Mr and Mrs X bought a farmhouse with a view to extending and refurbishing it. They contracted a local builder, who had been recommended to them by their architect, and the builder gave them a cost estimate based on the architect’s drawings.
As the work on site progressed, the builder requested monthly payments on account. It soon became apparent to Mr and Mrs X that, even though the work was far from finished, the builder had claimed more than his original estimate. However, as Mr and Mrs X had requested some extras, they continued to pay the builder’s invoices.
Eventually, Mr and Mrs X realised that the builder was basing his monthly charges on his actual costs plus a profit, rather than relating his charges to the original estimate. At the same time, Mr and Mrs X were becoming concerned about defective workmanship by the builder.
When Mr and Mrs X challenged the builder about his charges and the substandard workmanship, he became very difficult and walked off the job, leaving it unfinished. He then sent Mr and Mrs X a final invoice for a further sum in excess of £30,000. They immediately challenged the invoice as being unreasonable, resulting in the builder threatening court action against Mr and Mrs X to recover the final invoice value.
Mr and Mrs X contacted ExpertQS and, after taking directions from a solicitor, it was agreed that (1) the builder was only due the reasonable value of the works rather than his actual costs and (2) the cost to Mr and Mrs X of remedying the defective work should be offset against any sums due to the builder.
Gary Bushell was instructed to visit the site and produce an expert report setting out the reasonable cost of the contracted works as well as those of the remedial works. This report was sent to the builder in response to his final invoice. After some correspondence between the parties, the builder eventually withdrew the final invoice and dropped all future claims against Mr and Mrs X, saving them over £30,000 after fees.