herald

Wednesday 18 July 2018

Judge orders 'charlatan' builder to repay €60,000 for slapdash work

Margaret Fagan, of Brompton Lawn, Castleknock, Dublin pictured leaving the Four Courts yesterday after a Circuit Civil Court action. Pic: Collins Courts
Margaret Fagan, of Brompton Lawn, Castleknock, Dublin pictured leaving the Four Courts yesterday after a Circuit Civil Court action. Pic: Collins Courts

A builder described in court as a charlatan has been ordered to repay a Castleknock housewife €60,000 over substandard work he carried out on her kitchen and utility room.

"There has been a complete absence of professional capacity on the part of this builder," Judge Terence O'Sullivan said in the Circuit Civil Court.

Barrister Carla Murphy, for Margaret Fagan, of Brompton Lawn, Castleknock, said her client would have to pay for the repair or replacement of the work that builder Christy Walsh had carried out for her.

Ms Murphy told the court that Walsh, of Briarwood Lawn, Mulhuddart, had failed to appear in court to answer the breach of contract claim against him.

The court heard Walsh had failed to turn up in court on several occasions.

Ms Fagan said she had entered a written contract with Walsh in 2007 for more than €60,000 to carry out building works to her kitchen and utility room.

She said the work was never completed and, as a result of poor workmanship, she had been advised she would have to have it all redone.

Civil engineer Tony Reale said that in December 2008 he inspected the work carried out by Walsh to the roof, walls and floors of the build.

Rotten

He had found rotten timber in the rafters, which had been constructed on a pitch level below what would be considered watertight or safe.

He said the low pitch level of the roof would result in a blow-back of rain under the slates, creating leaks.

Mr Reale said the general plastering work on the walls had been poor, describing it as "a very amateurish job."

"Generally, the whole system of workmanship was poor, haphazard and slapdash. It would not be fit for purpose and would require a complete reconstruction," he said.

He told Ms Murphy that such reconstruction work would cost in the region of five times the original €60,000-plus that Ms Fagan had spent.

Judge O'Sullivan said Ms Fagan had taken the not unusual road of having spoken to people the builder had done work for before and, unfortunately, she had not been given good advice.

"It appears Mr Walsh was a complete charlatan when it comes to building work," Judge O'Sullivan said.

He said Ms Fagan had behaved reasonably and had been taken advantage of.

The judge said Ms Fagan was entitled to have her money back, and he assessed damages at €60,000, the full jurisdiction of the Circuit Court.

Awarding costs against Walsh, the judge said: "There has been a complete absence of any professional capacity on the part of this builder."

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