Making a claim against a builder

Sometimes, having work done on your property can not go as planned. There can be a number of reasons why this might happen. The work can be of poor quality, it may be incomplete or not completed as you had requested. In these scenarios, the only option you might have is to make a claim against your builder. 

What is required in order to make a claim against a builder?

If you are thinking of making a claim against your builder, it is important you have the necessary information and documents, which can be used to strengthen your case. The list below will give you a good indication of what you would need.

  • Your original agreement signed between yourself, the homeowner, and the builder.
  • Any plans drawn for the work that was completed.
  • In case of poor quality work, any independent assessments, which can be used to verify poor quality.
  • In case of incomplete work, any independent assessment of the work to verify the work not being completed as requested.
  • In case of incorrect work, an independent assessment of the work against the original plans, which can be used to verify the differences.

What can I do before making a claim?

If you wanted to make a claim against a builder, you would have to follow the correct procedure before you can make a claim. Taking someone to court should be the final option. Your aim should be to resolve the matter through other means, or try to anyway. This would involve the following work.

  • Discuss the matter with your trader and inform them about the Consumer Rights Act, which outlines the need for reasonable care and skill.
  • Request the work be completed, corrected, or meet your required needs. This should be outlined through writing so you have a record of your communication.
  • If the builder doesn’t comply or respond, you can file a complaint with the relevant trade association the builder has a membership, if any.
  • Use a mediation service, which you can request your builder to attend in order to resolve the issue matter amicably.
  • Contact Trading Standards in order to resolve the matter.

You don’t have to try all the steps above, however, if you made an effort to resolve the issue using different means available to you, it reflects positively on you. If the steps above fail, then you can seek resolution through legal means.

How do I start a claim against my builder?

In order to start a claim, you need to assess the value of the claim. If the total value is less than £10,000 in England and Wales, £5,000 in Scotland and £3,000 in Northern Ireland, you can use the small claims court. This would make the process quick and simple. You might not even need help from a Solicitor like us, but it’s always recommended to get advice.

If the value is more than the amounts mentioned above, then you would have to go to your local county court. If this is the case, we recommend that you speak to a solicitor like us to deal with the matter.

What are the costs of making a claim?

The costs of making a claim can vary depending on:

  • Value of your claim
  • The response from the other party, in this case the builder
  • The time required to research or gather specialist reports
  • Any other factors which influence the time of the case

If you want a cost estimate, we can advise you by reviewing your matter and it is recommended you know the costs before proceeding. If you win the case, you will recover 60% to 70% of the costs from the other side.

Is it worth making a claim against the builder?

This depends on your specific circumstances and there is no simple answer to this question. Our recommendation again is to get the matter reviewed by a solicitor, and they can advise you on the strength of the case.

Any legal matter can be complex and if you are thinking of making a claim against your builder, you should speak to us and see if it would be worth making a claim.

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