Handyman liability? (long, with boredom potential)

Page 2 of 3  
On Thu, 23 Oct 2003 09:44:00 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@jibbering.com (Jim Ley) wrote:

That's possible, and its also mentioned elsewhere in this thread by Owain on the 16th..... -- cheers,
witchy/binarydinosaurs
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Witchy" wrote | Question: | Now if this had happened over any of the other rooms the potential for | damage is huge, so who would ultimately pick up the tab for the damage | and repair? Me for not being around when the heating was used in anger | for the first time, B&Q for selling dodgy fittings or the | manufacturers of SpeedFit?
'Ultimately' doesn't really matter. You installed it, so you will be liable, including for any damage to your tenants' posessions. A neighbour had a rotting floor caused by a slow leak; it took out his floor, the joists, the downstairs neighbour's ceiling, and displaced two sets of tenants whilst the repairs were carried out. His insurance covered all the repair and redecoration costs to both flats (the insurers used their own contractors who were in and out job done in about 4 days) and I think covered putting the tenants up in hotels.
You could try to sue B&Q or Speedfit but (a) they can afford big lawyers (b) unless you get expert witness in to examine the component in situ - which will delay repairs and increase your incidental costs - where is your evidence?
Insurance is the moral, and it's because water leaks can do so much damage that plumbing and heating insurance can be comparatively expensive.
Owain
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@sruasonidyranib.co.uk says...

account. Hopefully the greater risks will bring greater rewards (if you set your prices right).
BTW I would never trust a pushfit joint for that sort of role. When I put in the pipework for the 1st floor rads I originally used pushfit but found serious leaks from the un-equal tees when I pressure tested with air. In the end I replaced all the Speedfits with compression joints. If there is any sort of tension/twist on Speedfits the seal is more easily compromised whereas compression joints get a much stronger mechanical grip on the pipe. Just my experience.
Paul (also another out-of-work IT contractor)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 16 Oct 2003 15:26:33 +0100, Paul Roman

Thanks everybody, insurance it is!
Personally I've never had bother with speedfit up until now but like you say, YMMV. Where this leak was I couldn't have used compression anyway, not without being more destructive to the flooring.
It's all experience in the long run.

Heh. "Welcome to uk.d-i-y, the source for all your out-of-work IT contractor needs :)" -- cheers,
witchy/binarydinosaurs
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
says...

ROFL !!!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

IAAL sort of. I would say without doubt the liabilty would lie initially with the person doing the work. The houseowner has a contract with you to supply goods and services and is relying on your expertise. You are responsible for the job and must face the music if it goes wrong. If you were held to account, you in turn could look to B&Q (or whoever supplied you with faulty merchandise) to cough up, but that would be your battle, not the houseowner's.
Martin
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

This is correct. The end user has the right to call you on the fact that you had provided the end product, which in the eyes of the consumer protection act, was not up to the job it was intended to do. It is then up to you to call on the equipment manufacturer for selling you a product which did not do the job it was intended to do.
Whether you get back from the fitting maker, what you've had to shell out on putting your part of the job right, is another matter. This is where contracts and terms of sale statements come into play. If you are thinking of carrying out business for others, then you most definitely need to cover yourself with all kinds of insurance's and assurances, just in case the unexpected does happen.
I did learn this the hard way when I first started. I nearly set fire to whole tenement building, don't ask, and from then on I realised that it could have cost me everything if the circumstances had gotten any worse be being dealt with so quickly to limit the outcome. The very next morning I found someone silly enough to give me liability insurance for both personal injury, you can't work when your badly hurt, and for property cover, because you never know when the unexpected might happen.
So covering your own ass, as they say, is the safest way to do things for others.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 16 Oct 2003 15:28:04 GMT, "BigWallop"

This is an area where operating as a sole trader can be troublesome, because as a sole trader you are more or less putting everything you own (home, etc) on the line. And sole traders are often not trusted entities because all it takes is for you to say "I'm a sole trader" and you are in business - and you can disappear just as quickly.
A limited company is better, because it limits the liability. If there's 50 quid in the company bank account then that's all a claimant can get at - UNLESS the proprietor/director has acted fraudulently or intentionally to use the limited company in a way which causes hardship to others, in which case the high court judge will move the limited company out of the way to let personal possessions pay the bill. A limited company cannot be set up overnight and various checks and balances are in place - and it can't be closed down without the Inland Revenue agreeing that the company can be struck off.
For anyone who might be interested, there's probably no value considering limited company status unless the numbers add up. It's a bit more expensive running an operational limited company because of the returns that need to be made to companies house and so on.
I am operating as a sole trader presently - but I bought the limited company name a short time ago and made it dormant with companies house, on the basis that that prevents someone else grabbing the name. My general plan is that if business picks up enough then I will transmogrify myself to limited company status.
Holy shit batman, I am managing director of two different companies and a sole trader to boot! Wahey! ;)
PoP
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Eggs are not all in one basket. Clever man !!! After a year of trading I also went limited and VAT registered, mainly to get myself in with the big boys. I noticed that I was not getting anywhere with tenders for larger companies because they didn't trust a one man bands, as you said earlier, so I thought I'd go the whole hog and get in there to step on some toes. Now there are days when I wish I'd just continued blowing my own trumpet. :-)) Ah Well. (sigh)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 16 Oct 2003 23:44:03 GMT, "BigWallop"

Now you've got me thinking.....
I've done some local marketing with letting agents and in the local newspaper, cards in shop windows, joined a business referrals group, and even gone so far as to put a new wheelcover with advertising on the back of the car.
I'm finding I still have a lot of spare time and wondering if the effort and expense was really worthwhile.
When I set up my first Ltd company 8 years ago I attended a local business centre for a free setting-up workshop. The chap who was running the workshop stated that getting VAT registered was a jolly good thing, because it gave corporate buyers a warm and fuzzy feeling that you weren't going to disappear overnight (customs and excise have very long sticky tentacles and you ain't gonna get away from then very easily).
By the sounds of it I should be considering moving up a gear in the near future rather than putting it off. One of the advantages is that I could reclaim all the VAT I have spent recently. Downside is that my domestic customers get stung for VAT.
Thinking cap on.....
PoP
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Hee Hee :-)) This is the rub. But you have to ask yourself where the money lies. Is your market made up of mostly small domestic customers ? If you are VAT registered, would you gain more commercial work because of it ? To make the company limited is always the best way to go in my opinion, so that goes without discussion.
I personally went down this road because I wanted the bigger commercial jobs (yes, I'm a greedy bugger), and to compete in the more specialist market places. The larger providers didn't keep up with the times quick enough to take on board the flood of new digital technology and were falling by the wayside. In steps I to take a chunk of the new market, but, the big commercial sites want to be able to claim the VAT back just as much as everyone else, so I was being left out of the tendering while the other big guys were catching up. I was (?) sort of forced into taking the C&E mans hand and bite the bullet if I wanted to gain a slice of the cake, as they say.
It's a big decision to make and should only be considered if you know it will give you good enough returns, so take time to talk to accountants and the VAT men themselves before you jump in. There is a lot gain from it, but it can also cripple you if you do it wrong.
I remember a saying by an old business friend, who has just recently retired from a very successful venture he'd started on his own some thirty years ago, and the saying went like this "All is fair in love and war" then he also added to the end of this saying "And Business". :-))
--
www.basecuritysystems.no-ip.com

Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 17 Oct 2003 07:05:39 GMT, "BigWallop"

My other Ltd company is VAT registered, has been for the last 8 years....C&E have been paying me money back the last couple of quarters.
PoP
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

--
Tim Mitchell

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 17 Oct 2003 14:42:54 +0100, Tim Mitchell

I guess I'm surprised it hasn't happened yet. But I'm not worried about anything, we play with a straight bat and my wife is absolutely ace at dealing with admin - we have a letter from the old NI people to prove it! Words in the letter were "....if I had to teach someone how a company should be run I'd bring them along to you to show how it should be done".
It was a wonderful NI visit 3 years ago. Inspector turned up, sat down, looked at the paperwork, asked for some random things for checking which were instantly handed over, and after about 3 hours she left with glowing comments with no problems having been found.
PoP
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

driving test examiners, display no emotion, and determined to find a problem somewhere.
Having said that we had a visit from the Inland Revenue, the lady was extremely pleasant, asked a few questions, said nice things about us and then next day sent us a bill for 5K in supposedly unpaid tax, which after much arguing they agreed was not actually due.
--
Tim Mitchell

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I was VAT inspected twice during the 11 years I was registered. On both occasions, the inspector (inspectors, the first time) were friendly, helpful, chatty and couldn't find anything wrong.

Figures.
--
"The road to Paradise is through Intercourse."
The uk.transport FAQ; http://www.huge.org.uk/transport/FAQ.html
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

maybe 100, annual costs to Companies House I think are 25 now (maybe a bit less, can't quite rmemeber) and that's all the statutory requirements. You may decide you need an accountant to do the annual accounts but that would apply if you're a sole trader too, the statutory requirement for lodging accounts you could fulfil yourself if you wanted.
Oh, and you have to have a company bank account. If you shop around that doesn't have to cost anything, after Flemings Bank became Carter Allen Bank and then started charging for their accounts I left them and am now with Abbey National Business which pays me interest on money in the account, doesn't charge for a reasonable number of transactions per month and all in all is ideal for a small Ltd. company. *Don't* use any of the 'well known' high st. banks for business accounts.

the costs are tiny.

--
Chris Green ( snipped-for-privacy@x-1.net)

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 17 Oct 2003 08:42:40 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@isbd.co.uk wrote:

I don't have a curt answer for that either. I kind of made the decision to grab the Ltd company name before someone else got there first. Decisions about using it were put on hold for a little while.
PoP
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 16 Oct 2003 15:28:04 GMT, "BigWallop"

Right. I'm not sure whether that puts me mind fully at rest or not, but it's helping :) Ta!
-- cheers,
witchy/binarydinosaurs
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

It's only meant as pointer Witchy, and not as rule, but when it comes up and bites you in the botty, you get a fright and then begin to think a bit more seriously about getting proper coverage. As you said at the start, your own incident could have been much worse, and as PoP points out, you face losing even more than your shirt.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.