Nobody wants to become involved in litigation but when a dispute arises with your builder or contractor you need to have followed these simple steps to help you get through the process and maximise your chance of a successful resolution.
- Put your grievances in writing - Even if there has been little or no written correspondence between you and the builder or contactor beforehand, you should put your grievances in writing and give them a chance to respond. This may help to prove that your actions were reasonable if the case reaches court as well as providing a record of the discussions taking place.
- Make contemporaneous notes - This may be the best way to record things which are otherwise not in writing. For example if you consider that the builder is behaving in an unreasonable manner or that aspects of their work or working practices are unsatisfactory, record WHAT, WHERE, WHEN and WHO while your recollection is fresh. You should also make notes of any telephone conversations between you and the builder or contractor as a record of important discussions, for example if you have asked the builder or contractor to undertake additional work.
- Take photos of the work undertaken – photographic evidence will be of great assistance in showing defective work or the stage the work has reached. It may be particularly important to show the stage the work has reached if subsequent works or alterations are likely to take place. If the dispute progresses it is likely expert evidence will be required and contemporaneous photographs may be of great assistance to expert witnesses.
- Do not commence remedial works - If the builder or contractor leaves the site or refuses to undertake any further work, do not commence remedial works until you have sought legal advice from us. It is likely that expert evidence will be required and you risk losing vital evidence if remedial works are undertaken at an early stage and you may prejudice your own claim.
- Keep calm and collected - This may help to take some of the “heat” out of the dispute and avoid any unnecessary breakdown of the working relationship with your builder or contractor.
- Keep receipts and invoices - You may think that this is obvious, but if the dispute is in relation to amounts claimed or the cost of remedial work, accurate details of the amounts involved will be essential evidence to support your claim. Similarly, if further work is required ensure you obtain a fully itemised estimate from your builder or contractor in relation to the work.
- Pay your builder by credit card - if you continue to make payments to your builder or contractor and you are able to pay by credit card, you may be afforded protection by the Consumer Credit Act 1974 if the builder or contractor later refuses to settle your claim.
We can Help
At McMillan Williams, we provide strategic and pragmatic advice to prevent problems escalating into significant disputes. We act decisively to achieve the best possible results for our clients whatever the size or nature of the dispute, whilst always striving to achieve the earliest possible resolution without the need to issue formal proceedings.
If you need any assistance in dealing with a builder or contractor or if your project is not progressing in the way you had hoped, call our team of experienced solicitors on 0203 551 8500 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.