Saturday, 27 August 2016

Man cave: Day 366 - finally done

Exactly a year ago I posted that my garage conversion was finally starting.

Today I finally received the completion notice from the council.

The huge delay was caused by the fact that the project as a whole, for which I contracted BW Reed & Son Ltd, did not, as a whole, meet building regulations.

There were several issue which meant that the builder had to do a lot of work to prove the unconventional way he did the insulation did meet some of the regulations, and that took time.

But the final issue was ventilation - fresh air. To fix meant either a big fan, or windows that opened. The fact I have an outside door, which I can always open to get fresh air, and in internal door leading to a utility room with windows that open, and hence I could leave open to get fresh air, apparently do not count!

The solution I went for in the end was windows that can open. I am unlikely to actually open them, as I have air-con, and it would, most of the year, defeat the point. But they can be opened, and that means we do now have the final building inspection sign off.


Next step would be to work out who to blame?
  • The builders, BW Reed & Son Ltd, were engaged to do the garage conversion, and in that to meet building regulations. They arranged (and I paid for separately) a number of contractors to do things like electrical work, windows, flooring, decorating, etc.
  • The electrician put in power sockets, network sockets, and so on. The builder thinks it is his fault as he should have quoted for and insisted on a suitable fan.
  • The glazier is aware of some building regulations (such as secondary exit from bedrooms), and the council say that a glazier should be aware of regulations as they have to comply when simply changing windows. The glazier was not aware of the fresh air requirement.
I've asked the glazier if he thinks he should have know building regulations. I may ask some other glaziers. Changing the window cost £585, actually the same as the original window installation. So this is a straight extra cost for the mistake that somebody made. I may even try asking the CAB.

6 comments:

  1. According to a cartoon by my insurers - https://www.policybee.co.uk/blog/10340/claims-in-a-cartoon-1 - you should have a claim for neglicance against BW Reed even if it eventually found to be a third parties fault: it was them that suggested them...

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  2. This is the value of having a prime contractor who arranges everything. It is clear that any fault starts with the prime contractor and they can be taken to court. If they then choose to take action against the subcontractors that's their affair. But since you paid the other contractors yourself, it's not clear to me that you had a prime contractor in charge of everything. And it might not be clear to a court either.

    Good choice on having opening windows, much better than a hole through the wall and a fan you'll never use.

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  3. This is the valuable service that our elected masters provide, nobly keeping us safe from stuffiage.

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  4. "The electrician put in power sockets, network sockets, and so on. The builder thinks it is his fault as he should have quoted for and insisted on a suitable fan."

    Ridiculous! Why would the electrician be expected to ask about the type of windows you intended to fit? If he automatically added the cost of that to all the jobs he was invited to tender he'd never get any of them!

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  5. From your description it sounds like the builders may have been negligent. It sounds like it was they who took on the duty of care to ensure that the conversion was compliant with building regs. There's no suggestion that the individual contractors did not do the work that they were assigned to do to a reasonable standard. I assume they simply did what they were asked to do by the builders. In that circumstance, it is less relevant that you paid the contractors separately. If you don't mind risking another couple of hundred pounds you could take it to the small claims court and find out. There are books that will step you through the process.

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    1. Indeed, I know how to do small claims. I don't know the actual rules on who was liable. E.g. building arranged glazier. Glazier said "what style to you want", and one of his questions was "do you want windows that open?" and I said no as I'd never open them. At no point did anyone say "Then you'll need a fan or something". One possibility is a small claims against more than one party and judge can work out whose fault it was.

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