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Disputes and Litigation

Building Disputes

Starting a building project is exciting, but it is also a big commitment with large sums of money involved. You trust a building company to carry out work to a high standard, so it is devastating when things go wrong. Our solicitors are specialists in dealing with building and construction disputes, and we aim to help you to settle matters quickly and amicably, where possible.

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What types of building disputes can a solicitor help with?

Some of the building disputes our solicitors help with most often are:

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A building contract should include all the construction details, from timings to how and when the builder will use subcontractors. It should detail the Builder’s insurance cover, so the Customer knows they are properly covered in the event of any injury or damage to property or if the Builder goes out of business.

Building contract disputes can occur when one party breaches the terms of a contract or misunderstands their obligations. Disputes can also occur when important details are omitted from a contract and therefore require determination as to what was intended.

If you are involved in a building contract dispute or need to check that a contract offers you adequate protection before you sign, please get in touch with our solicitors.

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, all services must be carried out with ‘reasonable care and skill’. This means that a builder is responsible for carrying out work to an acceptable standard. If they do not, then it is their responsibility to make good their work, and the Customer should not have to pay for this.

Sometimes the Work fails to comply with building safety standards and can even put someone’s life at risk. In this case, it is vital to take immediate action. Unsafe structures must be reported to the local council and dangerous gas installations to the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999. Afterwards, the matter should be reported to Trading Standards.

If you have received a poor or dangerous standard of workmanship, please get in touch with our professional negligence claims solicitors. We can advise you about claiming compensation for construction negligence.

By law, the materials used for building work must be of ‘satisfactory quality’ and ‘fit for purpose’. If a builder purchases substandard materials, then it is their responsibility to seek a refund from the Supplier and to make good their work.

If the dates for starting and finishing construction work are written in a contract, a builder should adhere to them as far as possible. Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, work must be completed in a ‘reasonable’ amount of time. However, some delays may be outside a builder’s control, such as poor weather or major changes made to the Works.

When a builder takes too long to complete the Work without good reason, you may be able to claim compensation for expenses you have incurred by delays.

If a builder does not carry out work competently, another builder may be asked to complete the work instead. The original builder should be given an opportunity to remedy any defective works, but if not, can be asked to meet the additional costs.

Sometimes a builder may discover they need to carry out extra work they did not expect. They should seek the Customer’s agreement to the extra work and costs before going ahead. A builder cannot charge a customer for extra work they have not included in a written quote unless the Customer agrees.

A builder cannot charge a customer more than they originally quoted as this is a fixed price. However, if they have made an error in adding up the charges, they have a legal right to be paid the correct price.

Before construction begins, it is advisable to obtain a written quote from a builder with a clear breakdown of the work they will carry out.

When should you contact a solicitor?

Contacting a solicitor early on can prevent a construction dispute from escalating. Our specialist solicitors can advise you on the best way to approach the issue you are facing to increase your chances of reaching an amicable solution.

We recommend you keep receipts, invoices and photographs as evidence. Depending upon the circumstances, you should start by contacting the Builder to ask them to put the Work right or ask for a full or partial refund.

If the Builder does not respond or their response is unsatisfactory, our solicitors can write to them. Often a letter from a solicitor outlining your legal position can prompt a builder to settle a dispute quickly without the need for further action.

After a solicitor’s letter, the next steps you could take are:

An independent mediator will sit down with you and the Builder for an informal discussion, usually with your legal representative. They will facilitate discussions between the parties to try and help come to an agreement. This is the quickest and most amicable way to resolve disputes.

This is another form of Alternative Dispute Resolution where an independent arbitrator assesses the situation. Unlike a mediator, an arbitrator decides how the Building dispute should be resolved. Their decision is legally binding.

Going to court is usually a last resort and can be costly and time consuming. If you go to court, we will build the strongest possible case for you and support you throughout the process.

Contact Davisons building dispute solicitors

We understand building disputes can be a stressful and financially damaging experience.

Our specialist building disputes solicitors will do everything possible to help you reach the outcome you seek quickly and amicably.

Have any questions or need any help?

Our team of specialist lawyers are experts in their field. Be confident in their advice and decisions to help get the right outcome for you. Contact us today to see how we can help