FMB and the RICS to set up nationwide dispute resolution service beginning at end of June

Builders will be able to settle disputes with members of the public in less than a month through a new independent complaints procedure created by the Federation of Master Builders and the RICS. At present, it can take up to two years to reach a resolution.

The news follows the drastic actions of one builder (pictured), who destroyed £15,000 of his own work after a client failed to pay for it.

The RICS is to provide a panel of adjudicators who will settle disputes over contractual issues within a 21-day period.

Under the terms of the process the losing party will have to pay all fees on top of any claims awarded. The adjudicators will charge about £110 per hour and will spend a maximum of 10 hours on a single case.

Ron Wilson, director of the FMB for Yorkshire and Trent, is leading the initiative. He said: “This will be much better than going to the small claims court, which often takes two years.”

He added that courts often lacked expertise. He said: “If you go to court, anything can happen because you don’t have a construction professional dealing with your case.”

The process is being rolled out between May and the end of June. The FMB says each of its 11 regional branches receives an average of one complaint a week. The type of disputes expected to be resolved by the 21-day process are domestic jobs involving arguments over the quality of the work, or extra work being added to the original programme.

Wilson said: “Until now, each of our regions has had its own approach to handling disputes. Now all complaints will be dealt with in a uniform manner.”

Nigel Gray, from West Sussex, knocked down a client’s porch and conservatory with a sledgehammer after she failed to pay his firm £15,000.

Gray approached Adur council about his payment problems and it agreed to help him with the demolition work.

He said: “There is no way I am going to be mugged off. I have two businesses and may have to close my limited company now.”


Some comments on Building’s website about the builder who demolished his own work:

Perhaps the BBC will consider a programme called Rogue Customers now.
Kevin Nind

Once the building is erected it becomes the property of the householder. The frustration of the builder is understandable, however the courts would have been the correct way forward.

Why is the operative not wearing any PPE?
Simon Davies

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