My builder's last invoice contains some items that I am not happy with, and one of them includes an element which (because it will not pass building regs) is below the quality threshold. As such, I do not wish to pay it in full.
My priority though is to get a completion certificate, and I need calcs and waterproofing warranty from my builder's sub-contractors to do that. He, of course, is holding these to ransom, so in effect can charge me whatever suits his fancy before he's willing to pass them over.
Is it best for me to pay and then sue to recover the costs I am unhappy to pay, or are there other ways to obtain the documentation I need?
I've reached out to our project management expert for his advice. For general info on final checks and snagging you can head to http://www.self-build.co.uk/final-checks-moving-snagging
Andrew (Build It's Digital Assistant Editor)
I am afraid this all comes down to the contractual agreement between you. Firstly, do you have a clear agreement which states what the builder was supposed to do? If he has done this then he should be paid accordingly. If the work in question constitutes a variation to the original agreed schedule then usually this would be calculated using applied pro-rata rates. So it is not the case that your builder can simply charge you whatever he likes. However, the issue is about quality and you are dissatisfied with elements of his work on the grounds of quality and compliance. If the builder has raised an invoice for this work then you should set out very clearly which elements of the invoiced works you do not feel comfortable in paying for and state the reasons why
If there is a dispute here you may need a third party to assess the background, the contract paperwork and the quality issue which is preventing you from making payment. As a surveyor, I do not recommend paying for substandard work as there is very little chance of recovering a cash refund. Instead the builder should be brought to the table, the issue discussed and, if consensus is reached that the work is sub-standard, the builder should have the opportunity to put it right. As far as using other contractual obligations like final certificates and guarantees, these are not negotiable instruments and if you need to sue the builder it should be for their delivery if they are being unreasonably withheld.
Tim Doherty (Build It Expert)