We've put together some tips on finding and employing a builder to repair your home.
Finding a builder
- Ask neighbours, friends and family to recommend building firms who've done work for them.
- Visit websites that help find a builder, which generally include feedback comments from people who've used the builder to repair their home.
- Talk to a tradesman who you've used before; even if they don't do the type of work you need, they can often put you in touch with tradesman that they've worked with.
- Get more than one quote to compare prices.
Useful things to do before you agree to employ a builder
- Ask whether the work is covered by a guarantee, this may be provided by the builder themselves or they provide an insurance-backed warranty.
- Write down what you want done, which can include detailed drawings, such as those submitted for planning and Building Regulations approval. Make enough copies to send a full set to each builder you ask to quote for the work.
- Make sure the builders' quotes cover everything you'd like done, including supply of materials, removal of rubbish and 'making good' after the work is finished.
- Make sure the builder has the appropriate level of public liability insurance for the work to be done at your home.
- Make sure they have an office/home address and a telephone number.
- Get a written specification and estimate.
- If the repairs are over £25,000, consider using a JCT contract, which details the extent of the work to be done in return for the agreed price - in addition to recording any extras not yet agreed - is a useful point of reference in the event of any dispute. For more information look at jctltd.co.uk.
If you’re a customer and looking to make a claim, don't forget you need to let us know you're having building work done before it starts.
Paying for the repairs
- Deposits may be required if custom-made materials are required or where the project will take a long time to complete.
- Never pay upfront - avoid paying labour costs before the work is carried out. However, you should be willing to fund large material items yourself before the work starts.
- Agree any stage and final payments before work starts.
- Pay on time - if you're happy with the work carried out, pay promptly at each stage.
- Paying VAT - if VAT is being charged, make sure there is a VAT number shown.
Who to consult if things go wrong
- A solicitor
- The Citizens Advice Bureau
- Trading Standards
- Your local Building Control or Trade Association
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