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.