Cowboy builder leaves Portsmouth home on edge of collapse

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ABSOLUTE hell – that’s the only way the McGrady family can describe the past 18 months’ experience of a cowboy builder.

He and his firm were supposed to add an extension to their home – but instead almost destroyed it, leaving it on the brink of collapsing and the family with a £25,000 debt instead.

Peter and Sarah McGrady with children, from left, Callum, Ryan, Liam, and front, Kyle. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (150406-1)

Peter and Sarah McGrady with children, from left, Callum, Ryan, Liam, and front, Kyle. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (150406-1)

The damage caused the back of the house to collapse, forcing Peter McGrady, 46, his wife Sarah, 43, and their four sons to evacuate the upstairs bedrooms.

They all had to sleep in the dining room for two months between October and December last year because most of the house was uninhabitable.

‘The whole thing was an absolute nightmare,’ said Mr McGrady, who lives in Merthyr Avenue, Drayton.

‘One of the major walls wasn’t supported at all and there were gaps in the brick.

The whole thing was an absolute nightmare,

Peter McGrady

‘It caused part of the back of our house to collapse.’

The builder is Bradley Drackett, 40, of Bransbury Road, Eastney.

The McGradys took him and his company B Drackett Construction Ltd to court for negligence and were awarded £34,000 damages in December.

But they are yet to see any of the money owed to them and have had to borrow £25,000 to get the dodgy work demolished and rebuilt.

The state of the building work

The state of the building work

Meanwhile, Portsmouth City Council’s trading standards team also investigated Drackett and his firm.

It prosecuted Drackett and his company, leading to a conviction at Portsmouth Magistrates Court last week and an additional £4,400 fine.

Mr McGrady said he wanted to warn others to beware of cowboy builders. ‘We don’t want anyone else to have to go through the misery it’s caused us,’ he said.

The council’s cabinet member for environment and community safety, Councillor Rob New, said: ‘This trader acted in a very reckless manner, putting a Portsmouth family’s house at risk of collapse.

The state of the building work

The state of the building work

‘Consumer protection law clearly requires builders to work in a professional and diligent manner.

‘Anyone behaving so irresponsibly can fully expect to be investigated by our trading standards officers and taken to court.’

Mrs McGrady said she wanted to ask if any kitchen companies would be willing to supply them with worktops at an affordable price.

Mr Drackett declined to comment when contacted by The News.