Property owner must pay £81,000 for work completed on cancelled job

A dispute between a property owner and builder has been settled by the High Court, with the owner ordered to pay for work completed, even though he was not happy with it and the job was cancelled. 

The parties had entered into a JCT minor works building contract for work to be done on the owner’s property.

However, after some initial work had been completed, the owner was unhappy with the standard and refused to pay. In response, the builder refused to continue with the project. 

Both parties accused the other of repudiation of the contract.

The case was heard by an adjudicator, who found in favour of the builder and ordered the owner to pay £81,000 plus interest and costs.

The owner refused to pay, so the builder applied to the High Court for a summary judgment to enforce payment. The owner said he wanted a full hearing to determine the dispute. He also offered to provide security pending resolution of the court proceedings. 

He claimed the adjudicator’s reasons for reaching his decision were erroneous and the builder had been deceptive about pricing. He added that liquidation was a credible threat if he had to make payment. 

The court found in favour of the builder, saying it would always endeavour to enforce an adjudication award unless there were clear errors. 

There were no errors in this case. The adjudicator had considered all the evidence and come to a reasonable and understandable decision. Any issues the owner had over the builder’s pricing could and should have been submitted to the adjudicator for consideration. 

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of contract law.

Case Details

NOBLE CONSTRUCTION LTD v WILSON (2019)
QBD (TCC) (Veronique Buehrlen QC) 20/06/2019

           

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