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Do I also have to pay the contractor for bad work?







Express to what extent you have the right to (partially) not pay a contractor's invoice if you have had to entrust someone else with that task because of his half work.

How to present the repairer's invoice to the damage-causing contractor?

Commercial Court in Hasselt - January 10, 2001

The factual story

A client instructs a contractor to place natural stone, to close the slots of the electricity pipes in various places and to spruce up a bedroom.

The contractor carries out these works and invoices them to the client. The client asks for a detail of the invoice, which is sent to him by the contractor a few days later. The invoice is reminded by the contractor, but payment is not forthcoming. The contractor eventually proceeds to summon the builder.

The client is of the opinion that he should not reimburse the contractor's invoices because the contractor would have performed poor work, in particular the sealing of the trenches was very poorly executed.

The bad work was corrected by the installer of the parquet so that the client believes that the invoice as a result of these repairs should be deducted from the contractor's invoice.

The court's decision

First, the Court notes that the developer failed to protest the contractor's invoice, although he was apparently not satisfied with the work performed by the contractor.

The possible defects were repaired on behalf of the client. The client has done this without notifying the contractor or working out any arrangement. It is therefore impossible for the Court to determine the existence and possible extent of defects.

In addition, the Court notes that the repair invoice was drawn up earlier than the contractor's invoice. In addition, it must be deduced from the statement on the repair invoice that it largely, if not exclusively, relates to the parquet work that has been carried out.

The Court is therefore of the opinion that the principal must pay the contractor's invoice in full.


It is possible to have mistakes made by a contractor corrected by someone else. The client must then observe the following rules so that it remains possible for the Court, even after possible repairs, to assess the invoked defects:

  1. A registered letter must be sent to the contractor with a sufficiently detailed description of the identified defects. This letter should be sent at the latest within one week of receipt of the invoice.

  2. If the contractor does not respond, it is best to ask a construction expert to prepare a detailed overview documented with photos of the defects/errors present.

  3. If the contractor does respond, it is best to visit the site, where a report is drawn up in joint consultation with the following statements:

    • a detailed list of the identified defects, if necessary. with pictures

    • a timetable for the repair, possibly with a penalty for late implementation if the contractor wants to carry out the repairs

    • a written price reduction or agreement from the contractor to pay the repair costs if he does not wish to carry them out himself. The report of this site visit with the above information must be signed by the contractor and the client.


If the contractor refuses the signing or an arrangement, the client must still carry out step 2.

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