/ Home & Energy

Builder disputes – how to repair the damage

Angry builder

A decent builder or decorator is like gold dust – as the millions of people who’ve had disputes with traders will well know. So why do so few people know their rights and end up getting stung by a bad service?

Our latest research shows that at least 2.5 million people have had a dispute with a builder or decorator in the last three years.

And a quarter were forced to take formal action – so it’s hardly surprising that this is an area we get lots of calls about on Which? Legal Service.

How not to employ a trader

When there’s so much information available these days, it takes me by surprise when I talk to people who don’t understand their rights. Many employ trades people they’ve never used before, pay up front and have no written contract.

Why do they do this? Usually because they simply don’t realise that they can ask for these things and can agree terms, payment schedules and even retain some money until after the works are completed.

Although it’s a different type of service, recently I had a heavy argument with a large telecoms provider about who was responsible for my satellite dish and receiver, so I totally understand why most consumers believe what they’re being told. In my case, forcing the issue and dealing with a manager led to a free repair.

You should never feel bullied into paying for work that you’re not happy with. It amazes me how many times, when things go wrong, people have been misled as to who is responsible.

What to do when quality suffers

When you instruct a trader, generally the contract is governed by the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 that says work should be carried out with reasonable care and skill, using materials of a satisfactory quality, and completing the work within a reasonable period of time.

And yet our survey found that the most common disagreement people have with builders and decorators is over the quality of their work, with other major gripes including traders not turning up when agreed, delays over completion, and properties being left untidy.

In many of these cases they could be in breach of contract and you may be able to get a third party to complete the works. But if you have to take court action, ensure you know who you are suing (i.e. sole trader, limited company) and be aware that there could be problems enforcing a court judgement.

Many of the problems that people experience could be avoided if they took a few simple steps – although nothing can guarantee total protection. Do you have any failsafe methods to make sure you find a decent trader – or are you one of the many who has had a bad experience?

Have you ever tried to solve a builder dispute?

No (50%, 59 Votes)

Yes and it wasn't resolved (40%, 47 Votes)

Yes and it was resolved (9%, 11 Votes)

Total Voters: 117

Loading ... Loading ...
Terry B says:
3 November 2014

Further advice to the above is greatly appreciated – feeling ripped off!

Brian Hudson says:
4 November 2014

Terry B

Yes my advice to everyone, (I have trusted workmen too, (& been caught out) Never allow anyone to work on your property without your supervision. Schedule of work is a must, (which you appear to have done) Be professional with your workmen, don’t get to friendly and draw attention to any work which is not to your satisfaction. This nips many problems in the bud. Don’t be afraid to say anything at the time work is taking place.

Should you get judgement in your favour at small claims court – still does not ensure that you will receive your compensation.


Terry B says:
4 November 2014

Thanks Brian – appreciate your comments.

We trusted a friends recommendation and had seen his work on a number of occasions and now believe that he let 2 unskilled workers in our home whilst he completed other work. Today I have a reputable decorator in that has confirmed the works could never have been rectified by the decorator in one day hence my concern. I am working from home so I can be on hand but ultimately the reason for the initial job being given to what we thought was a trusted decorator was because we were away on holiday and our little dog was not around at the time. The new decorator has slated the works; doors not primed/filled properly and merely painted over. Now the poor guy is having to work hard to rectify such a bad job. In hindsight, I feel I was too trusting and out of principle I will take the matter through the small claims court. I have registered with the MCOL website and believe once submitted the courts will issue a letter within 1-2 days where he has up to 14 days to respond. I understand that I may still not receive any monies even if the judgement is made in my favour but the decorator needs to understand he cannot rip people off and get away with it. I’ve contemplated naming and shaming on social media but that’s not really my style so we will see how this pans out. I may even report him for tax evasion 🙂 as it is obvious given he works Mon-Fri in the building trade that he pockets all his private job monies. Thank you for taking the time to respond in the meantime.

Kind regards.


gordon mcculloch says:
22 January 2015

I employed a roofer from trustatrader, who came with two labourers in the white van. The work estimated by builder/landscaper was £290 for replacing approx. 10 tiles & pointing two hip/ridge tiles inspected from the pavement. The roofer inspected the rear roof (east facing) from approx. 100 yds away and decided that the small chimney needed recapping/pointing. For this work he would charge £300.0 + £290.00 for the work on the west facing roof. £10 .00 was added for cutting two slabs (an aside) which I agreed to pay, a total of £600.0 was agreed. Shortly after arrival they left to fetch 4 packs of roof tiles from Bobbersmill reclaims 12tiles/pack. I was asked to pay £300.0 in cash up front, the remainder to be paid by cheque. All three sat in the van awaiting to receive the payment which I handed over. On close inspection with my camera/software I discovered they actually replaced a total of 15 tiles, 11 front facing roof/ 2 east facing. The workmanship on the small chimney was shody at best, the pointing non-exsistent. I supplied the digital images to the builder/landscaper via email and his comment was “lost for words”. The roofer returned to the property a week later and I got a written statement from him offering to pay back £300.0. for the very poor workmanship carried out, was given wrong address, I also have the statement as evidence on my computer. That date passed yesterday the 21st Jan. Guess what cannot contact any of them, not answering mob/Emails, and only got a business card and a mobile number from the roofer.

[This comment has been edited to align with our commenting guidelines. Thanks, mods]

Andy says:
15 March 2015

I need some advice please…

My builder admitted to capping off the stopcock in my new flat and no uncapping it when continuing on with the work. Come finishing the work, the water pressure was extremely low. Reason being, capped stopcock. Now, this stopcock is not clearly visible and it situated behind the kitchen units. I know exactly where it is as I took photos throughout the building process.

Luckily for me, I have photos and the builder, to quote from an email when I mentioned it to him, “Ok, mains is my fault. I do apologies for that. I completely forget that anything was there.”

Can people advice on how to tackle this problem in terms of the builder in question?

Also, during the building process, the boiler stopped working. We just thought it had broken, turns out there was no water supply being directed to the boiler to heat up, as the mains had been capped.

This subsequently made us get a new boiler and new piping in the flat, again, a lot of money.

Any help or advice would be much appreciated.


Hi Andy, thanks for your post – I’m sorry to hear about the problems you’ve had in your new flat. We’ve lots of advice here that I’m certain you’ll find useful:


As John mentioned, it’s great if you’ve kept copies of any written documentation.


Pursuing the builder legally might be a waste of time and money. If you know exactly where the water mains stopcock is, try to see if you can [gently] drill a small hole in the back panel of the kitchen unit which you can then enlarge around the stopcock once you can feel its precise position. The builder should have offered to do this for you but you might be better off on your own if you can do it.

As for the boiler and additional pipework, a competent boiler installer should have been able to diagnose the fault [lack of water inflow] immediately before dismantling the existing boiler. Given that you now have a brand new boiler, and nobody can put you back in the position you were in before taking out the old one, I think the best you could hope for would be a compensation payment for incompetence from the firm that installed the new boiler, although the chances are they will resist it all the way. It might be worth taking legal advice on that – I hope you have kept any contractual documentation like a specification of works, an estimate or quotation, and receipts for payment. Best of luck.

Chris Hurst says:
1 May 2015

Recently I had my whole bathroom redone through a local plumber. He subbed the plasterboarding/skimming and tiling out to his mates.

Long story short the plasterer didn’t use dust sheets to protect the engineered wood flooring in an adjacent room which was directly exposed to his work in the bathroom. As a result wet and dry plaster has expanded into the wood grain across most of the floor (my temporary bed saved some of it by taking a big hit of plaster dust) and after 8 washes still is not coming out (the wood is sealed so not burnt it, just stuck in there).

The plumber is blaming me for not fitting the floor last, blaming my fitter for not making sure the wood was sealed when he fitted it (it already has 5 coats of lacquer so didnt need anything) and blaming the actual floor itself for not having enough lacquer on it to cope with plaster?!!

He has done the usual threats of ‘the plasterer can come and take his £200 worth of materials back’ and ‘will seek legal advice’

So to begin with I have paid the plumber £2k out of £2340 suggesting he provides me with the plasterers name and then I will tfr £200 for his ‘materials’ and be done with it.

He is refusing to supply the plasterers name and maintains that its my/the fitter/the floors fault that plaster got into it….

I’ve told him i’m happy to go to court to claim costs of sorting my floor out (which as it stands is either sanding and refinishing or many hours of my time washing/drying/washing/drying/picking/etc etc) or just give me the plasterers name and I will tfr £200 to have done with it.

Still blaming as before and refusing to supply plasterers name. Any suggestions? stand my ground or cave in for the sake of it.

Steve Whittaker says:
17 August 2015

I recently had block paving laid around my property, including driveway, this was done in October 2014. However a couple of weeks later I had noticed that the block paving had dropped. I contacted the builder who said he would come and rectify the problem. However he has not been able to rectify the fault, due to being very busy?
I had a different builder come and take a look and he removed a block to find that insufficient ground work underneath had not been done correctly and there was not enough materials to prevent the driveway from dropping. I contacted the original builder who has now informed me that he will not come to rectify this fault. Do I have any legal right for this to be done?


There needs to be a new organisation for builders, window fitters, electricians, roofers, plumbers, etc. for the protection of homeowners or anyone needing work done around their home.

To belong to this new organisation, members (builders, etc) would need to deposit a substantial sum that adequately covered the cost of their type of work.

The organisation would have surveyors to examine and mediate any work in dispute but if builders etc. knew their deposit was as stake, would likely be more forthcoming in rectifying problems. This money could cover another builder etc. rectifying the work if relations break down.

Dodgy workmen would not want to be members as they would soon lose their deposits.

The public could then employ builders etc. from this organisation knowing there was security in place for when things go wrong.

We dread employing anyone these days. We always search for recommendations but still manage to get cowboys and just cannot trust any of the review sites. If we ask around, everyone else seems to be in the same boat.

It is time homeowners were able to have confidence in the trades people they employ.


Hello – I’ve just come across this thread and a) hope it’s still live and b)that someone can point me in the right direction! We had/have damp at the top of our two chimney breasts – this affects one bedroom and high ceiling hall from one breast, one bedroom and lower ceiling hall from the other. This damp manifested itself as dark brown ugly marks on the worst affected chimney and deep water stains on the other. We had several builders come in to quote but none of them could really pinpoint the problem. Then we received a recommendation for a building company and the builder arrived and knew exactly what the problem was – the chimneys needed rebuilding. We were quoted £6000 which we accepted and the work was done in approx four days by a large team and we paid the bill. This was 18 months ago. Neither chimney breasts have ever dried out and new damp continually appears. We have spent the last 15 months continually monitoring the damp and trying to get this resolved. The builders come round,one about but can never find the problem and the original one who diagnosed the problem is always very belligerent – almost to the point of blaming us! After the very wet August with new stains appearing every week, we spent September emailing and calling and finally last Thursday the owner came round along with his belligerent employee. He told us they wouldn’t be leaving until they had found the problem and he even apologised on behalf of his builder’s attitude. This time they bought hoses and ran water through the roof and have told us that approx 150 tiles round both chimneys need replacing which they are coming back to do next week (fingers crossed). My question is, given that the rebuilding of the chimneys appears to have been unnecessary and if it becomes obvious that the broken tiles were the problem all along, (I.e damp in both chimneys starts to dry out and no new reappears) should we seek compensation for that £6000 paid out or should we just be happy the job is finally done? Would be grateful for comments. Many thanks.


I don’t have the solution to your problem but I am posting this comment in order to get your query into the mainstream ‘Recent Activity’ list on this site in the hope that somebody more knowledgeable can advise you.

On the face of it it would seem that the remedy was ineffective and has left you with a bigger and more expensive problem than you started with. It might be necessary for you to get an expert opinion from a professional surveyor and then take action against the builder who said that rebuilding your chimneys would cure the damp problem. I would also question whether the tiles need replacing, or just refixing [with any damaged ones replaced] and any ridge tiles, cappings, or lead flashing renewed. Negotiating to get this done, subject to professional advice, might be more advantageous than launching a legal action.


We have had a builder from recommendations of a number of neighbours. The work has been completed eventually. although what was going to take 4 days took two weeks and lots of me pushing things and pointing out things. We both work and the company owner was given a key. He promised it would remain in his posession. We discovered through the plasterer they bought in that it had been left beside a pallett in the front garden for 5 days and that all the workmen knew where it was. The front garden is not secure in any way and the key was in view of the street for some of that time. They have admitted this. To say we are angry is an understatement. What can we do?


I have fully renovated and 1851 cottage from top to bottom, inside and out. The builders standards are fantastic but the job has over run and he has now started another job and left us with the last few bits unfinished. There should only be 10 days work or less to complete but he has not been back for 6 weeks now. I am thinking of keeping the last of his money and getting a third party to complete, there is a small builders merchant bill which I am refusing to pay for some tiles, am I right or wrong ?

Marie says:
27 January 2016

I have just had a roof re tiled by a firm that I found on one of the big companies that recommend tradesmen, and who check out all their credentials. This was a firm who stated that they had been in the building business for forty years. They were nine weeks late in completing the work, from the date given. During the work the price rose by £8300 from the original estimate, and I was told that part ofa chimney needed rebuilding. I was concerned about the quality of the work, and when I had it professionally checked I found out that they had broken most of the building regulations. It now needs to be redone as they have left the roof in an unsafe state. Fortunately I had not paid them, but they are now threatening to take the roofing down. Through my solicitor they have been given the chance to rectify their work, but refuse to accept the mistakes they have made. They have had their name removed from the trading site. I checked out their address, where their business was listed by them as horse traders. The recommending site had no idea about this, but I have lost a great deal of money over this. So it seems the best way of finding quality firms, is from recommendations by people you trust. Do not rely on firms that recommend tradesme because my experience shows that they clearly do not check them out adequately.

Caroline Amesbury says:
26 August 2016

Please can anyone help..I had a recommended builder and his men in to do a lot of work on my house, kitchen diner knocked through and new kitchen, back door removed &window put in its place, kitchen window removed and door put in to new utility on back of garage, plus dining window removed and French doors put in to new conservatory with toilet room . It’s cost me thousands and now prob,elms are coming to light. It started with conscious roof leaking and I couldn’t get him back to fix it, so I got another company to come and they said the roof is too small for base, I can now see that, they also pointed out a lot of other faults and said they wouldn’t be prepared to repair it as needs to be rebuilt as it doesn’t comply with planning or regulations. My original builder told me I didn’t need any planning or regulations and he came out and has “repaired” roof by putting plastic strips on and silicone. When I pointed out other faults, he was very sorry and has said he will take it down to dpc and rebuild it. I’m worried about no planning or regs, I don’t know what to do. If I get angry at him. He may not come back, he is a local man one man band, doesn’t have a lot of assets I wouldn’t think. Should I get council to inspect it? And he rebuild it to their regulations? Would that be ok? I’m scared and frightened and worried. I’m an old lady on my own and don’t know what to do. I can’t eat or sleep for worry and have no family to help me. I hope someone can help please thankyou


This is another sorry tale, Caroline. You should certainly get your local authority building control service to inspect the work you have had done because if walls have been taken down and the position of windows and doors changed that involves structural alterations which do have to comply with the building regulations and would normally require formal approval. The state of the conservatory is also worrying because if the roof is not designed and fixed correctly the integrity of the structure could be affected. If the roof does not project sufficiently over the footprint of the supporting frame then water penetration will be a never-ending problem [no amount of silicone will solve it permanently]. Also because conservatories experience considerable thermal expansion and contraction they are always ‘on the move’; you can imagine that if the roof is not the right size for the base such movement could set up a long-term imbalance weakening the structure and leading to damage and failure with a risk to people in and around it. This might be a worst-case scenario but the building inspector would be able to check and decide what remedial action is necessary and give you appropriate advice. If your original builder’s offer to take down the conservatory to damp-proof course level and rebuild it is genuine and at no cost to yourself then get that in writing, but don’t let him start work until the building control inspector has seen it and checked that the DPC is also sufficient and correct. The replacement structure must comply with the building regulations. I hope your first builder made the drainage connections correctly for the new toilet; the building control inspector will also need to be satisfied about that.

Not all conservatories will need planning permission as they can come within the limits of ‘permitted development’ which is a proportion of the original volume of the property, nevertheless I strongly recommend you to check with your local planning authority; planning consent, if necessary, can be applied for retrospectively if the extension is in all cases compliant with planning requirements; the planning officer can advise you on that. If your property is not a listed building or within a conservation area it will be more straightforward.

If you can get your original builder to put everything right that might be in your best interests as otherwise you would have to pay another firm to do it and then struggle to get the money back from the first builder. You could end up having to pay building control and planning fees which you would have had to pay anyway, but in the light of your first builder’s assertion that approvals were not necessary you might well have spent the money on other things. Only you can judge whether it would be worth pursuing the first builder for any compensation on that account; in my opinion you should concentrate on getting the first builder to comply as necessary with building regulations concerning the interior alterations, and to reconstruct your conservatory in compliance with building regulations and planning requirements as necessary. I hope your local building control and planning officers are helpful as they can give you a lot of good advice on how to proceed in cases like this; they might even have some ‘history’ on the firm that did the work.

If your first builder will not cooperate then I suggest you take legal advice before employing a different firm to rebuild the conservatory, but any rectifications required by the building inspector will have to be completed within a given timescale. If you wish to sell your house at some time you will have to produce a buildings regulation certificate for all the alterations as well as a planning consent if that is necessary.

Suzy says:
9 October 2016

I have a very large whole house renovation going on and it has become very clear that the builders have made a number of mistakes and have indeed held their hands up for not having the experience in some areas.
However, they haven’t been completely honest about a number of things along the project and I now know they have been dishonest with other customers they have dealt with and this worries me. We are at the point of final payment and friends in the trade have picked up many things that haven’t been done properly which my husband and I would have missed. Do you know of a company I could employ to come and do a final check on the house before final payment please. This would give me peace of mind before they disappear. I am based in Gloucestershire.

keith says:
23 December 2016

Here is a story from the other side.
We built a room for a customer whom we have been chasing 7 months for the final payment on the contract. She has now stated she is annoyed the window pains have blown on 3 bits of glass and is insisting on keeping almost 2000 to cover the cost of replacement. we have offered to replace the glass under our insurance backed guarantee scheme as the manufacturers will replace the glass free to us its only a few hours work to replace them but the customer is refusing us access. so business feel pain too. We are a small business striving to make the profession better by offering insurance backed guarantees but feel it is only a small step in the right direction from a mixture of bad workers and bad clients.

Karen says:
28 December 2016

I had a house built…all brick. It is a 2-story house and the dining room window downstairs was supposed to line up with a bedroom window upstairs…it does not…it is off about 5 inches. This has caused great upset in that it is the only window in the dining room with a coffered ceiling and doesn’t line up in the center of the coffered ceiling but about 5 inches to the left. I do have a warranty from the builder…do I have rights to make the builder move the window to the right “house plan” position?


I have the complete answer Karen- quote-you have the right to the architect+engineers designs to be COMPLETELY+ACCURATELY followed see the following : http://hadd.com/bill-of-rights


HADD is a US site so is not relevant unless Karen lives in the States. However, Karen’s architect/construction manager should have spotted this before it got too far; it sounds as though the building shell is completed so the lintel may need moving and brickwork modified. Assuming no one has signed off the construction stage then I presume it is down to the builder to correct the problem, Final stage payments should not be made until the work is satisfactorily corrected. It would be interesting to know how far the building was advanced before the mistake was spotted, and why it was not seen earlier.


Missed that malcolm but shows the different approaches between the two countries. Still if a house was built there must be a contract and front/rear elevation plans (detailed ) which can be looked at and must have been approved .


The new house will have to conform to the plans submitted for planning permission and building regulations approval. The person or firm in charge of construction will have to put it right.


Hi Karen, it would be worth taking a look at our guide on how to complain about building work http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/how-to-complain-if-youre-unhappy-with-building-work

If you’re a Which? member then you may wish to consider speaking to the legal team https://legalservice.which.co.uk/


I presume the displacement of the ground floor window was not evident until the opening for the bedroom window above it was constructed. It is indeed odd that no one on site noticed . . . or perhaps they did and kept quiet about it. It should have become even more obvious when the coffered ceiling in the dining room was put in place – that would have been after the first floor and roof were constructed.


There is no practical difference in approach – in the UK any building has to be built exactly in accordance with the approved plans as submitted by the architect or project manager on behalf of the client, or by the owner if directly responsible for the work. Where there is an architect or project manager responsible for the work it is their responsibility to provide the builder with the correct drawings and specifications and to ensure that they are being followed. In the USA there might not be the same planning and building control requirements so the liability pertains under the contract between the owner and the builder. The same contractual responsibility exists in the UK to carry out the client’s project exactly in accordance with the drawings and specifications supplied. It would be interesting to know whether it was the builder or the architect/project manager who got it wrong in Karen’s case.

G Barber says:
27 March 2017

Could someone advise please..
We have just had our low pitched tiled roof flat roofed , properly insulated , 4 extra beams for reinforcement and the tiles put back on top. As far as I can see the job is very good BUT there has been some damage to the ceiling of our kitchen ceiling. A small area of about 40x 40cm 3 sided crack. I rang to see if they would come and repair and for answer had a blunt no. According to the guy it plainly states in the quotation that any internal damage is not rectified or paid for. That is not how I read it.
This is what it says: ‘Please note that although every care is taken when working on the roof area, there is a small chance of internal damage to the ceiling and areas below. Although the damage is unlikely and where it occurs should be minimal, we would advise removing items of significant value from the immediate areas below the roof before work commences.’
I have not yet been invoiced for the job. It comes to just under £5000. My spouse is saying if they do not sort this its not getting paid. I am worried sick.


G.Barber , the quotation , if accepted becomes a legally binding contract unless another contract is offered superseding that one. IF — you have quoted the contract,s words in their entirety as posted here then they are liable for any internal damage , as all they are doing is denying liability on any goods in your house being damaged from your plasterboard collapsing NOT on the actual board itself . As this is upsetting you then it is a personal matter between you and your partner as to whether you want to proceed with non-payment , but I would advise , if the job has been done to your satisfaction to pay it and hold back the cost of the plasterboard repair which shouldn’t amount to a few £100 as I have renewed ceiling plasterboard myself , its just awkward to do and you will need a plasterer to finish it. Is you mental health worth less than a couple of £100 ?

Angela says:
13 May 2017

I contracted a builder to renovate my bathroom and while installing a concealed thermostat for the the shower he knocked a large gaping hole in the wall that leads to my spare bedroom. He is reluctant to accept liability for the damage and is claiming that I should have been aware that the the wall was not deep enough to accommodate the thermostat. He does not want to bear the cost to repair the damage to the wall because he felt that it is my problem because I wanted the thermostat installed in on that wall. He did not suggest an alternative position before commencing the installation . When I asked him what the cost is to repair the damage he quoted me a cost of £350 to repair. I don’t think that I should be responsible for any cost to repair the damage because he should have carried out a test first. We had a discussion about the situation and he agreed that I provide the material and he will do the repair at no extra cost and that he would return in a month’s time to carry out the repair. Should I withhold final payment (the job is schedule for completion in a week’s time and I have made part payments the balance to be paid on completion) should I withhold the final payment or deduct the £350 for the repairs and pay him when the work is rectified. Where do I stand with this situation? Any honest builders out there or legal person who can help?


Angela pay for the work done (if it is to your satisfaction ) but withhold the £350 if that is the cost of the repair to the damage he has done , he has not acted in a professional manner , by accepting the job he must know wall thicknesses and the structural layout of your home its no excuse to blame you for his lack of professionalism . Just think , if he had been replacing slates on your roof and put his foot through the roof who would be liable ?? – HE WOULD, legally his amateurish legal position wouldn’t last 5 minutes in a court . He should be insured against damage caused by himself , if he isn’t you could report him . Does he belong to the appropriate building organisation ? I have drilled through many walls and I made a point of finding out the wall thickness its not rocket science. You are not a builder and you as an amateur rely on his professionalism –or LACK of it. I dont see how you could lose .


Duncan is right, Angela.

Recessed shower valves are quite chunky and heavy and need a considerable depth, usually of solid wall. A competent builder should have taken this all into consideration. It seems as if your contractor has not used reasonable skill and diligence. He should have advised you against installation in that position and recommended alternatives [on a different wall or by installing an inner wall with a void to provide sufficient depth and strength, either of which might have increased the cost, of course]. My view is that your builder should put this right entirely at his own expense and in a reasonable timescale. I expect it would cost him less than he has quoted to you.

Sandra says:
21 November 2017

I have had a large double extension built and engaged s project manager to run the job but because there were extras money running out I asked if I could bring in some of my own tradesman to save money. This was a disaster as he would not deal with my tradesman and referred to them as my tradesman it became a battle of his and mine tradesman needless to say the job became fragmented and ran over by two months. Whilst building my extension he did not provide protection for my drive and several skips and tradesman later and last scheduled payment. I enquired as to “ what about my drive”. It’s destroyed. The builder is not taking responsibility. I still owe the last payment and I am at that process whereby I want to hold money back to re tidy drive. Am at liberty to do this or can builders get away with not protecting your property?


Hi Sandra I’m sorry to hear you’ve had a bad experience with your builder. Please take a look at our advice on what to do if your building work has not been completed to a quality standard – https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/my-building-work-hasnt-been-completed-to-a-quality-standard I hope this helps.


Sandra, you should not have a battle if you directly employ a project manager; they are working for you, and should follow your instructions. If, however, you impose your own decisions on him (her?) against their advice, or if it is not in accordance with their contract, then I suggest you take the responsibility. It is not clear from your comment just what the relationship was.

If you saw something untoward happening – damage to your drive for example – did you write to your project manager to make your concerns known? If the project manager was employed by you and was negligent then he should be covered by professional insurance and you could try making a claim against him for additional costs involved.


Hello All,
a TV aerial fitter come to realign our roof aerial after some storms.
While in the loft he stepped through the ceiling leaving a 3 foot hole.

He claims he is not responsible for repairing the damage as he said he tripped on a loose wire and the loft is not fully boarded – I would have thought this is their normal working conditions and they should be trained and insured for it.
The company is a member of various trade bodies including Member of The Society of Cable & Telecommunications.

Any thoughts ? Am I right and they should be liable for any damage caused to our property.
Or as the loft is not boarded and has loose wires are we liable for not providing a safe work environment for him ?

Best regards,
Paul Chapman

Chris Johnson says:
29 December 2017

Hi Paul, I think you are right. As a retired electrician I believe the company must be insured for this sort of mishap and should carry out the necessary repairs. Good luck, regards, Chris.

Kathleenmary Holden says:
29 December 2017

If it was my home ihopehewould repair the damage