I had a garage conversion done last year and it was great, it was inspected and the council signed it off, as they described it.
After the horrendous weather last month some damp appeared and I contacted the builder, he said he thought it was rain penetration due to the poor state of our walls and the pointing/cement which he said is literally just loose sand.
Until the heavy rain I have to admit all was ok.
Now the tricky bit, my builder said that all the work conformed and was signed off by the council, I contacted the council and they forgot to complete the certificate, lost file they said. So now I have the council threatening my builder with legal action and no certificate which the council won’t give me as there is damp visible and therefore it is not habitable. The council had a look and said it was the builder but the builder said until the damp cause was exposed nothing could be assumed and that the council were tying to pass the buck and take the focus off them. Can I or my builder take the council to court for negligence and who is responsible for the damp if it is not the builders fault. No damp was ever there before.
My builder has offered to investigate the cause of the damp but until it is proven what the cause is he want’s use to pay, he said if it is his fault he will pay us back and do any work to solve the problem.
Can you please advise as getting independent unbiased advice it seams is impossible.

Comments
  • Mark Brinkley

    Don’t hold your breath on suing the council. The council building inspectors have historically been immune from prosecution for negligence. Only if you use a commercial warranty on your building work do you stand a chance of getting insurance cover.

    You have a far better bet trying to sort things out with your builder who at least seems prepared to negotiate. It is often quite tricky to pinpoint the cause of damp issues. If it’s new work, then the builder should fix it. If it’s a wall that was not treated during the building works, then the responsibility will fall on you – it may be sheer chance that the water penetration has appeared now, after months of very heavy rain.

  • Lindsey Davis

    Hello Michael,

    As Mark said, finding the cause of your damp problem can be notoriously tricky. We’ve just published this article though which I hope will give you a few pointers.

    http://www.homebuilding.co.uk/advice/existing-homes/renovating/causes-of-damp

    Lindsey

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