Home refurbishment issues from Dorset Solicitors

Refurbishing your home?

| Published on April 30, 2015

Spring has well and truly sprung and it’s the time of year again when many homeowners seek help from professionals to refurbish their properties.

However, unlike most professionals (and James Bond), a builder does not need a licence to build. Knowing your legal rights will help safeguard yourself against the common pitfalls experienced in this unmonitored profession:

Poor workmanship and materials

The law implies in all service contracts that workmanship must be provided with reasonable care and skill. In addition, the materials supplied must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and match their description.

Therefore, you should:-

  • Inspect the work and materials; if they fall short of those standards, the workman may be in breach of contract.
  • Invite them to return to remedy the issue, which he/she should do at no further cost
  • When issues arise there is a tendency to withhold payment, however in doing so you may be in breach of contract. A workman is entitled to be paid a reasonable sum. If you want to withhold payment, reserve a sum which covers the remedial cost, and write to the workman explaining why you are doing this. Alternatively, ask for a discount.


Taking too long

Unless you have agreed a completion date, the law implies that the workmanship must be provided within a reasonable time.

A common cause of delay is the British weather.  Your workman should advise of any delay and ask for more time. However, if he/she is not on site when expected, write to them with a reminder of the agreed completion date, or set a new one, and if that is not met, advise them you will terminate the contract.

If you ask the workman to carry out additional work, ask how long it will take and agree a new completion date.


Deposits and Payment

It is common for a workman to ask for a deposit, often for materials.  On large projects the law entitles a workman to be paid on a stage by stage basis.

However, requests for large sums of money before work is carried out is an early warning sign of a workman in financial difficulty, or worse, out to pocket your cash. Always obtain a costs breakdown, avoid paying in cash and request receipts.

If you enter into a contract in your home you have the right to cancel within 14 days and get your deposit back.


For more information on construction issues please contact Michelle Dixon, Associate Solicitor at Humphries Kirk LLP on 01202 725400 or by email

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The first glimmer of light…

The announcement this week that the construction industry and property market is once again open for business, is the first glimpse of light at the end of the lockdown economic tunnel.

HK is open for business and our specialist team of property and construction lawyers is ready to help those wishing to move home,  invest in property, refinance and undertake development.

In the following weeks more industries will reopen and our community will continue to revive. I believe that with positivity the Country can fight off, not only Covid 19, but also the economic recession that is anticipated.

We are all looking forward to a brighter future but are mindful of the sacrifices made by each and every one of us over the last few months.  I know that the  HK team are here for our clients to support them and their businesses on the journey that lies ahead.  I may not be certain of what the future holds but I am certain that we at HK are equipped to provide the advice you need. 

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