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July 22, 2011

Considering home renovations? How to avoid cowboy builders

Filed under: Tips & Advice — Tags: , , — sharon @ 10:49 am

Often we face the difficult task of having to find a tradesman, quite often in a hurry, whether it’s a plumber, electrician or builder that’s needed.   Cowboy builders are people who carry out work without having the necessary know how, training or certification and can cause you much frustration and costly bills when work is done badly. 

Here are some tips to consider when choosing your contractor:

Recommendation The most reassuring way to choose a tradesman is to go by recommendation.  It’s important to take the time to ask someone you know who had similar work done for recommendation.  If you don’t know anyone who has had similar work done, then be sure to ask your prospective builders who they worked for last and where and if you could contact them for a recommendation?  Any reputable tradesman will gladly offer a selection of recommendations, remember, their past clients have the answers to your questions. 

Qualifications & Quality of Workmanship It’s also really important to ensure that your tradesman is affiliated to the official relevant bodies and is qualified to undertake the work.  Normally membership of the NHBC, or Federation of Master Builders will suffice, however if the work is electrical, plumbing or timber and damp related , you can check out your tradesmen on www.trustcorgi.com for gas, plumbing and electrical, or for timber and damp go to www.bwpda.co.uk to check credentials. 

Getting a Quotation Always ask for this in writing.  It’s very important that you understand what work is involved and what is covered in the contractor’s price.  Sorting out any misunderstanding prior to starting work will save you valuable time and money in the long-run.

Paying the bill In most circumstances a contractor will bill you at the end of the job.  Remember, builders normally pay for materials at the end of the month , they pay for labour at the end of the week, so alarm bells should ring if they ask to be paid upfront, prior to any materials being purchased.  If they do need money for specialist materials, offer to buy them yourself – thus ensuring the goods are yours.

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