Taking builder to smalls claims court?
Situation is that we had our bathroom refitted in March 2013, looked great and we were really happy with the job. Then much to our dismay, the shower started leaking yesterday. Whenever it's turned on, it leaks into the living room ceiling/wall. Very disappointing - the workmanship lasted a whopping 7 months
I contacted the Bathroom Fitter and he basically said "it wasn't his problem" and "good luck fixing it!"
The Bathroom Company aren't registered with any trade organisations so I can't use their dispute mediation service.
Any legal types here offer advice on whether it's worth going to small claims court or whether we should grin and bear it and get it fixed (at our cost)
Any advice greatly appreciated.
SleepyHead (can't sleep)
Sorry about this situation, it is horrid, but sadly not unprecedented.
Not from legal, but I am from construction/engineering sector.
Before pursuing a small claims action, I honestly think it is worth finding where the leak is coming from.
Should it be the shower tray, it may simply be that it needs it's mastic seal re-applied as the tray has settled and pulled it slightly away from the walls, even a tiny gap will suffice to make a big water leak.
Should it be the shower waste then the tray may need to be removed, and the waste pipes looked at to see if the connections have failed. This is not as massive a job as it sounds, depending on the route the waste follows, and where the fault is. (Does the water come down directly under the shower or further away).
The problems start if it is a push/ fit plastic connector or copper fitting in the shower feed that has failed. This could be an easy fix, if it has failed directly below the tray, or re- tiling job, if it has failed in the section ftom the tray to the shower head.
So look to see exactly where the water is coming from before panicking too much. Until then, no showers or you risk soaking your floor joists, and having to re-plaster downstairs.
Write to the fitter offering him a chance to survey the problem and put the work right, before approaching other firms. This letter should be very polite but inclusive of an expected response time, explaining the urgency. Phone calls will not really count as well in small claims, and also allow him to be flippant and you to get angry, so best avoided at this stage. Also do you have all the original paperwork, invoices and any guarantees?