Disputes with tradesmen

13.12.2 Updated on:

Major structural work

Complaints about major structural work can be sent to the Enforcement Section, Department of Planning and Building Services for a period up to six months after the work was completed.

Building construction and development disputes

If you are unhappy with the work done by a tradesman, you need to send a letter to them explaining why.  Keep a copy of the letter.

You should make an offer for the job i.e. to cover the costs of any materials that have been used and an amount for labour. Including an offer in your letter could be helpful because if the matter gets taken to Court, it shows that you tried to reach a settlement.

If the tradesman does not accept this final offer they must file a claim in the Petty Debts Court or Royal Court in order to sue for the balance.  The Court will then decide the case. If you have photographs of the work, these may be useful in support of your case.

If the tradesman is a member of a local Trades Association, they may be willing to investigate the complaint.

If the tradesman is a member of the Jersey Construction Council, there is a complaints procedure. Download a copy of the complaint form from www.jerseyconstruction.org.

Another option is to consider getting advice about mediation or arbitration to settle the dispute.

Damage caused to property

Tradesmen must take reasonable care of their client’s property but the client must take reasonable precautions e.g. removing or covering valuable items.

Most tradesmen carry insurance to cover accidental damage. Some household insurance policies may cover this. If insurance is not available or insufficient in your case, it is possible that you might sue for compensation.

Building Inspectors

Building inspectors have to check:

  • Excavation for foundations
  • Concrete oversite
  • Damp proof course
  • Drains
  • Completion
  • Faulty or incomplete work

After complaining in writing to the firm, an estimate or estimates could be obtained from other firms for making good the damage or completing the work. The original firm should also be given the opportunity to do the work but the letter should say that the cost of the job will be recovered by going to Court.

All papers and documents about the job and the work should be kept. In larger jobs, it may be worth employing a qualified building surveyor to give an opinion.

Additions to bills

OHP when written in a builder’s account or estimate means overheads and profits. The amount for OHP can be added as a percentage or fixed amount.

For information on your statutory rights when purchasing goods and services see Statutory Consumer Rights in Jersey.