How to resolve conflicts with your builder

Here are some practical tips on how to resolve conflicts with your builder over outstanding work.

By Becca Green | 27 March 2020

Whether you’re experiencing project delays, unfinished work or poor workmanship, these practical tips advise on how to tackle issues with your builder.

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Whether you’re renovating a property, creating an extension or building your own home, the course of a construction project rarely runs smooth. However, some of the most challenging issues to tackle are those with your builders, especially where a project manager isn’t employed in the process.

Your issues may be related to poor workmanship or that they simply haven’t finished the work, but arming yourself with the knowledge of how to proceed where these issues to occur will help keep you in control of the situation. Read on for some expert guidance provided by CLPM Construction Project Consultancy.

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Image: Guilherme Cunha

Pull together contracts and agreements.

First things first, gather together a file with all of the relevant emails, estimates, quotes and contracts, all the way through from your initial conversations to the present day. “It’s important that you check through your paperwork and make sure you are clear on what was agreed, but also how things have evolved,” explains CLPM, incuding delivery issues or adverse weather.

Summarise these documents for easy reference, which may also help in building a picture if delays and issues may be considered fair and reasonable. Be sure to check your specifications and drawings too. Does your finished project match up with what was initially agreed?

Communicate effectively

Before escalating the situation, talk to your builder and explain your concerns. Whether or not you have a formal buildng contract in place, you have legal rights in place from when you instructed the builder to commence with work, so ensure that they know you understand what you’re entitled to.

In the case of unfinished work where you are struggling to contact your builder, write a letter to them, outlining what work is outstanding and offering a raalistic but firm date for completion of the work.

When it’s an issue involving sub-contractors, whether it’s an issue of work owed or sub-par quality, voice any concerns to your builder. They should be managing this, so avoid being drawn in unnecessarily.