Finding defects in a property you have purchased or building project can be heart breaking, but it can be put right.
Regulations contain standards that properties must meet and if your property, or other building work you paid for, is found to have suffered from defective construction either in its original build or in work done to it subsequently, you might be able to sue the constructor for breach of contract.
Contact First4Lawyers and we'll guide you through the process of establishing the best course of action, and our specialist solicitors have a long experience of handling building disputes regarding defective construction.
What is defective construction?
All construction projects should be subject to a contract that outlines the responsibilities of the builder. If you find that the work carried out by the builder is defective, you may be able to sue them for breaching this contract.
To establish whether or not the problems you have faced constitute defective construction, the contract between you and the builder will need to be closely examined. In some cases, poor workmanship or failure to complete certain details would not be considered a breach of contract but a failure to complete the work in a timely manner may be.
However, if the contract of work contained stipulations about particular details or the quality of the work being done, then a failure to meet those stipulations might be deemed a breach of contract and you may have a case for defective construction.
If the defective construction is discovered in a property you have purchased, the onus is on you – the buyer – to have had the property adequately surveyed before completing the purchase. Defects with the property should be uncovered by the survey. If they are not uncovered at the survey stage, you may be able to make a claim against the surveyor.
If, however, it can be proved that the seller deliberately tried to cover up the defects, then you may have a claim for defective construction.
What are the remedies for defective construction?
In some cases, defective construction disputes can be settled through direct negotiation between you and the builder, and you may be able to reach an agreement whereby the builder continues to work until the issue is resolved, or pays you a settlement fee.
If this doesn’t prove effective, you can speak to First4Lawyers for assistance in arranging alternative dispute resolution methods, such as round-table meetings with both parties present, as well as mediators, construction experts, or arbitrators. Again, this can lead to remedies for the defective construction being reached without the case having to go to court.
I have discovered construction defects – what should I do?
There are steps you can take that will strengthen your case should you find yourself taking your defective construction case to court.
Write to your builder, stating the details of any defects you have found in their work, and give them a reasonable chance to respond before taking further action. Keep copies of any letters you send. Also, keep detailed notes of anything that might be relevant to a future court case, such as the builder’s conduct towards you or any unreasonable behaviour.
It is vital that you keep all receipts, invoices, and guarantee documents, so that you can use these documents to support your case. It is also wise to take photographs of the defective work so that these can be reviewed by experts in a court case. If you can date the photographs, that may also be helpful.
Finally, as far as possible, avoid confrontations or arguments that might arise between you and the builder. Fractious behaviour from either party could make your case more difficult to negotiate, and may put you under more stress and strain than you are already experiencing.
Get in contact with First4Lawyers
We at First4Lawyers can provide access to a team of building and construction law experts who can provide you with tailored advice for your specific circumstances. They can relieve you of the burden of having to research this complex area of the law and dealing with everything yourself.
Contact us today and we will help you establish the best approach to take, and provide you with any legal representation that might be required if your case goes to court.