Asbestosis - Mesothelioma
Building disputes
Compensation claims
Contract advice
Conveyancing
Conveyancing (shared ownership First Steps London)
Conveyancing (shared ownership outside London)
Debt recovery
Discrimination
Dismissal law
Education issues
Employment
Harassment & Privacy
Injury claims
Insurance
Libel
Litigation
Litigation (property)
Medical negligence
Negligence (general)
Planning
Probate & inheritance (contested)
Probate administration
Professional negligence
Redundancy
Unfair dismissal
Various third party links
Approach to costs
Solicitors at Humphreys & Co. always aim to approach legal work in a financially-disciplined way. We offer competitive rates. Our charging approach is both transparent and geared to the options open to our clients. Our solicitors generally charge by reference to time spent but we can often agree fixed fees for specific work or in some cases risk-adjusted funding structures.

Send us a summary of your circumstances and objectives for a quick response.

Building disputes solicitors: construction



Building dispute solicitors: Bristol, London, UK clients: commercial & residential building contract claims: arbitration of building disputes

Solicitors here pursue and defend claims in relation to building and construction work. Our Building and Construction Disputes Unit has substantial experience in advising on and conducting litigation. Issues our clients raise and on which we advise include:

 

§     Remedial works are required.

§     The work has not been completed on time.

§     I have been overcharged for the work undertaken.

§     What happens if there wasn't a written contract.

§     I would like to get my money back.

 

We advise and represent in legal proceedings UK and international clients in building and construction disputes in London & regional UK courts and in non-litigation dispute resolution systems - arbitration, adjudication, mediation.


We understand that, irrespective of the amount of money involved, building disputes can rapidly become time-consuming and expensive.

We aim to equip our clients, whether claiming, defending and/or counter-claiming, with a tailored professional analysis of their actual legal position at an early stage as part of a competitive fixed-charge package.


We find that alternative dispute resolution often proves a cost-effective and efficient means of resolving disputes without the need to commence court proceedings. In view of this we seek to open lines of communication between the parties at an early stage and to explore the possibility of attempting to resolve the dispute by way of alternative dispute resolution including:

 

§    round-table meetings between the parties;

§    mediation;

§    arbitration;

§    adjudication

§    preparation and exchange of experts

§    reports;

§    meetings of experts.

 

If early dispute-resolution does not prove possible our lawyers know how to be effective, tenacious litigators. We have wide experience of representing clients in arbitrations and in litigation in the County Courts, High Court, Technology and Construction Court and Mercantile Court.


For expert advice on your construction claim, please contact one of our specialist solicitors.

Get specialist representation

 

§  Residential building disputes

§  Commercial building disputes

§  Litigation

§  Mediation

§  Arbitration

§  Advice on forms of building contract

§  Adjudication

§  Alleged defective works

§  Terms & conditions for commercial and residential builders

§  Commercial debt collection


Fixed charge package with options and recommendations


Preparing for building & construction litigation
None of us conducts our affairs with litigation in mind, but when a dispute arises, keeping these practical steps in mind may be of assistance:


Put it in writing - even if there has been little or no written correspondence between you and the builder beforehand, you should put your grievances in writing and give the builder a chance to respond. This may assist in showing that your actions were reasonable if the matter ever comes before a court.


Make contemporaneous notes - or those things that cannot be recorded in writing this may be the best alternative. For example if you consider that the builder is behaving in an unreasonable manner or that aspects of the work/working practices are unsatisfactory, record what/where/when/who while your recollection is fresh.


Keep receipts and invoices - this may sound obvious but if the dispute is in relation to amounts claimed or the cost of remedial work, accurate details of the amounts involved will be essential. Similarly, if further work is required obtain a fully itemised quotation/estimate in relation to the work.


Take photographs - this may be of assistance in showing defective work or the stage the work has reached. It may be particularly important to show the position the work has reached if subsequent work/alteration are likely to take place. Ultimately, however, it is likely that if the dispute progresses expert evidence will be required and contemporaneous photographs may be of assistance to experts.


Try to be calm and collected
- this may go some way to taking the "heat" out of the dispute and avoiding the breakdown of your working relationship.

Some key building & construction contract law

“Repudiation in the context of this case is taken to describe the circumstances where “one party so acts or expresses himself as to show that he does not mean to accept the obligations of a contract any further” – see Heyman v Darwins[1942] AC 356 at 361 per Lord Simon.


In normal circumstances a breach of contract by one party does not entitle the other party to bring the contract to an end. There are two exceptions to this rule:

 

(1) where the contracting parties have agreed whether by express words or by implication of law that any (or a particular) breach of contract shall bring the contract to an end;

 

(2) where the event resulting from the breach of contract has the effect of depriving the other party of substantially the whole benefit which it was the intention of the parties that it should obtain from the contract, i.e. where there is a fundamental breach – see Lord Diplock in Photo Products v Securicor [1980] AC 827 at 849.


In the second case the court must consider the commercial significance of the breach or breaches of contract. To amount to a fundamental breach it must go to the root of the contract - see Federal Commerce v Molena Alpha [1997] AC 757 at 779.

 

Repudiation requires acceptance if it is to bring the contract to an end. Failure tocontinue to perform may be sufficient notice that the innocent party has elected to treat the contract as at an end. See Lord Steyn in Vitol SA v Norelf Ltd [1996] AC 800 at 810/811.

 

In general, mere negligent omissions or bad workmanship, where the work is substantially completed, does not go to the root of the contract and is not therefore repudiation - see Hoenig v Isaacs [1952] 2 All ER 176.

 

However, an accumulation of breaches may indicate an inability on the part of a contractor to deliver the contract to a reasonable standard. In Sutcliffe v Chippendale & Edmonson [1971] 18 BLR 157 at 161 the court held that:

 

“the contractors’ manifest inability to comply with the completion date requirements, the nature and number of complaints from sub-contractors and [the architect’s] own admission that in May and June the quality of work was deteriorating and the number of defects was multiplying, many of which he had tried unsuccessfully to have put right, all point to the truth of the complainant’s expressed view that the contractors had neither the ability, competence or the will by this time to complete the work in the manner required by the contract”.

 

Where time is not of the essence, delay on the part of the contractor does not amount to a repudiation unless it is shown that he cannot complete the contract within a reasonable time or that the delay is such as to deprive the innocent party of substantially the whole benefit of the contract.

 

In Felton v Wharrie (1906) HBC, Vol 2, 398, the contractor had not finished the work by the completion date and when asked how long it would take he said he could not say. The contractor continued to work on site and two weeks later he was forcibly ejected. The Court of Appeal held that the employer had no right to determine the contract.

 

“If he were going to act upon the claimant’s conduct as being evidence of his not going on, he ought to have told him of it and to have said, ‘I treat that as a refusal’, and the man would know of it but the fact of allowing him to go on cannot be any evidence of justification of re-entry.”

 
“As far as the employer is concerned, if the employer wrongfully and by his own act and without lawful excuse renders completion of the contract impossible, that amounts to a repudiation. This must apply to the situation where the employer ejects the contractor from site before completion.” Hayes & Others -v- Gallant [2008]

Fixed charge package with options and recommendations 

 



Humphreys & Co., solicitors Bristol

Accessibility
We take instructions from UK & international clients. Our independent lawyers are available by email, telephone & fax. With central Bristol offices we are just 90 minutes from London by road or rail and 15 minutes from Bristol International Airport. We can travel to meetings if required.

Independent approach
We are an independent professional law firm here, not a legal factory turning out mass-produced products. In our experience, determined case-handling is more likely to produce effective results.

Turnaround time
Solicitors at Humphreys & Co. look to input not only careful legal work and precision but also the determination to keep matters moving. They aim to work in clients' real interests with energy and pragmatism.

Communication skills
Solicitors at Humphreys & Co. always try to open up the legal process by giving advice and explaining options to clients in a concise and straightforward way, identifying clear courses of action whatever the technical or legal complexities of the subject.
Solicitors authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority of England & Wales under no.62944
Change to our Commercial Work section or go to our Home Page lawyers@humphreys.co.uk © copyright Humphreys & Co. Solicitors