This was a building dispute in Victoria Park, Hackney.
The Building Contractor (BC) was requested to provide an estimate for refurbishment works at a Public House, Victoria Park in Hackney, the Client (C) had informed the BC that he [C] had already stripped out the building with his own team. On arrival BC noted and informed C that his team had removed load-bearing walls on each floor and that the roof was in danger of collapsing. Temporary supports were put in place and the services of a structural engineer sought.
BC provided an estimate and commenced with the works which consisted of two floors to be renovated as flats above; and the ground floor bar area. The structural works involved
· installing steel beams to support the roof and corresponding floors below where the load bearing walls had been removed from each floor, including the basement.
· construct a single storey rear extension which involved removing the ground floor walls of the existing rear 2-storey extension and inserting the steel beams to support the upper storeys.
· create an opening in the rear of the building and install a steel box frame to open up the existing bar area into the new extension.
The refurbish works were well underway and the structural work had just been completed. BC arrived on site one Monday morning only to find that C had brought in his ‘team’ who had been working over the weekend, had been and were using BC’s tools and materials and were carrying on the works commenced by BC.
C arrived and informed BC that his services were no longer required and that they (C and his team) would finish the works.
C asked BC if he would leave his carpenters to finish the bar area, as BC had no other work for them, at such short notice, he reluctantly agreed.
Approximately 1 ½ weeks later BC met with C, who was accompanied by his lawyer, to discuss the hours worked by the carpenters. C informed BC that the carpenters were no longer working for him and were now employed by C. BC informed C that he would issue a £4,000 invoice for loss of profit. C and his lawyer laughed.
BC issued an invoice for £4k, there was no response, BC issued a reminder. Having had no response from either Lee advised BC to serve a ‘statutory demand’. C’s lawyer proceeded to pester BC to withdraw the statutory demand, BC refused. C applied to the High Court Chancery Division for a petition to prevent BC from applying for a winding up petition. Lee had prepared an ‘argument’ for BC, however as it was not a construction court (TCC) and C wished to argue the case in court Lee suggested that BC was prepared to argue the case in court or Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR). The judge agreed and issued a petition to prevent BC from presenting a winding up petition subject to the outcome of either a court case or ADR. The judge made no award for costs, C had been seeking to claim £4k costs.
Lee prepared and presented the ‘Referral’ for Adjudication on the basis that C had failed to issue a ‘Pay Less Notice’, with fall-back provisions just in case the Adjudicator did not accept the Pay less Notice argument. C (Responding Party) put forward their argument.
The adjudicator found that the failure to issue a Pay Less Notice’ was sufficient grounds and awarded in BC’s favour. C had to pay the adjudicator’s fees of £4k.
It is estimated that C had to pay
· High Court and legal costs iro of £4k,
· BC £4k + interest,
· Adjudicator £4k,
· and their own legal advisor’s fees.
This was a building dispute in Hornchurch which involved claims of bad workmanship by the Client, a solicitor by profession.
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 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 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 refused.
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.
This building dispute arose when the works came to a halt and the Building Contractor incurred costs by having to put matters on hold.
The Contractor had a meeting with his Client regarding their dispute over the costs incurred by the Contractor. The Client brought in a contract specialist to attend the meeting. The Contractor informed Lee that he felt that he had been mentally beaten up and came away from the meeting being told that he was not entitled to any costs.
Following up on a recommendation he contacted Lee Kyson.
All the contract documents were forwarded to Lee Kyson and he reviewed them all and discussed the events that had lead to the dispute.
Lee formulated a response for the Contractor and advised him to arrange another meeting with his Client. Putting forward his argument as outlined by Lee he came away from the meeting with a 16 week extension of time and a promised payment of £12.5k.
On the positive side a good relationship was maintained between the two parties for the present and future contracts.
These are just a few instances where Lee Kyson has assisted in Construction disputes.