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Need advice please - bad patio paving in the garden

Please kindly help point me the right direction, your comments are highly appreciated.

I moved into a new build development with bare garden. A colleague recommended me a guy so I checked with him too. The guy came and quoted at a very competitive price, he seemed genuine and polite so after a few rounds of emails back and forth, I decided to pay deposit done. (there is only a quotation, no formal contract).

My project is 6*6 sqm of pavement and the rest is turfing.

day 1, his guy only came to manually remove some top soil and put some hardcore down quickly. 2-3 hrs job done 
day 2, he and his guy came for one hour to compact the hardcore. I did question about not enough hardcore was put down, the answer I got is it is light use so 2-3cm is enough, maybe some more later.. 
they came 3 days later. 
day 3, full day paving, with only a spirit level, no strings or anything to control levelling. 
A few days after 
day 4, seal the joints with resin. 2 hrs max. 
Job done!

Then I noticed the patio looks strange! There is a big raise up to a corner and the answer was due to my ground condition.However, I showed them the photos of original paving and it was all the way along below 2 brick course. Also,the elevation map from the building site shows the area is flat so the raise was caused by their poor workmanship!

After I did the research online I found what they did was wrong: 
1. Patio needs to be 15cm below DPC, some areas that the paving goes all the way up to DPC, this is breaching building regulation. 
2. Not leaving enough gap to avoid rain splashback. Some gap were left to only 1-2cm, they were not even bothered to cut a single slab to make enough gap between the walls! 
3. Patio should be leveled or slope away from my house, not all the way slope towards my house, If it has to s, there should be some draining system in place, otherwise water can go nowhere but damaging my house.

Given these issues found, I asked the guy to rectify his job, he initially said I had to pay extra I refused, he accepted to redo it from scratch.

The second time he hired a digger and dug about 10-20cm, and poured some hardcore in, however he also put back some dirts he has dug out claiming that it was too much digging, I told him that 300mm below surface it was compacted clay done by developer, unless he has touched that base, how can he say he dug too much? His answer is rather vague and now the majority of the area is boggy and digging 10cm will form a pond of water.

He wanted the water to go naturally before he can compact hardcore. My point is, he hasn’t done enough digging.

I don’t think I could trust him on getting the job done properly so I wanna cancel his job. I would like to know what would be my right? Can I claim back what I have paid him partially or rather lose it? In this situation, what would be the best solution for water to drain and to have solid subbase?

Thank you

Posts

  • KT53KT53 Posts: 6,434
    If the job is not up to standard you certainly shouldn't be paying any more money.  I would suggest your chances of getting the deposit back are slim as they have spent time there and presumably have provided the slabs. 
    If there is a solid clay substrate it's unlikely the water will drain away easily.  The clay either needs to be dug away to slope away from the house or additional drainage installed.
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 5,671
    Oh dear, I’m sorry, it sounds as if you have been the victim of a cowboy builder. You still have a contract under UK and EU law, even though it is not an ‘official’ written contract - you have email records and a quotation and acceptance of said quotation - this is your contract.

    What sort of slabs are they - concrete, natural stone? This makes a difference in how they should be affixed and grouted and with what materials.

    Am I correct in thinking the slabs were laid directly on (hopefully properly compacted with a whacker plate) hardcore? How were they fixed to the hardcore? Hardcore is usually used to level out uneven areas prior to pouring a concrete mortar base for the slabs. It may be that whatever resin based grout used is also unsuitable for the slabs and will harden and crack.

    Laying up to your DPC is a shocker, as is not creating a proper fall away from the house.

    I agree with KT53, getting your whole deposit back will be nigh impossible. What I would suggest is getting a building surveyor or a trusted professional building company to come and have a look and propose remedial action, get the rectification done and then deduct this from the original quotation of the original guy. Problem is, the cost of remedial works will probably exceed the cost of the original quotation! Your only recourse is to the small claims court. The original guy will probably turn nasty.

    Sadly, you may have to chalk up the additional costs to experience. It’s always worthwhile getting several quotes even for small jobs. It’s also a sad fact of life that you need to know what needs to be done in advance, unless it’s a regular building company you trust to know what they are doing.
  • emilie.t16emilie.t16 Posts: 4
    Nollie said:
    Oh dear, I’m sorry, it sounds as if you have been the victim of a cowboy builder. You still have a contract under UK and EU law, even though it is not an ‘official’ written contract - you have email records and a quotation and acceptance of said quotation - this is your contract.

    What sort of slabs are they - concrete, natural stone? This makes a difference in how they should be affixed and grouted and with what materials.

    Am I correct in thinking the slabs were laid directly on (hopefully properly compacted with a whacker plate) hardcore? How were they fixed to the hardcore? Hardcore is usually used to level out uneven areas prior to pouring a concrete mortar base for the slabs. It may be that whatever resin based grout used is also unsuitable for the slabs and will harden and crack.

    Laying up to your DPC is a shocker, as is not creating a proper fall away from the house.

    I agree with KT53, getting your whole deposit back will be nigh impossible. What I would suggest is getting a building surveyor or a trusted professional building company to come and have a look and propose remedial action, get the rectification done and then deduct this from the original quotation of the original guy. Problem is, the cost of remedial works will probably exceed the cost of the original quotation! Your only recourse is to the small claims court. The original guy will probably turn nasty.

    Sadly, you may have to chalk up the additional costs to experience. It’s always worthwhile getting several quotes even for small jobs. It’s also a sad fact of life that you need to know what needs to be done in advance, unless it’s a regular building company you trust to know what they are doing.
    Hi Nollie
    Thanks for your kind reply. 
    The guy used 18mm calibrated sandstone slabs, which are combination of big and small one. I found the resin joints he used not very effective as cracked happened just a few days after, however this is not the key point, the key thing is he didnt do proper ground preparation. I am drafting a letter to terminate my contract with him and ask half of my deposit(650 out of 1300) back taken into consideration of purchased slabs (36sqm) 
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 77,443
    edited May 2018
    Some time ago we used the Small Claims Court system to good effect so keep that up your sleeve ... but get advice from the CAB before you embark on the process
    https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/law-and-courts/legal-system/taking-legal-action/small-claims/small-claims/


    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • emilie.t16emilie.t16 Posts: 4
    Some time ago we used the Small Claims Court system to good effect so keep that up your sleeve ... but get advice from the CAB before you embark on the process
    https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/law-and-courts/legal-system/taking-legal-action/small-claims/small-claims/


    Did you get your money back? This guy is not a registered company I dont even know if I can find him or not....
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 77,443
    Yes!  We won and were awarded costs ... he tried to escape his debts by moving to Spain but thanks to the EU we won.  :)
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • emilie.t16emilie.t16 Posts: 4
    Yes!  We won and were awarded costs ... he tried to escape his debts by moving to Spain but thanks to the EU we won.  :)
    That is great news! May I also ask how long it takes? Were you against a company or a sole trader? I might need to take this route eventually...
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 77,443
    To be honest I'm sorry I can't remember how long it took ... it was quite a few years ago now.

    And it was the other way around, my then husband was a builder ... the customer refused to pay the fourth stage payment for a house renovation ... he was happy with the job, it passed inspection and he sold the house for a huge profit ... it was a scam ... apparently he'd done it before in other parts of the country. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 5,671
    Hi Emilie, you’re welcome. Ah, sandstone slabs, probably Indian, really not suitable for laying directly on hardcore or using a cementitious based mortar to lay them if that what he used. Have a look at my responses to another poster on the topic: https://forum.gardenersworld.com/discussion/1011839/first-timer-replacing-patio/p2

    Bit of a hobby horse for me, but I can’t stress enough the need to use a flexible adhesive on top of a firm concrete base and battering the slabs to achieve a stable surface that won’t move or crack over time. Worth bearing in mind when you get the remedial works done. The grouting has to be flexible grouting as well, which I think I forgot to mention last time.

    You may be able to reuse the slabs, but any mortar (if any used) on the back will need to be ground off first and there will be the odd casualty. I would speak to a qualified builder first (a natural stone supplier might be able to recommend one) so you know what the extent of the remedial works are and whether the sandstone can be reused. A report or quotation for the work will help your case if it comes to the small claims court.

    Well done Dove for triumphing and good luck Emilie.
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