We're here to help builders with their contract disputes

Our Builder's Dispute Guide will help you with your cash flow, which is the single biggest killer of big and small businesses alike. To avoid cash flow difficulties, we give advice on the way to approach issues with projects and payments and how to communicate with customers who are not paying your invoices. This system, once in place, will enable all parties to set out their positions, so it is more clear what the reasons for the problems or lack of payments are. We also offer a fixed fee customer contract review, so please contact us if this is of interest.

We can help. Call us on 01935 823883

We're here to help builders with their contract disputes

A Guide to Dealing with Disputes

Builders are usually in a strong position, as ownership of materials can be retained until payment is received and generally know exactly where the client's property is. If payment is not made you can look to reclaim the materials or potentially the property.

To help you, we have put together free information to deal with disputes without the need to incur the costs of a lawyer, unless and until the matter gets complicated, or beyond your expertise. In the same way you would not recommend a lawyer to re-plumb or re-wire your house, we do not recommend you run all of your own litigation. However, in the early stage of pursuing a customer for non-payment, the issues will often relate more to building matters than legal points.

The guide is designed for smaller and more general disputes. We strongly recommend you instruct a solicitor to take over the case as soon as you feel you may be getting out of your depth. Legal action can be very stressful and can often take up a vast amount of time, when it is not your specialty. It has also been the result of a greatly reduced cashflow, for many businesses when their focus is taken away from the main business.

The Best Ways to Resolve a Dispute

The only guaranteed way to resolve a dispute is to go to Court and have a trial. However, this means a judge will make the final decision based on the evidence supplied, which means there is always the risk it will not be a decision you are entirely happy with. We usually suggest some form of ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) such as Mediation as a first step, as this can generally lead to a more fair settlement for both parties, plus it will not be as expensive and time-consuming as going to court. If ADR doesn't work, then Court is the only option, but this can be both complicated and a potential public relations disaster. There are standards of conduct that are expected of both sides, as long as both sides follow the principles set out on this website, both of their conduct is unlikely to be criticised, matters are more likely to settle and if they need to go to Court, it will be a much less painful process. You also have to consider "limitation periods", which are set time frames within which you are allowed to bring a claim. Please speak to us for advice if you are bringing a claim that is over 3 years old, as you may be what is called in law - "out of time".

5-Step Summary for Pre-Action Protocol for Construction Disputes and Engineering Disputes

Before you take on the Court system you are supposed to follow a number of steps designed to avoid unnecessarily going to Court. The "Pre-action Protocol for Construction Disputes and Engineering Disputes" sets out a model for how you should conduct yourself before going to Court. You do not have to follow it, but it may cost you more if you do not and the Court may stop your claim until you have complied with it, so the best advice is to follow it.

Ideally you should read the Protocol fully, but life is short and you may have better things to do. We provide a full 5 step summary guide here to help you.

Step 1 - The Letter of Claim

Step 2 - Acknowledgment/Response

Step 3 - Experts/Pre-action Meetings

Step 4 - Issuing Proceedings

Step 5 - Instructing Solicitors