My Garden Has Gone Wrong! Do I Need A Landscaping Expert?
This is what you need to do if you think your garden landscaping or decking project hasn’t been installed correctly. “My garden floods, my patio holds water, my wall is not level, the render is coming off the wall, the gaps in my decking are massive, my deck moves when I walk on it, or even these are not the products that I expected…” are some of the reasons you may question what you have just invested into and are not happy.
If you want to withhold payment to a contractor or ask the contractor to give you money back because they are refusing to “make good” you may need an independent witness to write a report to assist you in your claim. Even if you are insured (or not) and you need an expert opinion you need an independent garden landscaping expert. This is how you find out if you need an independent expert, how to find one, and what to expect.
I don’t think what has been built is right!
Works may appear to be complete, and you may have paid your contractor; within a few weeks, months or even straight away you are having doubts about the quality of the work or products used. Items may appear to be loose, uneven, broken, or failing in some way. You have then made contact with your contractor to let them know what you think is wrong and you are not happy with their response or their remedy to make good. You’re still not happy and unsure what to do next…
You need a professional to confirm exactly what is wrong.
A garden Landscaping Expert is the person you need because they have deep knowledge of all things garden and landscaping. They can advise on the best course of action. They can offer advice on your project, the specification, materials used, methodology, quality of build and cost. They’ll also take a holistic view of your investment and present their findings by way of a site visit and professional report.
The PGCA (Professional Garden Consultants Association) should be your first port of call. They have a team of Garden Landscape professionals that offer their services as individual companies direct to you, the customer. These professionals are called “Expert Witnesses”.
It is the job of the Expert Witness to give the client or court their impartial opinion on the issues they have encountered on the dispute in question. This can only be within their expertise, in this case as a Garden Landscaping Expert.
The Expert Witness can provide CPR part 35 Reports (Civil Procedure Rules), Expert statement of Opinion reports, Expert statement of Fact reports, Distance reports, Extant reports, and Working practice reports.
When should I use an Independent Expert Witness?
Your Independent Expert witness is the person that writes the report of the failed elements of the project. You can then use this report in the following way.
- Present the report directly to the contractor to demonstrate your case and your intention
- Show this to your insurance company
- Present this to your Solicitor or legal counsel
What is an Expert Witness Statement of Opinion?
An independent expert witness will write an ‘Expert Witness Statement of Opinion’ to highlight any and all mistakes, failings and negligence of the project. This will help the client understand what should have been done. This will also show the correct method that should have been adopted in the first place. This information forms the foundation to start mediation between the client and contractor.
The side instructing the report is responsible for covering the cost.
What does Civil Procedure Rules Part 35 Reporting mean?
When these matters are taken to court, counsel may request an Expert Witness to provide a CPR Part 35 report. This is a standard document with a set format for the courts. Either the court or another expert may ask specific questions depending on what is in the report. It really does help the court’s decision in garden landscaping matters.
Independent Decking Expert Witness
Within the PGCA there are several specialities for elements of garden landscaping, decking is only one of them. There are paving, walling, natural materials, horticulture, irrigation, drainage and the like.
I think my decking has been fitted incorrectly, what do I do?
If you have reason to believe the decking works carried out haven’t followed the specification, were designed incorrectly, don’t look straight or level when perhaps it should, this is reasonable doubt and the best thing to do is seek advice from either the PGCA (Professional Garden Consultants Association), decking manufacturer or using Google to find an Independent Decking Expert Witness. When you email them enclose some photos of the project and a brief explanation of your possible claim.
A simple guide of what to look for in an incorrect decking installation –
- Does it look like what was designed?
- Have the correct installation instructions been followed?
- Has the frame been designed and built to EC5 standards or that of an approved association?
- Have the deck boards moved more than expected?
- Does everything line up and look square?
- Are the steps equal in elevation and within part K of the current Building Regulations?
- Does it move when you walk on it?
If your answer to any of these questions raises more questions you may need an Independent Landscaping Expert Witness.