Let Down by Your Builders? A Good Lawyer Will See You Right

17th October 2023 By

Many householders are familiar with the often traumatic experience of falling out with builders. However, as a High Court case showed, if their work is not up to scratch or left unfinished, lawyers will bend every sinew to ensure that fair compensation is paid.

A homeowner engaged builders to perform major construction works on her property, including the erection of a kitchen extension and bathroom refurbishment. She also commissioned the manufacture and installation of triple-glazed windows, bi-fold doors and other glazing works.

After she launched proceedings, it was common ground that the works carried out were defective and left incomplete. Following a trial, the builder who bore responsibility for the construction works was ordered to pay her £34,711 in damages. She was also awarded £9,778 against his company in respect of the glazing works.

The judge rejected defence arguments that the homeowner was responsible for all that went wrong with the project because she permitted a friend to act as de facto project manager, a task for which she was said to lack the necessary experience, and failed to consult an architect or engineer when required. He found that the defective construction works arose from the builder’s own shortcomings.

The builder’s contention that she had contracted solely with his company, which had since ceased to trade, also fell on fallow ground. The judge found that, in dealing directly with the homeowner, he was not acting on his company’s behalf. He thus bore personal contractual responsibility for the construction works.

The homeowner further succeeded in arguments that, as the builder was not registered for VAT, the construction works were not subject to the 20 per cent levy. Save in respect of the bathroom refurbishment, the judge also found that the quoted contract price included both labour and materials.

In refusing to grant the builder and his company permission to appeal against that outcome, the Court found that any such appeal would stand no real prospect of success. The judge’s factual conclusions on the various issues in the case were amply justified. An award to the homeowner of £70,000 in interim legal costs was also confirmed.

Source: Concious

Latest News

Award That Requires Borrowing Made Into Court Order

17th May, 2024 By

Disagreements between separating couples all too often result in litigation that substantially reduces the assets available to them, as was illustrated by a case that recently reached the High Court. At issue was whether awards made by arbitrators in financial remedy proceedings can be made into court orders even if that would require one of the parties to borrow money. The couple had previously had a relationship lasting a few years before resuming their relationship in 2015. They had two children before separating again in 2019. Following their separation, the...

Inheritance Disputes – Costs Risks Can Be Reduced

15th May, 2024 By

Arguments about what someone promised before their death can lead to significant legal costs. However, if faced with a claim against the estate, there may be steps the beneficiaries or executors can take to reduce the risks, as a recent High Court case illustrated. A man had left a farmhouse and agricultural land in Cornwall to his wife, with whom he had also jointly owned a neighbouring area of land. After his death, one of the couple's daughters and her husband claimed that he had told them he wanted them...

Share Rounding Error Does Not Prevent CGT Relief

13th May, 2024 By

There are often very specific rules that must be complied with in order to claim tax reliefs, but if a small mistake arises, the courts may be able to provide assistance. In a recent case, the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) found that an investor was entitled to Entrepreneurs' Relief on the disposal of his shares in a company, despite owning one share fewer than he needed to qualify for it. The investor had agreed to purchase 5 per cent of the shares in the company for £500,000. He wished to own...

Wife Entitled to Maintenance Until Sale of Family Home

10th May, 2024 By

When divorcing couples disagree on how assets should be divided, the courts will seek to arrive at a fair outcome for both parties. In deciding how the proceeds of sale of a former couple's home should be apportioned, the Family Court agreed with the wife that she should receive maintenance payments until the sale took place. The couple had married in 2006. Following a brief separation, they had reconciled for two years before finally separating in 2022. The husband and wife both contended that they should be entitled to about...