I have a huge hole in my garden after a dispute with the contractor… I’m facing a £20,000 bill and my kids can’t play outside

A DEVASTATED mother of four has left a huge hole in her yard after a fight with her builder over an extension.

Michaela Maidwell has poured £20,000 into the one-storey extension to her home in Colchester, Essex, so her disabled son would have a safe place to play.


Mum Michaela Maidwell has left a huge hole in her garden after a fight with her builderPhoto credit: JOHN McLELLAN
She paid £20,000 for an extension but she has ditches so deep she won't let her kids play outside


She paid £20,000 for an extension but she has ditches so deep she won’t let her kids play outsidePhoto credit: JOHN McLELLAN

She says she was promised the work would be completed in six to eight weeks, but Adam Parsons of Prestige Loft & Extensions never finished the job.

However, he claims Michaela failed to apply for the correct permit to build a 9-inch Anglian Water sewer pipe that runs under the garden, leaving him with no choice but to halt work.

However, the mother’s lawn now has such deep ditches that she cannot let her children play outside.

And she demands that Adam pay her back ASAP so she can get on with the construction.

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Michaela, who found the company on Checkatrade, where it had numerous positive reviews, said: “There are huge piles of dirt everywhere.

“It’s just a mess, a site of destruction, a pigsty.

“I just want my money back and my house and yard to be safe for my children.”

Michaela said she plans to convert her current living room into a bedroom for one of her children and the extension would become the living room.

“It would change our lives, especially my son’s, for the better,” she said.

“The builder drew up a contract and took the first payment as a down payment, then the second in advance for the plumbing.

“But the work was bad, and then he found excuses why he couldn’t come.”

Michaela, who runs her own bakery business, said she realized he wasn’t going to finish the job when he promised to refund her the money but never did.

“I was like, ‘Oh my god, my money’s gone, my house is damaged, my kids are going to suffer,'” she said.

“I just feel so hopeless, I’m so depressed. They are my children and it is my duty to care for and protect them.

“You suffer from it.”

Adam claims the architectural plans he received from Michaela made no mention of building on top of a sewer pipe and that his men did not discover it until they started digging, adding a further £10,000 to the cost of construction and halting work .

He has insisted he plans to return indoors to continue the work but not until he receives written permission from Anglian Water, or will arrange a partial refund once he finds out how much is owed.

“My Poor Babies”

Meanwhile, Michaela was left with £20,000 out of pocket and with ditches for where the extensions were to sit, some of which are more than 9ft deep.

She now doesn’t let her children, who have autism, ADHD, diabetes and sensory disorders together, go outside for fear they might fall off.

“We have to keep the back door locked and hide the key because we are so worried,” she added.

“My poor babies. They can’t even catch their breath on their swings in the backyard.

“As a mother, it breaks my heart to know that I caused this mess.”

How to find a contractor

  • Ask friends/family colleagues for a recommendation
  • Ask the builder to bring a portfolio of previous work
  • Don’t pay all the money up front – most companies will agree on a payment schedule where the final payment is made AFTER the work is complete and you are happy with the job

Michaela, who moved into the property in 2012 and became the owner in February 2022, is furious with Adam but also with Checkatrade for promoting his business.

“You shouldn’t publish his data,” she said.

“He has good reviews there, that’s why I chose him.”

Adam says he has many happy customers, and while he “feels sorry” for Michaela, it’s her problem to deal with.

A Checkatrade spokesman said: “We regret Ms Maidwell’s experience, which does not reflect the high standards we expect of our members.

“This trader has not been a member of Checkatrade since September 2021.

“Although this trade is no longer a member of Checkatrade, we will continue to support Ms Maidwell, including offering our Alternative Dispute Resolution service.

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“Checkatrade was created to eradicate this type of behavior.

“We do not tolerate any craftsman who does not meet our high standards.”

The post-construction 'mess' ended outside the home in Colchester, Essex


The post-construction ‘mess’ ended outside the home in Colchester, EssexPhoto credit: JOHN McLELLAN
Michaela said:


Michaela said: “As a mother, it breaks my heart to know that I caused this mess”Photo credit: JOHN McLELLAN
Prestige Loft & Extensions' Adam claims he will continue the job, but only after the mother has the proper permissions


Prestige Loft & Extensions’ Adam claims he will continue the job, but only after the mother has the proper permissionsPhoto credit: JOHN McLELLAN
Michaela with two of her children and her dog


Michaela with two of her children and her dogPhoto credit: JOHN McLELLAN

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