Remaining Funds Due to Builder - Way Past Contract Finish Date

VintageTea2019

New Member
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7
Just wondering what other people would do in this scenario, have no previous experience of dealing with builders or anything like this.

We signed a contract with a building firm in May 2019 for job that was estimated at 7 -9 weeks for completion. Not a massive job - small extension/knock together of existing kitchen and dining room to make open plan space and some related cosmetic improvements. So completion date aimed for 31st July. 7 staged payments outlined which we have paid 6/7 to date, paid in arrears as we went along following engineer check and satisfactory report. Final payment is/was due on completion of contract.

Initial work (demolition & structural work) carried out relatively quickly. Then delays started. Took forever to order kitchen and have fitted (in retrospect we should have used a separate company). Forever to order floor and have laid, lots of other similar delays and no apparent urgency to complete job etc etc.

Roll on to now, November. Final snag list completed by us back in end September. Lads showed up the week after, for 1 day, completed the major items on the snag list and there are still 5-10 non major items to complete (things like sockets to be correctly fitted to wall, some small replastering work etc.)

We still owe the final payment of about c€9k ( c€1k of which we would be disputing due to some additions that made necessary by builders carelessness while carrying out work). So say €8k due. Builder gone silent for past 3 weeks so our plan was to just hire a handiman to complete the final pieces and pay him from the amount we held due. Builder finally got back in touch this week to say they'll come back next week to finish the last bits.

At this point we are so fed up we almost want to just cut ties and don't allow them back and keep the funds they would be owed, as compensation for the delays and hassle caused to us during the whole process. They still have a key to the house (composite front door) which if we go that route we will have to have the lock changed as I'm not happy with a rogue key to our home being at large. This cost again funded by funds held back.

Any advice on dealing with this appreciated.
 

VintageTea2019

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7
On the basis that the initial contract was for a set timeline and we have gone way past that with still no satisfactory completion? With very unsatisfactory communication and complaints along the way.

I should mention also that the amount estimated as due is about 50% made up of extras we added during the process so were not included in the initial contracted amount. As we went along we asked for updated schedules of payments to take account of any extras or changes but these were never provided to us so it’s my own records I’m working off.

For the record we would have been happy to complete on this and finalise payment back in July/August but it’s dragged on for so long now and relationship between us and the builder has deteriorated so we don’t feel we should be paying the full amount as if the job was completed as agreed on time and with no issues.
 

Bronte

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13,681
Who delayed the ordering of the kitchen and flooring? What delayed the delivery of those items?
 

Easel

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141
Withholding €9,000 for relatively minor works is excessive especially considering 99% of the work was completed in October and you made changes to the contract as it went along.

I would query the additional €1,000 for works and make payment of the €8,000 upon completion of the snag list.
 

mathepac

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6,811
If your contract doesn't allow for penalties for delays, you're on shaky ground wanting to hold money back, apart from the grand for builder's mistakes. How much time and expense did your changes add to the schedule of works?
 

VintageTea2019

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7
Who delayed the ordering of the kitchen and flooring? What delayed the delivery of those items?
The builder. We repeatedly asked could we confirm kitchen plans and get it ordered, by the time they arranged for appt with their kitchen people and got it ordered it was spilling into builders holidays and was another 4 weeks (2 weeks lead time plus 2 weeks delay). The floor we had chosen well ahead of time ourselves and it was purchased - builder delayed arranging a tiler for no apparent reason.
 

VintageTea2019

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Messages
7
If your contract doesn't allow for penalties for delays, you're on shaky ground wanting to hold money back, apart from the grand for builder's mistakes. How much time and expense did your changes add to the schedule of works?
Very little time - we are not talking lots of extras just higher specs of worktops / outside paving / inside skirts and doors than the sample/pc amounts that were quoted in the original quote so work that was to be done anyway but we chose a more expensive type of material/item. No major additions that added time, and expense of about €6k added.

Any decisions required of us were made very promptly as we had a good idea of what we wanted.

I’m not saying I don’t want to not pay another penny but I would be suggesting a reduced sum of maybe 50/60% given the issues we’ve had. Has anyone had experience of negotiating a final arrangement like this before?

The builder has not been on looking for payment either, they seem quite disorganized and as I said have been unable to date to provide an updated final price incorporating the additional amounts for the more expensive worktops / paving etc.
 

Easel

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Messages
141
To me your issues do not warrant withholding any of the agreed level of spend, especially if some of it is to cover direct outlays for higher spec items.

Yes, the builder seems unorganised but proposing to withhold a few grand because some sockets need to be refitted and some minor plastering is a bit of a stretch in my book.
 

KOW

Frequent Poster
Messages
309
Just wondering what other people would do in this scenario, have no previous experience of dealing with builders or anything like this.

We signed a contract with a building firm in May 2019 for job that was estimated at 7 -9 weeks for completion. Not a massive job - small extension/knock together of existing kitchen and dining room to make open plan space and some related cosmetic improvements. So completion date aimed for 31st July. 7 staged payments outlined which we have paid 6/7 to date, paid in arrears as we went along following engineer check and satisfactory report. Final payment is/was due on completion of contract.

Initial work (demolition & structural work) carried out relatively quickly. Then delays started. Took forever to order kitchen and have fitted (in retrospect we should have used a separate company). Forever to order floor and have laid, lots of other similar delays and no apparent urgency to complete job etc etc.

Roll on to now, November. Final snag list completed by us back in end September. Lads showed up the week after, for 1 day, completed the major items on the snag list and there are still 5-10 non major items to complete (things like sockets to be correctly fitted to wall, some small replastering work etc.)

We still owe the final payment of about c€9k ( c€1k of which we would be disputing due to some additions that made necessary by builders carelessness while carrying out work). So say €8k due. Builder gone silent for past 3 weeks so our plan was to just hire a handiman to complete the final pieces and pay him from the amount we held due. Builder finally got back in touch this week to say they'll come back next week to finish the last bits.

At this point we are so fed up we almost want to just cut ties and don't allow them back and keep the funds they would be owed, as compensation for the delays and hassle caused to us during the whole process. They still have a key to the house (composite front door) which if we go that route we will have to have the lock changed as I'm not happy with a rogue key to our home being at large. This cost again funded by funds held back.

Any advice on dealing with this appreciated.
I finished a self build just over a year ago. From green field site right to finish so I do understand your stress. The finish line is finally in sight for you.
Try and negotiate with the timely contractor. It will be like water off a ducks back to the contractor he is doing this day in day out. Pay up and get rid and move on because I guarantee you the timely contractor simply wont care. He has wasted enough of your time and caused more than a few sleepless nights for you,
Let them back and if all is not finished dont pay him and in writing give him 2 weeks to complete. If not completed get receipts from whoever finishes off. Deduct from his sum and that be the end of it.
 

VintageTea2019

New Member
Messages
7
So you would fully pay up as if the job was done as outlined to us at the start? Even though they have strung out the job for almost 6 months (triple the time it should have taken), have procrastinated on finishing and leaving us in limbo in terms of a finish date? There has also been other issues, too long to go into here but enough that we wish we had gone with one of the other quotes we got.

We repeatedly asked for a final date so we could move back in (3 kids so living without a kitchen for even a short time wasn’t an option) and thankfully the kitchen was mostly finished by the time school started back, even though other parts weren’t.

I would have thought that a request of a % discount of the final amount due would be reasonable given the issues experienced. Maybe that’s why builders act like this if there’s no financial consequences to not completing a job as promised at the start?!
 

VintageTea2019

New Member
Messages
7
I finished a self build just over a year ago. From green field site right to finish so I do understand your stress. The finish line is finally in sight for you.
Try and negotiate with the timely contractor. It will be like water off a ducks back to the contractor he is doing this day in day out. Pay up and get rid and move on because I guarantee you the timely contractor simply wont care. He has wasted enough of your time and caused more than a few sleepless nights for you,
Let them back and if all is not finished dont pay him and in writing give him 2 weeks to complete. If not completed get receipts from whoever finishes off. Deduct from his sum and that be the end of it.
I can only imagine the stress of a full self build!

Thanks for yours and for all the responses, I do appreciate all replies. I agree the frustration is getting the better of me but I do want to just get rid of them at this stage and move on. I just didn’t want to pay them full price if standard practice in this situation is to negotiate a reduction.
 

PaddyBloggit

Frequent Poster
Messages
3,359
I just didn’t want to pay them full price if standard practice in this situation is to negotiate a reduction.
Like the other posters, I think you are wrong in attempting to withhold such an amount of money.

Unfortunately, builds go over time, that's the reality of it.... pay up (and in full) when all snags are sorted. Move on and be happy with the job done.
 
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