Raw Deal: £18,000 bill over conservatory casts a cloud over couple’s dream suntrap

Irene and Arthur Lang (Andrew Cawley / DC Thomson)
Irene and Arthur Lang (Andrew Cawley / DC Thomson)

IRENE LANG is praying she can finally kick back and relax in her conservatory after a stressful and expensive two-year battle to get the job finished.

The semi-retired weight loss consultant from Kirkcaldy, Fife, wanted the extension built for her husband Arthur’s 70th birthday.

Arthur had gone through triple heart bypass surgery and having a bright and sunny garden room for him to sit in while he was recovering seemed like a good idea.

In August 2016, Irene ordered the £8,800 extension for the couple’s mid-terrace house from East Kilbride-based Dalmatian Windows.

What she did not realise was that over the next two years this would cost her a further £10,000 including independent building reports and survey fees, and hefty legal costs, while unsuccessfully trying to get the job completed to her satisfaction.

“The quality of the conservatory looked good in the pictures we were shown by the salesman,” said Irene, 66. “But after the builders arrived it wasn’t long before things started going wrong.”

Irene said condensation was building up inside the windows and the roof was leaking. Furthermore, there were gaps between the roof panels and the walls and finishing touches were of a poor standard.

She felt she was getting nowhere when she expressed her concerns to Dalmatian Windows.

“The whole situation was making me ill and I couldn’t sleep,” Irene said. “I was so tearful about it all.

“This was supposed to be a nice birthday present for my husband after his heart operation.

“The conservatory was meant to be somewhere for him to chill out but instead all we got was a lot of stress.”

Irene was advised by her lawyer to have an independent building survey done as rain was coming into the conservatory.

“I was glad I did this as lots of other problems were highlighted by the survey,” she said.

To make matters worse, last July she was informed by Dalmatian that their contractors – The Triple Glazed Window Company Ltd (trading as Dalmatian Windows) – had gone bust.

“I was told that because this company had ceased trading, unfortunately there was nothing further Dalmatian could do about our outstanding remedial work.”

Irene wrote to Raw Deal for advice and we contacted the company – now called Dalmatian DG – on her behalf.

The firm has now agreed to fix the outstanding problems with the conservatory, including replacing the roof. The couple has also been offered £1,000 compensation for their previous troubles. Dalmatian DG is under no obligation to do any of this. However, a spokesman for the firm said the company was under new management and would step in to undertake the remedial work as a gesture of goodwill.

“Mrs Lang has done nothing wrong and we will fix her conservatory even though we don’t need to,” the spokesman said.

Irene and Arthur are now looking forward to finally enjoying summer evenings in their conservatory.

“We were beginning to think we would have to have the whole thing pulled down which would cost us even more thousands of pounds,” Irene said. “I doubt if we would ever have got any further with this if it hadn’t been for Raw Deal.”