Feb 13, 2020 10:56 pm
Hi, I am looking for some advice based on people's experience as I have run into some complex and unfortunate situation.
I am building a new home through project builders in Brisbane (2 storey). I hired the electrical contractor myself directly. After 4 days of rough-in work by 2 qualified electricians, I noticed the work was not of the right quality. I asked 3 other qualified electricians and they all raised concerns, and that the work was not upto the standards, and not fit for purpose. I had asked the original electrician to reassess his work and fix things that he could but he refused to talk to me before I make 100% of the payment.
I insisted on fixing things before I could release any more payment (paid 65% plus). On his refusal to act any further, I engaged another electrician to do the work, after giving him notice of couple of days to fix. I was under pressure from the builder to complete work on time.
Furthermore, my builder later discovered that he had drilled holes in the joists - through the bottom of the posts of the joists and some holes were drilled less than 300mm away from the corner. Frame inspection failed by council inspector. The engineers are assessing the complete damage, as I write this post.
So the key errors he did, in summary
- poor workmanship on wiring - many were not clipped even where roof cavity was more than 600mm, and loose wiring all around the house, going diagonally across the house without any organised manner, wrapped around the timber, many number of wires from a same hole, short cuts used for some type of wiring etc.
- not as per plan - some power points were not as per location in the plan, and few light / power points were completely missed
- electrocution risks - smoke alarms circuit didnt have an earthing cabling, data and electric cables not isolated
- structural damage done to the property - drilling holes through load bearing structure etc
Things to support my claim
- I have pictures of the work the electrician had done
- electrician who did the rework / fixing of the above is preparing list of defects as mentioned above
- there was another qualified electricians inspected the site and he is also happy to provide few defects he noted in writing
- engineering report will be provided by the builders to support the structural damage
- I have made more than 65% of his total invoices (including the initial lead in work he did, and materials he bought), so I have not withheld everything
- he sent me a text message saying I have complete the work as per plan (no other written evidence on that, though)
Weakness in my claim
- there is no contract that I signed with this electrician (came through a known referral)
- he only gave the hourly rate, so he is saying I was working on pay for hours done basis and he would charge more to come back and do further work and he will only come back after I pay the due invoices (I have since used another electrician to fix certain things)
My builder is working out the total cost impact to me - for engineers report, joists replacement, revisit of plumber and aircon person if the joists are replaced as some of that work was going through the damaged joists, my new electrician will have to come back again and do more rewiring if joists are replaced. And other incidental costs I am not aware of as of now.
1. What should be my next steps? and what claim do I have against the original electrician?
2. Likelihood to get all my expenses back (as mentioned above) from the electrician?
3. Do you think the electrician can challenge any of the above, given there was no written contract and he was working on hourly rates basis?
4. What legal avenues do I have - small courts, QCAT etc? Any idea on the timeframe it can stretch, and how difficult these proceedings could be?
5. Any recommendation on any law firm who take such cases on 'no win no fee' basis?
Appreciate any insights / help / thoughts on above.
Re: Electrician poor workmanship and property damage2
Feb 14, 2020 1:14 am
4 days for 2 electricians to rough in a house, are you kidding. How big is the house. I used to rough in a timber framed single storey 4 x 2 by my self easily in a day. Firstly I am wondering why wouldn't you let the builder organise the job for the very situation you find yourself in now.
To be honest I think you are going to end up with a rather expensive electrical installation and a learning experience thrown in.
Re: Electrician poor workmanship and property damage3
Feb 14, 2020 7:59 am
Firstly I am wondering why wouldn't you let the builder organise the job for the very situation you find yourself in now.
I am more than wondering why the builder ever gave permission.
If the account is factual, then I also have to wonder whether the guy is even licensed. Surely this was checked. first up.
Re: Electrician poor workmanship and property damage4
Feb 14, 2020 9:05 am
Hindsight is a great thing - now I am into this, so just want to get out as best possible.
Builder had taken the licenses, insurance etc other details before the start of the work. My total outlay after structural rework etc would be higher than the cost of sparky bills. I am keen to understand how to recoup that, and that's why all the questions.
Re: Electrician poor workmanship and property damage8
Sep 05, 2021 12:10 pm
Not much I can say that has not been said already.
Every trip costs a ticket and you just paid a whopper for a poor ride. However you will live and hopefully learn, don't be too hard on yourself there isn't anyone that hasn't done the same at one point in their life.
Your biggest trump card is electrical licence, if you can prove defective work it may have impact on his registration and possibility of some refund from him.
A good advice will either save you money or save you from losing more
Even if you get an award from QCAT it does not mean you will get paid if electrician has no money of assets. So you may spend substantially more to get less or nothing.
On what you posted you will more than likely whistle Dixie, just don't whistle twice.
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Re: Electrician poor workmanship and property damage9
Sep 05, 2021 11:19 pm
Hi, this is old thread, fast forward I was able to win the claim and got all money back through their insurance. My first step was to complain to the electrical board authority and get an inspector visit and do the inspection themselves.
Re: Electrician poor workmanship and property damage10
Oct 10, 2021 11:28 pm
But you had an interesting experience that gave you knowledge. I think it should motivate you not to use such electricians anymore. I would advise you to take an electrician course like I did, and then you won't have such problems. Personally, I prefer to fix everything myself because it is more profitable and reliable. After all, you will not make a mistake in your house and will definitely do everything right. I am sure that you will help this resource: https://www.electricianclasses.com/electrician-training-cost/
Re: Electrician poor workmanship and property damage11
Oct 11, 2021 7:25 am
Kudos to you for the outcome but also for posting the update.
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