Builder - breach of contract
You may have a breach of contract claim against your builder either under the specific terms of your contract with them, or by them breaching your statutory rights under the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 or under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, if the contract was entered into after the 1st October 2015.
There may also be claims arising under The Defective Premises Act 1972. These are often referred to as construction claims, and are a very niche area of law. Most claims are dealt with by the Technology and Construction Court, which is a specific section of the High Court, with judges that also specialise in these kinds of cases.
These types of claims can range from issues with the quality of the work such as faulty conservatories or extensions to the property, to more serious claims such as structural damage being caused to your property. We have also dealt with claims where builders have walked off build projects part way though, despite having been paid.
Bringing a claim against a builder
It is important to act quickly when bringing claims against builders, and getting expert assistance as soon as possible. We have contacts with various experts that we can engage on your behalf to assess the works and provide reports on the quality. It is important to get reports at an early stage of the case, and before any remedial work has been carried out.
Often with construction claims, one of the key concerns is the solvency of the builder. We will always advise you and assist you, in carrying out investigations into their means, to work out whether they are worth bringing a claim against.
Whilst we tend to be instructed after a dispute has already arisen, there are various things that you can do before instructing the builder to minimise the chance of a dispute, or to strengthen your case should a dispute arise later on - find out more: How to avoid a dispute with your builder.
If you think you may have a claim and wish to discuss it with us, please telephone our specialist team on 01616 966 229, or complete our online enquiry form and someone will respond to you as soon as possible.
Common builder disputes
Building disputes can take many forms. There are lots of reasons why the parties to a building contract fall out. Having building works carried out to your property can be stressful given the disruption and inconvenience caused depending on the nature and extent of the building works. The costs of building works can also be substantial especially when construction works include building extensions to a property. All of this carries the potential for a highly stressed environment which has the propensity to increase the risk in a breakdown in the relationship between a builder and their employer. Unfortunately, when such a breakdown occurs it is likely that a building project will be adversely affected causing significant disruption and delays.
We have found that the most common disputes between homeowners and builders who have carried out works on residential properties involve:
Builder dispute FAQs
What is a builder dispute?
A builder dispute is a disagreement or conflict that arises between a property owner and a builder regarding the quality of workmanship or construction, payment issues, project delays, or changes to the project's scope. These disputes can lead to financial loss, project delays, and damage to relationships between the parties involved.
How do you resolve disputes with builder?
To resolve disputes with a builder, homeowners or commercial property owners can try to negotiate a settlement with the builder directly. However, before taking any steps to try and resolve the dispute, they should seek legal advice from a builder dispute solicitor. If settlement discussions are not successful homeowners or commercial property owners can consider taking legal action to resolve the dispute. Again, early legal advice should be taken before commencing any legal action.
What is poor workmanship?
If you are concerned with the quality of workmanship that your builder has carried out on your project then you may have grounds to claim against the builder for a breach of contract.
The first thing you will need to identify before suing a contractor for poor workmanship is whether the workmanship falls below the standard of works that the builder agreed to carry out. The express terms of the contract between you and the builder will be the first point of reference to ascertain whether the builder has not carried out the work satisfactorily under the terms and conditions of the contract.
If you are concerned with the quality of the workmanship it is important to notify the builder at your earliest opportunity and see whether an agreement can be made between you to rectify the problem. Always ensure you document all discussions with the builder and keep a diary so you have a record and timeline of all events. It would also be useful to take photographs of the building work as it progresses especially if you are concerned about the quality of the workmanship.
If you do not agree a way forward with the builder it may be necessary for you to instruct an independent building surveyor to carry out a report on the workmanship to ascertain whether the standard has fallen short of the agreed contractual terms. You must act quickly in these situations so it is important that you seek legal advice at your earliest opportunity to ensure that you comply with your own obligations under the terms of any contract in place.
What are your rights?
Building disputes can be very complex. The rights and remedies can be determined by the various contractual terms that you have agreed with the builder. Each case will have to be considered on its own facts. It will be very important to ensure you keep a diary of all works that have been carried out during the building work and any payments that you have made to the builder or any other party.
The rights and remedies available are varied and therefore it is important that you seek independent legal advice at your earliest opportunity.
What are my rights for poor workmanship?
If you have received poor workmanship from a builder or contractor, you may have the following rights:
Right to have the work corrected: You have the right to ask the builder or contractor to correct the poor workmanship to an acceptable standard.
Right to a price reduction/refund: If the poor workmanship cannot be corrected or has caused significant damage, you may have the right to a partial or full refund.
Right to compensation: If the poor workmanship has caused financial loss, you may have the right to compensation for the costs incurred.
Right to terminate the contract: If the poor workmanship is a breach of the contract, you may have the right to terminate the contract and seek legal action to recover any losses. Dealing with termination can be complex and should only be considered after obtaining legal advice.
Can I make a claim against my builder?
Yes, you may be able to make a claim against your builder if they have provided poor workmanship or breached the contract. To make a claim, you can seek legal advice from a builder dispute solicitor who can advise you on your legal rights and options. They can also help you negotiate a settlement or take legal action to recover any losses.
If you have a concern about building work that is being carried out or has previously been carried out do not hesitate to contact our specialist team on 01616 966 229 for further advice.