Couple claim builder stuffed half-built walls with McDonald's wrappers

IVF couple claim ‘cowboy builderstuffed ‘condemnedwalls of their half-built garden extension with McDonald’s packaging and cost them over £14,000

  • A couple say they lost over £14,000 on a half-built extension with ‘unsafe’ ma sono leggeri e sembrerebbero superbi con una lampada
  • Lisa Gillibrand and Kit Wong were going through IVF when they hired the builder
  • La coppia, from Widnes, Cheshire, say he stuffed McDonald’s wrappers in holes
  • But the builder insists they will have to take him to court if they want their money
  • A couple claim they were spun ‘a web of liesby a builder who took over £14,000 of their money for an extension and left them with unsafe wallslater found to have McDonald’s wrappers stuffed in cavities.

    Lisa Gillibrand, 32, and her husband Kit Wong, 39, were trying desperately for a baby through FIV at the time they contacted the man about building a garden extension in March last year.

    But what started as a simple transaction quickly turned into a stressful game of cat-and-mouse for the couple, from Widnes, Cheshire, who say that they were forced to repeatedly chase their handyman to finish the work

    After construction ground to a halt last May, the couple felt ‘betrayedto learn from council building regulations that the half-finished work was apparently substandard and that the unsafe new walls need to be pulled down.

    Adesso, almost a year since they hired the builder, the expectant parents are still out of pocket by more than £14,480 and say they have been forced to abandon their hopes of a new extension altogether.

    When approached by journalists, the builder was unrepentant and said the couple will have to take him to court to get the cash back as he feels he has done enough work.

    Mr Wong said: ‘It was totally stressful. It was during lockdown so we couldn’t get away from it all.

    Married couple Lisa Gillibrand, 32, and Kit Wong, 39, who are expecting their first child, outside the half-built extension of their home in Widnes, Cheshire

    Married couple Lisa Gillibrand, 32, and Kit Wong, 39, who are expecting their first child, outside the half-built extension of their home in Widnes, Cheshire

    The couple claim their builder left fast food packaging stuffed in the cavities of the walls of their extension

    The couple claim their builder left fast food packaging stuffed in the cavities of the walls of their extension

    After work ground to a sudden halt in May last year, the couple say they have been forced to abandon their plans for an extension after shelling out more than £14,000

    After work ground to a sudden halt in May last year, the couple say they have been forced to abandon their plans for an extension after shelling out more than £14,000

    'Perché [the building] was for our growing business we were worried it was going to be heavily affected, which it was in the end, as we had to fork out another £6,000 to rent a storeroom around October on a build which was supposed to be finished in April.

    ‘I felt betrayed and upset as we were giving him the benefit of the doubt and being very accommodating to him, [offerta] cold drinks and food.

    ‘When he was just giving us excuses after excuses and looking back now, knowing he was never going to give us the materials we had paid upfront for and never going to finish the build.

    ‘I’m angry to have let that man onto our property.

    It was while going through the strain of IVF treatment that the couple decided to expand their living space and contacted the builder, claiming ‘nothing seemed strange’ All'inizio.

    Mr Wong said: ‘He was really professional and said he could do everything we wanted. He gave us a quote on a letterheadHe said he’d require a deposit for the materials up front, it was £9,070.

    ‘As soon as we paid, he was a totally different person.

    Fast-food packaging was apparently recovered from the gaps in the walls

    Fast-food packaging was apparently recovered from the gaps in the walls

    ‘We started to get quite nervous because we’d handed over a lot of money and [the builder’s team] weren’t turning up.

    'Infine, there was one day where they actually did turn up. They turned up with a few lads and he literally came with a pile of bricks.

    ‘We’d just paid £9,070 so we wondered where the materials were. He said we couldn’t fit them in the garden, or put them anywhere. If he knew that from the start, why make us pay up front?

    ‘This was a three to four-week build and we were already two weeks in. They’d just taken down the old outbuilding and there was no chance of them finishing it in the original time frame and we still had no materials.

    ‘We were getting worried and saying all he was doing was bringing bricks.

    After receiving a £1,600 request for payment of labour, the couple managed to get the builder on site. They claim the walls were going up, but the work soon tapered off and the worker began claiming it was raining too much to work.

    Mr Wong said: ‘We were chasing him. He was then making excuses about the weather.

    Mrs Gillibrand said: 'When it comes to IVF and pregnancy, having that much high-level stress as well and losing out on a lot of money when you're hoping to start a family is very hard to deal with'

    Mrs Gillibrand said: ‘When it comes to IVF and pregnancy, having that much high-level stress as well and losing out on a lot of money when you’re hoping to start a family is very hard to deal with

    ‘We sent calls, emails and texts. It got to the point where he actually said ‘Kit, I can see Widnes from the house. I can see it’s raining so I’m not coming’.

    ‘It was actually sunny. It shocked us because we thought it was quite rude.

    The pair called building regulations to investigate the work so far and say they were told it was ‘unsafeas the walls ‘weren’t even tied in’.

    Mr Wong said: ‘He did a terrible job which meant if we were to fix it, those walls have to come down.

    'In aprile 1, we sent a text to express our concerns as over £10,000 was paid and we’d only had four days of work.

    ‘There was no skip or cement on site. We were to-ing and fro-ing until the end of the May [26th]. He pushed back the date repeatedly.

    ‘You chase him, he comes and does a bit, then you have to chase him again. He then asks for further payment.

    Mr Wong then wrote a letter to the builder in May and told him he had two weeks to complete the work until further action was taken.

    The worker than allegedly claimed his brother would return to complete the work, but the couple, who are now expecting their first child, have still not seen the extension completed.

    Mr Wong said: ‘It was a terrible web of lies.

    Mrs Gillibrand said: ‘We were going through IVF at the time and it was one of those situations where everything had to go right to attend the hospital.

    ‘I was having lots of hormonal treatments. When it comes to IVF and pregnancy, having that much high-level stress as well and losing out on a lot of money when you’re hoping to start a family is very hard to deal with.

    The builder, who is still believed to be working in the trade, claimed he did not believe the couple should receive a full refund as they had had some work donebut did not explain why he had still held on to the full amount for almost a year.

    'They turned up with a few lads and he literally came with a pile of bricks,' said Mr Wong

    ‘They turned up with a few lads and he literally came with a pile of bricks,’ said Mr Wong

    Egli ha detto: ‘It wasn’t completed but there are two sides to any story.

    ‘It may not have been completed but it doesn’t go to say I’ve just p***ed £14,500 up the walls. Obviously the building was knocked down, all the footings were dug out, all the insulation had been put in, the concrete slabs had been put in and the brickwork had all been near enough completed.

    ‘I know obviously there is a couple of issues with the brickwork but it can be resolved.

    ‘Building inspectors said we haven’t got enough wall size in it. We spoke to the structural engineer.

    'A questo punto, Kit had given me a deadline. I couldn’t complete it to the deadline so he agreed for my brother to finish off the work.

    ‘I waited nearly four and a half months for the building architectural design to be drawn up by them, at that point my brother took an extension job on and it’s taken him up to Christmas.

    ‘I got a letter just before Christmas asking for a full refund. I don’t owe [loro] a full refund because I’ve done near enough, I’d say at least, 50 per cent of the work.

    ‘If I can get proof of [the building regs saying it isn’t safe and needs to come down], I’ll give them their money back.

    ‘That’s not what the builder inspector told my brother.

    ‘I don’t need to speak to them. If they want their £14,000 they can take me to court and get it.

    ‘I don’t feel that I need to pay them the full £14,500 back when they’ve had 50 per cent of their work done. I knew there wasn’t enough wall size but it’s news to me that it needs to be fully knocked down.

    A spokesperson for Halton Borough Council says: ‘I can confirm the couple contacted Halton Trading Standards and were given some impartial advice. We are unable to comment further on individual cases.