1. THESE TERMS
1.1 What these terms cover. These are the terms and conditions on which we supply our services to you.
1.2 Why you should read them. Please read these terms carefully before you submit your order form to us. These terms tell you who we are, how we will provide services to you, how you and we may change or end the contract, what to do if there is a problem and other important information. If you think that there is a mistake in these terms, please contact us to discuss.
2. INFORMATION ABOUT US AND HOW TO CONTACT US
2.1 Who we are. We are Acres Building Consultants Limited a company registered in England and Wales. Our company registration number is 07768324 and our registered office is at Chart House, 2 Effingham Road, Reigate, Surrey RH2 7JN. Our registered VAT number is 125349911.
2.3 How we may contact you. If we have to contact you we will do so by telephone or by writing to you at the email address or postal address you provided to us in your order form.
2.4 "Writing" includes emails. When we use the words "writing" or "written" in these terms, this includes emails.
3. OUR CONTRACT WITH YOU
3.1 How we will accept your order. Our acceptance of your order will take place when we sign the order form to accept it, at which point a contract will come into existence between you and us.
3.2 If we cannot accept your order. If we are unable to accept your order, we will inform you of this and will not charge you for our services. This might be because of unexpected limits on our resources which we could not reasonably plan for, because a credit reference we have obtained for you does not meet our minimum requirements, because we have identified an error in the price or description of the services or because we are unable to meet a delivery deadline you have specified.
4. YOUR RIGHTS TO MAKE CHANGES
4.1 If you wish to make a change to the services you have ordered please contact us. We will let you know if the change is possible. If it is possible we will let you know about any changes to the price of the services, the timing of supply or anything else which would be necessary as a result of your requested change and ask you to confirm whether you wish to go ahead with the change. If we cannot make the change or the consequences of making the change are unacceptable to you, you may want to end the contract (see clause 9, Your rights to end the contract).
5. OUR RIGHTS TO MAKE CHANGES
5.1 Minor changes to the services. We may change the services:
- 5.1.1 to reflect changes in relevant laws and regulatory requirements; and
- 5.1.2 to implement minor technical adjustments and improvements, for example to address a security threat.
5.2 More significant changes to the services and these terms. We will let you know if we wish to make more significant changes to the services or these terms and will tell you how these changes will affect your use of the services. You may then contact us to end the contract before the changes take effect and receive a refund for any services paid for but not received.
6. SPECIFIC PROVISIONS REGARDING BUILDING SURVEYING SERVICES
6.1 Inspection: We shall inspect as much of the surface area as is possible but will not inspect those areas that are covered, inaccessible or unexposed, unless instructed to do so and, if so instructed, and opening up works or damage is necessary, you shall be responsible for engaging a suitable contractor for making good and the cost of the contractor and making good.
6.2 If instructed to do so by you, we shall lift loose floorboards or trap doors not covered by heavy objects or fitted floor coverings. Heavy items of furniture shall not be moved. It is your responsibility to arrange for heavy items to be moved prior to provision of the services. If you instruct us to lift up fitted floor coverings, you shall be responsible for arranging for fitted floor coverings to be refitted and the cost of refitting.
6.3 This sub-clause applies if roof inspection is within the scope of the services. We shall inspect roof spaces not higher than three (3) metres above ground level if suitable hatches are present. Other roofs shall be inspected using binoculars, except if we (at our sole discretion) is satisfied by evidence provided by your or our contractor that such roofs are not fragile, there are no other risks including asbestos and that safe means of access has been provided.
6.4 The inspection shall include boundaries, grounds and permanent outbuildings, if requested.
6.5 We shall carry out a visual inspection of a service installation where accessible, carry out a limited check that it is in working order (if requested) and advise if specialist tests are required. We will not test or assess the efficiency of electrical, gas, plumbing, heating or drainage installations or compliance with current regulations, or the internal condition of any chimney, boiler or other flue.
6.6 We shall identify any areas that were unable to be included in the inspection but are recommended for further investigation. We will not inspect woodwork or other parts of the structure which are covered, unexposed or inaccessible. All such areas will be assumed to be sound and in good repair and free from defects. We will not express an opinion about, nor will we advise on the condition of uninspected parts. This does not imply any representation or statement about such parts. We are unable to comment on the condition of inaccessible areas.
6.7 If requested by you, we may drill holes in elements of the property but shall not be obliged to do so and in any case, will not drill holes greater than 10mm in diameter. You shall be responsible for making such good holes.
6.8 If requested by you, for units forming part of a larger building or group of related buildings the inspection shall also include:
- 6.8.1 the remainder of the exterior of the building in which the property is situated;
- 6.8.2 the common services and communal areas serving the property; and
- 6.8.3 any garages and substantial outbuildings forming part of the larger property.
6.9 We will carry out non-destructive inspection. We will advise you if opening up works are required in order to report fully and provide a diagnosis of an issue. You shall be responsible for instructing a suitable contractor under a separate contract directly with such contractor and the provisions of clause 6.18 shall apply.
6.10 Hazardous material: We shall assume that no deleterious or hazardous materials or techniques have been used in the construction of the property but shall advise you of any opinion that such conditions exist and require further investigation.
6.11 Ground conditions: We shall not be required to comment on the existence of contamination but shall recommend further investigation by a specialist if necessary.
6.12 Consents, approvals and searches: If we are given a copy of the lease for the property, we shall report on any unusual or onerous restrictions. Otherwise, we shall be entitled to assume that the property is not subject to any unusual or onerous restrictions.
6.13 We shall be entitled to assume that all planning, building regulations and other consents required for the property have been obtained and we shall not be required to verify any information in this respect.
6.14 Drawings and plans supplied to us by you shall be inspected by us at our absolute discretion.
6.15 Report (if agreed as part of the scope of the services): We shall be entitled to assume that the property is unaffected by any matters that would be revealed by a Local Search, replies to the usual enquiries or by a Statutory Notice, and that the condition, use or intended use of the property is lawful.
6.16 The report shall advise you on the visible condition of the property with reference to any significant defects, hazards or other problems that are likely to have a material effect on its use or value.
6.17 The report shall include statements on:
- 6.17.1 the main aspects of the property including the site, location, design structural framework, fabric and services;
- 6.17.2 any serious defects;
- 6.17.3 repairs required in the immediate or near future;
- 6.17.4 any material defect or hazard that may affect the use or value of the property;
- 6.17.5 the grounds, boundaries and environmental aspects relevant to the property;
- 6.17.6 any compliance issues arising in connection with fire, environmental health or disability regulations;
- 6.17.7 any other issues requiring further investigation.
6.18 The report may include a schedule of works in relation to our recommendations, indicating costs and a total cost for works based on costs supplied by a contractor of your choice or suggested by us. If contractors are appointed:
- 6.18.1 The engagement of the contractor constitutes a separate contract between you and the contractor; and
- 6.18.2 You shall be responsible for paying such contractor; and
- 6.18.3 We shall not be a party to the contract between you and the contractor; and
- 6.18.4 You acknowledge and agree that we shall not be liable to you for any losses (whether direct or indirect), including loss of profit, arising in connection with any act or omission of any such contractor. For the avoidance of doubt, this shall not affect your right to pursue such contractors directly; and
- 6.18.5 You acknowledge and agree that we shall not be liable to you for any losses (whether direct or indirect), including loss of profit, arising from our reasonable reliance on the advice or any material, document or information produced by any such contractor. For the avoidance of doubt, this shall not affect your right to pursue such contractors directly.
6.19 The report is for the sole use of you and your appointed professional advisors only. You must not disclose the contents or any part thereof to any other third party without obtaining our written permission before doing so.
6.20 The report may advise that further specialist investigation is required for which additional fees will be chargeable.
7. ADDITIONAL SERVICES
7.1 If at any time you require us to perform any services which are not identified on the order form, you will pay us for such additional services at our fee rates set out in the order form or otherwise notified to you in writing, unless otherwise agreed.
8. PROVIDING THE SERVICES
8.1 When we will provide the service. During the order process we will let you know when we will provide the services to you. We will try to meet any time scale for services given in the order form but any dates are estimates only and we will not consider any deadlines to be essential.
8.2 Professional Indemnity Insurance. We hold professional indemnity insurance as set out in the order.
8.3 Damage to person or property. Except as permitted under clause 6.1, 6.7 and 6.9 in respect of surveying services in respect of below ground structures, we are not required to undertake any action that would risk damage to person or property.
8.4 We are not responsible for delays outside our control. If our supply of the services is delayed by an event outside our control then we will contact you as soon as possible to let you know and we will take steps to minimise the effect of the delay. Provided we do this we will not be liable for delays caused by the event, but if there is a risk of substantial delay you may contact us to end the contract and receive a refund for any services you have paid for but not received.
8.5 If you do not allow us access to provide services. If you do not allow us access to your property to perform the services as arranged (and you do not have a good reason for this) we may charge you additional costs incurred by us as a result. If, despite our reasonable efforts, we are unable to contact you or re-arrange access to your property we may end the contract and clause 11.2 will apply.
8.6 If you do not give required information to us. We may need certain information from you so that we can supply the services to you, for example, historical information on the defects, construction drawings. If so, this will have been notified to you before we signed and accepted your order form. We will contact you to ask for this information. If you do not give us this information within a reasonable time of us asking for it, or if you give us incomplete or incorrect information, we may either end the contract (and clause 11.2 will apply) or make an additional charge of a reasonable sum to compensate us for any extra work that is required as a result. We will not be responsible for supplying the services late or not supplying any part of them if this is caused by you not giving us the information we need within a reasonable time of us asking for it.
8.7 Reasons we may suspend the supply of services to you. We may have to suspend the supply of services to:
- 8.7.1 deal with technical problems or make minor technical changes;
- 8.7.2 update the services to reflect changes in relevant laws and regulatory requirements;
- 8.7.3 make changes to the services as requested by you or notified by us to you.
8.8 Your rights if we suspend the supply of services. We will contact you in advance to tell you we will be suspending supply of the services, unless the problem is urgent or an emergency. If we have to suspend the services for longer than 30 days we will adjust the price so that you do not pay for services while they are suspended. You may contact us to end the contract for services if we suspend it, or tell you we are going to suspend it, in each case for a period of more than 30 days and we will refund any sums you have paid in advance for the services in respect of the period after you end the contract.
8.9 We may also suspend supply of the services if you do not pay. If you do not pay us for the services when you are supposed to (see clause 14.4) and you still do not make payment within 7 days of us reminding you that payment is due, we may suspend supply of the services until you have paid us the outstanding amounts. We will contact you to tell you we are suspending supply of the services. We will not suspend the services where you dispute the unpaid invoice (see clause 14.6). We will not charge you for the services during the period for which they are suspended. As well as suspending the services we can also charge you interest on your overdue payments (see clause 14.5).
9. YOUR RIGHTS TO END THE CONTRACT
9.1 You can always end your contract with us. Your rights when you end the contract will depend on whether there is anything wrong with our services, how we are performing and when you decide to end the contract:
- 9.1.1 If our services are not correctly performed you may have a legal right to end the contract (or have the servicesre-performed or to get some or all of your money back), see clause 12;
- 9.1.2 If you want to end the contract because of something we have done or have told you we are going to do, see clause 9.2;
- 9.1.3 If you have just changed your mind about the services, see clause 9.4. You may be able to get a refund if you are within the cooling-off period, but this may be subject to deductions; and
- 9.1.4 In all other cases (if we are not at fault and there is no right to change your mind), see clause 9.5.
9.2 Ending the contract because of something we have done or are going to do. If you are ending a contract for a reason set out in clauses 9.2.1 to clause 9.2.5 below the contract will end immediately and we will refund you in full for any services which have not been provided and you may also be entitled to compensation. The reasons are:
- 9.2.1 we have told you about an upcoming change to the services or these terms which you do not agree to (see clause 5.2);
- 9.2.2 we have told you about an error in the price or description of the services and you do not wish to proceed;
- 9.2.3 there is a risk that the services may be significantly delayed because of events outside our control;
- 9.2.4 we have suspended the services for technical reasons, or notify you we are going to suspend them for technical reasons, in each case for a period of more than 30 days; or
- 9.2.5 you have a legal right to end the contract because of something we have done wrong.
9.3 When you don't have the right to change your mind. You do not have a right to change your mind in respect of services, once these have been completed, even if the cancellation period is still running.
9.4 How long do I have to change my mind? You have 14 days after the day we sign the order form. However, once we have completed the services you cannot change your mind, even if the period is still running. If you cancel after we have started the services, you must pay us a reasonable price up to a maximum of £500 for the services provided up until the time you tell us that you have changed your mind.
9.5 Ending the contract where we are not at fault and there is no right to change your mind. Even if we are not at fault and you do not have a right to change your mind (see clause 9.1), you can still end the contract before it is completed, but you may have to pay us compensation. A contract for services is completed when we have finished providing the services and you have paid for them. If you want to end a contract before it is completed where we are not at fault and you have no right to change your mind, just contact us to let us know. The contract will end immediately and we will refund any sums paid by you for services not provided but we may deduct from that refund (or, if you have not made an advance payment, charge you) the cost of time reasonably expended to that time as compensation for the net costs we will incur as a result of your ending the contract.
10. HOW TO END THE CONTRACT WITH US (INCLUDING IF YOU HAVE CHANGED YOUR MIND)
10.1 Tell us you want to end the contract. To end the contract with us, please let us know by doing one of the following:
10.1.2 By post. Fill in the form we gave you for this purpose and post it to us at the address on the form. Or simply write to us at Abbey House, 25 Clarendon Road, Redhill, Surrey, RH1 1QZ, including details of what you bought, when you ordered or received it and your name and address.
10.2 How we will refund you. We will refund you the price you paid for the services, by the method you used for payment. However, we may make deductions from the price, as described below.
10.3 Deductions from refunds if you are exercising your right to change your mind. If you are exercising your right to change your mind we may deduct from any refund an amount for the supply of the services for the period for which they were supplied, ending with the time when you told us you had changed your mind. The amount will be in proportion to what has been supplied, in comparison with the full coverage of the contract.
10.4 When your refund will be made. We will make any refunds due to you as soon as possible. If you are exercising your right to change your mind then your refund will be made within 14 days of your telling us you have changed your mind.
11. OUR RIGHTS TO END THE CONTRACT
11.1 We may end the contract if you break it. We may end the contract for services at any time by writing to you if:
- 11.1.1 you do not make any payment to us when it is due and you still do not make payment within 7 days of us reminding you that payment is due;
- 11.1.2 you do not, within a reasonable time of us asking for it, provide us with information that is necessary for us to provide the service, for example, historical information on the defects, construction drawings;
- 11.1.3 you do not, within a reasonable time, allow us access to your premises to supply the services;
- 11.1.4 you are the subject of a bankruptcy petition, application or order; or
- 11.1.5 you die or, by reason of illness or incapacity (whether mental or physical), are incapable of managing your own affairs.
11.2 You must compensate us if you break the contract. If we end the contract in the situations set out in clause 11.1 we will refund any money you have paid in advance for services we have not provided but we may deduct or charge you the cost of time reasonably expended to that time as compensation for the net costs we will incur as a result of your breaking the contract.
12. CONSEQUENCES OF ENDING THE CONTRACT
12.1 On termination of the contract for any reason:
12.1.1 you shall immediately pay to us all of our outstanding unpaid invoices and interest and, in respect of services supplied but for which no invoice has been submitted, we shall submit an invoice, which shall be payable by you immediately on receipt;
12.1.2 you shall return all of our material or equipment and any deliverables which have not been fully paid for. Until they have been returned, you shall be solely responsible for their safe keeping and will not use them for any purpose not connected with this contract;
12.1.3 the accrued rights, remedies, obligations and liabilities of the parties as at expiry or termination shall not be affected, including the right to claim damages in respect of any breach of the contract which existed at or before the date of termination or expiry; and
12.1.4 clauses which expressly or by implication have effect after termination shall continue in full force and effect.
13. IF THERE IS A PROBLEM WITH THE SERVICES
13.2 Summary of your legal rights. We are under a legal duty to supply services that are in conformity with this contract. See the box below for a summary of your key legal rights in relation to the service. Nothing in these terms will affect your legal rights.
Summary of your key legal rights
This is a summary of your key legal rights. These are subject to certain exceptions. For detailed information please visit the Citizens Advice website www.adviceguide.org.uk or call 03454 04 05 06.
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 says:
- you can ask us to repeat or fix a service if it's not carried out with reasonable care and skill, or get some money back if we can't fix it.
- if you haven't agreed a price upfront, what you're asked to pay must be reasonable.
- if you haven't agreed a time upfront, it must be carried out within a reasonable time.
14. PRICE AND PAYMENT
14.1 Where to find the price for the services. The price of the services (which includes VAT) will be the price indicated on the order form. We take reasonable care to ensure that the price of the services advised to you is correct. However please see clause
14.3 for what happens if we discover an error in the price of the services you order.
14.2 We will pass on changes in the rate of VAT. If the rate of VAT changes between your order date and the date we supply the services, we will adjust the rate of VAT that you pay, unless you have already paid for the services in full before the change in the rate of VAT takes effect.
14.3 What happens if we got the price wrong. It is always possible that, despite our best efforts, we advised to you is incorrect. We will normally check prices before accepting your order so that, where the correct price of the services at your order date is less than our stated price at your order date, we will charge the lower amount. If the correct price of the services at your order date is higher than the price stated to you, we will contact you for your instructions before we accept your order. If we accept and process your order where a pricing error is obvious and unmistakeable and could reasonably have been recognised by you as a mispricing, we may end the contract and refund you any sums you have paid.
14.4 When you must pay and how you must pay. We accept payment by BACS transfer or cheque. You must make an advance payment of 25% of the price of the services, before we start providing them where requested. We will invoice you monthly in arrears for the services until the services are completed and will invoice you for the balance of the price of the services when we have completed them. You must pay each invoice within 14 calendar days after the date of the invoice.
14.5 We can charge interest if you pay late. If you do not make any payment to us by the due date we may charge interest to you on the overdue amount at the rate of 4% a year above the base lending rate of The Co-operative Bank plc from time to time. This interest shall accrue on a daily basis from the due date until the date of actual payment of the overdue amount, whether before or after judgment. You must pay us interest together with any overdue amount.
14.6 What to do if you think an invoice is wrong. If you think an invoice is wrong please contact us promptly to let us know. You will not have to pay any interest until the dispute is resolved. Once the dispute is resolved we will charge you interest on correctly invoiced sums from the original due date.
15. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS
15.1 All intellectual property rights in or arising out of or in connection with the services shall be owned by us.
15.2 You acknowledge that, in respect of any third party intellectual property rights, your use of any such intellectual property rights is conditional on our obtaining a written licence from the relevant licensor on such terms as will entitle us to license such rights to you.
15.3 All our materials and equipment are our exclusive property.
16. OUR RESPONSIBILITY FOR LOSS OR DAMAGE SUFFERED BY YOU
16.1 We are responsible to you for foreseeable loss and damage caused by us. If we fail to comply with these terms, we are responsible for loss or damage you suffer that is a foreseeable result of our breaking this contract or our failing to use reasonable care and skill, but we are not responsible for any loss or damage that is not foreseeable. Loss or damage is foreseeable if either it is obvious that it will happen or if, at the time the contract was made, both we and you knew it might happen, for example, if you discussed it with us during the sales process.
16.2 We do not exclude or limit in any way our liability to you where it would be unlawful to do so. This includes liability for death or personal injury caused by our negligence or the negligence of our employees, agents or subcontractors; for fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation; for breach of your legal rights in relation to the services including the right to receive services which are supplied with reasonable skill and care.
16.3 When we are liable for damage to your property. Except where we carry out intrusive surveys at your request, if we are providing services in your property, we will make good any damage to your property caused by us while doing so. However, we are not responsible for the cost of repairing any pre-existing faults or damage to your property that we discover while providing the services.
16.4 We are not liable for business losses. We only supply the servicesfor domestic and private use. If you use the servicesfor any commercial, business or re-sale purpose we will have no liability to you for any loss of profit, loss of business, business interruption, or loss of business opportunity.
16.5 We owe no liability to any other party. The services are intended only for you and no liability is assumed towards any other party and nothing in the contract shall confer or purport to confer on any third party a benefit or right to enforce any provision of these terms and conditions.
17. HOW WE MAY USE YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION
17.1 How we may use your personal information. We will only use your personal information as set out in our Fair Processing Notice. You can find our Fair Processing Notice attached to the order form.
18. OTHER IMPORTANT TERMS
18.1 We may transfer this agreement to someone else. We may transfer our rights and obligations under these terms to another organisation. We will always tell you in writing if this happens and we will ensure that the transfer will not affect your rights under the contract.
18.2 You need our consent to transfer your rights to someone else. You may only transfer your rights or your obligations under these terms to another person if we agree to this in writing.
18.3 Nobody else has any rights under this contract. This contract is between you and us. No other person shall have any rights to enforce any of its terms.
18.4 If a court finds part of this contract illegal, the rest will continue in force. Each of the paragraphs of these terms operates separately. If any court or relevant authority decides that any of them are unlawful, the remaining paragraphs will remain in full force and effect.
18.5 Even if we delay in enforcing this contract, we can still enforce it later. If we do not insist immediately that you do anything you are required to do under these terms, or if we delay in taking steps against you in respect of your breaking this contract, that will not mean that you do not have to do those things and it will not prevent us taking steps against you at a later date. For example, if you miss a payment and we do not chase you but we continue to provide the service, we can still require you to make the payment at a later date.
18.6 Which laws apply to this contract and where you may bring legal proceedings. These terms are governed by English law and you can bring legal proceedings in respect of the services in the English courts. If you live in Scotland you can bring legal proceedings in respect of the services in either the Scottish or the English courts. If you live in Northern Ireland you can bring legal proceedings in respect of the services in either the Northern Irish or the English courts.
19.1 In the event that you have a complaint regarding the standard of services that have been provided, you shall follow our formal complaint handling procedure, a copy of which is available on request from our Director, and you and we shall attempt in good faith to resolve the complaint.