To reduce the likelihood of disputes and disagreements;
If any problems arise
whilst work is in progress, or you are unhappy about any aspect of the building
work, sort it out with the builder at once. Do not leave it. You may not have employed the Architect to monitor the work during construction, but if the dispute cannot be resolved with the builder contact your Architect immediately. It is better to pay your Architect now than risk legal dispute latter. This emphases the need to employ qualified people.
Warranties are simply
insurance policies. They add protection, but also add to your costs. Choosing the right builder in the first place is better that choosing
any old builder, and then trying to cover the risk with a warranty. We have
acted in cases where individuals had to take the issuers of the warranty to Court
to obtain redress!
If the builder is a member
of a trade association they may have a mediation or arbitration service. However
if there is a dispute, and it cannot be resolved quickly by mediation, we would tend to recommend the Courts rather than arbitration.
Arbitration on building matters is seldom a cheaper alternative to time in
Court. Usually both sides will employ Solicitors and Barristers, and both sides will have professional witnesses. The costs usually greatly exceed the amount in dispute. We would advise, in the strongest possible terms, that all efforts should
be made to resolve any dispute before deciding on legal action.
Going to Court does not necessarily mean justice, and there are usually two sides to every dispute. You have to consider if there is substance in the other sides case. Are you also at fault? You have to ask is the dispute worth the potential cost, risk and stress. These are more difficult question than you may think. Often more pragmatism would save many from pain and would reduce loss.
It all emphasises that taking time to chose a Builder and the right Architect is time well spent. Courts are costly, and never certain. If possible they should be avoided.
If you are going to court employ solicitors with experience in building disputes.