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Family forced to demolish new home

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A story in the news recently has caught my eye, after a family in Scotland has been ordered to demolish their £500,000 dream home.

The Murray family had bought a plot of land and engaged architects and builders to build their luxury home on it, to specific plans approved by the Council. After the build it then transpired that the property was 6ft too high, 9ft too long, and 4ft too wide. It also had too many windows and an unapproved balcony. As a result, it was ‘materially different’ to the plans approved by the Council, and the Council has finally ordered that it is to be demolished.

The Council’s decision apparently came after the kitchen and four bathrooms had all been finished, at a cost of over £50,000. It’s reported that the builders had tried to assure the Murrays that planning permission and building consent would be awarded retrospectively, but this was refused by the Council.

It now appears that the building company has gone into liquidation, and therefore the Murrays cannot bring a claim against them, or try to recover the costs that they have incurred in the build so far. They will have to pay the demolition costs of £11,500, and it is understood that they will have to sell their current home to cover the debts.

This is a tragic story, but is one that I see far too often in my profession. As a solicitor specialising in construction claims against builders, architects and surveyors, it is very common to come across difficulties like this when trying to seek recompense. There are however sometimes ways to still bring a claim and minimise some of your losses and it is important to get specialist legal advice at the earliest opportunity.

I would also recommend that you check out our Top 10 Tips for Instructing a Builder, to try and minimise any future difficulties you might have with a build from the outset.

By Heather Korwin-Szymanowska, Associate solicitor

For a fixed fee starting from £49.95, you can have a 30 minute appointment with one of our specialist solicitors who deal with construction claims, either on the telephone, or face to face, depending on your preference.  We will take some details from you before the appointment, and I will then discuss your case with you, and what your options are.  If your case is something that we can then help you further with, we can then discuss your funding options with you.  Please contact us if you want to make an appointment - call 01616 966 229.