My building work hasn’t been completed to a quality standard

Building work can be expensive and complicated. If a trader has done a bad job, it's important to know that you are protected by consumer law.

Supply of Goods and Services

If poor building work leads you into a dispute with your builder, it's important to know that under the Consumer Rights Act, which came into force on 1 October 2015, any building or decorating work should do the following:

  • Be completed with reasonable care and skill. This doesn't mean perfection but the standard you could expect from a reasonably competent contractor.
  • Be completed within a reasonable time, unless a specific time is agreed.
  • Use materials that are of satisfactory quality and fit for their purpose. This includes any goods supplied, such as appliances for a new kitchen.
  • Goods supplied must be as described. So new kitchen appliances mustn't just work properly, they must be the specific make and model ordered and must have all the features promised.

If you entered into your contract before 1 October 2015, you have the same rights under the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982.

Guarantees

Remember that where a trader guarantees their work for a set period of time, this guarantee does not affect your legal rights to have work done with reasonable care and skill, using materials that are of satisfactory quality, as described and fit for purpose. 

A trader cannot claim that you can't get a repair on any work that you discover is not up to standard after your guarantee period is over. 

You are legally entitled to have any issues that you encounter with the quality of work put right free of charge or to have any products repaired or replaced. 

Breach of contract 

If a builder fails to meet any of these conditions they will be in breach of contract, and you have the right to:

  • have any faulty items replaced or repaired (though in practice the builder or decorator can decide whether to repair or replace items, based on which is cheaper) and have any poor quality workmanship put right.
  • have any damage the builder or decorator causes to your property put right.

The Consumer Rights Act provides additional clarity on how builders must remedy problems and what constitutes unfair contract terms. 

See how you can complain about poor quality building work

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