Builders Materials Left on my Lawn

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Builders Materials Left on my Lawn

Post by mango1 » Thu Jun 01, 2017 11:39 pm

Hi All,
I have had a garage and house extension built buy a builder , both were as fixed price detailed quotes , the house under a JCT contract.
We had an issue with the garage as a neighbor complained it was too high for permitted development , but we got planning permission after a delay so that was not a problem.

We paused building work on the garage near the end (roofing) and moved over to the house after making staged payments for the garage. The house contract had 6 staged payments which we made, some extras which we asked for and agreed the price on and paid. The contract said to withhold 5% for snags and finishing which I did. My builder then demanded approx 35% value of the house contact as "extras" saying there were drains he layed (but didnt) and he fitted a huge soak away (which he didnt) ect.. etc .... When I refused payment he started swearing at me and got very angry and threatened my person and property,this was a few days after bringing our newborn baby home to a building site because he had overran the contract by several weeks. I reported him to the police and they were very good and arranged for his QS in communicate between us and said to call them if he went near the house or my family again.

The builder has been demanding sums of money from 32K to the most recent 5K to settle the account or he will "take me to court". I am totally relaxed about being taken to court as I have met my side of all the contracts.

After asking him to stop work on the garage he has all the tiles for the garage roof delivered, most were used on the house but there are still two pallets left on my lawn. I am now ordering tiles for the garage roof to be completed by another roofer ,and have twice offered him the invoice price for his excess tiles (his invoice £1.2k) and he will not sell them to me, just keeps demanding several thousands to close the account or he will take me to court.
Some of the snags will be expensive to fix so I actually anticipate him owing me money in the end. These tiles have been on my lawn for 6 months now.

I understand that legally builders materials are theirs until they are incorporated into a building then they become your property. Is there any legal way I can use these tiles as part payment , or claim they were dumped so I can use them if he will not sell them? I do not really want to put them on the garage roof if they are his, but equally I do not want 2 pallets of tiles on my lawn forever. I have offerd to transport them to him at his expense to an address of his choosing. Is there a fixed amount of time after someone else's properly is left on your land it becomes yours?

Also the specifications said that the roofs were to be built to a British Standard and they were not, due to ungraded battens being used and fitted incorrectly. In these circumstances the builder does not have the opportunity to fix these problems, can I refuse to pay 100% of the non spec work, or should I pay say 70%; Usually you would just ask them to put it right but in this case they can not go near the property.

Thanks for your advice.

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Re: Builders Materials Left on my Lawn

Post by ukmicky » Fri Jun 02, 2017 12:50 am

I hope you have gained a surveyors report before you go about fixing things and removing any evidence of bad workman ship.

No you cant just use his tiles but you can put him on notice to remove them or you will. Needs to be done properly though.

In your situation where their will be a court case , speak to a solicitor before you do anything.
Advice given is not legally qualified and you are advised to gain a professional opinion

mr sheen
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Re: Builders Materials Left on my Lawn

Post by mr sheen » Fri Jun 02, 2017 7:44 am

This is not straightforward. You contracted for specific works for which a set fee was to be paid and once works started the builder could reasonably expect that he could follow right through to completion on his timetable. You suspended the contract for your own reasons. The builders time is money and you introduced a new factor ie a change/delay. The question is who pays for that?

The builder has clearly indicated his intention to complete the works by having the roof tiles delivered.

So your assertion that you met all the requirements of he contract may not be accurate.
Have you checked all the small print? The builder is probably not responsible for getting planning permission, he should be able to reasonably expect that you have taken all legal steps prior to engaging him to carry out building works.

You have now prevented him from completing the contract which it is clear he had the intention of doing. So the court will have to assess.....was it reasonable to stop the contract and not pay?

Unless you have very clear independent evidence that his work is substandard, you may well be on a loser. It was your responsibility to ensure your works conformed to all rules so any delay or change to the schedule/contract is not the builder's fault. Presumably you were on 8-9months notice that a new baby needed to be scheduled into the equation so again that isn't the builders fault. So you will have difficulty proving that the losses should be shouldered by the builder. The builder was ready and able to fulfil his side of the contract so unless his work is SO substandard that you are justified in preventing him fulfilling the contract, you will have to pay something. This is heading for court since he is highly likely to sue you.

If it was me, I would make a clearly justified payment supported by details of what I was paying for. I would pay for all works they did and list what I was paying for. I would give them 30 days notice to remove their roof tiles but would accept that I may have to pay for these too since he has paid for them to be delivered in good faith that he was going to complete the contract. If this total amount of payment is reasonable, he will then find it more risky to take the matter to court since if the court awards him less than I have paid, he will probably have to pay all costs.

You also need to be aware that he may have evidence that he had to undertake preparatory works and incidentals and you need to check how the contract dealt with such necessary additional works.

If you don't want to pay anything or are not willing to make a reasonable payment for works done, you need to consult a solicitor with all your evidence since this is going to court if you pay nothing.

Since you have not paid the final bill, the roof tiles still belong to the builder so unless you give him clear notice of any action relating to them, he could claim theft if you do anything with them.....which will add to the issues.

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