16-07-2020

Things you can do to avoid a building dispute

We have all spent a lot more time at home recently and for some of us, this has made us think about completing renovations on your homes.  Whether it is a simple case of opening up two rooms to form a family space or building a completely new extension, please follow our advice when choosing a builder to carry out the work.

Your dreams can quickly become a nightmare if you choose the wrong builder, and with the increase in building work being undertaken, the rise in opportunist builders has brought an increase in building and construction complaints and subsequent claims.

Often people fail to undertake the proper checks before entering into a contract with a builder, handing over large sums of money without any protection simply in a bid to get the work done.

We would suggest before engaging in a contract with a builder to carry out the following due diligence checks as a starting point:

  1. Are they a limited liability company?

If the answer is yes then it is important to be aware that as a limited liability company, the main starting point of recovering any payments made or recovery of compensation for poor services is from the legal entity that you contracted with, the company not the individual.

The company will provide protection to the individuals personally who carried out the work and their personal assets.

It is therefore important to be confident that the company is solvent before contracting with them.

You can view account details on Companies House website, which retains a record of all registered limited liability companies and you check that the company is not subject to any insolvency proceedings before employing them to carry out the work.

If they are not a limited liability company then you would be making a claim against the individual.

  1. If they are a limited liability company, how long has the company being trading?

It is always worth checking how long the company has been trading, if the company has not been trading long it is worth checking why they have only been trading for a short period particularly if you are aware that they have been trading/working longer in the trade than companies’ house states that they have been trading.

  1. Are the Company part of a professional or trade association?

This can be useful to check as is often an indication that the company are of a professional standing as to be a member they will have had to pass several strict criteria. Local Authorities often run schemes such as the ‘Derbyshire Trusted Trader’, which acts as a seal of approval for their standard of work.

  1. Does the Company or builder have insurance for the work?

This is always worth asking, because if things do go wrong, then if the company are insured for the work this may provide an alternative course of action to recover the money lost. They will be able to make a potential claim through/to the insurers to carry out any rectification work necessary.

What if happens if things go wrong

Despite having carried out these checks and other investigations, things can still go wrong and our dispute resolution team are on hand to assist in these situations.

We can advise on obtaining expert evidence and can instruct an expert on your behalf to assist in challenging the company in relation to the work carried out, which will also provide evidential support if any court action is required to resolve the matter.

We will also help identify the best course of action to resolve the issues, identify the strengths of your case and prospects of success.

We offer an initial fixed fee appointment to review your case and advise you on the next steps. If you need advice on a building dispute then please get in touch.