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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 70511
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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I have been dealing with a home improvements company and had

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I have been dealing with a home improvements company and had verbally agreed for them to remove a wall and fit a patio door. the door was ordered along with some windows and we agreed the work to be carried out this week I contacted the company 3 days ago to which he advised that his last job had run over and could I find someone else to do the building work and he would fit the door and windows when they had finished I agreed to this and found another builder the same day we agreed that he would phone me the next day, the next day I tried to phone him but he was not answering, I then text him as I had heard nothing and received a txt back with measurements I txt straight back to check this was the frame size and didn't receive anything back I text later the same day to ask if he still wanted the job as he was not returning any of my calls or texts I text again the next day to advise that his services were no longer required as he was very unreliable 12 hours later he left me a voicemail to advise he would be coming weds morning to complete the work and if I don't allow him to he would take me to small claims he able to do this please???? sorry for the long question

Thank you for your question and welcome to Just Answer. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

Did you agree with him that time was of the essence?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Jo,


yes I advised him that the work needed to be done before the kitchen arrived on the 28th of this month.


I also advised that if this was a problem that he could just complete the building work and he could bring the doors at a later date but he has since said that he does not want to do any of the building work.


But did you use the words 'time is of the essence' when you actually agreed the deal please?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

hi, no I didn't im afraid I just gave him the date and advised that the work needed to be completed by then


Do you know if the doors and windows were made to your specification ?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

yes the doors were made to measure and the windows are replacement so I would imagine they are also. I am prepared to offer to pay for the doors and windows at the price he has paid for them but I have instructed another builder to begin work now which is what the original person recommended.

Thank you.

I am really sorry to be the bearer of bad news but I'm afraid you are in difficulty here.

Come what may, you didn't make time of the essence in the contract so the fact that he was a bit late doesn't void the entire contract.

You are under a contractual duty to let him complete. If you refuse to do so though then he cannot force you to let him do the work. What he can do is sue for the loss.

Unfortunately he does have a claim for the doors and windows but I note that you do not mind that. He does also have a claim for lost profits. That will not be the sum of money that was actually due under the contract but the sum of his profit if the contract had been properly performed.

Whether they would sue or not is another matter. Sometimes they do threaten and fail to sue.

If they did sue though you would lose I'm afraid.

I am very sorry if this is bad news.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

its ok lol, thankyou for helping me, but just to clarify will I have to pay both builders as I had instructed a new one when he advised he could not complete the building work sorry to be a pain

Ultimately you are locked into contact with both.

I suppose the newer one may be easier to cancel as he hasn't incurred loss? If so, then you would only have to pay the first.

You won't have to pay them both the full sum due under the contract but you do have to cover their lost profits and expenses I'm afraid.
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