Family risk losing home after shoddy extension had to be rebuilt - costing £34,000
PUBLISHED: 06:15 19 February 2019 | UPDATED: 07:57 20 February 2019
A family has been left in thousands of pounds of debt after their extension was built to such a poor standard it had to be torn down.
Rachel and Simon Wade from East Rudham said their lives had been “turned upside down” by the nightmare project.
They had to take out a bank loan to repair the damage done by their builder and the couple now fear the debt repayments could force them to sell their home.
In September last year King’s Lynn court ordered their builder, James Smith from Pott Row, to pay them £33,970 - the cost of the repairs plus the original amount and court fees
He did not contest the claim but has not paid it.
Two months later a new building firm was set up at Mr Smith’s address, prompting accusations from the Wades that he was carrying on with his business as normal.
But he denied the new company, Maurice Building Services Ltd, had anything to do with him.
Mrs Wade said: “We went to court; we paid thousands in fees to do it the right way only for him to walk away and to wash his hands of it and nobody wants to know.
“To this day James has not paid us a single penny and we are now in danger of losing our family home as I cannot cover the cost of the monthly debt he has left us in.”
The Wades hired Mr Smith in February last year to build an extension on the back of their house for a new kitchen, garage and utility room.
They supplied the materials and paid Mr Smith £8,500 for labour.
The couple moved in with Mrs Wade’s parents, expecting to be back into their newly enlarged home by the summer.
But in June, when council building inspectors visited, they found a litany of poor workmanship, including on the roof and walls and said the work needed to be redone.
A second surveyor’s report agreed finding the damp course had not been installed correctly, as well as problems with the roof
The surveyor described the work as “haphazard” and said the construction “proceeded out of phase”.
Mrs Wade said they had to take the roof off as it was not supported properly and rebuild the walls.
They also found water running down their new kitchen wall.
She said: “We gave James the opportunity to come back and put right the damage he had caused but he declined.”
Mr Wade, 37, an electrician, said: “I have known him (James) for years. It makes you not trust anyone.
The Wades then had to pay another building firm to take down external bricks, the roof and replace doors and windows.
Mrs Wade, 33, who runs a coffee shop, said: “We don’t believe for a moment he did it deliberately but what he did was shocking. He didn’t know what he was doing.
“We think he was trying to do too much of it himself rather than bring in experts.
“He had the plans and we had planning permission but he just didn’t follow them.”
Before Christmas the work downstairs was finally fixed but they have no money left for the second phase of the work - building a family bathroom upstairs for the Wades’ four-year-old daughter Katie.
In response Mr Smith did not answer any of our questions but said: “At this stage we are currently taking legal action which is still ongoing.”
He did not specify what that legal action was.
•Let down in the courts
The Wades’ project is the latest in a series of cases which raise questions about how customers can get redress through the courts when building work goes wrong.
Two weeks ago we reported how a family in Costessey had paid more than £40,000 for a granny annexe in their garden which was not habitable.
Sam Elmhirst spent thousands of pounds on legal firms to get justice but just before the court case the firm she was pursuing, Hudson Garden Rooms Limited, went into liquidation meaning she could no longer pursue them.
The Wades meanwhile have paid around £8,000 in legal fees and do not want to spend any more.
They said they have hired bailiffs to try to get the £34,000 from Mr Smith but to no avail.
In 2016 we also reported on the case of Nick Chudasama who won a court order for his builder John Miller to pay him £14,000 for an extension at his Thorpe St Andrew home which went wrong.
Miller did not pay but Trading Standards eventually pursued a prosecution against him.
Miller was found guilty in January of fraudulent trading for work relating to Mr Chudasama’s project and six other customers.
He will be sentenced on Wednesday.
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