/ Home & Energy

Brief cases: £1,690 to repair a botched loft conversion

Building work

Which? Legal member Andrew Pennycook came to our lawyers for advice after a botched loft conversion left him facing repairs costing £1,690.

Which? Legal member Andrew Pennycook

Which? Legal member Andrew Pennycook

Andrew instructed Excell Services (GB Limited), trading as Loft Masters, in 2012 to convert his loft into a bedroom. But after heavy rain in November 2014, water damage appeared on the ceiling and water began leaking into the loft.

He told the company immediately, however, it wasn’t until more than a fortnight later that it inspected the roof and said there was cracking to the pointing of the ridge tiles.

The firm refused to accept it was responsible for the
repair, even though it retiled the roof during the conversion.

Andrew got another firm to carry out the repair. It found the roof felt had been incorrectly laid and required immediate repair, costing £1,520. Loft Masters offered a £200 goodwill gesture payment but still continued to deny responsibility.

He offered it the opportunity to repair and redecorate the ceiling but had to engage another trader at a cost of £170. He approached a trade association to resolve the issue but that failed and he came to Which? Legal for help in July 2015.

Recovering the costs for a botched job

Our lawyers advised Andrew through the process of notifying Loft Masters of his intention to issue court proceedings to recover the £1,690 costs of getting the work put right. Andrew issued proceedings and, when the firm didn’t issue a defence, he was awarded the full amount plus £105 costs.

Supply of Goods and Services

The Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 applies to contracts for services entered into before 1 October 2015. Similar provisions apply now under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 .

Traders must exercise reasonable care and skill in their work. If they don’t, they should be given a chance to rectify the works. If they fail to, you can get another trader to complete the job and get the original trader to foot the bill. This may involve having to issue court proceedings to recover the money, as a last resort.

Court action requires the consumer to incur upfront costs to lodge a claim and you should also consider the likelihood of recovering money from the trader. However, if you are successful, those costs are usually recoverable.

Have you had a similar problem with a home improvement? What did you do about it it?

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It’s good to know the legislation works as intended, although there appears to be no compensation for the nuisance, distress, disturbance, and perseverance that the claimant has to endure before obtaining relief.