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Dispute with a Builder

  • 25-11-2022 5:37pm
    Registered Users Posts: 495 ✭✭


    I'm looking for some help regarding an issue I have with a builder.

    The work to be done was substantial & involved the removal of the existing roof and the creation of another 1st Floor on top with 3 rooms & bathroom & balcony.

    We signed a "Contract " with a Small Builder / Vat registered, and work commenced on 11th October 2021 (over 12 months ago ) with an estimated finish date of "not later than 28th Feb. 2022" as per the contract.

    During that time we had constant delays due to weather & we were reasonable with the builder & gave him significant more time to complete the job.

    The work continued up until August 2022 whereby we put the builder on notice (in writing) of our intention to terminate the contract under a clause in the contract.

    We however did not actually go ahead with the termination of the contract and it is still open at this time.

    The builder did give us a signed/written 10 year guarantee " to cover any problems relating to the top roof & balcony".

    Here's the problem / We had serious leaks in the balcony of the roof over our kitchen. The builder made efforts to fix the problem but to date has been un-successful & the leaks plus another new one in the roof upstairs has appeared. These leaks are now leaving large damp patches in the ceilings. The payment amount outstanding for the builder is quite small & we have been calling/texting etc constantly over the past few weeks & he has given us so many excuses as to not being able to get back to us & is now ignoring us completely.

    My question is how to proceed with the issue.

    1) if we get another builder to repair the work (a) it could cost significantly more than the amount outstanding to the builder & (b) it would cancel out the Written Guarantee.

    2) if we go the legal route - & lets say we win - can the builder just ignore a ruling by the court & pay say " a couple of Euros a week " for example, or even hide behind any lack of funds under the Company name.

    Any help/ suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you


  • Registered Users Posts: 441 ✭✭Richmond Ultra

    Wed a similar experience, the written guarantee from the builder is the main thing, someone else can't stand over the work so if something goes wrong well you have to go back to them.

    A few doorsteps on current building sites worked for us, a solicitor said they can send a letter but not much more.

  • Registered Users Posts: 495 ✭✭Conology

    Can you advise what you mean by " A few doorsteps on current building sites worked for us "


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,565 ✭✭✭endofrainbow

    I think what he means is to turn up unannounced a job where the builder is doing another job and make a nuisance of yourself.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,062 ✭✭✭Hobgoblin11


    Dundalk, Co. Louth

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,282 ✭✭✭Lenar3556

    I didn’t get the bit about terminating the contract? Other than these leaks was the job completed? What was the reason for wishing to terminate the agreement?

    Probably the first practical step would be to have the cause of the leaks assessed by someone suitably qualified other than your builder. Who designed the roof? You quite possibly had an architect engaged, you could ask them, or alternatively, maybe a building surveyor or engineer. This should provide some insight into what has gone wrong and what will be required to provide a long term remedy. You will likely have to fund the cost of this survey yourself, but it should be relatively small.

    Once you have identified what is required, it is then a case of getting the remedy implemented. Applying some pressure to the builder is probably the first step, as suggested by others calling in person to him may well be quite effective. Try and be reasonable and keep it amicable.

    Pursuing him through the courts would be a last resort. It would take time, money, stress and ultimately may not yield much in terms of a resolution.

    If the builder is not making any effort to resolve the defects, you may well have to appoint another contractor. As to how successful you will be in recovering the costs from the original builder, that’s another matter. It would be a good idea to have strong documentary evidence that he was afforded every opportunity to repair before you appointed someone else.

    If you did secure a court order that required him to carry out repairs, or make payments to you in respect of repairs that you had to have carried out by others, he would be bound by such an order. But you may have to engage in significant effort to enforce the order and may need to seek specific performance from the courts - all more money, and hassle you could do without.

    Is this builder someone of means? Would he be worth pursuing? You mentioned a company - is it a company you are dealing with or a sole trader?

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