Lutton-based builder accused of not finishing work worth nearly £100,000
A builder from Lutton is at the centre of a row over alleged unfinished home improvement jobs worth nearly £100,000.
Three customers of Jacob Weir (38) have contacted Spalding Today, claiming the builder failed to complete agreed and paid for contracts to construct new extensions at sites in Fleet Hargate, Long Sutton and Spalding respectively.
The value of the contracts ranged from between £16,880 and £55,600, but in one case, the customer concerned has carried on with the building work himself.
Mr Weir, of Lutton, has since confirmed that he has now filed for bankruptcy with the Insolvency Service.
One couple, Mark and Helen Murfet, of Fleet Hargate, claimed they had lost more than £50,000.
Mr Murfet said: “I'd put in a planning application in the summer of 2016 to build an annexe for my 70-year-old dad, Dave, so he could live with me and Helen after his wife died more than two years ago.
“The plans were passed by South Holland District Council, then Jacob Weir came down in August and gave us a really competitive price for the work.
“All the way along, we really liked him but then he asked us for £13,000 up front to get the walls built and for groundworks.
“We paid him weekly, according to a 12-week plan, and Jacob said that he wanted to be finished by December 2016.
“But in the last four months of 2016, we were getting lots of excuses from him.”
The Murfets spent the whole of 2017 trying to get Mr Weir to finish the annexe, including an approach to solicitors in an effort to get the work done.
Mr Murfet said: “We tried to do as much as we could to understand where Jacob was coming from and we tried to bend over backwards to meet him halfway.
"But we’re at a loss as to what to do and we can’t get any money back from him."
Mrs Murfet said: "It’s taken me a long time to come to terms with the fact that we’ve lost all that money.”
Complaints about Mr Weir were also made by Nick Coupland, whose late father John paid nearly £15,000 for an extension to be built at his house in Spalding between February and March 2016.
Mr Coupland said: “At one point, Jacob stopped doing the work so I paid him a visit to ask him, very politely, to sort it out.
“But we got to the stage where Dad kicked him off the job in June 2016 and some friends helped to get the extension towards the finishing stage before Dad died in November 2017.”
Meanwhile, Ian Bradley, of Long Sutton, paid more than £20,000 for an extension to his house between February and April 2017 which he claimed Mr Weir never completed.
Mr Bradley said: “We thought it would take eight weeks to build the extension but, whilst building a new foundation for it, Mr Weir broke through the overflow pipe of a septic tank.
"In the end, he left the extension with its roof on, but without windows and no roof strapping, the latter of which was dumped in a corner of the extension.
“I informed the police but they said that no action could be taken because it was a civil matter."
In a statement to the Free Press, Mr Weir said: “Regarding Mr and Mrs Murfet, I had a good working relationship with this couple up until 2017 when I started to face financial difficulties with my business during a very unpredictable time within the building trade.
“During this time, I tried to maintain my work for this couple but felt it wasn’t an option for me to remain committed to finishing the work for them and repairing the situation.
“However, even up until a few months ago, I had been delivering material to their site, carrying out works and supplying access equipment.
“I also made offers to them as to when windows could be ordered, but this was unacceptable to them.
"However, when I visited the Murfets in January 2018, I was fully transparent with them about my financial difficulties and the issues that I was facing with ill health.
“I informed the Murfets that I wanted to finish the work and was no longer working for myself in order to make this happen.
“They agreed that they would like the work to be completed as this was causing them some distress which I understood completely and my empathy was displayed to them.
“Regarding the late John Coupland, our working relationship ended mutually after I was unable to accommodate all of the additional works due to a full schedule of contracts.
“However, all previous works had been completed to satisfaction and this was both discussed and agreed formally with both parties, being in full agreement of all financial remittance.
“To the best of my knowledge, Nick Coupland was aware of this and his father was offered a ‘date of return’ to complete the works which had run over schedule.
“This was due to additional works being added to the schedule after commencement, but Mr Coupland chose not to wait and any monies owed to him have since been settled.
“Regarding Mr Bradley, I completed 80 per cent of the work during the early part of 2017 that had been contractually agreed.
“Then what ensued towards the final weeks of the work was a breakdown in customer/contractor relationships resulting in Mr Bradley terminating our contract.
“I've had no correspondence from either Mr Bradley or his wife since this event, even though they had informed me that they would be in touch to pursue any monies owed post-completion.
“In conclusion, after trying my hardest to make good of such a distressing situation all round, but failing, I have decided to file for bankruptcy after seeking advice.
“It is with great moral sadness that I have done this, despite the fact that many builders face bankruptcy every year.
“In fact, over a quarter of construction companies faced bankruptcy in 2017 and I have personally fought this until, regretfully, it became impossible for me to resolve the situation.
“There has never been any intention to mislead or deceive any of my customers, only a willingness to make amends of the situations they each found themselves in.
“Obviously, due to the nature of bankruptcy, any monies owing to my creditors is subject to investigation by the Insolvency Service and is therefore yet to be established.”