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Your guide to builder negligence

Builder looking at plans - builder negligence

The majority of builders carry out the architect’s plans to the letter. But there are occasions where a builder’s negligence can result in enormous problems with a construction project, problems that can leave the client facing significant financial losses.

If you’ve been left out of pocket as a result of a builder’s negligence, you may be able to make a compensation claim for professional negligence.  If you are successful in your claim, you’ll recover your losses and often be awarded additional compensation for any stress or trauma caused.

What is professional negligence?

According to English law, professional negligence occurs when a professional – in this case, a builder – fails to fulfil their duty to a client, or fails to perform their responsibilities to the standard that their client reasonably expects.

When professional negligence cases go to court, the claimant must be able to demonstrate three things in order to win the case:

  • That their builder owed them a duty of care
  • That the builder breached that duty of care
  • That the builder’s negligence resulted in financial loss to them

At Your Legal Friend, we know how stressful it can be to consider making a professional negligence claim against a builder – especially if you’re still dealing with the fallout of their negligence. But our skilled team of professional negligence lawyers will make the process as stress-free as possible and will fight to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

The duties of a builder

Builders have a wide range of responsibilities, from performing small-scale repairs or maintenance on buildings to constructing extensions or entire buildings from scratch. Basically, builders build whatever the client asks. Their duties also include preparing and cleaning construction areas, adhering to health and safety legislation, assembling and dismantling scaffolding, and delivering or distributing supplies. Supervisors will also have a wider range of duties and will be tasked with overseeing the activity of less experienced builders.

Naturally, there is a lot of pressure on builders to ensure that they perform their duties properly and to the highest possible standard. If a builder acts negligently or fails to fulfil their duties, they could end up facing a professional negligence claim.

Examples of professional negligence

Whilst we may know what we expect a builder to do on a construction project, how do you know if your builder has been acting negligently? What kind of acts are classed as negligent? Here are some practical pointers:

  • The builders did not complete the work with reasonable care and skill
  • The builders did not use the appropriate materials for the task or used them in the wrong way
  • The builders did not follow the plans laid out by the architect or engineer
  • The builders failed to adhere to Building Regulations
  • The builders did not finish the project within a reasonable amount of time (or the builders finished the task significantly later than the deadline specified by the client)
  • The builders did not carry out the project at a reasonable cost (or the builders went significantly over the budget specified by the client)

The first four of these can lead to a wide variety of problems including construction defects, insulation negligence leading to damp, electrical defects, faulty conversions or extensions, unsafe chimneys, leaking roofs… the list is almost endless. If you feel you might have lost out financially as a result of any of these actions, we could help you make a claim.

The consequences of a builder’s negligence

If your building contractor has been negligent in their work, the consequences can be catastrophic. Not only could they compromise the integrity of an entire structure, they could also cause problems with the electrical, plumbing or heating systems within a building, as well as creating conditions where damp or mould could thrive.

All these problems can be incredibly expensive to rectify – and if you’ve been left out of pocket because of these repairs, we could help you to claim the compensation that you deserve, as well as holding the contractor to account.

Making a claim against your builder

At Your Legal Friend, we have the skills and experience to help you pursue a successful professional negligence claim. So that we can represent you effectively, we’ll need to know the following things:

  • The name of your building contractor
  • What you instructed the contractor to do
  • When you instructed the firm
  • How you feel the contractor was negligent
  • The value of the financial loss you’ve incurred as a result

Once you’ve supplied us with these details, we can start investigating the case and advising you on your next steps.

Most building contractors have insurance policies which will ensure you recover the full amount from them when you win your case.

Time limitations

  • Professional negligence claims must be brought within six years of the day on which the negligent act occurred. If you haven’t brought a claim by this deadline, you will be unable to do so.
  • Sometimes, claimants aren’t actually aware of the negligence when it first occurs, and so the first rule would be unfair to these people. In this instance, the claimant would have three years from the date of discovering the negligence to bring their claim to court.

How Your Legal Friend can help

We know that the prospect of taking a professional to court can be daunting. But our experienced team of professional negligence solicitors has the skills and experience to ensure your building contractor is held to account.  We’ll act quickly and provide  you with sympathetic, practical, jargon-free advice to help you secure the compensation you deserve.

Throughout your claim, Your Legal Friend will help you every step of the way

  • Specialist team of professional negligence solicitors
  • A wealth of knowledge and expertise
  • Advice, support and guidance throughout your claim
  • Over 30 years’ experience in personal injury compensation