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Building advice wanted, please!

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Registered: 06-04-2007

Building advice wanted, please!

An extension built on my mum's property that comprises a bedroom and en-suite wet-room is riddled with damp (see photos) less than two years after construction.
I noticed some damp back in May and had hoped that my brother, who (along with his wife) lives with my mother, would have done something about is as he oversaw the original work while I dealt with the finances on my mum's behalf. He had used the cheapest of the quotes which I wasn't happy about but, as he is a draughtsman, I thought he would have better knowledge of what was required.
Anyway, on Friday it was drawn to my attention by my daughter that the damp in my mum's bedroom had gotten so much worse. The smell was over-powering and the room felt cold. I never realised things had got this bad (I don't go inside my mum's house very often due to an issue with my brother that I won't go into here). I am appalled at what the photos show and I need to do something as the damp could now affect my mum's health adversely especially as winter approaches (she's 86).
My thoughts are to get an independent builder or two to view the damp and give their assessment which I then take to the original builder to get them to put right. But there's no guarantee that they would. They don't have a website and their paperwork doesn't seem to show any accreditation to any trade body.
Is there any other course of action I could/should take? Some professional body that should be contacted?
Any advice on what steps I could/should take would be appreciated.

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63 REPLIES
Midnight_Caller
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Registered: 15-04-2007

Re: Buidling advice wanted, please!

Go to the small claims court.
Dmitchell
Grafter
Posts: 51
Registered: 11-04-2011

Re: Buidling advice wanted, please!

I agree. This is shocking, you definitely need to seek legal advice on this.
If the damp isn't treated I've been told that it can also damage your health.
Good luck on getting this sorted out though.
Moderator
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Posts: 16,562
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Registered: 06-04-2007

Re: Buidling advice wanted, please!

Maybe my first port of call should be the CAB!

Edit: And maybe Trading Standards
.
Edit 2: Thought I'd mention that the first picture is actually the bedroom and not the wet-room!

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Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear - Mark Twain
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JamesM
Grafter
Posts: 1,103
Registered: 24-06-2009

Re: Buidling advice wanted, please!

I would get in touch with a few independent builders first Mav, let them advise you (free quote) what needs to be done to fix the damp rot. Then phone the original builder and give him a chance to put it right. You never know, in this world of rip off and nasty people, he might surprise you.
Midnight_Caller
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Re: Buidling advice wanted, please!

From the Photos you can tell that the wet-room has not been tanked properly, you can tell that the builder is a cowboy.
[Edit]
There may be some tips on: Channel 5 Cowboy Builders
Community Veteran
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Registered: 12-08-2007

Re: Buidling advice wanted, please!

Was the builder a member of a trade association? if so this should be your first point of action.  If not I would go to Trading Standards.
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Re: Buidling advice wanted, please!

They messed us about frequently during construction and even managed to get the drainage wrong which had to be sorted. The work, apparently, was never actually completed in that the garden was never put back to how it should have been plus a ramp from the French doors into the garden was never built.
I will contact a couple of builders in the morning as well as ringing the CAB.
Unfortunately my mother's memory is so bad there is no point asking her any details of what went on and my brother is a law unto himself and unapproachable.
@Midnight Caller Thanks for that info. I would have no idea as to what is wrong just that something obviously is.
I will add that I got an email from my brother close to when they were supposedly completing to say he wasn't happy with a few things and for me not to make any more payments until it's sorted (I think there was less than £200 to be paid). He also wrote that they promised to put these things right and that there wouldn't be any more to pay as they messed up. As I never heard any more I assumed all was OK. I should remember that assumption is the mother of all cock-ups!
@artmo I can't see any reference to a trade association in their paperwork.

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Community Veteran
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Registered: 12-08-2007

Re: Buidling advice wanted, please!

I'm guessing you didn't pay with a credit or debit card Cry
Moderator
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Re: Buidling advice wanted, please!

No - direct transfer bank to bank.
I wasn't happy about that but my brother convinced my mother that would be fine and, back then, I didn't have PoA so I had to act on her instructions.

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Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear - Mark Twain
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Community Veteran
Posts: 18,547
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Registered: 12-08-2007

Re: Buidling advice wanted, please!

At least you know the builder's bank.  If you go to Small Claims Court it could be useful.
Community Veteran
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Re: Buidling advice wanted, please!

Firstly you need to get an independent inspection - you can't do anything until you get the results of this.
Secondly, what kind of warranty did the builder give on his work in writing ? Obviously if the work is not up to standard then you have the potential of a claim against him.
Community Veteran
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Re: Buidling advice wanted, please!

You will also need estimates from at least 2 other builders to rectify the work and complete it.  This will be essential if you go to the Small Claims Court. i would also suggest putting in writing to the original builder your dissatisfaction and giving him 7 days to respond.
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Re: Buidling advice wanted, please!

Just read the contract and it only mentions about the builder being notified within 3 months of the work being completed.
I do remember when the original contract was passed to me I wouldn't sign it as I wasn't happy with the wording: The contract referred to drawings attached of which there were none so I told them to resend attaching the drawings.
Next I heard was that my brother was dealing and I never received the amended contract to sign. Whether one was signed by my brother I have no idea.
Although the original quotes mentioned VAT (VAT wasn't to be charged on the wet-room as it was VAT free) but my brother talking about some deal where VAT wouldn't be charged. This rang my alarm bells and I told him I wasn't happy about it. All future correspondence did have VAT listed.

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Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear - Mark Twain
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Community Veteran
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Re: Buidling advice wanted, please!

Looking again at those pictures, there almost seems to be a slow leak of some kind inside the wall space - the damp starts higher up the wall in a couple of pictures so may not be rising.
I'd get an expert in, find the cause of the damp then go from there. At the least, if it's not a building issue and a ventilation or similar issue then you can start rectifying the problem. There isn't a tumble dryer in there is there ? Your mum doesn't dry stuff in those rooms ?