Builder’s Negligence Claims

When employing a building contractor it is common to rely upon their advice, expertise and to expect them to be professional, use the appropriate materials and carry out only the necessary works in accordance with local planning law and Building Regulations. Sadly, it is a stark reality that this is not always the case and there are occasions where builders do not complete the work to the standard required.

Contractors are required to carry out their work with the same level of skill and care as any other professional. Often the work being carried out is regulated and must meet a national standard e.g. gas safety or electrical safety. Failure to meet the required professional standard can cause those instructing the contractor to suffer direct financial loss. In those circumstances whereby works have not been carried out appropriately and you have suffered a loss due to the builders negligence, you may have a professional negligence claim.

We commonly find our clients’ complaints are comprised of one or more of the following failures of their contractors:

  • to complete the work with reasonable care and skill
  • to use the appropriate materials for the task or used them in the wrong way
  • to follow the plans laid out by the architect or engineer correctly
  • to adhere to Building Regulations
  • to finish the project within a reasonable amount of time
  • to carry out the project at a reasonable cost or within the budget specified

Whether you have completed home or business renovations, repairs or built a new home or office, if you have had work carried out by a building contractor and they have failed to provide or complete the work to a professional standard, which has caused damage and financial loss to you or your property, you may have a claim for suing a builder for negligence.

Building contractors have a duty of care to their client. If your builder has made a mistake, used the incorrect material, caused significant delays to the completion of your project or carried out work that does not meet the required building regulations, you may have a professional negligence claim.

Building contractors who are negligent in carrying out their work can not only leave customers out-of-pocket – but construction defects such as electrical defects and plumbing and boiler defects can also put lives at risk.

Commercial and residential building contractors may be investigated by the local authority, the Police and the Health and Safety Executive if negligent building work results in preventable accidents, injury, or a threat to life as a result of negligent building work.

Claims for builder’s negligence may also involve a personal injury claim, as well as a claim for financial loss resulting from:

  • Construction defects (e.g. removing load bearing walls, not fitting a damp course, failing to repair existing building defects or resolve damp or water ingress); 
  • Damp-proofing or insulation negligence leading to damp and mould; 
  • Defective building foundations (eg failure to underpin foundations adequately); 
  • Electrical defects (eg dangerous wiring, exposed wiring); 
  • Faulty loft conversions or extensions (eg poor construction, dangerous structure, work left unfinished); 
  • Fireplace and chimney defects (eg blocked chimney, unsafe chimney); 
  • Plumbing and boiler defects (eg faulty flue, carbon monoxide poisoning); and 
  • Roofing negligence (eg failing to resolve water ingress, failing to replace rotting roof felt or broken slates, failing to insulate flat roof adequately).

Claims for builder’s negligence may also involve financial loss as a result of unreasonable or avoidable delays in construction.

We can advise those who have suffered financial or other loss as a result of builder’s negligence on how to make a claim for compensation.

Making a Claim for Builder’s Professional Negligence

 

Clients who suffer financial loss or other loss as a result of negligent building or construction advice or services should first make a complaint through the firm’s own complaints handling procedure (CHP).

If a builder belongs to a professional trade organisation such as the Federation of Master Builders, it might be possible to make a complaint via the organisation, but a trade body may not have the authority to award compensation.

Clients considering suing a builder for professional negligence have six years from the date of the event constituting negligence – or three years from the date they first realised negligence had occurred – in which to make a claim.

Claims against negligent builders can be brought under the Defective Premises Act 1972.

The court requires a protocol to be followed in claims involving builders and construction firms, with early disclosure of full information in the hope a settlement can be reached out-of-court.

If a claim against a negligent builder does go to court, the hearing will most likely take place in a specialist Technology and Construction Court.

Because of the complexity of suing builders – and proving that they failed in their duty of care towards a client or acted negligently in carrying out their duties – we advise clients whose builder has acted negligently to get in touch as soon as possible for assessment of the case.

If a builder has acted negligently leading to financial loss, or other loss such as injury, call us on 0191.4862799 or email jbrown@nechambers.co.uk

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