Home Remodeling: How to Handle Disputes with Builders
Knowing what to do when you enter into a dispute with a builder is important. While you hope that it never comes down to this, plenty of homeowners experience disagreements during construction projects. Before you hire your builder, it is important to do your research. Take a look at reviews, ratings, and insurance status. While this isn’t a guaranteed way to avoid disputes, it is a step that you can take to make sure that you are well prepared. Even with going these lengths to select the right builder, a lot can happen once the project takes place. If you find that you are in a situation like this, it has probably been the result of a misunderstanding. There are a couple of different ways that you can take action to defend yourself; the professional builders in London, KST Building Services, has outlined the details below.
How Do You File a Dispute?
If you find that you are unhappy with the work that has been completed, the first thing that you will want to do is document the results. Make sure that you also have a record of all the preliminary plans and discussions that happened prior to any work being done. Make sure that you have a clear contract in place detailing what was agreed upon and when it was supposed to be completed. If there are any discrepancies between these items and the final result, it is natural that you would want to dispute it. Which means, if you do not have any luck with complaining to the project manager, you might need to make a formal complaint.
Legally, the builder is required to inform you of the complaints procedure if you were to ask. Follow the steps that are given. If you cannot find this information for some reason, you might have to broaden your search. See if the builder is a member of a certain trade association. You will be able to then file a complaint there, mentioning the builder and the name of the company that he works for. Keep in mind that before you decide to try any resolution scheme, you must have proof that you have tried to resolve the issue directly with the builder first. This could include denied requests or just blatant cut off communication on his behalf. Even if it doesn’t seem important, document it in case you might need it in the future.
What Are Alternative Dispute Resolutions?
If filing a dispute doesn’t sound like something that you want to do, you might need to look into some alternative methods of resolutions. As detailed on Designing Buildings, an ADR involves a mediator of some kind. This person is assigned to your case to hear both sides of the story, without either party having to go to court. The mediation can also be accompanied by adjudication and arbitration. All three involve having a third party examine the situation and try to come to a fair conclusion for those involved. The judgment is all based on facts, so this is why it is essential to keep your records organized.
While this all sounds complex, it doesn’t have to be. No matter which type of resolution you seek, keeping clear records on your end will make any situation a lot easier to handle. Having a goal in mind is your right as a consumer, and as long as you were clear with the builder from the beginning, then there is no reason why your goal should not be met. While these are the main types of ADR, these are not the only ones. Depending on your situation, there could be other methods to try. Once you start the process, those assigned to your case will be able to tell you more.
How Can You Increase Your Chances of Winning the Dispute?
While the dispute is ongoing, remember that every part of the project is going to be scrutinized. This includes your past, present, and future actions. Being truthful is the only way to approach a situation like this. Even if you were to slightly fabricate your dispute in order to gain the upper hand, the truth would come out during the initial investigation. Being honest is always going to provide you with the best results.
Set up a remedial course of action that you and the builder agree upon. This can be a detailed plan to correct the work by a certain time for an agreed-upon fee. If you cannot get to this step right away, remain open to communicate with the builder. By keeping the lines of communication open, you are showing that you are willing to resolve the issue. Even if the builder will not cooperate, this will reflect positively on your case. One of the worst things that you can do is to simply withdraw all contact. During a dispute, this could mistakenly make you appear to be the one who is not cooperating.