I normally do not reach out for help on such platforms, but this is my last resort in the hopes someone can help me with the dilemma that I am facing. My partner and I have been living at our current property since 2014. We live a normal modest life, I work full time, my partner works full time as well, she runs her own beauty business. We do not live an extraordinary lifestyle; we live according to our means. That is a bit of a brief introduction into us as a family. We have always wanted to build an extension onto our property, and we both saved and scrapped as much a we could, and at the end we took a small loan to make up the difference. My partner was advised by one of her clients that the builder who build her property did a respectable job and recommended him. We met with the builder he seemed a nice enough gentleman knew his stuff and we said OK, in comparison with the other builders that we had consultations with, and base on their quotes which was a bit on the high side for our budget we choose the recommended builder as his quote came in on point for what we budgeted for.
My partner and I choose the builder based on recommendation from my partners client for the work he conducted on her property (which we inspected), and after checking his company reviews online, we could not see anything out of the ordinary that warranted us not choosing him.
On 13 February 2023, the builder started the ground works for our extension, at the start of the project, the builder agreed that it would take him no more than 3 months to complete our single-story extension. It was all going fine in the beginning; the builder was onsite every day. Come April, the cracks started to show with the builder, meaning that he would show up one week for a couple of days and then we would not see him for another couple of days. The biggest upset came when he disappeared for 3 weeks in May. The first week we did not think too much of it, as it was a sort of pattern of his, (as he would not come as an example on Monday to Wednesday, but then in the same breath he would come and work Thursday, Friday Saturday, and Sunday). I digress, nearing the first week and a half we decided to give him a call, we did not receive a response, then we tried WhatsApp, also we did not receive a response, we tried daily to contact him for a good three weeks with no response. Then one day he showed back up, came to work, my partner and I confronted him, and his explanation (excuse) was, that he also conducts work for Wren kitchens, he did not block out the weeks that he needed to be at our property in their agenda and they booked him for a job.
My partner and I thought, it is a human error we can all make such mistakes. We said clearly after hearing his excuse (which I clearly did not believe), we emphasized he least you could have done was reply or answer our phone calls or text messages, explaining the situation. He apologized profusely, and we left it at that. Now that he was back working again, I enquired wanting to know how much longer he will need to complete our extension? He assured me that by middle of June, he should be complete. Reason for my questioning had to do with the fact that my mom who lives in the Caribbean her health has been declining and I was planning to go and see her which I normally do every year in March for her birthday, but because the builder started our build in February, I thought I would start looking to book my tickets ending June (if you are asking yourself why I just didn’t book my ticket and go and visit my mom, I couldn’t just leave my partner for 2 á 3 weeks on her own amidst all of this). After hearing his response on the completion deadline, I had something to work towards when it came to booking my ticket.
Come June, I saw that his presence was not consistent again, meaning he began the same routine of coming one day here and there, and I confronted him again in a polite manner asking are you sure June is achievable? He assured me begin July the latest for completion. I again reiterated my situation with my mom and that I need him to complete as I need to go down and be with her!
June 22nd2023, will be a day that I will never forget, as this would be the last time that my partner and I saw our builder. We did not hear from him for a week, and into a 1,5 week we started calling him, sending WhatsApp messages, emailing him all with no avail. Until one day after a month, I am not sure what triggered him to respond to my partners message stating shame on you, he came back with the most pathetic excuse I ever heard, stating that he was in a depressive mental state due to the loss of his mom two years ago etc… but by this time my partner and I have been look at taking legal action towards him as we are sat with a half open wall going from our now living room into the extension with a wood frame as bi-folding doors, floor that is not complete and semi open to the elements. Walls that are yet to be plastered, electrics that still need to be fitted, the remaining wall that still needs to be broken out to join the extension and the living room, and winter which is just around the corner and if nothing is done, I will see my gas bill skyrocket. To top it off, his tools is still at our property. 13 August 2023 will make it 6 months since the builder started this extension project, and 22nd August 2023 will make it 2 months since he last stepped foot onsite/ onto our property.
The issue that that my partner and I face is that every credible builder that we engage to come and give a quotation, does not want to accept the work, given his tools are still on site the possibility of him being able to turnup whenever. For my partner and I to give a formal notice we need to engage with a lawyer and that is part of the reasoning for me coming onto this site to asking for help. Lawyer fees are expensive, and we would like to take this to the full extent of the law, as this no way to deal with people. We are aware that it will cost us significantly, but we cannot take this laying down as it has really put a strain our family and his lack of understanding. My partner and I, had an initial consultation with a lawyer which costed us 160 for an hours session and for her law firm to write a formal letter it will cost us 750, and if they will need to go back and forth with in their responses with the builder, it will cost 150 per response.
My partner and I have been in talks with other builders that came to property and if should choose to take on the work (given the above has been rounded off with the builder, meaning his tools has been removed and contract terminated) to complete where the builder left off, we are looking at a starting point of 15k at minimum. That is currently money that my partner and I do not have. Another dilemma that I am facing is that the airline ticket prices are skyrocketing currently, and if they are still on the uptake, means I will not get to see my mother at all this year, and it is worrying, as I highlighted above, given her current health issues. Seeing that I lost my dad 2 years back, I want to be there by her side as much as I can, preferably every year. And knowing that this builder has left my family in this predicament, seeing that I must fork out all this money, I will not be able to take my daughter down to the Caribbean, to visit her grandmother, bearing in mind that this my mom’s sole granddaughter.
I hope that someone can see into our dilemma with this builder, as what we expected to be a smooth sailing happy extension, has turned out to be an extension nightmare.
Please can you give what you can to: paypal.me/DvP721