SHOCKING DOSSIER OF COMPLAINTS
SUNDAY LIFE has compiled a dossier of complaints against builder James Gordon, from angry customers.
It seems the Killyleagh man impresses potential customers by taking them to one of his "show house" jobs, where people are satisfied with his work.
But a string of dissatisfied customers say their experiences with Gordon was more House of Horrors than show house.
Here are a few:
RAY and Davina Fillmore's patched-up home stands as a warning to anyone thinking of employing James Gordon.
The Lisburn couple say he left their home in an unsafe condition and caused them great stress when he walked out on a £25,000 contract in August this year.
"He walked out after we called in building control," said Ray.
In May, the couple employed Gordon to carry out improvements to their Blaris Road home.
Gordon and his team began work in July, but soon Ray expressed concerns over the standard of work on a new chimney breast and gable wall.
He was amazed that Gordon, a joiner, was doing the bricklaying himself.
Ray said: "When I complained, Gordon said his brickwork was as good as any bricklayer.
"I told him I wanted qualified bricklayers in future."
A fortnight into the job, an anxious Ray called out a building control inspector, who spoke to the builder.
"That day, Gordon walked off the job."
A few days later, building control issued a report confirming concerns over the wall and a surveyors report, commissioned by the Fillmores, said there was a risk of the gable wall collapsing, and advised it be taken down.
The Fillmores say Gordon broke promises to meet them over the next few days, but finally arrived a week later, expressing a desire to resume the job.
Said Davina: "We believe he had broken the contract by walking off."
But by that stage the Fillmores had already paid Gordon £9,000.
With Gordon gone, they had to fork out another £1,300 on temporary repairs, including shoring up the roof.
And the couple have been unable to get another builder in at short notice.
MARGARET Hawkes rues the day she let Gordon into her south Belfast home.
"He's so plausible, so convincing," she said.
Gordon gave her a verbal estimate of £15,000, to put in an ensuite and a new bathroom.
In July 1999, she give him a cheque for £3,500 and over the next few weeks handed over a total of £10,000.
She lists many complaints about Gordon, including the fact that a job that was supposed to take six weeks, dragged on for nearly four months, and was never completed.
But things came to a head when her home was flooded.
"In early September, he had put up new walls above the kitchen for the bathroom, but hadn't covered the roof.
"My working kitchen ceiling cracked and caved in. The place was flooded."
At that point, she says her husband told Gordon to leave the site.
But Margaret says she gave in to Gordon's pleas to let him finish the job.
"He told me that if I allowed him to stay on, he'd put in a new pine kitchen ceiling as the damage had been his fault."
But Margaret said Gordon changed the terms of his "free" offer, when he returned a few weeks later.
"This time he said: 'I'll put in the new ceiling. If you pay for the materials, I'll provide the labour free.'
"I just couldn't believe it. I started crying. I told him to get out."
By this stage the Hawkes had paid Gordon £10,000.
But Margaret says they had to fork out a further £16,000 to get the work finished by other builders.
BUSINESSMAN David McBride agreed to pay Gordon £19,800, for a roof space conversion and kitchen extension at his new Dundonald home.
Gordon started work in March, and David and his family were hopeful that they would be able to move into their new home in May.
"Initially, the job seemed to be going quite quickly but gradually it ground to a halt," said David.
"By mid-June he had left the site."
Mr McBride said Gordon left the roof space with four skylights not installed and no insulation. The toilet and cistern had not been plumbed.
And his kitchen extension was not completed.
A building control service report in September, listed 18 problems with the work.
He says that after repeated calls to Gordon, he eventually sent out a plasterer and an electrician.
"I had to pay the electrician myself, even though his costs were included in Gordon's estimate."
Mr McBride, said: "By that stage, I had paid Gordon £16,200.
"But since he left the site I've had to engage another builder and pay for new materials, including windows."