Builder did a run­ner and ru­ined our home

Des­per­ate mum in plea for help af­ter wet­room dis­as­ter

Wishaw Press - - FRONT PAGE - Niki Ten­nant

A dev­as­tated Wishaw mum ploughed her life sav­ings into an ex­ten­sion to make life eas­ier for her dis­abled son – only for the builders to van­ish.

Now Cather­ine McKendry has is­sued a des­per­ate plea to lo­cal trades­peo­ple and vol­un­teers to help re­pair her ru­ined home af­ter the botched build­ing job.

Tear­ful Cather­ine says the home she shares with son James, who has cere­bral palsy and epilepsy, has been ru­ined by Fife-based builders who took £28,000 of her cash be­fore go­ing bust and leav­ing her with a botched ex­ten­sion that is “not fit for pur­pose.”

Mid­wife Cather­ine, 47, sank her sav­ings into the pro­ject, which should have given James a bed­room and ad­join­ing wet­room all on one level.

The job – which she awarded to James Thom­son, trad­ing as White­hill Builders Ltd, af­ter find­ing the firm through Rated Peo­ple – started in Novem­ber 2016.

Trust­ing Cather­ine trans­ferred £5000 a week by bank trans­fer as the ex­ten­sion pro­gressed.

Three weeks into the pro­ject, which was due to take six weeks, she says work­ers stopped turn­ing up, leav­ing her with a wet­room that does not meet ac­ces­si­ble stan­dards, wa­ter that doesn’t drain from the shower, a slid­ing door that fell off on first use, holes on the ex­te­rior and in­fe­rior plas­ter­work.

Cather­ine tried to reach Thom­son when she re­alised the ex­tent of the prob­lems but his mo­bile was un­ob­tain­able. She sent emails but heard noth­ing.

When she con­tacted a lo­cal con­trac­tor for a quote to rec­tify the wet­room and redo the plas­ter­work, she was hor­ri­fied to re­ceive an es­ti­mate of £ 9000 – money she doesn’t have.

The lo­cal con­trac­tor ad­vised her the wet­room needs to be ripped out, pipes re­laid and a new floor in­stalled with new fittings.

“There were prob­lems from the start. They cut through the mains elec­tric­ity for the whole street on the first day. By week three, no one was turn­ing up. Then I was told James Thom­son was in hospi­tal.

“Two of his work­ers came but did very lit­tle. The re­sult was we were sit­ting in a build­ing site with a hole in the side of the house cov­ered with tar­pau­lin over Christ­mas and New Year,” ex­plained Cather­ine, who said work re­sumed in Jan­uary. “The drain, which should be at the shower, is in the wrong place so the wa­ter doesn’t run away so the shower can’t be used. It is not fit for pur­pose.

“The floor moves when you walk on it and the place smells of sewage when you flush the toi­let. The place is also freez­ing. They added a tiny ra­di­a­tor as an af­ter­thought but it doesn’t work prop­erly.

“The toi­let is also too low – it’s not at dis­abled ac­cess height. None of the walls are straight, all the plas­ter work needs to be re­placed and the out­side area, which they promised to re­turn with a dig­ger to fix, was left with big holes and has not been fin­ished off or rough­casted.

“There were too many is­sues and they were not ca­pa­ble of sort­ing them. They have ru­ined my home and there’s no way of fix­ing it. I feel like I have lost ev­ery­thing.

“James is in his bed­room in the ex­ten­sion down­stairs but it’s freez­ing. He is 29 and a big lad. I strug­gle to get him in and out of the bath. He has cere­bral palsy which means he can’t use his left hand and epilepsy and af­ter he takes a fit he is in bed for a cou­ple of days.”

Cather­ine, who works at the Princess Royal Ma­ter­nity Hospi­tal in Glas­gow, is at the end of her tether.

The emo­tional mum added: “This is dev­as­tat­ing. I can’t af­ford to pay some­one else to do the work prop­erly.

“This was sup­posed to give James a new lease of life. In­stead, it has ru­ined our home and set us both back. It has left me in a dire fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion.”

And she ap­pealed: “If any­one knows of any lo­cal com­pa­nies or char­i­ties who would of­fer ma­te­ri­als, time or help to try to com­plete the pro­ject, I would greatly ap­pre­ci­ate their help.”

The Wishaw Press’s sis­ter pa­per, the Sun­day Mail, dis­cov­ered that Thom­son and his wife Al­li­son had been fined £ 300 and £ 1500 at Dun­fermline Sher­iff Court in Oc­to­ber 2016 for a string of breaches of trad­ing reg­u­la­tions.

The liq­uida­tors of their lim­ited com­pany, wound up by HMRC in Septem­ber for fail­ing to pay tax, have re­ported the Thom­sons to The In­sol­vency Ser­vice for re­fus­ing to co-op­er­ate. When the Wishaw Press at­tempted to con­tact White­hill Builders for com­ment, the line was un­ob­tain­able.

Al­li­son Thom­son pre­vi­ously told the Sun­day Mail that the job was only two days late, which Cather­ine re­futes, and that she had posted a glowing re­view.

Cather­ine said the firm had asked her to post on­line to help trade, mak­ing prom­ises the work would be com­pleted but it never was.

Thom­son had said the is­sue with the floor was not their do­ing, the ceil­ing was fit for pur­pose, the drain was where Cather­ine wanted it, the toi­let was pur­chased in agree­ment with Cather­ine, the walls were straight and the ra­di­a­tor meets reg­u­la­tions.

She de­nied the out­side of the prop­erty was left a mess and said: “We will not be re­fund­ing any money.”

Any­one who can as­sist by do­nat­ing ma­te­ri­als, skills or time should con­tact Cather­ine on 07488 259520.

This was sup­posed to give James a new lease of life, in­stead it has ru­ined our home and left me in a dire fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion

Gut­ted Cather­ine and son James

Shoddy work Left by builders

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