If you have decided to start a building project without an architect at your side, you must be prepared if things don’t go in the right direction.
If you are not happy with the project or with something that the contractor is doing, or simply is not as agreed, it is best to speak with them.
Chain of command
Remember that general tradespersons may not have the full vision of the project and there is a strict chain of command to respect for a project to go smooth.
Start speaking about your concerns with the site manager or project manager, they can help with your queries and take action. It is good practice to recap what you asked and what they answered in an email.
If this was not enough, you can escalate your complaint to the contractor’s administration or company director.
Ask them to put things right and ask them to explain how they will do it.
Ask them also to put a plan of action in writing to you.
If the works are ongoing, keep a written note of any lesser products being used, unsatisfactory workmanship, unexplained delays or not following plans.
Remember to document with photos, receipts and emails/screenshots, make a note of dates.
Keeping records will help you prove if they are in breach of contract.
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 says the trader undertaking home improvements, building or decorating should take reasonable care and skill.
The trader should put right any unsatisfactory element of work or – if this is not possible – give you a refund.
Things going wrong
If your concern is about any part of the work being unsafe, highlight this immediately to the contractor, if the problem is not resolved promptly you should report them to Trading Standards.
If the contractor (or tradesperson) does not correct the problem or give you a refund, you can take your complaint to the trade association of which they are member.
Outline your rights and contact act in a letter, explaining the problem, what you have asked to remedy and what has happened in response.
Also, the Citizen’s Advice Bureau has letters you can copy that will show service providers you know your rights.
If no action has been taken to this point, you can consult a law firm or charity specialised in alternative dispute resolutions, where an independent person will look at your problem and decide what should be done about it.
Agreements made during this process are legally binding and it is cheaper than going to court. Should you end up in court in the worse case, some judges prefer if you have tried this route first.
Some trade associations have their own alternative dispute resolution, so try asking them before appointing your own.
More information about what to do if you have problems with building work can be found on the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website.
A project can be as simple as renovating and re-decorating or as complex as an entirely new construction.
Among our services we offer the possibility to assist you during the works until completion as your representative and inspecting the site regularly.
We will assign a CSCS qualified Competent Person working with the contractor to take site decision and using our expertise to foresee problems to prevent things from going wrong.
If they still do, we will be at your side to make sure they will make things right.
Having a professional at your side is the best hassle-free solution.
Whether you are planning a project from scratch or you already have a layout to bring to construction, we can help you achieve great results.
You can visit us to talk about your project or contact us and request a call back.
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