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Do I need calculations for Building to Control to 'pass off'?

Discussion in 'Building Regulations and Planning Permission' started by Buel, 7 Oct 2015.

  1. Buel

    Buel

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    Hi all.

    My friend ordered some roof trusses from a local company, they were delivered, without an invoice, and he paid the full amount upon eventually receiving the invoice. The roof trusses company got nasty that the invoice wasn't paid upon delivery and threatened my friend for approximately £250 extra to cover 'interest' and 'fees'. They eventually carried out their threat of court proceedings. Luckily my friend had kept all records of letters to them requesting an invoice so he could pay it and provided these as his defence. As expected, the roof trusses backed down and lost money in court fees.

    Two months or so later my friend asked for the calculations for the roof trusses. The company are refusing to release them until he pays a fee that coincidentally is the same cost as the original 'interest' and 'fees' that they asked for.

    My friend quoted the FAQs on their website, which states:
    Q. Do you provide drawings or calculations?
    A. Once an order has been delivered to site we can provide truss/floor beam calculations and layout drawings free of charge.
    Website here:
    http://www.acrooftrusses.co.uk/faq

    This was their letter:
    [​IMG]

    My friend has built the extension (he had planning permisiion) and just needs the Building Control to pass it off. He believes that he might need the calculations in order for this to happen, please can I ask if this is correct?
     
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  3. oldbutnotdead

    oldbutnotdead

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    First one- your friend may not need the calculations. On my garage build, BCO told me if I used manufactured trusses then no dramas, if I went for a cut roof he'd want calcs. Presumably your friend has the paper trail where he sent the company the requirement, they sent back a design and price etc etc- if he's got all that then the company's name may be sufficient evidence that the trusses comply.

    Second one (the legal argument)- in a business to business transaction they might well be able to enforce that strict interpretation of their terms. However in a business to individual transaction Trading Standards would in my opinion be all over them like a cheap suit. If they required payment before delivery they should have issued a pro forma invoice and not released the goods for delivery until the invoice was paid.

    Try BCO first (tell him you've finished the job & want completion cert)- if he wants calcs then chase the company.
     
  4. Buel

    Buel

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    Hi and thank you so much for that, that is interesting.
    Unfortunately I'm not too hopeful of a 'paper trail', as such, as the request was made face to face.
    I will help him send the letter to the BCO tonight, would you advise it is something along the lines of this:

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    I have now completed my extension on xxxx xxxxx. Unfortunately, I am experiencing extreme difficulty in obtaining the drawing calculations from the company that supplied the roof trusses that I used to build the extension.


    Please can you confirm whether these calculations are needed in order to get the completion certificate for the extension?


    I look forward to hearing from you on this. By letter or email on the email address above is fine.


    Best regards,

    xxxx xxxxxx


    Just in case it helps, I have found the timeline for the events as they happened, up to the point they pulled out of the County Court claim (I was way out with my timings on this, apologies):
    2014

    July 4: Ordered goods and paid 20% (£1218.56). I was promised work would commence immediately and take two days to complete.


    Early August: My nephew/builder had to chase AC Roof Trusses for a delivery date, this was given as August 22nd.

    August 22: No goods delivered.

    August 22: I, xxxx xxxx, went to see AC Roof Trusses and they told me that the goods would 'definitely be delivered by the end of next week', being August 29th.

    August 29: No goods delivered.


    September 2: Incomplete order (Timber Frame) delivered.

    September 8: A C claims goods were delivered.

    September 10: Completed goods/order actually arrived (Driver did not ask for payment nor provide balance invoice or any invoice at all).

    September 13: Sent letter to claimant requesting invoice (Recorded delivery).


    October 2: Sent second letter to claimant requesting invoice (Recorded delivery).

    October 2: Claimant issued claim.

    October 4: Received letter from claimant with two invoices, both with same date but one with amount outstanding and other with amount outstanding plus interest and court fees. Also received Court Claim.

    October 9: Cheque sent for amount outstanding minus interest and court fees (Recorded Delivery).

    October 10: Cheque cashed.

    October 15: Cheque cleared.
     
  5. mfarrow

    mfarrow

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    Why bother with a letter? If the BCO isn't asking for it don't give them an excuse to! Just get them in to inspect and sign off and don't say anything unless they ask!
     
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  6. oldbutnotdead

    oldbutnotdead

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    What mfarrow said- just give BCO a ring, tell him job's done and can he/she come and do final inspection. Most people talk themselves into trouble rather than talking themselves out of it :) One big thing in your nephews' favour- if this truss company has been trading for a while then BCO will be familiar with their work (being local) and will quite likely just have a quick look to check that adequate strutting is in place and move on.
     
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  7. Nakajo

    Nakajo

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    No lawyer but frankly, I think the roof company's claim is tantamount to extortion. I think you submit a counter claim for the loss and expense caused by their delay (although in reality I think you should just drop the whole thing)
     
  8. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    There is a lot more going on here than just a request for calculations, and I think that the OP has just one side of an existing dispute.

    Anyway, every single truss order that I have ever seen, has the truss calcs stapled to to the side of them.
     
  9. Buel

    Buel

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    Thank you all, you've been so helpful. I appreciate it so very much. My friend will contact the BCO shortly. Excellent advice!!

    Woody - I can just about see where you are coming from but I can promise you there is NOTHING more to it. In fact, what else could there be? Let me remind you that this company huffed and puffed and threatened and, ultimately, when provided with the timeline I have pasted, above, pulled out of their claim at the last minute. Do you not think that if ANY of the timeline was incorrect, that they wouldn't have disputed it? They did not.

    Regarding 'Anyway, every single truss order that I have ever seen, has the truss calcs stapled to to the side of them', if you will have seen their Q+As that I posted the link for, it says that they 'can' provide the calculations. Also, their letter says nothing about having already provided them, stapled to the side, or not. I hope this clears this little issue up.
     
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  11. Buel

    Buel

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    Hi all.
    Being as my friend experienced some bad news in November, he hasn't been available to discuss or do anything about this situation until now.
    His friend's nephew had (annoyingly) rang the BCO and explained the situation and the BCO verified that he wouldn't be able to sign off the building without the calculations.

    Please can I ask what I can do now? Shall I write/email the BCO to get this in writing so he can then go the court route and notify Trading Standards?
    I guess I'm also asking:
    1. Can Trading Standards 'make' the company release the calculations being as they are clearly being vindictive?
    2. Can any court action 'make' the company release the calculations?

    Thank you for the help.
     
  12. oldbutnotdead

    oldbutnotdead

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    Well your friends' nephew owes your friend whatever the truss company are wanting for their blackmail money UNLESS your friend told him to get involved with Building Control. Nephew has obviously alerted BCO to the problem so now your friend will HAVE to provide calculations from the supplier. And nephew better not try and use time limits as an excuse- as far as BC are concerned the job takes as long as it takes- 2 months, 2 years, whatever, they're not bothered.

    Trading standards- if this is deemed to be a retail transaction then the supplier must ensure that the goods supplied are of merchantable quality and fit for purpose. How do they demonstrate fitness for purpose? Well there's their ISO certification and then there's the truss calculations. As long as the trusses were paid for by an individual rather than a company then I reckon a decent solicitor could make the Sale of Goods Act (or whatever its successor is called) apply. Even in a commercial transaction I think that a decent solicitor could argue that the calculations are an integral part of the trusses rather than an optional extra and that part of the contract as set out is misleading and unfair.

    Problem is that going the legal route will probably cost you the same as or more than the ransom demand- don't think you can go the Small Claims route but again an hour with a solicitor or CAB will be a wise investment.
     
  13. Buel

    Buel

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    That is just an excellent and helpful reply - Thank you so much!
    Just a few points:
    UNLESS your friend told him to get involved with Building Control - No, let's call it a 'breakdown of communication' (but if it helps, apparently the BCO is an absolute stickler for the rules)
    As long as the trusses were paid for by an individual rather than a company - Yes. Definitely an individual - My friend. The letters he sent requesting an invoice were all signed by him.
    don't think you can go the Small Claims route - Do you mean that the Small Claims is just for financial affairs?

    Thank you again, this is really appreciated and my friend is a good, honest man who deserves any help I can give him.
     
  14. oldbutnotdead

    oldbutnotdead

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    Well if your mate can get half the eventual cost out of the nephew it might teach the nephew the wisdom of not volunteering information to The Authorities (as I said earlier, most people talk themselves into trouble rather than out of it).

    Individual= Trading Standards can get involved (business to business transactions are viewed differently, if you're in business then you are expected to have expertise in your trading area. Same logic that gets LGV licence holders crucified for traffic offences that a car driver gets a slapped wrist for)

    As far as I know, Small Claims only deal with 'they owe me this much money'. You or nephew need a chat with CAB or solicitor- they will KNOW the law (and more importantly they will KNOW what is worth chasing and what is not worth raising your blood pressure about). A clued- up solicitor might be able to help you spin a case along the lines of 'truss company owes me £300 refund since they now want extra cash to supply an integral part of the original order'- that will be a win and think max fees in Small Claims court are £50 BUT your mate will have to represent himself AFAIK and he'll need to be very non-emotional about the whole thing

    My personal opinion- in the scheme of things the £300 is not worth getting too exercised about. Yes that £300 could supply a nicotine addict with 6 weeks worth of fags- but your mate will be spending probably 30 times that sum on the build. If he can't get redress via Small Claims then I'd suggest that he pays the ransom (halves with the nephew) and puts it down to experience along with READING THE CONTRACT TERMS BEFORE SIGNING THEM in future.
     
  15. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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    This.
     
  16. Buel

    Buel

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    Damn it!!! I've just been speaking to my friend and I've messed up. I've had a hell of a lot going on these last six months and I haven't been as 'on it' as I should have - The nephew did NOT tell the BCO about the lack of calculations, he asked him to come and pass off the building and the BCO apparently asked him if he/his Uncle(my friend) had all the calculations, at which point he told the truth and the BCO said he would not be able to pass it off.

    My friend has contacted the local Trading Standards so I will update you all when they make contact.

    Regarding the £300 and not getting too 'excercised' about it - this includes fees that the company paid to issue a small claims court claim which they then pulled out of. And you can see why they pulled out - because it's clear that my friend did nothing wrong and even requested an invoice from them! I really am looking at this impartially.
    You can understand why my friend is reluctant to pay this?
     
  17. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    You may be able to use data from here to estimate the load bearing ability of the trusses

    http://www.trada.co.uk/publications/spantables.html

    I would also contact the trade organisations whose logos are on that letter, first ask if the company is registered with them without giving any indication that there is a dispute with teh company. Then if they are registered tell the company you will "seek advice" from the trade organisations. That might make them back down.
     
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