Sunday 22 July 2018

'Charlatan' builder must repay €60,000 for 'slapdash' work

Margaret Fagan leaves the Four Courts yesterday. Photo: Collins Courts
Margaret Fagan leaves the Four Courts yesterday. Photo: Collins Courts

Ray Managh

A builder, described in court as "a charlatan", has been ordered to repay a woman €60,000 for substandard work he carried out on her kitchen and utility room.

Barrister Carla Murphy, counsel for Margaret Fagan, of Brompton Lawn, Castleknock, Dublin 15, said her client would have to pay for the repair or replacement of the work builder Christy Walsh had carried out for her.

Ms Murphy also told the court that Walsh, of Briarwood Lawn, Mulhuddart, Dublin 15, had failed to appear in court to answer the breach of contract claim against him.

"There has been a complete absence of any professional capacity on the part of this builder," Judge Terence O'Sullivan said in the Circuit Civil Court.

The court heard that Walsh had failed to turn up in court on a number of previous occasions.

Ms Fagan said she had entered a written contract with Walsh in 2007 for more than €60,000 to carry out building works to her kitchen and utility room.

Redone

She said the work was never fully completed and, as a result of poor workmanship, she had been advised she would have to have it all redone.

Civil engineer Tony Reale said that in December 2008 he had inspected the work carried out by Walsh to the roof, walls and floors of the build.

He had found rotten timber in the rafters of the roof, which had been constructed on a pitch level below what would be considered watertight or safe.

He said the low pitch level of the roof would result in a blow-back of rain under the slates, creating leaks.

Mr Reale said the general plastering work on the walls had been poor, describing it as being "a very amateurish job".

"Generally, the whole system of workmanship was poor, haphazard and slapdash. It would not be fit for purpose and would require a complete reconstruction," Mr Reale said.

Advice

He told Ms Murphy that such reconstruction work would cost in the region of five times the original €60,000-plus that Ms Fagan had spent.

Judge O'Sullivan said Ms Fagan had taken the not unusual step of speaking to people for whom the builder had done work before and unfortunately she had not been given good advice.

"It appears Mr Walsh was a complete charlatan when it comes to building work," Judge O'Sullivan said.

He said Ms Fagan had behaved reasonably and had been taken complete advantage of.

The judge said Ms Fagan was entitled to have her money back and he assessed damages at €60,000, the full jurisdiction of the Circuit Court.

Awarding costs against Walsh, the judge said: "There has been a complete absence of any professional capacity on the part of this builder."

Irish Independent

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