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Builder delays - who is at fault?

Discussion in 'Building' started by Dylan T, 3 Nov 2020.

  1. Dylan T

    Dylan T

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    Hi all -

    Hoping someone can help with a dispute I have going on. I have a builder and a small team of apprentices and labourers working on a kitchen extension project for my home. The project involved knocking out two external walls, and when the building inspector came to site to view everything up to wall plate (so by this time foundations & walls were done) he said we'd need a structural engineer to draw up plans for the steel supports for the wall removals. I was never told about this at the start and the builder is saying there was no way he could know that would be required, so while I had to find a structural engineer and sort out fabrication he has gone off on other jobs and now says he is unable to return the project till the new year, blaming me for the delays. The original agreement was that he would stay on site until project is done, and while i understand it wouldn't be ideal for him to sit around and do nothing, i cant help but feel he should have known we'd need an engineer and to get him in before the project started (he delayed the start of the project himself, so this would have been an ideal time).

    So my question is should he have known we needed a structural engineer or is it right for him to say those delays are outside of his control?

    Thanks
     
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  3. Diyisfun

    Diyisfun

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    Im not a builder.
    Your builder is the "expert", he should know & advised you.
    But the issue is getting the job done, I doubt if you will get another builder before the original one can restart.
     
  4. wessex101

    wessex101

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    It depends on the contract you have with the builder. It sounds like you are doing the work under a building notice so no approved plans to follow.

    If the builder was involved from day 1 and took on a "design and build" role then the delay is down to the builder.

    If you had plans drawn first and told the builder to just follow the plans then it is probably down to you. Although any builder should have known you would need structural engineers calculations for the steel beams so it does call in to question his overall competency.
     
  5. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    Either the plan drawer should have known/expected this, or if on a Notice, the builder should know that structural alterations may need structural supports designed by a competent person, and that sorted out before actually doing the work. Even if using plans drawn by others, its no excuse not to notice or realise.

    None of this " Oh I never knew that might happen" malarkey. Sounds like they are all apprentices. :rolleyes:
     
  6. frutbunn

    frutbunn

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    It should, but in reality this happens on a very regular basis and not just with new beam installations nearly half the apps I dealt with for domestics were on Building notices, more often than not with the paperwork handed over on site at excavation stage or on a half completed loft conversion. Not helped by private inspectors submitting initial notices late so you can no longer accept their notice and have to take over the job!!
     
  7. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    No doubt.

    But contractually, (even if there is no written contract, the OP and builder are still under contract) the builder is an expert employed by the OP and as such the OP can expect the builder to have specific expert knowledge of building and the building process - and what is and is not required. That does not mean that the builder needs to know how to work out beams and suchlike, but it means that the builder is expected to know when work will be beyond his capabilities and when other professionals are (or may be) required. And the builder is to advise his client accordingly, not act surprised when something like this crops up.

    That's the easy bit, the hard bit how to deal with it, get the work moving and recover the costs from the builder.
     
  8. DIYnot Local

    DIYnot Local

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