Dodgy Builder/Landscaper Problems please help

Hi everyone,

So around a year ago (August 2019) I got a guy to come and build a 9 meter retaining wall which is a meter high. In the retained area i decided to get paving done (by the same guy) and some other bits around the house. He ended up charging $4400 for the wall. Now the issue is that the paver's around the wall have started to sink and the biggest gap between the paver's is about a finger length.

I got another guy to come out and have a look because the original guy is not picking up my phone anymore and he stated that the retaining wall is dodgy and the post weren't put in deep enough so the wall is on a angle now (hence the gap and sinkage).

What do i do now?
Is it my fault and i bear it and get another contractor out?
Or, can i take this original guy to small claims tribunal ?

Thanks for the help :)

Edit: photos


  • +9

    Take to small claims court.

    Shallow posts are a common shortcut many contractors take. It always ends the same way - exactly what you described. There was nothing you could do to have influenced the failure, whether it was to contribute or to prevent.

    • Ok thank you so much ๐Ÿ˜Š

  • Pictures please….

  • Sure, I will post as soon as I get home

  • +2

    Not your fault. Take to small claims/xcat as suggested above.

    • Thank you so much for you help ๐Ÿ˜Š

  • +3

    Small claims court you should try it- but the difficulty may be serving him and having him show up and even if you get judgment in your favour then enforcing it may be difficult.
    I know this doesnโ€™t help with your current problem but I always try to get word of mouth recommendations for trades before engaging them preferably from people you know otherwise it can be a lottery.

    • Yes absolutely right, i very much regret the choice :(

  • Poor drainage + shallow posts + no incline = the wall will fall over in a few seasons.

    How long is distance between the post?

  • +1

    Thanks for posting the pics. Ahhh ok, its the paving on the TOP that has the gap, I was thinking the other way around, paving on the bottom of the wall.

    Yeah that wall wasn't built correctly, post not deep enough to support the weight leaning on it, mixed with large spans between posts.

    Honestly its not a costly fix, you can reuse 80% of what is there, just need longer poles etc being installed, but you will be pushing up hill to have the guy to fix it. Even after small claims, most likely won't want to pay.

    Its basically lots of labour to pull it apart and put it back together right.

    • Yes however its 9 meters of the wall :( and we have slat fencing on the top too.

      Would a letter of demand scare the original guy? and be of any help? or would it just make it worst.

      • +2

        Doubt it, but you can try. They are not answering your calls now, so I don't really see them responding to a letter. But worth a shot and lays groundwork for later on.

        • All good thanks for the help.

  • +2

    Damn sorry to hear OP.

    I had to get about 50m of retaining done. Was going to pay someone, but this is exactly what I was worried about. You just don't know how good of a job the contractor will do unless you are there watching them dig the post holes and mixing the concrete.

    I ended up doing it myself, dug the holes the right size and mixed the right strength of concrete. Took me awhile but ended up costing a 1/3 of what it would've cost, and i have some piece of mind knowing that no corners were cut.

    I would try get your money back from the landscaper, and just redo it yourself if you can.

    • Hi thanks so much for your help, 50m geez that is long. Its better to do it sooner than later i guess.

      Update: Called the guy again and he stated he is bringing 3 men to my house to fix the job. I agreed and sweet talked him, so will wait until he comes then get him to dig and bet him that its a shallow post.

      The only issue is that we got slat fencing fitted externally by a different guy who did an awesome job, so it will be a nightmare learning how to take them out.

      • +1

        Did you mention the fencing on top if it needs to be removed in order to fix the wall?, hopefully they do it, but they could tell you to get that done first.