Family ‘left homeless by shoddy building work’

Guy and Katie Wakeling with their children Martha and Jacob

Guy and Katie Wakeling with their children Martha and Jacob

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A family claim they have been made homeless after a builder left their house uninhabitable.

Guy and Katie Wakeling say they handed over their life savings of £25,000 to a local firm to put a dormer on their semi-detached bungalow in Much Hoole, near Preston.

But now inspectors have branded the work a “disaster” and told the couple and their two young children not to live there.

Mum Katie said: “We are having to live with relatives and we’ve been told there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it.

“The firm has ceased trading and trying to get our money back through the courts would be a waste of time. They don’t have any assets.”

The Wakelings, who have children aged two and four, moved out of their home in Middle Hey on June 22.

They say building firm FSPD Ltd of Tarleton told them the work, to add a dormer bedroom and bathroom, would take between four and six weeks.

But five months later, they still haven’t move back in and, when they called in building experts to examine the work, they say they were told the whole structure would have to come down.

“It all began to unravel when the builder went off with a bad back,” said Katie.

“The building inspectors hadn’t even been visiting the job. When they did they said the work was sub-standard, the materials used were cheap, there were no supporting joists and the windows were illegal.

“We were told that if we had moved in, it could have fallen down around us. It was that bad.

“It’s all got to come down and so all the money we’ve paid has been wasted. It looks like we’ll never get it back.

“We just don’t know what to do. We can’t afford to have it redone by another firm. So our house is uninhabitable and we haven’t even had an apology.

“We are just homeless and they have just walked away.

“I can’t believe how stupid we’ve been to hand over all the money we had to a firm which clearly didn’t know what it was doing.

“But we checked the firm out with Companies House, we got several other quotes, saw their insurance certificate and we got a reference. We didn’t give him all the money up front, we just paid out as the job went along. Yet even after all that, we’ve been left in this situation, without a home to live in.”

Dave Sutton, of FSPD Ltd, told the couple in text messages that he had been trying to find a way to sort out the mess, but had not been successful.

“I have tried to find the money to pay you back, but I simply don’t have it,” the text said.

“I am not being difficult, but I have done all I personally can. It’s now in the court’s hands.”

Katie added: “We have taken legal advice and we have been told that because they have no assets, it’s pointless going down that route and incurring more expense.

“We are left with a wreck of a house which we can’t live in and there is nothing we can do about it. It’s heartbreaking.”

Dave Sutton, director of FSPD, told the Evening Post: “My main concern is they (the couple) have been threatening me with violence.

“I’m quite happy to go to court and get this sorted the legal way but they aren’t. I’ve had contact with them and I’ve spoken to them and apologised but I can’t get the money and I can’t get it sorted.

“It’s been a cock-up from day one. And it’s bringing stress to my family which I don’t need.”

Katie denied any threatening behaviour. She said: “If you count asking for money back as threatening then we have, but not in a threatening manner.”

Phil Ball, director of Ball and Berry Ltd building inspectors, described the work as a “disaster”.

He said: “I went round to have a look and the whole job was finished but there were a couple of key things that jumped out straight away in the structure that weren’t right.

“I got them to take away some plasterboard and floor boards and quite clearly the job was a disaster.”

He added: “Hopefully we can salvage something.

“I’m waiting for her architect to present something back to me that we can try to work with, but it’s a nightmare of a job.”