Cowboy builder find £20,000 for shoddy work

A cowboy builder from Bristol has been sentenced to a Community Punishment Order of 187 hours of unpaid work and ordered to repay £21,000 to his victims, after pleading guilty to carrying out poor building work on a house in Brentry.

David Ward, from St George, was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court in a case brought by Bristol City Council’s Trading Standards Service.

The prosecution found that Ward, trading as Eastwood Home Improvement Limited, carried out building work that when assessed by an expert witness was found to be exceptionally poor and not in compliance with the architectural drawings or building regulations. He also failed to rectify the work or provide a refund to his victims.

Ward was sentenced, by Her Honour Judge MacMillan, and had to pay £9,000 or the £21,000 upfront to the victims, with the remainder being paid at a rate of £500 per calendar month thereafter over a two-year period. He was also issued with 15 days rehabilitation requirement.

Whilst working to build an extension on the house in Brentry, Ward failed to follow architectural drawings and specifications, leading to the work being incorrectly sized, walls being incorrectly positioned, and foundations being far too shallow. The victims’ statements described how they had taken out a second mortgage to enable them to build an extension and have had to take on additional loans in order to pay for the work to be rectified.

The expert witness described the work that Ward did in converting a garage as “truly abysmal” before concluding that he had only completed between 10 and 15 per cent of the work he was paid to do, concluding that there was “very little residual value to the works”. The victims explained that Ward’s actions resulted in them having to take time off work to deal with the stress, anxiety and depression caused by the experience.