Are We Due a Refund For Ill-Fitting Oak Trusses?

7 March 2022
by Tim Dale


We have had a two storey extension built on the rear of our semi-detached house. We decided to have a vaulted ceiling on the first floor and on the single storey part of the ground floor. This was to be supported by a king oak truss on each area.

When we had the structural drawings I forwarded these to a few oak frame companies and got quotes. On advice of the builder we went with somebody relatively local, as if there was any issues they would be able to attend and sort it themselves. The oak frame company advised us in July that if we wanted the trusses from September onwards we would have to make a payment for the timber then as all the sawmills in France shut in August, so I forwarded the payment.

Building commenced in August then in September I was contacted by the truss company to say the trusses had been built and were ready for collection. At this stage the foundations had just been poured and no walls had been put up. I was very surprised he had made them without having the exact dimensions and made them off the structural drawings which was very risky. Luckily the ground floor fitted with a little fettling. However the first floor trusses made the ridge of the roof too high and needed adjustment to the point it needed sinking into the wall and a lot of adjustment to the point it does not run parallel with the rafters. This also meant the exterior decorative trusses also made by the oak frame company could not be used on the outside, with the builders having to build one that fitted correctly.

We paid the oak frame company to fit the trusses, but unfortunately paid £600 cash on the morning of the fitting then went to work. We later learned they only assembled the trusses, then left saying the rest of the work was the builder's job - which is not really the definition of 'fitting' to me. So this created additional charges from our builder.

On approaching the oak frame company they have just stated they can not be held responsible for the mistakes of others shifting the blame either onto the architects or builders for not building to the exact dimensions on the plans. But in my mind the trusses should not have been built until the walls were up and the ridge height was known. Once the trusses were built he was obviously demanding more money for the completed trusses which I didn't pay until on site but as they were not assembled it was impossible to know they were not the correct size.

Where do I stand on claiming the cost of the unused exterior trusses that could not be used and the additional cost incurred for trying to make the trusses fit? To make matters worse it is apparent that the ground floor truss has woodworm two years on, so obviously had it when supplied.

Thanks for your advice and time

Kind regards


One Answer

  1. Anamika Talwaria says:

    Hello Tim,

    Thank you for your question and I’m sorry to hear your project has run into such issues. I’ll aim to get some expert advice on this for you shortly.

    Kind regards,
    Anamika Talwaria (Features Editor, Build It)

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