Shoddy extension means couple face £100K bill to DEMOLISH and rebuild

Shoddy extension means couple face £100K bill to DEMOLISH and rebuild

February 2, 2022

Cowboy builder ‘walks off with couple’s £50,000 life savings after they ask him to work longer than a five-hour day’… but two-storey extension is so bad they now face £100K bill to DEMOLISH and rebuild it

  • James Bradshaw hired the workman to add a £70,000 extension to his family’s house in Wolverhampton
  • But when confronted about the shoddy workmanship, the builder quit the job as he ‘didn’t want the stress’
  • His disappearance in September left the family £50,000 out of pocket and living on a ‘building site’
  • A surveyor then concluded it needed to be completely demolished and restarted due to structural issues 

A cowboy builder who refused to work longer than a five-hour day is said to have walked off with a couple’s £50,000 life savings – and his botched two-storey extension is so bad they now face a £100,000 bill to demolish and rebuild it.

James Bradshaw says the builder he’d hired quit the job when confronted about his shoddy workmanship as ‘he didn’t want the stress’. 

Acting on a family friend’s recommendation, the couple agreed to pay almost £70,000 for an extension to accommodate their growing family that was supposed to be completed by August 2021.

But after months of issues and delays the builder vanished in September, leaving James and his family £50,000 out of pocket and living on a ‘building site’.

The 39-year-old says he has since had a surveyor assess the work that had been done, who concluded that it needed to be completely demolished and restarted due to structural issues.

When James contacted a solicitor he was advised not to bother taking the builder to court as he ‘won’t see a penny’ of his hard-earned savings again – even if he wins the case.

The sales director has now shared photos of the mess he’s been left with in a bid to warn other ‘conscientious and decent people’ not to fall victim to ‘cowboy builders’.

Acting on a family friend’s recommendation, the couple agreed to pay almost £70,000 for an extension to accommodate their growing family that was supposed to be completed by August 2021

But after months of issues and delays the builder vanished in September, leaving James and his family £50,000 out of pocket and living on a ‘building site’

By the time of their final meeting in September – two months after the extension was supposed to be finished – there was only an incomplete single-storey and a plank of wood blocking where the back door used to be 

James has shared photos of the mess he’s been left with in a bid to warn other ‘conscientious and decent people’ not to fall victim to ‘cowboy builders’

James, from Wednesfield, Wolverhampton, said: ‘The reason we were having the extension done is because we’ve had a daughter and we have three children living with us already – my son and my fiancée’s two children.

‘We were having the extension done to create two extra bedrooms and to extend the kitchen and dining room to have a bit more space for the kids.

‘It was shocking from day one. He never did a full week, he’d only turn up two to three times a week if at all and he’d turn up at 10:30am and leave at 3pm.

‘Every time the building inspector came to review the work he’d done it kept getting failed so he had to redo lots of it.

‘Eventually I said to him ‘you need to come in for a meeting because this just isn’t good enough’.

‘As he walked through the door he said ‘I’m going to give you your money back and you can get someone else to complete it because I can’t get it done and I don’t want the stress anymore’.

‘He only offered us £3,000 back and I just said ‘you’re a joke and you’ll be hearing from our solicitor’s. He left our house in the state it’s in and we haven’t spoken to him since.

‘It’s been a nightmare. It’s put a lot of strain on mine and my partner’s life and caused a lot of devastation for our family.

‘We’d been saving the money for about 15 years and we’d got a loan to help as well which we’re still paying back at the minute.’

The two-storey extension was supposed to create two extra bedrooms and an extended kitchen and dining area within 14 weeks, for an agreed cost of £68,450.

By the time of their final meeting in September – two months after the extension was supposed to be finished – there was only an incomplete single-storey and a plank of wood blocking where the back door used to be.

The following month, an independent building survey confirmed that what was built was plagued with structural issues and needed to be completely demolished and restarted, despite the parents already forking out a whopping £47,643.

The report found that the walls were out of square in numerous places and either had a cavity that was too wide or cavity ties that were too short.

This means they weren’t fully tied in and didn’t provide full stability.

It also noted that the entire structure was at risk of damp due to multiple issues, including mortar breaching the wall cavities, and ‘lazy workmanship’ was evident in the internal brickwork, where a broken brick ‘looked to have been jammed in place’.

The 39-year-old says he has since had a surveyor assess the work that had been done, who concluded that it needed to be completely demolished and restarted due to structural issues

The report found that the walls were out of square in numerous places and either had a cavity that was too wide or cavity ties that were too short

It also noted that the entire structure was at risk of damp due to multiple issues, including mortar breaching the wall cavities, and ‘lazy workmanship’ was evident in the internal brickwork, where a broken brick ‘looked to have been jammed in place’

 

Overall the report concluded: ‘Considering the overall condition of the build we would recommend that it is removed down to foundation level and the structure started again.’

Demolishing the work alone would cost an additional £875.

In light of this, James sought legal advice to try and claw back some of his hard-earned savings back to be able to rectify the nightmare build.

But the dad says that his solicitor then delivered the devastating news that although he would ‘definitely win’ in court he would ‘never see a penny’ of the £50,000 again because the builder could simply close the business down due to not having the funds to repay it.

James said: ‘I had a meeting with the solicitor and said ‘don’t tell me what I want to hear, tell me the honest truth’.

‘Her words were ‘the only person that wins in this is the solicitors because we get paid either way, it’s going to cost you £15,000 to £20,000 to go to court’.

‘She said ‘you will win in court but his solicitor will advise him to shut the company down because he hasn’t got the money to pay it back so you won’t see a penny’.

‘Two days after we received the court letter it came up on Facebook that the company was closed so I think he’s already shut it down.

‘We’ve looked into his history a bit now as well and he’s well known for opening companies and shutting them down – I think this is the fourth company he’s done that with since 2017.’

The family had new builders start at their home last week to demolish the unstable structure and restart the extension.

But at a new estimated cost of £109,000, they can no longer afford to get much of the project done.

The heartbroken dad hopes that by warning people about the ‘dishonest and unreliable cowboy’ he fell victim to, he can help other families avoid the same fate.

James said: ‘There’s nothing we can do now, we just have to bite the bullet that we’re not going to get anything from it because the system doesn’t support this kind of thing.

‘We’ve got new builders in now but because we’ve wasted so much money we can only afford to get the shell done and we’ll have to do the inside stage by stage.

‘The new quote to put right and finish it is £109,000 because there’s been a huge increase in prices of building materials and labour as well as the extra work of demolishing it.’

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