The defendants entered into a building contract in respect of significant refurbishment works that they wanted undertaken at home. The building contractor carried out the works in a manner and at a pace which was not to the defendants liking. The defendants therefore terminated the building contract before the works had been completed.

The claimant building contractor was invited to inspect the works of the first contractor with a view to him providing a quotation for the costs of undertaking and completing the works commenced by the first contractor. The claimant provided an oral quotation and the defendants subsequently engaged the claimant.

The work did not go well. It took several months longer than anticipated by the defendants, contained a large number of defects as seen by the defendants and cost far more than the defendants anticipated or were prepared to pay. In consequence, this action was started.

The first issue related to the terms of the contract between the two parties. There was no written record of the contract, the parties had merely shaken hands on an oral agreement whereby the claimant would carry out and complete the works at cost with a mark up of 20%.

The defendants claimed that there was a further term that the price of the works would be capped at £100,000. The clamant contended that the £100,000 figure was only given as a guide, had no contractual effect and was merely an approximate indication of how much the work might cost if carried out on the claimant’s terms.

The second issue related to whether the claimant had agreed not to charge the defendants the costs of any works carried out after a certain date. The defendants claimed that after failing to complete the works in a timely manner the claimant had agreed not to charge the defendants any money for work carried out after a certain date.

The third issue related to whether the defendants had a claim against the claimant in respect of defective and incomplete works.