A Statutory Notice was first served on Goldenacre Terrace in 2006, 6 weeks after I had purchased my flat. It was for work to the gable end of my tenement where a small area of render needed to be repaired.
The owners decided to try to do it privately, and a quote for £2,500 was initially agreed, however subsequently, as all the owners couldn’t agree to do the work, the Council took over the job. It was tendered out and after one contractor went bust the contract was awarded to Action Builders (a non framework contractor).
We were finally billed in 2010 for £6,300 each a total in excess of £50,000 for a job that was originally quoted at £2,500.
Before the first statutory notice was finished we were hit with a second statutory notice (also for Action Builders) who were still on site. The second statutory notice included extensive work on the roof, glass cupola and stonework to the front and rear elevation.
After the second statutory notice was served I decided to take action. I was already concerned about the increase in the scope of the work being undertaken and the huge increase in costs of the first statutory notice.
I immediately contacted the other residents in the tenement and suggested that we should manage the work ourselves to avoid another huge increase in the works and the costs, once this had been agreed I contacted the Council.
I was confronted on the telephone by a very angry person in Property Conservation who informed me that, “I would be better off staying with the Council as the contractors were already on site as the scaffolding was still up so it would be a lot cheaper”.
I enquired exactly what tendering process the Council had gone through to ensure that they had selected the lowest Contractor but I discovered that the Council had simply awarded the second notice to Action without going through any normal tendering process.
Unfortunately, as before, all the owners were unable to agree on doing the work privately, this resulted in the Council managing the second notice and awarding the contract to Grigg & Sons.
The work took 3 years and eventually cost £10,600 per flat a total of £84,800.
This time I wasn’t going to just pay up without a full investigation. I requested all the documentation from the Council, which arrived heavily redacted and without a final account. It was at this point that my neighbours and I decided to employ Gordon Murdie of Quantus QS.
Gordon very quickly identified many serious errors, overcharging and works undertaken that were not on the statutory notice.
I decided along with my neighbours to dispute the bill and requested a response to a long list of questions regarding the work, that was over 12 months ago.
Gordon Murdie has carefully scrutinised the first statutory notice account and found a charge for water, render and mesh, all items that could not be charged for within the terms of the statutory notice.
With Gordon’s help I took out three small claim actions and eventually won them all.
The three overcharged amounts were eventually refunded to me by the Council.
During this lengthy and difficult process I have found the Council to be obstructive, unreasonable, aggressive and threatening in their behaviour.
Furthermore, at no time has the Council apologised for the distress and inconvenience I have suffered to claim back what they wrongfully charged me.