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Could I clarify what you refer to exactly when you refer to "Valuation". Do you refer to an interim bill from the builder please?
On what basis have you instructed the builder - I presume it was not a fixed price quote but rather an estimate. Is that correct?
Have you a formal written contract with the builder? Is it a JCT contract or something less formal?
On a monthly basis a received a "Valuation" this includes projected final cost, an amount for works completed, materials on site, amount previously paid and amount now due.
The build commissioned based on having a number of fixed items in relation to the build i.e. foundations brick work, roof etc and a number of provisional sums, e.g. windows, sanitary ware, kitchen units etc.
So to be clear the builder provided you with an initial estimate and submits accounts to you at regular stages through the build?
Did you sign a formal JCT contract with the builder or any form of written agreement?
I'm pretty certain I don't have a JCT contract as I don't know what that is. We do have a contract and it is referenced in each of the interim valuations.
Principally your rights will derive from the terms of your agreement however if it is not a JCT contract but rather one the builder has drawn up himself it is possible that one or more of the terms are unfair contract terms and could be unlawful. The general test is if a term is unbalanced and gives one party more rights than the other. Subject to this it may be that your agreement will set out the what the builder agrees to do in terms of invoicing. A JCT agreement for example provides the intervals that a builder will submit his invoices and what information he will include.
Regardless of what your agreement may or may not say you have the benefit of common law rights and rights implied into your agreement under the Supply of Goods and Services. These cannot be written out of your agreement.
Under the same the builder must reasonably substantiate any invoice he claims you owe and provide you with sufficient information to enable you to determine if the invoice is accurate and as agreed. This would include a breakdown of labour time spend, parts and materials and a breakdown of any VAT he is charging.
Until he has done so to your reasonable satisfaction the invoice is not payable as it is in dispute.
As to the builders "threat" for want of a better word, this could of course be one outcome but you are entitled to dispute any uplift in historic invoices just as you are any present and future invoices.
Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help with any further?
At this point I have paid most of the money relating to the build, if he doesn't provide me with sufficient information to determine if his historic invoices are accurate what can i do ?
If you dispute historic invoices firstly you can make a written request for a full breakdown of previous invoices. If he refuses to comply then you can either seek a court order requiring him to provide you with a breakdown or perhaps more simply if you have a rough idea as to the amount you suspect you have been overcharged then you could threaten to issue proceedings against him to recover the amount or alternatively if you have a final account to pay which is the same or more than the amount you feel you may have been overcharged simply refuse to settle his final account until he provides breakdowns as requested. You can withold the money on this basis by way of "set off" against any amount you suspect you have been overcharged.
If you wish to issue proceedings for monies you have been overcharged you can do so using the moneyclaim online service. If you wish to seek a court order for disclosure (though I suspect this will be a somewhat cumbersome approach in the circumstances you can use form N244 to apply for the same.
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