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What should you do if a project goes wrong?

As soon as you are not happy with the project because something has gone wrong or the contractor has not done what you agreed, ask them to put it right. If they are willing, agree between you how they are to do this and ask them to put a plan of action in writing to you.

If the work has started keep a written note of lesser products being used that you did not agree to, unsatisfactory workmanship, unexplained delays or not following plans, take photos, keep receipts and make a note of dates. Keeping records will help you prove it is they who are in breach of contract.

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 says the trader undertaking home improvements, building or decorating should take reasonable care and skill. The trader should put the unsatisfactory element of work right and if this is not possible, give you a refund.  If the work is unsafe you should report the trader to Trading Standards.

When things go wrong
When things go wrong

If the trader does not correct the problem or give you a refund you could try writing a letter outlining your rights and contact act the relevant trade association if they are a member of one and explain to them what has happened. Not sure how to write the letter? The Citizen’s Advice Bureau has letters you can copy that will show  service provider you know your rights.

Still unresolved? You could try Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) where an independent person will look at your problem and decide what should be done about it, agreements that are made during this process are legally binding. It is much cheaper than going to court and some judges prefer if you have tried this route first before bringing a case to court. Some trade associations have their own ADR so try asking them before appointing your own. Consumer Dispute Resolution has a list of mediators.

More information about what to do if you have problems with building work can be found on the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website