Builder defies court and refuses to pay back customer in Thorpe St Andrew extension dispute
- Credit: Nick Butcher
It was meant to be a dream project which transformed the home of one Norwich businessman.
But instead he has spent more than a year in a legal dispute with a builder who has defied a court order to pay him back for an extension which went wrong.
Builder John Miller and his business HLD Construction were taken to Norwich County Court by customer Nick Chudasama in January 2016 who claimed the builder owed him £14,000, with legal costs, for failing to properly complete an extension on his house.
He then had to pay thousands of pounds to get the extension finished by another builder.
The 59-year old won the case but is yet to receive a penny from Mr Miller and HLD Construction.
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He said they had offered Mr Miller payment plans of £200 a month to pay the £14,052 but Mr Miller said he disputes the figure which is he why he has not followed the court order to pay up.
He said the figure from the court judgment was 'ridiculous'. 'I really don't feel that is justified,' he said. 'I have been advised not to enter into an agreement with him.'
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Businessman Mr Chudasama hired Mr Miller to build an extension on the back of his detached home on Joyce Way, Thorpe St Andrew in May 2015.
He paid him £12,500 in total but he said it then cost him another £15,680 to sort out problems with the single storey extension, which is why he took Mr Miller to court.
The new roof on the building had to be taken off and replaced because the one put on was leaking.
'It was so stressful, I felt ill,' Mr Chudasama said.
The work was meant to cost £15,500 and last around seven weeks.
The project began in May but Mr Chudasama said it was stop/start and by August he had had enough.
'My wife and I were saying for heaven's sake. It was a very nice day but we couldn't enjoy it at all. I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep.'
Mr Miller admitted there had been problems with the roof, but said the job had been done at cost price and the extension itself was structurally sound. 'We left it in a clean state,' he said.
The claim filed by Mr Chudasama's lawyer listed a series of faults with the work, including windows installed in the roof leaking and stating rafters supporting the roof were not strong enough.
Building inspectors were also not called in to inspect the work in accordance with building regulations, the claim read.
'Water was running down inside,' Mr Chudasama said. 'The roof had to come off completely because the wrong tiles were used. The surveyors said the beams were not deep enough to hold the weight of the tiles.'
The father-of-one said they were given good references and saw good examples of work done by Mr Miller beforehand. They also got other quotes.
Mr Miller said Mr Chudasama was a 'lovely guy' but they had disagreements over the project.
'I'm not a greedy person, I just draw a wage and try to do a decent job,' he said.
•What the law says
The judgement at Norwich County Court stated Mr Miller and his company should pay Mr Chudasama £14,052.49 'forthwith' in January 2016.
But Mr Miller said he has been advised to not enter an agreement to pay and disputes the figure.
He can no longer appeal the court's judgement, however, because too much time has passed.
If someone who the court has ordered to pay you does not, you can go back to the court and ask the judge to make the person pay. This is called enforcing the court order.
The court can force the person to pay by sending bailiffs to them, freezing the person's bank accounts or it can make an order for their bank to pay you the money instead.
You can also put a charge on any assets the person owes such as land or property.
That means when the asset is sold, the profit can be used to pay you, but you might have to wait a long time for that.