If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do a job, wait until you hire an amateur - Red Adair

I was recently asked by the Building Owner  to assist in a matter where their surveyor had died. Apparently he was a really nice guy.

I requested all the current documents to be emailed to me and I duly received two awards.  I had been informed that the surveyor had been paid in excess of £2k.

The works consisted of a single storey rear extension and a loft conversion.

The 'Award' announced the surveyor as 'agreed surveyor' appointed to act on behalf of all parties. It then goes on '.... the surveyor so appointed has selected Mr ........ to act as an 'independent' surveyor in accordance with the Act..... and if the two surveyors are unable to agree; a 'Third Surveyor' will be selected in accordance with section 10(8) of the Act.'  This is totally wrong, he has tried to create an agreed surveyor award from a two surveyor award.

The 'Award' referred to Sections 1, 3 (2.2) & 6. It referred to the notices which had been verbally served by the Building Owner. No drawings were handed over.

The works referred to, only related to the rear extension, no mention of the loft conversion.

'In witness thereof having set their hands ............. day of ....... 

Surveyor to the Building Owners and Adjoining Owners'

This award could create more problems than it purports to solve and could cost the parties a lot more money in the event of a dispute arising. 

Contractual muddle

The problem concerned contract administration, liquidation, subcontractor, damaged works.

Lee Kyson was was asked to ascertain liability for work that had been damaged during the course of construction. The Employer (E) had carried out some work himself and the Contractor (C) maintained that the E was at fault for the £9k cost of repairs.

C had gone into liquidation, the work had been carried out by a subcontractor, the original partners of C carried on with project, E had carried out some associated works himself. 

After having looked through the documents, contract and correspondence a very time consuming task, Lee ascertained that the partners of C who completed the project were liable for the costs of the repair.

However as a goodwill gesture E voluntarily contributed towards the costs.

Adjudication win - Building project in Ilford

Lee Kyson represented a local builder, based in Barking, who had his employment, under a JCT MW2011 contract, terminated and was then given 14 days to pay a £65k claim.

Lee suggested adjudication to determine the validity of the termination as he believed it to be invalid.

Lee represented, presented and argued the case for the contractor and won.

The Adjudicator found that the contractor was justified in not returning to the site following an argument with the client's representative and the resulting termination by the Employer defective, therefore invalid.. 

Construction Dispute - quickly agreed settlement

Work had been suspended due to delays in implementing the final part of the Party Wall Award for the basement, this was enough to halt all the work. The Contractor put in a reasonable claim for compensation, to cover his losses. A meeting was arranged, however the Employer brought in a ‘Contract expert’ from Devon who informed the Contractor there was no provision in the contract for compensation.

The Contractor spoke to a surveyor who recommended Lee Kyson.

Lee discussed the situation, looked at the contract documents and suggested another meeting with the Employer. Based on Lee's advice, C attended a meeting with E and subsequently agreed a compensation figure of £12½k and received a 16 week extension of time.  

Building owner refuses to acknowledge Party Wall etc. Act 1996

Lee Kyson was contacted by the adjoining owner (AO), in February  2016, as while she was away the neighbouring building owner (BO) had carried out notifiable building works without serving notice and causing damage and trespass of foundations  inter alia to the AO's property.

Having been appointed to act on behalf of the AO, Lee contacted the BO requesting that they appoint a surveyor under section 10(4)b of the 'Act', also offering to act as agreed surveyor.

The BO promptly instructed a solicitor. On expiration of the 10 day notice period Lee sought to appoint a surveyor to act on behalf of the BO. Despite having spoken to several surveyors they did not wish to accept the appointment as it was the AO's surveyor making the appointment. Finally a surveyor accepted the appointment.

This led to a protracted bout of correspondence between the parties. An award was finally served in August 2016 dealing with the damage caused by the BO, compensation to the AO, surveyors fees, legal costs, Arboriculterist's fees....  total £17,000.

Despite continual threats the 'Award' never was appealed.  

Builder wins case brought against him by solicitor

This situation arose when a Building Contractor (BC) carried out external rendering to the existing house and two storey side and single storey rear extension. BC had virtually finished the works and had already received 50% (£3k) of the quoted price. The Client (C), a solicitor by profession, decided he was not happy with the work and demanded that the £3k be returned.

Lee Kyson was requested by BC to inspect the rendering. The rendering left a lot be desired, however having a background in plastering and rendering Lee was able to suggest remedial works which would have given C a higher quality of work than originally quoted for. However, C had employed the services of Chartered Surveyor (CS) who compiled a report, a couple of Site managers and two ‘expert’ renderers all of whom who suggested that the rendering be hacked off and redone.

C commenced litigation to reclaim the £3k. Lee prepared a defence for BC; partly based on the fact that the ‘expert renderers’ grounds for hacking off the render conflicted with each other and all conflicted with British Standards for Plastering and Rendering.  

When in court the Judge informed C that his prospects were not good and after a short hearing from both parties judged in favour of BC. C requested leave to appeal, which was promptly denied.

Although there were various arguments put forward the basic reasons why C’s claim and the arguments against defective work failed:

·         The CS report conflicted with BS for plastering and rendering.

·         One ‘expert renderer’ stated that both the base coat and top coat of render were of the same strength and that the top coat should be of a weaker mix.

·          The second stated that both coats should be the same thickness and that as the top coat was thinner than the base coat it should be hacked off.

 In actual fact both the views of the ‘expert renderers’ were wrong; if both the base and topcoat are of the same strength the topcoat should be thinner, if both coats are of the same thickness the topcoat should be weaker.

Construction Dispute- Client brings in own workforce to complete works - Refurbishment project in Hackney.

The project, in Victoria Park, Hackney, was nearing completion, Contractor arrived on site one Monday morning only to find a bunch of workers using his tools and materials. The Client tells him 'its OK we'll finish it now'.  Lee advises the Contractor to pursue the matter through Adjudication. Contractor wins and receives £4,000 for loss of profit.

Copper Door

Construct a new 3 storey timberframe office building. The works involved the partial demolition of the existing building, excavation for new foundations and drainage, construction of the building including decor.

The 'copper door' was designed as a security door, to be able to slide back and forth with no visible sliding gear.

We will be negotiating with the client early next year when permission will have been granted for a change of use. The upper two floors will then be converted into two flats.

Timber Frame in Hackney

Construction of a 1bedroom timberframe houses. My early involvement with the architect during planning enabled us to hit the ground running, I project managed this scheme through to being ready for internal fitout, which the clients wished to carry out himself. I remained on hand for further assistance when required

The construction was carried out using 'loose' timber i.e. 'stickbuild'. My role included prelimanary costing, schedule & cashflow forecast, agreeing monthly valuations, procurement of labour & materials as well as site management. I personally did all the groundworks, supertructure assistance, external wall insulation and part of the slate walling.