Construction Law/bad roof job


Hi, it's a long story but we needed a roof repair, we didn't sign a contact but we did get a invoice on what was done. They were supposed to replace all the rotten wood in the front of the house and didn't, what can we do about this?

Dear Rose,

Thank you for this question.

If you discussed a scope of work prior to the roofer performing the work and agreed the price but he has charged for without doing it there are two possible scenarios. Firstly if the roofer has not detailed the work on his invoice it will be difficult for you to establish the terms of the original oral agreement; in essence it will be his word against yours. In the second scenario, if the roofer has detailed on the invoke that he performed more work than he did in truth your case is stronger as it is easier to evidence.

I assume that you have already discussed this with the roofer and he is not co-operative. You have not indicated the value of the work not performed, however I suspect that pursuing a legal action against the roofer in the first scenario will prove to be more expensive than paying for the work as an extra.

As my training is in English law I can only advise of the position under English law or for a jurisdiction where the laws are closely modelled on English law. You may be able to bring a small claims action, which you could pursue on your own to keep the costs low. You would have to provide evidence of your own position, which would be through witness statements of your discussions with the roofer prior to engaging him. In the first scenario the decision will turn on which Party is the most credible when before the judge.

I hope that this assists you.

Kind regards,
John Dowse

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John Dowse


Legal; contract interpretation; quantum; delay analysis. Practitioner in arbitration, adjudication and mediation.


Thirty-three (33) years experience in building and construction, at all levels both within contracting and consulting organisations. Practising arbitrator, adjudicator, and mediator. Faculty approved trainer for the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. Lecturer on construction contract forms and dispute resolution practices.

Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Institute of Directors Society of Construction Arbitrators

Various UK and International construction and legal publications.

LLB (Hons), Pg Dip (Legal Practice), MCInstCES MCIArb MIOD Barrister

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