Extensions Question

My builder has gone bankrupt mid build

My old builder had gone bankrupt (apparently or it may be an IVA or he may be doing a flit!!!). He hasnt completed the works but I was paying him in staged payments. I don't believe the work done is equivalent to the money paid. How do I get a good estimate of the value of the work he has done versus what I paid him so I can pursue him for the difference?
I'm resigned to paying a different builder to complete the work but I do want to go after my "cowboy" as a creditor

All help gratefully received

7 Answers

Best Answer

This is a grey area in terms of establishing the ammount of work remaining in a monetary value.

If A or another builder takes on say a full re plaster of a home. The total work value is £2500

£500 is materials

£2000 is labour

The builder recieves from you £500, all the materials arrive on site and he in affect is owed £2000 on completion.

He undertakes the upstairs skimming and asked for £1500, you pay him and he claims financial hardship and does not return, meaning you feel the £500 remaining is not enough to complete the work. That is a given, however there in lies a problem.

No one can force a rate upon the remaining work as it was agreed in price prior to the work. He may have completed what he saw as the bulk of the work in terms of effort/cost and the remaining ammount can be sub devided by him at his required rate.

Another way of looking at it is just because he worked for £90 a day prior to leaving, did not mean he would not complete the remaining work for £20 a day there after before he had to leave due to hardship.

I can walk into an extension thats 90% complete and say it will cost 150 million to complete, it has no sway in court, nor does a surveyors or architects report, as the reference material for basic and national rates normally is far higher than real world prices. For example, the expected industry rate for a plasterer is £20 an hour. Yet there are jobs advertising vacancies for £7 an hour, or people working for £30 a day 7 till 6pm, it holds no sway in litigation at all.

We had this issue with a sub contractor, and it cost me 11K in litigation. We could not claim against him in terms of the ammount of work left, apposed to the money remaining for the above reason so we sued for damages. Said sub contractor implied he was closing down due to hardship to us at the time. So we went for a personal claim, turns out he was on paper a man of straw, ie no worldy belongings, but his company was worth over 200K, we then tried to go at it through the company, by that time he'd transferred everything into his name and his wifes leaving the company worthless, it was a costly and time consuming waste of time.

My advice would be to deal with these things outside of court in whatever way you can. If you don't have access to back street collectors etc, then write it off as experience and move on.

Answered 11th Jan 2012

Holcombe Building and Restoration Ltd

Member since 12 May 2011

Ther are a coupple of ways to go about this:-

1) You can get a Builder like myself to compile a report and valuation for the works compleated.
2) You can appoint an independant witness to do the same ,he will be acting on behalf of the court and both partys will pay his cost.
The court rout is a costly and somtimes painful road to take.
any questions please ask not all builders are like this!!
regards Ashley

Answered 15th Jun 2011


Member since 3 Mar 2009

You can get a couple of good builders round to price up for the remaining works and ask them what they would value the works at, that have been carried out.
If he has gone bankrupt I dont think you will receive anything, you may find your on the bottom of the creditors list.
There is the small claims court, but this could be a long drawn out process and prove to be more expense, and sleepless nights.

Answered 15th Jun 2011


Member since 29 Oct 2008

Hi Horshambuild,

I would suggest all of the above maybe get 3 independant builders to provide a report, as well as seeking advice from citizens advice bureau, take with you any contracts, quotations, stage payment contracts.

Kind Regards

Answered 15th Jun 2011


Member since 21 May 2010

hi m j oliver joinery
i would go with the citizens advice they will tell you the best rout to take,
try and not get to many people involved it is going to be had work as it is.
get a report of a recommended builder who's jobs you can see and you could use the same builder to finish the job.

thanks matt

Answered 15th Jun 2011

m j Oliver joinery and building services

Member since 16 Jun 2011

I agree with BJD Building save your self a lot of sleepless nights,get a trusted builder round to finish the work ,then go to the small claims courts but I fear your have a battle to get any money back either way good luck.

(Greengate Builders)

Answered 15th Jun 2011

Greengate Builders

Member since 10 Apr 2009

I would also suggest Citizens Advice, they will give you the most precise route to go down, the one that is most cost effective and the one that should lead to the best outcome.

Remember to retain copies of all correspondence that you have from the original builder and all further building companies you contact in the future.

Getting money back off of them may be a fruitless search if they have gone bankrupt.

Kind Regards
Samantha Garcia

Answered 21st Jun 2011

Builders On Demand

Member since 11 Apr 2011

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