Defective Works

defective worksDefective works can severely derail home improvement plans or construction projects. They can leave you facing considerable financial losses and having to pay out for alternative tradespeople to undertake expensive remedial work.

Minimising the damage caused by defective works requires swift and decisive action. Our building dispute solicitors have vast experience in claims involving defective works. We have helped countless clients successfully resolve their issues with minimal time and cost.

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What Are Defective Works?

There is no legal definition of ‘defective works’. In broad terms, works can be defective if they are unfit for their intended purpose. The term ‘defective works’ can span a broad range of issues, from mere ‘snagging’ matters that are easily remedied, to major defects that threaten to jeopardise the entire project.

Examples of potentially defective works in building projects include the following:

  • Poorly laid foundations, which crack and compromise the structural integrity of the building.
  • Improperly installed roofs, which can leak and cause water damage, mould, and a deterioration in building materials.
  • Inadequate drainage, which can cause water pooling, erode soil, and damage the building’s foundations.
  • Inadequate ventilation, heating, or cooling systems, which can result in poor air quality, discomfort, and higher energy bills.
  • Fire hazards, which can be caused by electrical wiring defects, the use of materials that are not fire resistant, or inadequate fire safety systems. Fire hazards pose a significant safety risk to a building’s occupants.
  • Insufficient insulation in walls, ceilings, or floors, which can cause energy loss, uneven temperatures, and increased utility bills. Potential causes of insufficient insulation include poor installation and inappropriate materials.
  • Design defects, which can lead to issues such as the wrong sized piping being used, causing blockages.

What Are Your Legal Rights In Connection With Defective Works?

Unsurprisingly, defective works are a major cause of disputes in both large-scale construction projects and home improvement work. Given the potentially severe consequences defective works can have and the sums of money involved, disputes can be hard-fought and, unless carefully managed, can become lengthy and expensive.

If the defective works occurred in connection with a home improvement project, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 may step in to assist. The Act provides that a tradesperson providing services to a consumer, such as a homeowner, must provide those services with ‘reasonable care and skill’. ‘Tradespeople’ for the purposes of the Act include not only builders, but also other types of professionals, such as electricians and plumbers. What will qualify as ‘reasonable’ depends on the individual circumstances but, as a minimum, tradespeople are expected to comply with their industry’s accepted standards and any codes of conduct.

If the defective works occurred in a commercial construction project, the standard of workmanship expected of the tradespeople will likely be stated in the construction contract. If the contract is silent on the point, the tradespeople are obliged to undertake their work in a good and workmanlike manner. Sometimes, expert evidence is required to establish the standard required to satisfy this test, and to determine whether the tradespeople reached that standard.

How Should You Address Defective Works?

Our building disputes lawyers understand the significant problems defective works can cause. We will work tirelessly to achieve a quick resolution, which may involve compelling the tradespeople to remedy their errors and compensate you for any financial losses. We view litigation as a last resort. It is expensive, time-consuming, and inherently uncertain. Instead, we seek to resolve issues arising from defective works through negotiations with the tradesperson or their legal representatives, or by using alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods.

Some specialist ADR schemes apply to residential building disputes. These schemes, which aim to identify swift, practical solutions, to issues caused by defective works, can be invaluable in the right circumstances. However, the relief they can provide is fairly limited, so it may be necessary to consider other methods of ADR to achieve your desired outcome. Mediation is a popular form of ADR and can achieve excellent results. It involves an impartial third party, known as the mediator, working with the parties to reach a mutually agreeable settlement. Mediations are confidential, so the parties are often encouraged to enter into open, honest dialogue in the knowledge that anything they say cannot be referred to in any subsequent court proceedings. The outcome of a mediation is not binding on the parties, but it can be made so by way of a Settlement Agreement.

Our building dispute solicitors will review the facts of your defective works dispute and advise on the most appropriate course of action. We adopt a common-sense approach to disputes of this nature, conscious that they can spiral out of control if not carefully managed. We aim to achieve a quick settlement that achieves your objectives whilst keeping costs to a minimum.

Please call us now on 01603 672222 for a no-obligation conversation today or Click Here To Make An Online Enquiry.

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