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Dispute With A Builder? What You Can Do To Resolve It

If you have concerns regarding your builder’s standard of work, there are steps you can take to resolve the issue.

In this blog, our dispute resolution team answers a few frequently asked questions, explaining your rights and how you can resolve a dispute with a builder or trader.

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.

This is 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 over your bill

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Make sure to view our Dispute Resolution page, to view the wide range of disputes we can help resolve for you.

Contact us today, we’re here to help.

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.