Building Contract Dispute Issues

Having a dispute with a builder can be about any number of issues; Contracts, Workmanship, Defects arising from works, Payments, Programme and Delays, Honouring warranties, and so on. Or, it might be a disagreement with a neighbour on a property-related issue; Party structures, trespass of building works, workmen coming onto your land or putting scaffold on your land where you haven’t agreed it.

Perhaps dampness is appearing in a leaseholder’s, tenant’s / neighbour’s property, and they allege that you have caused it with your drainage or rainwater system, or by that air-conditioning unit your subcontractor bolted onto the external wall near the boundary line. Either way, you might need the input of an impartial professional chartered building surveyor to investigate and report on the matter. The dispute might be minor initially, but can easily escalate to a bigger issue, that might impact on the futures sale of a property, it’s value, or perhaps  structural damage in the longer term.

Perhaps a commercial tenant in your block of offices has a habit of storing equipment and items near your fire exit, impeding the means of escape. They have been told before, but they tend to ignore the letters. We can work closely with property managers, and relevant authorities to help resolve such issues quickly, and painlessly.

Our approach at Arun Associates is always robust. We collect the relevant data and gather the evidence, take photos and measurements where necessary, look at both sides of the issue, apply the law, the building regulations, and relevant technical standards, and clearly report our findings with practical recommendations. We always provide an executive summary. We avoid a lot of technical jargon where it is not considered necessary. Options might be offered by our surveyor, where there is more than one solution.

In builder-related disputes, we know and understand building contracts, and their terms and conditions. We can establish what a builder has claimed to be paid and what he/she is actually due to be paid under the contract, as regards valuations of payments. The payment and adjudication rules and clauses in building contracts can be very complex. Get it wrong, and you may have to pay the builder the amount he has claimed in a valuation, because you didn’t act quickly enough to challenge him in the correct procedure. Making an error in paying the builder at the right time, can be costly for the client. Builders have protection in contracts too.

Even if you don’t have a formal contract, you are often likely to be protected in law, (i.e. under consumer law or possibly The Unfair Contracts Terms Act), we just need to ascertain the facts. If we need additional legal advice, we will tell you, but in most cases, our training gives us the tools to analyse the problem and come up with solutions. We separate out the emotion from the dispute from the matters which help us progress in a resolution for the parties. Our skills in negotiation with builders and others in property-related differences, will provide a long-term solution in most cases.

Boundary disputes between adjoining properties, tend to make lawyers lots of fees, and are best avoided. However, we can always give our view on such matters and arrange an expert to assist you.

Whatever is your stage in a dispute, or property-related issue, please do contact Arun Associates to talk through your problem with us. An initial brief, telephone call with us, is no charge. You have nothing to lose for a quick chat, and you might even be able to resolve the issue yourself, with a bit of guidance from us.

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