Exiting a JCT Contract



Hi Guys, hope someone can help.

I entered into a contract with some builders earlier this year. Since having them on board I have not been happy with the way they operate. There are a couple of main concerns

1/ The time delays - they have been on site for 1/3rd of the time they have been available (works out at circa 4 weeks on site out of the 12 since they started).

2/ The contract has a remaining 5 weeks to run however they are no way near finished - we are not even up to first floor level yet.

3/ The builders keep on trying to add overpriced extras onto the job which so far total nearly an extra 15% of the build cost (and we are no way near halfway through). These are unfortunately physically not possible for me, I dont have an endless supply of money and am sure if I carry on they will just keep increasing.

4/ Through someone I know who works for a local builders merchant the builder even boasted he was going to bump my project (not knowing I know the other person).

5/ I have become aware that the builder does jobs and doesnt pay his bills (ie sub contractors and suppliers). Not that this effects me personally but from a moral point doesn't sit too well knowing people on my site are likley to be taken for a ride.

So I am now at the point I would like out of the contract. I am concerned after speaking to another builder that there is not enough money for him to break even on the roof so am concerned that even if I get to this stage with him he will do a runner.

The contract we have agreed is a standard JCT building contract for a home owner / occupier. Although there are a number of areas he has breached in this I cant just cancel the contract, I need to give him notice to correct (which as stated I dont want to do as feel he will leave me high and dry (or wet) when it comes to the roof).

There is a clause in the contract which states if the customer becomes insolvent (unable to pay their debts) this contract will come to an end... I actually owe a fair amount to my parents (they lent me some money to buy the house) and we have a legal agreement that they can ask for it back whenever required. If they ask for the money back then I will be unable to pay for the builder to do any further work. Could this be a suitable and above board way out of the contract? ps. I am paid up to date with the builder so just looking at parting company.

I am just trying to find out what others would do in this instance. I have not had hardly anything done for the last 5 weeks, Im paying for 2 properties whilst the work is done and I have a baby on the way so need it done.

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If their work is ok you would be better off trying to get them back on track. Just tell them that progress has fallen behind and you want a clear program for completion. Make it clear that time is now of the essence due to the lost time so far and your circumstances. If they refuse or fail to keep to that program you'd be justified in bombing them out. Just make sure you don't overpay them in the meantime.
Keep it simple - no scheming on your part.

Take counsel at citizens advice or the "Which" legal dept. or a heads up with a solicitor.

Often, the first step is a carefully worded registered letter to the builders address.

Only discuss technical matters, record everything that is said. Keep a diary, perhaps you have one. If possible have witnesses present.

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