Client: Chloe and Barbara Sword, owners of a terraced house in Lancaster
Brief: Overseeing insulation works in a poorly fitted shower room, in the role of Contract Administrator, acting as the point of contact between builder and local authority.
When an estate agent asked if their recently converted shower room had Building Regulations, Chloe Sword explained that the builder had said it wasn’t necessary. She soon realised he’d been wrong – and, after a visit from a Lancaster Council Building Control Officer – discovered that the lack of a Completion Certificate was likely to scupper their imminent house sale. The new room had formerly been a lean-to shed but was converted by knocking the kitchen through in 2022. Chloe admits it was her first project and had a “massive panic” when she thought it might have to be knocked down. Chloe and Barbara were told to check the new support beam was sound and to provide a set of U value calculations (the rate of heat transfer) to assess the room’s heat loss.
“The officer suggested I contact Jonny at Murton & Co who was very reassuring,”
“After speaking to the builder, Jonny calculated the U values for the building inspector who then asked for evidence that insulation had been installed. The builder wasn’t very helpful, so I approached another firm who checked and found there wasn’t any insulation in the roof, walls, or new concrete floor – despite the original builder having quoted for this work. I discovered this would invalidate the U values.”
Chloe’s mother Barbara met Jonny and the Building Control Officer to discuss the next steps in order to satisfy Building Regulations. Jonny then offered to undertake the Contract Administration and act as the point of contact between builder and council while monitoring the work being done.
“We were so stressed, but as soon as Jonny got involved, a massive weight lifted from our shoulders,”
“It was great having someone involved who knew exactly what to do and is such a good mediator.”
They discussed the option of engaging another contractor to carry out the works, but this would have cost Chloe additional money, Jonny explains, which, if she had wanted to recover from the builder who was at fault, would have involved solicitors and possibly court proceedings.
“Notwithstanding that, the law requires the defective party an opportunity to put right,”
“We all agreed it was best to engage with the original contractor.”
Chloe says the builder suggested they would have to pay for the repair works themselves, but after Jonny’s “firm-but-fair” intervention – explaining the firm’s obligations and stressing the project’s time-sensitivity – work quickly started. Jonny prepared the specification of works and engaged with the builder to remedy the defects, which involved dismantling the shower room fittings, removing tiling and plasterboard on the walls and the roof, then insulating and reinstating the fittings. The work was completed to a good standard and the room is now much warmer, reports Chloe, who received a Completion Certificate in time for their house sale to go ahead.
“Jonny’s involvement completely changed what was a very stressful situation into a simple one,”
“If he hadn’t been involved, it would have cost us £5,000 to make the repairs ourselves.”
“I’m glad I could help Chloe and Barbara resolve the problem quickly. Their experience highlights the problems that can arise when Building Regulations are not adhered to, and contractors don’t understand their responsibilities. There’s always a need for professional input when you’re carrying out building works.”
Murton & Co’s Contract Administrator responsibilities:
- Prepare specification of works
- Complete a JCT Building Contract with contractor
- Complete a JCT Consultant’s Agreement with homeowners
- Oversee the works, take visual record at key stages as evidence for Building Control
- Sign-off the works and issue a Completion Certificate