The shoddy building work which led a court ordering builder to pay back £33,000

A builder who caused a couple to lose £33,000 through defective and incomplete work at their home has been ordered to compensate them in full.

Wednesday, 2nd October 2019, 4:56 pm
Updated Thursday, 3rd October 2019, 4:58 pm
A photo issued by Durham County Council of work on the couple's Murton home.

Simon McLean, who was paid more than £86,000 by the couple, including a loan of £13,000 which was not reimbursed, has also been given a suspended prison sentence and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work, following a prosecution by Durham County Council.

McLean, 42, who trades as Simon McLean Building and Roofing Contractors, appeared at Durham Crown Court for sentencing this week, having previously pleaded guilty to four charges.

These were engaging in commercial practice which was misleading; misleading by omission; and without due diligence; and possessing criminal property relating to the property in Murton.

Poor work on the house led to court action by Durham County Council.

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A series of concerns were highlighted with the work, with the council’s building control department and a chartered surveyor confirming issues.

The defendant was arrested and interviewed in November 2016.

He said the couple had kept adding extra work and that a lot of the extra costs went on wages.

McLean accepted there was bad management on his part but said he employed people who “could turn out a good job.”

Concerns were raised by the council's building control department and a chartered surveyor.

He disputed there ever being a loan but accepted there was a conversation where he told the couple he had ran out of money to complete the work.

McLean was ordered to pay compensation of £33,000 - £15,000 of which has already been paid back - and given an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

He was also given a community order with the requirement to carry out unpaid work, and told to pay £3,000 towards prosecution costs.

Owen Clough, the council’s consumer protection manager, said: “I hope the prosecution and sentence will serve as a warning to rogue traders of what can happen if they try and operate in County Durham.

The couple have been told they will be compensated for the problem project.

“I would also encourage anyone who is cold-called by tradesmen not to sign up to anything on the spur of the moment – take time to think through what you are being offered, obtain an itemised quotation for what work would be done and also at least three quotes from different traders.

“Only when you are satisfied that the trader has the necessary skills and experience to carry out the work should you commit to them starting work on your property.”

Anyone who has concerns about a trader and the work they have carried out should contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 040506.