DOUGLAS JOHN & PARTNERS LTD., Unethical practices Dispute, Douglas John and Partners acted as contract administrator and principle designer on - Disputes Register
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Ref: 2217
Filed: 23/06/2023

Accused Company:


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Company number: gb-02662870

Grosvenor Lodge
72 Grosvenor Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN1 2AZ
United Kingdom

Allegation: Unethical practices

Value: GBP 155,000.00

Dispute details:

Disastrous experience

Douglas John and Partners acted as contract administrator and principle designer on my project, for a full house renovation and 2 storey extension.
The project went wrong from the outset as follows:-
I was never provided with the Contract, the Specification, the Tender Document or the Health and safety document. DJP state ‘these documents are more for the builder, so you might not have seen them’!
The tender pack was not sent to me.
No pre tender costs estimate were provided and cost planning to establish affordability.
No risk management exercise was carried out or pre-tender questionnaire to establish the relevant financial standing of the contractors.
No evaluation of the contractors suitability was carried out.
No time lines were adhered to the works took twice the length of time agreed due to DJP providing the contractor with other work.
Names and addresses of the companies tendering was not given to me or the tender return date only the contractors personal names.
No meeting was held with the contractor to discuss the works, prior to commencing.
No tender analysis was carried out.
They accepted a brief return from the contractor which left me exposed to extras.
An Asbestos survey was required to by law prior to works commencing DJP were notified of this by the structural engineer but DJP dismissed this saying ‘don’t waste any more money on surveys’ &no survey was carried out . DJ& Ptnrs. said it was an unnecessary expense and he thought everything would be fine. DJ& Ptnrs. exclude any liability for Asbestos as they ‘are not qualified in identifying or advising on Asbestos’. This was an extremely reckless piece of advice given by someone who had, by their own admission, stated that they were not qualified to do so.

Plans were submitted to the Planning Department without my authority, just 23 days after I bought the house nor was I provided with copies of the application to the planning department.

The tender was sent to 2 contractors of their choice, without discussing builder selection.
I put forward the name of a reputable local builder to tender, established since 1955 with long standing employees and a business premises who are financially sound, but DJP refused to include them in the tender, stating they only wanted to use builders they trust.
However, their ‘trusted builder’ was a company that had just gone into liquidation 4 months earlier with debts of £620,000, having lost their staff, business premises and the directors marital home. The Contractor was in the process of setting up a new company yet DJ& Ptnrs saw fit to send the tender to the new company prior to incorporation.

DJ&Ptnrs. paid no regard to Due Diligence and thereby exposed me to the risks of engaging a Contractor with no financial stability or resources and without a properly executed contract for me to rely on.

All materials were chosen without consulting me. I was treated like I didn’t exist.
I was unaware that in the contract it states that DJP have passed responsibility for the project to the principal contractor. The structural engineer stated that a principle designer is required for this project. DJP acted in that capacity but have tried to absolve themselves of any responsibility.
The contract states that I should be given a schedule of works and payments agreed before works started -this was not given.

The contractor presented invoices at random intervals, without a VAT number, which DJP accepted, each one was for the sum of £18,000 apart from 2 of £24,000 and DJP advised they were ‘fine to pay’. None were submitted in line with a valuation.

I was unaware that I should see the contractors insurance certificate and despite repeated requests for copies of the insurances held by the Contractor I have since discovered that the works commenced without any Public Liability Insurance in place.

I had no costs schedule and there was no accounting for what was spent by the Contractor and this left me vulnerable to extras and large overpayments.
The plumbing cost increased by 37% mid way through the project which DJP stated ‘they’ve done a lovely job so all good to pay it’.
They advised me to pay £3900 for 6 radiators, I obtained a receipt from the plumbers merchant for in the sum of £416.00.
I have paid the contractor £155,000, the works were not checked for defects before I was advised to pay the final bill, 3 days before going on holiday.
I have been left with £53,000 worth of defects and overcharging documented in a Scott schedule prepared by an independent surveyor on the advice of DJP and at a cost of £5,000 to me as well as a tender that was not properly carried out. This has been ignored by DJP and the contractor.
DJP admit the works are not of an unacceptable finish.
No snagging has been carried out.
No advice was given on new windows and doors no window company was selected prior to works starting and the products fitted have no FENSA certificates, the contract was awarded to a friend of the contractor. I discovered that the contractor received another quote for the windows that was £5,000 cheaper than the ones fitted and come with a FENSA certificate and a 5 year warranty.
DJP are continuing to recommend the same contractor to clients, despite telling me they would not be using them again due to the problems on my job. I discovered through Facebook that they left my job and commenced work elsewhere immediately.
DJP company accounts are poor, the company equity is £16,456 and I have seen no evidence of any professional indemnity insurance, which may well be voided by not providing the contract and not following the tender process.
My belief is that DJP’s aim was to complete the project as swiftly as possible in flagrant breach of the law.
I have been trying to resolve this matter with Douglas John and Partners and their contractor without any success, they ignore all communication from me. Following a critical review of the company this resulted in the director reporting me to the police on the grounds of harassment and Malicious communications, however, the police took the view this is essentially a critical review of a business and concluded this was a civil matter. This indicates the lengths that DJP will go to to avoid answering any questions about their conduct.
I am writing to put others on notice as to the mal practice I have suffered at the hands of Douglas John and Partners.

Attempts to resolve dispute:

I engaged a surveyor to carry out a defects report which was presented to DJP and the contractor in April 2022. A Scott schedule has also been sent setting out my claim all of which has been ignored and the surveyors attempts to communicate with the director of DJP was met with another report by him to the police alleging indirect harassment.

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sarah butt

United Kingdom