or professional negligence.
What is a statutory obligation?
Statutory Obligations are those imposed by law and do not arise out of a contract. For example, statutory obligations can apply to the design and construction of building work. Contracts and agreements must clarify whose responsibility it is to satisfy statutory obligations and who bears the risk of failing to comply. Statutory obligations cover extensive and complex matters, so you should seek specialist advice regarding drafting or reviewing contract agreements or breach of contract disputes. Eric Robinson can provide expert guidance on all areas of commercial contracts and statutory obligations, advising you of your rights and responsibilities.
Do I need a solicitor to resolve a dispute with my builder?
Much like any other dispute, you should approach your builder in the first instance and raise any points of issue. Try communicating your concerns, detailing your complaint and what you would like resolved. Keep records of any communication, receipts, invoices, and other evidence, such as photos. If you cannot resolve the matter between yourselves, you should seek specialist legal advice from a building dispute resolution lawyer. Having someone on your side with expert knowledge in this area of law is often the best chance of settling a dispute without a costly and lengthy litigation. Eric Robinson Solicitors are highly experienced in resolving this type of dispute and will negotiate on your behalf to try and reach a satisfactory agreement. When it is impossible to resolve matters out of court, we can guide you through the litigation process, robustly representing you in court procedures.
Dispute Resolution & Alternative Dispute Resolution Lawyers
Disputes are an unwelcome fact of life. At Eric Robinson Solicitors we know from experience that taking legal advice at an early-stage results in issues and disputes being resolved quickly, keeping costs down. Our specialist team of dispute resolution lawyers will listen to your concerns, guiding you through the law while explaining your legal position clearly. We aim to give comprehensive and practical advice on your options for resolving the matter.
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This blog post is not intended to be taken as advice; information could have changed since the article was published. If you are seeking legal advice, please get in touch with our team of solicitors to discuss your matter.
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Client Complaints Solicitor
Dispute Resolution Department