Leaky roof - builders not responding

FonaFona

Registered User
Messages
10
Looking for advice on whether to chase builder through legal system or suck up the cost to get another roofer to do repairs.

Facts:
Got extension on house along with gutting original house, remodelling and insulating/rewire - moved into in June 2016. It’s a lean-to for want of a better description.
Architect employed to design and see project to sign off.

Roof leaked in several places - on snag list. Fixed but leaked again x 3. Builder came back and “fixed” each time. Didn’t leak for 6 months or so and final payment made to builder less 1k as other minor snags outstanding.

Builder never seen or heard from again, despite attempts to make contact by phone, email, text.

Builder is still in business.

Roof leaked again. To be clear - it doesn’t always leak when it rains as it is dependent on wind conditions and directions.

Architect proposed another builder. He tried his best but finally said the lead, tiles and velux roof lights do not have adequate weather coverage for the low pitch of the roof. Velux incorrectly installed - sitting on top of felt and not below it, did not use a sealed velux flashing kit. Lead flashing not correctly installed where new roof meets existing building.

I engaged another roofer; same report.

Estimated repair costs from one roofer is currently circa 6.5K to 10K to fix.

This issue is one of many I was left with but this is by far the most costly one (at least that I know about so far).

As per top of post: is there REALLY any point in chasing the builder down the legal avenue or is it throwing good money after bad? Would it be worth one letter sent off to see what happens? Or should I cut and run now and just proceed with another roofer?

Have I other options? As far as I understand it, insurance won’t cover it so I haven’t engaged with insurance company at all.

FYI: I have evidence of emails, texts when trying to get builder to engage. I have the signed contract with builder. I have the final detailed costings breakdown.
 

LS400

Frequent Poster
Messages
554
Or should I cut and run now and just proceed with another roofer?
Absolutely,
Lets be real here, you don`t want them anywhere near your property now that your aware of their lack of building skills. You need to do a financial damage limitation exercise. Spend the money now (difficult as it is) on rectifying the situation as it sounds like the longer it goes on the more expensive it will cost to rectify. You know you have a problem, it wont go-away.

Anything below the highest repair figure of €10k would be a bonus.

I certainly would do everything possible to recover some or all of the costs, but only you would have an idea of the size on the firm and if they are worth chasing down for some recourse.
 

twofor1

Frequent Poster
Messages
1,388
Facts:

Architect employed to design and see project to sign off.

Architect proposed another builder. He tried his best but finally said the lead, tiles and velux roof lights do not have adequate weather coverage for the low pitch of the roof. Velux incorrectly installed - sitting on top of felt and not below it, did not use a sealed velux flashing kit. Lead flashing not correctly installed where new roof meets existing building.

I engaged another roofer; same report.
Is there a case against the architect here for signing off on such shoddy workmanship ?

Why did the architect not see all the above and tell the builder to fix same before signing off, allowing you to pay the builder ?
 

Leo

Moderator
Messages
11,504
Is there a case against the architect here for signing off on such shoddy workmanship ?
All depends on the contract the architect was engaged on. Most people do not opt for full supervision and sign-off of details like this because they feel it's too expensive. It requires a lot of site visits to witness all the required detail before it ends up enclosed.
 

FonaFona

Registered User
Messages
10
All depends on the contract the architect was engaged on. Most people do not opt for full supervision and sign-off of details like this because they feel it's too expensive. It requires a lot of site visits to witness all the required detail before it ends up enclosed.
It was a “full service” engagement. I’ll have to read the fine print on the contract to understand exactly what this means but thanks.
 

Leo

Moderator
Messages
11,504
It was a “full service” engagement. I’ll have to read the fine print on the contract to understand exactly what this means but thanks.
Take a look at the sign-offs received and what they cover. I would have expected a full-service contract to cover inspection of detailing around critical items like roof lights.

You mention the roof is low pitch. What is the angle and what roof covering is used? Most covering products will specify a minimum pitch.
 

Leo

Moderator
Messages
11,504
Tiles are for a roof greater than 23 degrees. The roof is less than 15.
Ouch, that should definitely not have been signed-off. The plans should have specified the solution, most tiles specify a minimum of 17+ degrees, but there are some that will handle 15 (example).
 

Seagull

Frequent Poster
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1,249
I'm presuming the architect who was overseeing the project and signed off on it was the same one who did the design. Did he specify the tiles to be used? If so, you may well have some degree of claim against him.
 

Alkers86

Registered User
Messages
116
Do you have the insurance details for the builder? Talk to the architect again re: the pitch and use of tiles and the prospect of informing the builders insurers.
 

Prosper

Frequent Poster
Messages
168
Looking for advice on whether to chase builder through legal system or suck up the cost to get another roofer to do repairs.
I had a situation that sounds almost identical to yours. Lean-to extension with Velux where the roof pitch was too low. I got legal advice from top solicitor firm specialised in construction contracts who gave me advice for half his normal rate of €400/hr. After reading my summary and looking at the contract he advised that, because I had not enforced the contact during the project, I would be better off settling. He wrote a stern letter to the builders solicitor basically saying that he would go after their client with gloves off. I had held back €6k and they settled for €3k. In your case it looks like your builder will not retain a solicitor to go after the €1k.
To be clear - it doesn’t always leak when it rains as it is dependent on wind conditions and directions.
This was exactly my situation. Also, my Velux windows would swing back to an almost closed position, due to the low roof pitch. From memory they need minimum 17 degree pitch. I got Velux to supply stronger springs and so the Velux will stay open although not fully, but that's ok by me. The leak was very occasional and like you appeared to depend on wind direction. The leaks were so small that water very rarely hit the floor. All I could see were small water stains on the paint close to the Velux frames. Two years ago I used a product called Roof7 on the concrete tiles below the Velux windows. I ran a bead of this Roof7 along the line where the second last row of tiles overlapped the last row. I also slightly lifted the Velux flashing below the Velux and put a thick bead of Roof7 under it and placed heavy weights all along it to make sure it stuck down well. There are no new water marks on the inside now two years later.
Lead flashing not correctly installed where new roof meets existing building.
Ditto for me. I had a slight leak at the higher up point. I got up on the roof and reinstalled this lead flashing at the join between lean to and the house. This leak has never occurred since. Putting the lead in yourself is easy.

Regarding your architect, I don't think you have any recourse there as it sounds like you were not paying him/her to "manage" the project.
 
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