Monday 14 October 2019

Couple awarded €67,000 after builder made a "mess" of extension

A COUPLE have been awarded €67,500 in damages over bad workmanship on an extension to their home which a judge described as "a mess".

Mr Justice Michael Peart said the building of the one storey extension to the home of Gavin and Michelle Collins, Jamestown Avenue, Inchicore, Dublin, had been a disaster and will have to pulled down and started again.

Mr and Mrs Collins had agreed a price with builder David Core of just under €30,000 for the extension  which was to include a larger kitchen as well as a utility room and a downstairs bathroom. The rebuild now, the High Court heard, could be in the region of €74,800.

Apart from having to rewire the house there has been severe foul and noxious odours throughout as a result of a faulty sewage installation, the judge said.

There has also been an infestation of flies and toilets have been blocked.

Mr Justice Peart said the fall of the roof is too shallow and there is pooling of water on it. The house is now also very draughty and it has become a very cold house.

The case was before the judge for assessment of damages only after judgment was obtained against Mr Core, Chapelwood, Kilmuckridge, Co Wexford trading as A1 Property Maintenance  two years ago in the High Court.

"Mr and Mrs Collins have been left with a mess", the judge said.

"They wanted a simple extension to the back of their house and due to bad workmanship by the defendant they have been left with one which will have to be substantially taken down and recommenced in a proper manner. They cannot  afford to do this," Mr Justice Peart said.

Mr Justice Peart said Mr Core defended himself against the damages  and claimed the Mr and Mrs Collins should have been held partly responsible for the problems as they caused some delay at the beginning of the project.

This was because they waited for a mortgage drawdown and this, Mr Core claimed put additional pressure on him to finish the job by Christmas.

Mr Justice Peart said he suspected that whatever the amount of the damages award Mr Core will have difficulties in satisfying it, particularly in the current economic climate and the severe downturn in the building trade.

It was clearly a job Mr Core ought never to have taken on, especially if he considered that the time available was insufficient to do the work properly or if the price at which Mr and Mrs Collins wanted to get the work done was unrealistic, the judge said.

"But he decided to accept the price of €30,000 and the Collins were thereafter entitled to assume that the job would be done to the proper standard. This has not happened," the judge said.

Mr Justice Peart said the Collins did not engage any architect or other professional to design and oversee the construction  and gave evidence that they were persuaded by Mr Core to use a draughtsman to prepare drawings was not needed and they could save themselves €300 by not engaging one.

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