Compensation for poor workmanship on boat

Posted by Ian Jenkins on
Narrow boat

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BL Claims Solicitors specialise in personal injury, clinical negligence and travel claims, providing our clients with hands-on support, nationally.

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Recently, BL Claims helped Mr S to recover damages following work carried out to his boat.

Our client, Mr S was the owner of a 58-foot narrowboat. He verbally agreed, and subsequently confirmed in writing, to employ the services of a narrowboat specialist to carry out work to his vessel. This included fully repainting the Boat; polishing the brass fittings; installing new brass fittings and signwriting. A total fee including VAT of £7,875.22 was agreed.

After the work was completed, the vessel was returned to our Client. Initially it appeared that the work had been carried out to a satisfactory standard. Our client signed a Satisfaction Note.

However, about 3 months later, our client began to notice that his vessel was leaking. Mr S instructed BL Claims to investigate. We obtained a report from an independent marine surveyor who found the following problems: the fender eyes had not been installed or replaced correctly; inappropriate use of sealant and filler; gaskets had not been fitted etc. As a result, water penetrated the coachwork and passed into the interior of the vessel. Moreover, the polyester filler on the coachroof could not tolerate the natural movement in the roof structure. This caused the filler to crack. This cracking was unsightly and allowed water to penetrate underneath the filler itself, which caused corrosion to the coachroof.

It would cost our client £6,673.13 to remedy the problem.

Proceedings were issued. It was argued that there was an implied term of the Contract that the other party would carry out the Works using the skill and care to be expected of a reasonably competent narrowboat engineer.

Initially liability was denied. It was stated that our client had signed the satisfaction note and that the complaints were not reported until sometime after the work had been carried out.

However, the evidence from the Marine Surveyor was conclusive and the other party agreed to pay our client's loss in full rather than argue the point at Trial.

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About the Author

Photograph of Ian Jenkins

Ian is a Legal executive in our Travel team.

Ian Jenkins
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023 8085 7311

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