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Jenny Mackenzie
Jenny Mackenzie,
Category: UK Law
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Experience:  Over 10 years experience in general legal matters
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My friend has a building company. He is half way through a

Customer Question

Hi,
My friend has a building company. He is half way through a project for a customer. The customer has asked us to halt work. Whilst owing £10,000 for a completed stage payment, and also having ordered £8,500 of materials, which have not been delivered, but we cannot return. He hasn't given access to site for 2 weeks. They are under a contract, http://knightmaster.co.uk/content/uploads/2011/11/fmb-domestic-contract.pdf
Can you tell us what we should do, and what losses we can pursue by what method? Should he terminate the contract, or wait for them to terminate the contract?
The customer did give a deposit, which was used to secure the contract, and also is dipped into to fund every stage. He provided a spreadsheet a week before work stopped, showing where all the money was spent and allocated and what costs were. The deposit on paper has about £5000 left out of £25000. All work is on time as per the contract, in fact is 2 weeks ahead. All work has been checked by an independent surveyor and is all good.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Jenny Mackenzie replied 1 year ago.

Hello my name is ***** ***** I am happy to help you today. What reason has been given for asking to 'halt work'?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok this is where its complicated. Her partner who owns the house with her, was arrested for alleged rape, on a staff members girlfriend. We are treating both matters separately. She halted work, while she had time to "think" about the whole situation: Firstly stating that she would like to continue work. Then through emails, saying she doesn't believe money is due, then to an email saying she was going to appoint another accessor to look at the work and the current spend (although the council surveyor has already approved everything), now she's appointed a solicitor to await instructions... It is an unorthodox situation, but the criminal matters are being dealt with by other parties, and this contract is nothing to do with that. We have £2750 of staff costs allocated to that job until the new year, plus the outstanding amounts owed...
Expert:  Jenny Mackenzie replied 1 year ago.

Has she said how long the project will be halted for?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She hasn't said, first it was a few days, then a solicitor wrote an email:
Dear Sirs
Re: Building Dispute re 33 Mount Close
1. We refer to your e-mail of 26 October 2015 sent to our clients, xx xxxxxxx xxxxx and xx xxxxxx xxxx.
2. We are currently taking our clients instructions and would send you a reply in due course.
3. In the meantime, kindly ensure that you do not contact our client directly. All communications are to be sent to us.
4. We understand that you have issued a threat to interfere with our client’s property. Accordingly, TAKE NOTICE that you must not come onto or enter the property at xx xxxxx xxxxxx, xxxxxxxxx, xxx xxxxxxxx xxxx xxx. To do so would constitute trespass and if any criminal damage occurs, this would be reported to the police.
--- We said to her that we need our tools, and also our contract says all materials belong to us until we are fully paid, they have took this as a threat. We got our tools before this letter, as her partner let the boys on site.
But no date to restart
Expert:  Jenny Mackenzie replied 1 year ago.

Ok under the contract there is no right for either party to cancel

You need to communicate solely via the solicitor to say that you consider that they are in breach of contract and as such you will sue them in breach of contract for damages.

Damages are any loses you suffer as a result of the breach, i.e. any money not paid for work done, any losses in terms of materials that you have bought but cannot use and loss of profit for the failure to complete the job.

As they have instructed a solicitor it would be wise for you to do the same as it is better to set out the losses in a 'letter before action'.

Your friend may have insurance to assist deal with this kind of matter otherwise any high street litigation lawyer would be able to assist. As they are in breach of contract if you do have to sue them you can also recover your legal costs.

If you have any further questions please do ask. If I have answered your question I would be grateful if you would take the time to rate my answer. Thank you and all the best.

Expert:  Jenny Mackenzie replied 1 year ago.

Hello is there anything further you would like to know about this as I can see you have not yet rated my answer which is an important part of the process?

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